Death Of A Parent: How It Affected My Life
A Tribute To My Father
About two years ago now I lost my father. He passed away in his sleep and the death was extremely unexpected. The point of this hub is to enlighten people on how I coped with this loss and the steps I took to lessen the blow of the situation. It really isn't easy dealing with the loss of a parent and in order to actually put some advice out there on things that make it easier I'll have to actually explain my story. This is a very hard thing for me to do considering my father wasn't just my parent, he was my best friend.
A Look Into My Dads Life
Since day one I've been what people would call a daddy's girl. Growing up he was always there for me and I would always go to him for advice. As my dad always said no matter how old I got I would always be his baby girl. As a teen I hated that of course, but as I got older I thought it was more of an aww kind of moment when he would say it. Granted when I lost him I was only 21 but I had already been through a lot of things that caused me to mature faster then I should have.
In my teen years I had started pulling away from my dad, these are always years I will feel horrible about. Him and my mom divorced when I was 7 years old and at the age of 13 I stopped having any contact with her. We were never really close to begin with, but she did manage to cause a lot of damage to me in the process of leaving my life. A lot of the anger I had toward her when I was a teen I reflected on my father. I wasn't proud of this but it happened. I was young, stupid and a bit of a hot head. I would rather yell and blame someone else for things than actually talk about them. This ended up straining the parent child relationship between me and my dad and hit really close to destroying it all together.
Though before it got quite that far I had a realization about my life and ended up ceasing the attitude I had. There was a great time of depression in my life that at the time I believed nothing else would ever be able to match. I didn't know at the time how wrong I was about that.
The Turn Around
So from the age of 14 to 17 I was stuck in a horrible state of depression, my mom wasn't involved in my life, my best friend in the whole world had moved to Las Vegas and I felt like I was losing my father. My mental state couldn't have been anymore out of whack at this point and I was seriously considering ending my life at the young age of seventeen. So what stopped me?
It was suppose to be a goodbye to all kind of trip. My dad allowed me to go to Vegas with my best friend during the winter break because he knew how much that trip would mean to me. What no one knew was after the trip I was planning on ending my own life but something that happened while I was in Vegas that changed my life for the better. I met my future husband and a switch got turned allowing all kinds of happiness to shoot into my life. This was the stage of realization, everything that I had been doing, everything I had been putting my loved ones through slapped me hard across the face.
I came back from Vegas happier then I had been in a long time and totally in love with a special guy that managed to capture my heart in a week. I also came back knowing what I needed to do, I needed to sit down and have a long talk with my father, tell him sorry for everything that I had been putting him through in those 3 years. So I did, in a weeks time I changed my life dramatically. I went from depressed to happy as heck and started rebuilding my relationship with my dad. I guess we can say all of this was perfect timing considering 4 years later I would be getting another slap in the face with reality.
The year that changed my life forever was the year I married that man I met in Vegas. His name is Joey and to this day he still makes me feel like a teenager. We had a small wedding in the backyard of my dads house and of course my dad walked me down the isle. I was such a daddys girl that if he wouldn't have approved of Joey or walked me down the isle there wouldn't have been a relationship, let alone a wedding. My dad was a great sense of character. If he didn't like someone chances are there was a good reason. He always said to me I don't like my son in laws, I tolerate them which was true, until Joey. He loved Joey like a son and that's exactly how I knew I was meant to be with this man for the rest of my life.
Joey and I lived with my dad, and about eight months after our wedding we had a beautiful baby boy. Through all of this my dad was always right there for me. I sometimes think that all of this happened at the perfect time considering what was to come because I don't think any of this would have ever happened if my dad wasn't there for it. Needless to say my husband and I didn't live with my dad because we had to, we lived with him because I didn't want to be without him. We had plans to save up enough money so he could retire and we could support him but things don't always go as planned.
In the summer of 2009 my father started to get sick. It was really nothing big at first just some back pains here and there. So we really didn't think much of it. It wasn't long after that, that he couldn't afford his meds anymore and so he stopped taking them. He actually started getting better minus the stress and everything of financial things. In January of 2010 he was finally able to get back on his pills and slowly he started to get sick around this time. I started to help him and take care of him as much as possible. He started calling out of work, taking sick days and vacation days which automatically threw up a red flag for me.
You see my father isn't the type of person to call out of work, the man was a workaholic. Any extra time to put in you better believe he was there to take it. He also started to regularly go to the doctors and this man was known for avoiding the doctors at all costs. At this time I started to do everything I could while trying to maintain a positive attitude about the situation.
