General chatter - sad issue-anyone else been through this?




ronni62
04-19-2010, 08:48 AM
I'm just wondering if anyone else has been through this and how you handled it? My dad became ill a month ago, so we went to visit him (he lived 12 hours away). Long story short-he'd had a stroke, we spent a good 4 days with him, both while he was home and also in the hospital. At the hospital, they also found he had a bladder blockage, which he'd had before, so surgery was done 2 days later. After the surgery, they told us he had sepsis and had had a heart attack in recovery, which, along with his COPD, was causing him to be unable to breathe. He agreed to 2 days on a ventilator in ICU to, as the docs put it, "allow his body to try and heal" along with lots of meds. We were praying for a miracle as we knew that the situation was very critical. After only 1 day, his kidneys had shut down and the next day, the doc advised us that Dad was not going to survive even if we let him stay on the ventilator for a longer time. Of course, he was sedated and not awake at all during this time, so we had to make the decision to stop the ventilator after the 2 days and Dad died a few minutes later.

We do believe Dad knew when he agreed with the doctor to do this that he wasn't going to make it, but it hasn't made it easier for me to believe we did the right thing. I keep wishing I'd held out (instead of giving in to my sister) and asked that Dad be given another day or two on the ventilator. Even though I know he still would have died (probably before the next day was over), I keep wondering if I prevented the miracle I was hoping for.

Maybe it's just the overwhelming sadness I'm still feeling, but has anyone else faced this? I miss my Dad so much. He had faced so much the last year, with throat cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma, but was healing up and doing so well, until the stroke that week. I'm so glad for the times we had, including that week, even while he was in the hospital (before the surgery), but wish we had had much more time.

Do the guilty feelings, you know, the ones that make me feel like I should have given him more time on the vent, ever go away?


winning the war
04-19-2010, 09:02 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. I have not experienced this personally, but have known many who have had to make the decision you did. Sometimes, miracles come in the form of trials and tribulations. Your dad is no longer suffering, and, more importantly, you honored his wishes. It was his illness, so his decision on how to deal with it, like what measures should be taken and for how long. Making that decision was the last independent thing he got to do. I hope your grief and guilt will alleviate with time and you can take comfort in the time you had with him, instead of grieve over the time you don't. And through all of this, don't forget to take care of yourself.

Jenny

angelskeep
04-19-2010, 09:16 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I've not gone through the experience you did, but I think that it may help you to remember that this was done the way your father wished, and that your motivations/intentions were honorable. Sometimes it is best to let a person go when they are suffering. Please remember that it takes time for the pain and grief of such a profound loss to be moderated. One thing that may help you a little is to think about the good times ou had. it will make you sad righ now, but eventually, time does help heal the raw hurt and you will always have the good memories. When my dad died, and even still many years later, I have found comfort in memories. My father in law passed almost 15 years ago, and I still miss him, but I am also thankful for the time I had with him as a part of my life, and I treasure the great memories. Like the time we bought a bunch of tiny, tiny bushes and dug holes to plant them and he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen...little bitty bushes instead of a real hedge. The year he passed, those bushes finally touched and made a real hedge. He would have loved that, too!

Barb


stillwagontsl
04-19-2010, 09:24 AM
{{{hugs}}} My mom almost 4 weeks ago after battling ovarian cancer for nearly 6 years. She suffered a horrible, horrible death and I was there for every single second of it. The last few hours of her life replay in my mind from time to time and I hate it. I know exactly what you're talking about and how you're feeling. All the 'what ifs' and 'why did this happen'. It's difficult to accept the situation because you feel like you made the choice to end his life. Don't do that to yourself. Don't blame yourself for his death. You did the right thing for your dad. He's no longer suffering and your love for him has allowed him to be free. It's okay to feel sad and miss him...you will always miss him, but take comfort in knowing you're not the only one who has lost a parent or loved one. Please remember to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Your dad would want you to be happy and healthy.

gardenerjoy
04-19-2010, 09:38 AM
My experience was similar, but I kind of had the opposite reaction. I felt guilty that I had allowed the doctors to do one last surgery on my mom when she died later that day anyway. She had a Living Will and I think we put her through way too much (including a ventilator) in the last 24 hours before she died.

Anyway, what was most helpful to me was that her best friend told me that my mother would have considered it important for my brother and I to do what we needed to do for ourselves, and that would have been just as important as what was needed for her. We needed her to have that last slim chance of the surgery, so she was willing to do it. I think that applies to your situation as well. You and your sister took the best advice that you had available and letting your dad go at that time was possibly best for him and definitely best for you (I know because that is what you did).

