Question: Dear Luise: My dad passed away 2 days after Christmas. He was the one I would go to when having problems. He had been ill and in and out of hospitals and rehab for the past year. He had liver and lung problems from asbestos. The doctors kept giving us hope. We took him to the doctor the Monday before and he gave us medicine to hopefully get him back to being able to do some things for him self. It didn’t work. Less than a week later, he died. He wanted to be home. We got hospice and the family camped out at his house. I had my head laying on his chest for his last breath. I’m a nurse, so I thought I would accept it better. But I can’t stop wanting him to come back. My 6 year-old son is very clingy and not doing well in school. He didn’t even want to go home on Christmas Eve. He stayed at my father’s bedside even though he wanted Santa Claus to come. Every move my dad made, he would look up to see if his granddaddy was OK. Now every time I see my mom, I can’t stand to see her so sad and lonely. How can I help my son and my mom when I still feel as though he was taken too soon? He had just turned 75. But, until that last year he went to work every day and did just about anything he wanted. I miss him so much. I had promised him I would continue school. So, during his last few months I was hard at work on my Chemistry class. I told him I was going to drop it and he told me he didn’t want me to. I can’t help but to think that was time I should’ve been with him. I think I’m losing my mind. I find it hard to concentrate at work and home. Any advice? J,
Answer: Dear J.: How wonderful to have had such a great dad! No wonder you miss him to pieces.
Please get yourself into a good Grief Support Group ASAP. I’m a nurse, too, and it gives us no immunity at all, as far as I can see. If need be, find a private counselor, as well, because both will help in different ways.
You did as you dad asked regarding the chemistry class. He’s grateful that you honored his request. That’s my belief. Know, too, that regrets are always present when we loose someone. No one does supporting the person leaving perfectly. We are human and perfect isn’t an option. And again, it’s my belief that the person who passes is amazed and filled with gratitude regarding how we hung in there and how loved they felt.
You can’t set aside your grief to be there for you mom and son, all you can do is grieve with them. That’s what they need…to have someone know that they feel like the world has come to an end, because for all of you…right now…it has. Don’t bother with platitudes about “better days are ahead” and “he’s in a better place.'” Know that there’s no way around it and you have to go through it. That’s not a platitude; it’s the truth. Blessings, Luise