The Moment My World Stopped
It was July and the illness with my dad was really bad. No matter how many tests and visits to the doctors or ER he took they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. They found no way to really help him.
The morning of July 16th, 2010 will be one I will never forget for it was the last time I had a conversation with my dad, the last time I would give him a hug and kiss and tell him I loved him. The last time he would ever tell me that he loved me. I remember the time clear as day it was about 2 AM and I was doing what had became my usual routine. I fixed him a before work cup of coffee, sat it next to him by his spot on the couch and sat at the end of his bed just enjoying the early morning conversation. It wasn't long until he decided he felt too bad to go to work that day and he was debating on having me take him to the ER.
He decided to just go back to sleep instead and so at about 5 AM after a long talk I walked over to him, gave him a hug and a kiss and told him I loved him. All of which he returned and then he went back to bed. I went back to my room and continued reading the Twilight book I had been working on finishing. By the time I finished the book my husband and son were awake, we were just hanging out in the room all morning because we didn't want to disturb dad but at this point it was about 1:30 PM. So my husband brought that to my attention and my stomach started to turn. He asked me if I wanted him to go wake up dad and something in me caused me to tell him no, I'll do it.
I slowly walked to the living room, everything in my body telling me to turn around and go back to my room, everything was fine... just avoid seeing him. I pressed forward though, not wanting to believe my gut feeling. I entered the living room and looked over to my dads bed where he was sleeping at and walked over to him. Just looking at him he didn't look right so I shook him a little, instantly noticing how cold and stiff he was. It was that moment that I realized my father was dead... actually realized it even though I had the gut feeling for a good while.
I remember at that point I just started shaking him as much as I could, screaming at him to wake up. Finally realizing that it wasn't going to happen I fell to the floor in a fetal position and just started to scream and cry. I didn't know what to do all I knew was I needed to call 911 but I was in total shock. My husband came running out at the sound of me screaming with our two year old son in his arms and all I could think about doing was telling him to get Jac the heck out of the room.
Dealing With Death
My dad died a month before his 57th birthday. I still feel that he was taken away from us way too early but I do try to look on the bright side that he isn't in pain anymore. In fact, he's at peace now. I dealt with his death in a way I wish I could take back. I chose to not talk about it. Instead I bottled it all up and pretended that everything was okay. I had this idea that if my family saw me fall apart they would all fall apart with me. I didn't realize that everyone expected me to fall apart, and I really did but I kept it to myself.
Me and my husband took the life insurance money and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. We wanted to start fresh in the place we were the happiest and for us it was Vegas. That was where we met and that was where my best friend, like my brother, lived. He is one of the only ones that has the ability to keep me sane.
Now something had to make up for the lack of expression over the death I was doing and it was something that pretty much costed us a lot in the end. I developed a gambling addiction because it made me feel like nothing was wrong. For that short period of time that I was playing in the casinos I wasn't thinking about losing my father. In fact it took me about a year and a half to finally express my feelings over his death.
I'll be the first one to admit that if I could go back I would change the way I dealt with the death of my father and now almost two years later I want to put a few good ways to help someone move on so people don't make the same mistakes I did. So up next is the advice section, how I felt the situation should have been handled and how I should have looked at it instead. It'll be a list containing very important things.
How To Deal With Death
If I would have followed these steps my situation right now would probably be a lot better. Instead I hit the realization proof when the damage was already done.
- Talk About It - Find someone that you truly trust and get all your emotions out about it. Chances are they took the hit too and you can really help each other move on from the death.
- Cry - No one likes to cry but this does help. Every now and then you just have to have a good cry. While you aren't talking about how you feel you are expressing it in your tears.
- Rely On Your Family - There will be no other people that know what you are going through like your family. They will be going through the same thing no matter how much more you depended on the loved one lost.
- Be Alone - Don't be afraid to just give yourself a day to think about it all. Listen to some music, watch some TV, write out your feelings or just cry. No matter what it will help you out and people will understand if you just want to be alone for the day.
- Old Pictures - It might be hard for you to remember the good times, especially if you're like me and are the one that finds the loved one dead. If this is the case old pictures of the good times can really help you remember them.
- They're in a Better Place - Remember always they are in a better place now. They have finally found true peace in the world and on the off chance they were going through a lot of pain they are no longer dealing with that. They have been reunited with family that has been lost and you will see them again one day because no one lives forever.
- Don't Feel Guilty - The passing is not your fault, there is no way to rationalize that it is so don't even try unless you were the one to make their heart stop you can't blame yourself. If you feel guilty over something that was out of your control then it will eat you alive.