The day my mother died was the worst in my life, but I think she would be proud that my brother and I made decisions together and supported each other. I bet your dad is proud of you and your sister, too.

It gets better, ronni62. You will go through the whole range of emotions, more than you knew you had available, and learn new things about yourself. This guilt is one phase; you will have others, some of which you will circle back to and some not. The hole that you feel in your heart right now eventually fills with memories and life does go on with happy events as well as sad ones.

Take care of yourself at this time.

Trinity1004
04-19-2010, 09:49 AM
I am so sorry for your loss! Praying you find peace and comfort during this very difficult time. ::HUGS::

smccaleb06
04-19-2010, 09:50 AM
Yes I have been through pretty much the exact same thing but my dad went in to yet another surgery to remove some more cancer. He never came home that time. He was diagnosed in 2002 (on my 16th b-day) with Gallbladder cancer. It is rare so prognosis is not good, they said 6 months. After surgeries and hours and hours of chemo, my dad made it almost 2 years. He never saw me graduate high school or get married or any of that stuff he should have done...and I was by his side through all of his treatment and his final 2 months in the hospital, I only left for a few times a week to go home and shower and then I would be right back up there...but this is my story and maybe it can help you out...

My father was on "life support" for several weeks before my sisters took him off of it. By far it was the hardest decision to ever make. I fought tooth and nail and begged them not to, but they did anyway. In the back of my mind though I knew keeping him breathing through a machine was selfish because why live if you cannot have any kind of quality to your life? I was wanting him here for my own selfish reasons and he knew that.

After taking him off, he was still with me another 2 weeks. He tried to make it on his own, but his liver and other organs just couldn't do it. So Jan. 9, 2004 my father passed away of gallbladder cancer.

It has been 6 years and although it has become easier to deal with, the pain and memories are all still very real. But time does ease that pain. I no longer feel guilty about the life support. I know my dad is in a better place watching over me.

Like stillwagon states the last few hours of his life replay in my head still to this day 6 years later. and there is not a day that goes by that I do not miss my father. But some of those sad memories have turned to happy memories of my childhood and although I truly believe the pain will never go away, I do believe and know that it will ease up some. I will never forget him, and I will make sure when I have children they know who their grandpa was and things like that.

But you will get through it. Life goes on and so will you. if you ever need someone to talk to just send me a PM and I can listen. I know how hard this is going to be for you.

ronni62
04-20-2010, 08:50 AM
Thank you all so much for your replies. It helps so much to just know that others have been through similar situations and felt the same way. I know that the guilt is part of the grief process, but it sure doesn't make it easier to handle, does it? I know that Dad wasn't going to live no matter how long he was on the ventilator, but I just couldn't help hoping for some kind of miracle. I knew the decision had to be mine, because Dad made me his medical power of attorney, and even though I was talking to Dad's sister and my sister, it just seemed like an impossible decision to make. What seemed to make it harder at the time and now harder to deal with is that my sister was in such a hurry to get it over with, so she could get back to her life and her work. They even left to drive home to Chicago (4 hours away) within an hour of Dad's death, because they couldn't stand to pay for another hotel night. And, I know that I'm probably in the anger stage of grief over that issue with her. She just wasn't as connected to Dad as I was, which is another long story all it's own and our situation may be reversed when it's our mom's time.

Another issue that's added to the loss is that Dad didn't want any kind of funeral and donated his body to a medical school. I know people talk a lot of nonsense about "closure" but it does seem like funerals have their purpose in helping the family through the grief process. It's been hard to just go back to life without having the time to truly mourn. We have found that many people, including our own church, do not send condolences if there is no funeral. We have felt a little abandoned. So, I really appreciate the kind words you all have shared with me. It has helped me a lot to know I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. Thank you all so much.:hug:

brandnewme
04-20-2010, 09:54 AM
Ronni, I'm very sorry for your loss. Nothing compares to the loss of a parent or a child.

My situation was a bit different. My FIL developed pneumonia and it was left untreated for at least a couple months. My MIL basically wouldn't let him go to the doctor because then he wouldn't be home to take care of her (yes, I am still bitter). He stopped breathing at home one day. They rushed him to the hospital and put him on a ventilator, and started the treatment for the pneumonia. We drove 10 hours to get there, and spent the next 5 days setting up arrangements for him and for MIL. The prognosis wasn't good from the beginning - the first night, they also found a very bad bowel obstruction that had to be repaired. He very nearly didn't make it through the surgery. We waited as long as we could before we had to go home. We couldn't stay long-term so we were trying to figure out what to do from 10 hours away. The problem was that neither he nor my MIL had made a will, power of attorney, or medical power of attorney - and they had never had the conversation of "what if.." with my XH.

My FIL passed away a month after he was brought in. We finally made the decision to have him taken him off the ventilator, and he managed to make it a couple days until they moved him to a respite care facility. He never regained consciousness though. In all honesty, he shouldn't have been on the ventilator as long as he was, because they were pretty honest and said he had a very slim chance of living, and no chance of living the life he'd had before. He wouldn't have wanted to be on the ventilator, but he never had that opportunity to tell us in his own words.

Even though it was hard, you did the right thing by honoring your Dad's wishes. He had the opportunity to tell you what he wanted, and you had the opportunity to do the best thing you could for him - advocate for his wishes.

In regards to needing closure, perhaps you and your family can have a small dinner to reminisce and talk about your memories? Even if he didn't want a funeral, you can still celebrate his life and his legacy by remembering the best times with him. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

MoveMoveMove
04-21-2010, 06:21 PM
Ronni,

I don't know what your spirtual beliefs are but the Bible says that God knows our number of days on this earth before we are even born. I don't think any decision you could have made would have changed things. Your dad trusted you not to let him linger in pain and you honored that trust. Let the fact that he knew he could trust you to do what he wanted comfort you during your grief.

I had some issues when my dad died but I eventually realized that his healing I had prayed for did happen, just not on this side of heaven.

It will take time but it will get easier to bear. The one piece of advice that I valued the most when I was grieving was this: be prepared for the days when, out of the blue, the grief will be as fresh and painful as it was in the beginning. It doesn't sound like something you'd want to hear but let me tell you, it helped me tremendously when those days did come because they weren't such a surprise.

Can you have a memorial service for your dad to help with closure? A time to celebrate his life and remember how much joy he brought to you.

:hug::hug::hug:and prayers for you and your family.

AzimuthRing
04-21-2010, 11:28 PM
I am so sorry for your loss and hope and pray you find comfort.

I think what you and your family did was wonderful and heartbreaking all at one time. You helped your dad through his last journey here on earth. I can only hope that I have family that loves me as much as you loved your dad to help me through that time.

Even though your father may have donated his body to a medical school - you don't need his body to have a reception to honor your father's life and bring your friends and family together.

I went to a friend's husband's reception/gathering when he passed away. His body was cremated so there was no formal burial service. She chose to have a Pastor say a few words and a group prayer, and light refreshments. It was so lovely to see her laugh through her tears at remembering her husband. I know it helped her children see how much their father was loved by those around him. They even created a poster with pictures of him that was displayed for everyone to see. It was beautiful.

Death is time to gather, just like any other time in our lives -- we need each other to get through these times. Plan a get-together - sometimes when someone passes away other people do not know how to respond or whether they should contact you, they don't want to 'burden' you while you are grieving. Let them know you want to remember your dad, you want them to reach out to you....sometimes all they need is a little nudge. And I don't think it matters how long ago it happened - a month, 2 months etc.

EZMONEY
04-29-2010, 09:33 PM
...... I keep wondering if I prevented the miracle I was hoping for.

My dear RONNI :hug: I know it's the sadness you are feeling right now but I know that YOU KNOW as a believer...there is no way that you or I or anyone else can prevent a miracle if it is God's will.

Maybe it's just the overwhelming sadness I'm still feeling, but has anyone else faced this? I miss my Dad so much.....

I have lost both of my parents...my dad over 20 years ago and my mom a few years ago...it will get better :hug:

....my sister was in such a hurry to get it over with, so she could get back to her life and her work. They even left to drive home to Chicago (4 hours away) within an hour of Dad's death, because they couldn't stand to pay for another hotel night. And, I know that I'm probably in the anger stage of grief over that issue with her. She just wasn't as connected to Dad as I was, which is another long story all it's own and our situation may be reversed when it's our mom's time.

You can only control what you do dear...don't worry about the waht and if's of your sister or anyone else.

Another issue that's added to the loss is that Dad didn't want any kind of funeral and donated his body to a medical school. I know people talk a lot of nonsense about "closure" but it does seem like funerals have their purpose in helping the family through the grief process. It's been hard to just go back to life without having the time to truly mourn. We have found that many people, including our own church, do not send condolences if there is no funeral. We have felt a little abandoned. So, I really appreciate the kind words you all have shared with me. It has helped me a lot to know I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. Thank you all so much.:hug:

Why don't you do what we do for my mom...we have a Gramma Judi chili cook-off party each year to honor the love we shared together as a family :)

I know I am late coming here RONNI...but it has been on my heart and in my prayers for you a long time :hug: