I miss my dad terribly.

gilda77

My dad died seven months ago at age 86 from congestive heart failure. I was his caregiver and his only child. He raised me by himself when my parents divorced when I was only five years old. Since that time he has been my best friend and my hero. We lived in the same house for 55 years. I was a caregiver for several other elderly relatives through the years so I stayed home a lot and that's why my father and I were very close.

He taught me to like all the things he liked. We were crazy about movies and music. We watched at least one movie together almost every day of our lives. We loved the old music from the twenties and thirties. We played music together, sang together and understood each other better than most people understand each other. Now I'm alone for the first time in my life, no husband, no children, no close friends who share my interests. I feel like my real life ended with his and I'm just going through the motions. I miss my dad so much, it's hard to describe just how much. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone who will be as much fun to be with as he was. I'm not saying we didn't have problems. We certainly did, but we always knew we could trust each other. Now it's just me by myself with nobody on my side. I have a half brother and cousins but they have their own families to bring them joy. They don't need me.

My dad never graduated from high school, but he was a very cultured gentleman. He taught me to appreciate classical music, the arts, ballet, opera, musical theater, and classic films, including silent films, early talkies, old westerns, serials and foreign films. He loved Masterpiece Theatre and all those wonderful BBC adaptations of classic literature. The local people I meet hardly like any of these things.

In the last seven months, I have not been able to watch movies without missing my father. I rarely turn on the tv anymore. I hardly ever play music. Sometimes the only sound I hear is the whoosh of cars passing on the freeway below and the occasional howling of dogs in the distance.

I think of my dear father and how I'll never see him smile again. To think I'll never watch a movie with him or listen to a favorite song together again breaks my heart and the tears come streaming down. I watched him suffer in the hospital and heard him beg for God's mercy, because he could hardly breathe -- this dear man who was the nicest person I've ever known. I thought they would be watching him in the Intensive Care but they weren't. I had to sleep sometime and there was no one to stay with him when I couldn't be there. I feel like I failed to protect him. I don't think the hospital tried hard enough to save him. It would take too long to explain. All I know is that my life will never be the same without him.

I want to believe in the promise of eternal life, but there are so many interpretations of the bible, I don't know what to believe anymore. My dad was Catholic and I feel bad that he wasn't able to confess his sins to a priest. The priest gave him the Last Rites when he was sedated on the ventilator. When he was awake and weaned off of it, I asked the priest to return but it was Christmas Day and no one was available. My poor dad died without the spiritual comfort of a priest. He was praying "God have mercy" like a mantra, until a male nurse told him, "God is good, my friend." That seemed to comfort him. Once the morphine kicked in, he seemed comfortable, like his old self again, but then he slipped into unconsciousness. I watched him die for 36 hours straight in Comfort Care. I did not want to leave him alone again. I could not trust the hospital anymore. Finally, I fell asleep in the chair and that's when he left this world. It's as if he waited for me to fall asleep. I know he wanted to live for my sake as well as his own. We were looking forward to the spring. There were so many things I had hoped he would get to enjoy, but we ran out of time. Every time I see or experience something he would have liked, it makes me sad.

I have tried going to five churches, four therapists, and three support groups, but I still feel sad and lonely. People tell me to get a cat, but I don't want a pet, I want my dad back. I have signed up for various dating sites, but nobody shares my interests. Everybody wants someone who laughs. I can still laugh and smile, but deep down I feel like my life is empty and meaningless. It's terrible knowing that there is no one in the world who loves me. I grew up with my father, my grandmother, and my great uncle. I was needed and loved. I also had lots of older friends and relatives who were fun to be with, but they're all gone now. There are people in my life who like me but they don't love me. They wouldn't miss me if I died, because they don't need me. The past was so much happier than my life now. My father is the one person who made my life worth living, and without him, I feel lost and haunted by the past happiness I know can never be again.

My mother passed away just two months before my father, so I'm an orphan now. My mother was a narcissist who never really loved me, so I don't miss her the way I do my father. I loved my dad so much, and we were so close we could sometimes read each other's minds, but I don't sense his presence anymore, although I dream about him fairly often. Even though we enjoyed many years together, it seems like the years went by too quickly. There is so much more I would like to talk to him about and movies I want to see with him. He was unique and irreplaceable. If I had known how hard it is to find love and friendship in this world, I would have loved and appreciated him even more. I feel bad because I took his love for granted sometimes. I regret every word I ever said to him in anger. I always apologized right away, but I wish I could have been the perfect daughter he deserved. Is it possible to atone for the past? Is this why I keep crying my eyes out, hoping that God will forgive me? I went to confession with a Monsignor, but I still feel guilty. I know my father has already forgiven me, but can I forgive myself? Even though I was with him every day, I feel I should have spent even more time with him, instead of on my hobbies. I should have made him exercise more and eat more vegetables. I should not have let him cheat on his low sodium diet. I should have realized that every moment with him was a precious gift that I would never have again. I used to complain about my life sometimes, but I should have just been happy he was with me. My life was heaven before, compared to how I feel now, so I feel I did something terribly wrong. Why can't I feel I did my best for him? I know I did more for him than most daughters do for their parents, but I feel no satisfaction, only sadness and regret.

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JoAnn_Fla

I am so sorry for you loss, I know how hard it is. You an your Dad must have had a great relationship and that is so hard to find in this day & time. I have felt very sorrowful myself today. I lost my husband almost 4 yrs ago, we were together 40 yrs. It seems like most people can just get up and start going again but its harder then most think. The only thing I can tell you is to keep seeking help or council. You just have not found the right place yet. Neither have I, its still hurts after 4 yrs.

I do watch movies, work part time and get out but I have few friends and mostly stay alone. I got a puppy after my husband passed. I did NOT want one, but I didn't want to be alone. I would have to say its the best thing I could have done. I am not totally alone now, he is here to pet, to talk to and he makes me laugh, and also can make me mad too.

Read books on loss and see how other have handled it. I also did that in the beginning. Force yourself to get out, join a group, club or anything to get around people. Check the library to see what they have to offer. I joined a book club there and a recipe swap. Mostly just to feel human and be with people. Look in the local newspapers for events or activities. I live in the country so everything is few and far, and I am making it ok.

You have to find a "New Normal" if you can just make one. Find a new hobby, a new friend, a new Church. YOU CAN DO THIS!

What you are feeling is very normal, and its what a husband & wife feel when they are left behind. It just stinks!!! But we have to go on, like it or not. Be the best you can be with what you have. Look at whats left not at the loss.

Another thing that may help is to write a journal of your feelings, or just how you are feeling that day. Write a letter to your Dad tell him how your doing and how much you miss him. Don't quit trying, if something doesn't work try something else.

My journey is far from over, its baby steps, one day at a time.

I pray you will find your way, I know you will.

Prayers & hugs.

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bleusblue2

I agree with everything JoAnn says. I want to tell you that I lost my husband seven months ago and I have experienced everything you express including the guilt for every lapse. It's natural to take each other for granted. How nice to have somebody you can take for granted. But after they pass you start rethinking everything you've ever done; you think you could have saved him or made his last days easier. But after all, there is another life and he is experiencing that now. He may be looking in on you but I have been told and I am pretty convinced that the spirit leaves all the darkness behind.

I have many many friends and distractions. I start and end most days with heavy tears in my heart that they don't even know about. They may have their own sorrows but mostly they don't realise that when they are talking to me they may be silently pushing some pain away from me. So I try to be aware that everybody may be dealing with some loss, even a loss from many years ago.

What to do? We have to live and value life. So keep going and even if you don't want to, step out and do something different today. Take a class and get yourself to it. Get on a bus if you live in a city and go to a neighbourhood you haven't been to. Call somebody up and invite them to coffee in a cute little place. Those relatives you have -- can you afford to visit and to buy a gift for the children? You might find you have something in common with the parents or the children. I have many friends with reading tastes that are on another planet from mine but they are fun to be with. I wouldn't go to a concert with them but we can laugh about a TV show or an experience in the grocery store.

One old lady I knew said it is important to have young friends because all your contemporaries pass on! That's true.

Your loss will always be with you. After seven months, I don't doubt that these feelings are now a part of my real life and that's how it must be. So the only thing to do is to carry on and be the best you can be and the kindest you can be to other people. I'm trying too.

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gilda77

Thank you so much, JoAnn and bleuesblue, for your very wise and compassionate replies. I am very sorry for your own losses. Only people who have lost someone they've loved and lived with for decades can understand how deeply painful and traumatic the loss can be.

I thought that the dating sites would be more effective, because there
are many more men to choose from than in any one club or class. I
went to college for three years and didn't find a boyfriend and that's
when I was younger and more attractive. I got lots of winks and
whistles but no dates. I befriended some foreign exchange students who
were attracted to me, but I wasn't attracted to them. I have been
meeting some nice people in bars, including a very talented opera
singer, but they're all gay. I'm looking for a life partner, because I want someone I can watch movies with regularly, and feel loved and cherished again.

I may get a cat or dog eventually, but losing beloved pets is very hard, too! I wish they lived longer.

I'm going to lower the age in my search parameters on the dating sites.

I will try to carry on as best I can. I have been kind to everyone, including people who were mean to me, because if they die I want to have a clear conscience.

Take care and I wish everyone here the peace and comfort I wish for myself.

Sending you both hugs and prayers,

Gilda

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JoAnn_Fla

Glida, I have had no luck with any of the dating sites, in fact they make me feel bad. I write some that are of interest and they never write back and the ones that do I have no interest in. Most are really creepy (especially the over 60 ones) Then you will talk to some and they drop you with no warning. Kinda makes you feel like a loser and who needs that now. I just rejoined another one ,just trying to find a friend, but I don't have much hope in these things. I want things like they used to be....... back in the day. But like death its over now and not coming back. I don't know where to turn.

Get a pet, it will be a comfort right now. You can tell them all your secrets and they will never tell. Hug them all you want and they will love you back. You can't worry about another loss or you will be alone forever. Its better to have loved and loss then not to ever have loved at all. Life is hard & painful, but its another day go make the best of it.

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gilda77

I understand about the dating sites, JoAnn. After four months of being on a dating site, today I finally got a message from a man who actually commented about something I wrote in my profile -- I can't believe it! Most men just say, "I like your profile" or "I like your smile" or simply "hi". They never mention things we have in common. My first date was with a reputable attorney, but he wants to retire and live on a boat -- that's too drastic a change for me. I think he wants me to be his caregiver. I might be willing to be a caregiver again, but we've got to share some interests. There was one older gentleman who shares my interest in classical music; he's a classically trained pianist, but then I found more pictures of him on another site -- selfies showing his naked armpits -- too creepy! Still, I wouldn't give up on the dating sites; it's best
to keep our options open.

I will continue to consider getting a pet, but I think what I really want even more than loyalty and affection is intellectual stimulation, such as being able to watch a movie with someone and talk about it or make fun of it, like my dad and I used to do all the time. It breaks my heart to know that no one on earth will ever view a film or listen to a piece of music with the unique frame of reference that my father had. I have lost other loved ones before, and it was tough, but this is by far the worst loss I've ever experienced. I think my own death will be easier to face than this devastating combination of loneliness, nostalgia and grief. The very things that used to be my escape from sadness and worry, now fill me with melancholy.

I always knew that I would miss my dad terribly, but I always thought at some point I'd meet a wonderful man who would be a great comfort to me -- that was until I started getting out and meeting people.

I don't know where to turn either. I'm going to try my luck at Cache Creek
Indian casino tomorrow. Some cousins invited me to go with them. If I can't have love, then maybe the fates will
let me have money. I feel so sad that I never got to take my dad to Las Vegas. I know he would have loved it. I feel like that woman who takes a cardboard cutout of her late father on all her trips, because he never got to travel much:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2658713/Woman-travels-life-sized-cutout-late-father-world-never-saw.html

I will take it one day at a time. Wishing you the best......

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JoAnn_Fla

That was some story about the cut out. It's so sad we have to be like this now.

Have you ever been married? I can't help but wonder what is your age group.

I was on the dating sites over 2 yrs, and went out 2 times but nothing clicked. I just don't know if anyone could take my husbands place now, but I hate being alone too. Maybe I'm just at that age its too late to start over. So this is it now, same old same old every day.

It will get easier but it takes lots of time. Hang in there. Message me anytime.

Hugs & prayers,

JoAnn

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gilda77

I've never been married. I'm 56 now, so I realize it's not going to be easy to find a partner. I dropped out of college in 1980 to take care of my grandmother who helped raise me. Then I became the caregiver for three other relatives in succession, the last was my father, so I didn't get out enough to meet many single men.

I got back from Cache Creek casino sooner than expected. One of my cousins wasn't feeling well so we had to come home early. Now that I'm home, I'm feeling depressed, partly because I lost money, and didn't have time to win it back, but mostly because I miss my dad. I thought of how much more fun the trip would have been if he were with me. I remembered the time when we gambled all night together in Reno, when we both were much younger. We arrived home exhausted but happy. I wish we could have had more fun times like that. I thought about my dad on the long ride home and how the world seems so empty without him, even though there were crowds of people in the casino and on the roads and freeways.

It's hard to believe I"ll ever feel better, but I know I'm feeling extra weary from lack of sleep. I couldn't sleep well last night, because I was crying so much, more than before. It's a different kind of exhaustion than the kind you get from having fun.

I know that no one can take my dad's place, but it would be nice to have someone here to talk over the trip with and to just watch tv with at the end of the day.

Thank you for the offer to message you, JoAnn. Feel free to message me anytime, too.

Sending hugs and prayers,

Gilda

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JoAnn_Fla

I clicked on your name but didn't see a way to message you. you can email me at joann8581@gmail.com.

I am sorry you had to cut your trip short and had a lousy time. It will get better but never the same. Its may be hard to find a single guy unless you just happen to run into one. Thats what I am hoping for anyway. Those dating sites can be scary, they are not always very truthful either.

When ever I go somewhere then come home I get depressed also, being all alone after being with others will get to you. I still think a dog or cat would help you. My dog sits by me when I watch TV. I can talk to him even if he doesn't answer. I've often wondered.........if I didn't have him would I lose my voice from lack of speaking????

Lets talk, email me.

JoAnn

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eld6161

I would suggest a therapy group. It is too difficult to go through the grieving process alone.

It's a shame that the dating sites aren't working for you. I do know a few couples who met and married their partners from Match.com

There is a site called Meetup. It puts together like minded people. Or maybe you can start one of your own. There must be people interested in movies and music.

I love the idea of getting a dog. Here's why: you need to get out to walk the dog. Eventually you will begin to meet all your neighbors! Of course, you need to have a friendly approachable dog. Dogs are great companions.

I know people like to suggest rescue dogs, but you need to be very careful. We have one that my daughter fostered and by default he is now ours. He is not an easy dog to own.



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gilda77

Thanks, ellendi. I have tried three grief support groups, but they were all too far away from me. There aren't any close to me. I don't drive and I currently have plantar fasciitis on my left foot, so it hard to get around. I've been taking cabs to see my therapist once a week and it costs me $50 just for cab fare round trip.

I really can't afford a dog at this time, because I'm not working yet, and once I do get a dog the poor pooch will be home alone all day and probably become neurotic. Maybe a cat would be better for me. I love both cats and dogs, but vet bills are expensive.

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Suzieque

Hi, gilda. I can't offer any suggestions other than what's already been mentioned. But I want to reach out and take your hand in grief and sharing that my father was to me what yours was to you - - - my best friend. I lost my father 11 years ago and I still feel that he's with me. My life doesn't revolve around it, but he's in my heart and I carry him with me. Time won't erase your love or your memories - but it'll help you to smile.

Edited to add: it's still relatively new to you. Before too long you'll sense his presence. Little things will happen that will remind you of him, and you'll smile and say a quick "thanks, Dad" or "hi, Dad". You'll know and sense him. I'm sure of it. Sometimes I even say "please help me with this, Dad", even though I'm a solid Christian and believe that God is helping me. Heck - who couldn't use a little more help?!? Haha. Seriously, talk to your dad. Tell him you miss him; tell him he was the best dad ever. You'll feel him - I promise.

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gilda77

Thank you, Suzieque. I'm so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you have the comfort of your dad's presence with you. I hope someday I will feel that my dad is with me. I do see him in my dreams. The big problem for me is that no matter where I go now to try to enjoy life, I know that I'm only able
to be there, because my father died, and I don't have to stay home with him anymore. This creates a guilt loop -- survivor guilt. I regret that we didn't get to enjoy the beauty of the world together as much as I had hoped. I know he enjoyed things in his youth that I will never enjoy, and yet, I feel more sorry for what he missed in life than what I missed. My only hope is that the joys of heaven are far better than anything this sad earth has to offer.

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bleusblue2

Dear Gilda77 -- I know what you mean about being sad that your father missed all the things you are enjoying now. I was exhausted in the last two years of my husband's life even though we travelled to see his family and had projects. I had to concentrate on so many daily things just to get us through a day in a semi normal way -- I won't bother to go into it. Because of those preoccupations I had to neglect the many 'little' things. They don't seem so little now. Now, when I find the tape of that song he adored years ago and that would have given him so much PLEASURE in his last year and days I feel very upset. Why couldn't I have found it then. It would have meant so much to his spirit to hear it when he was ill. When I pass by a restaurant that has a sign featuring his favourite dish I think, Oh I wish he could be enjoying it with me -- we'd go in there and order it and he'd anticipate that. And now, I have time to move the computer around and the whole room is so much more pleasant -- but I'm the one who benefits, not him. I learn little things that would have made his life so much more pleasant but he isn't here now and it's me that has the benefit. I confess to him so many times -- that I was so exhausted and I'm sorry for what I didn't do. Yet, sometimes the thought comes to me that I have to resign my duties now -- what makes me or made me think I could control everything, make everything right. There would always be something lacking. Sometimes I am able to remember that I was trying very hard and I did do some things right.

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gilda77

Thank you, bleusblue2. It is a great comfort to know that you and others understand how I feel. What you said struck such a chord with me. I also wish I had played more of my dad's old favorite songs during his last weeks at home. I even have the illusion (delusion) that he might have recovered, if I had played the right music, because he used to call music the elixir of life. If I ever get my house looking the way my dad and I both wanted it, I know I will be sad again. I almost don't want to win the lottery, because he won't be able to enjoy it -- figuring the lottery was one of his favorite pastimes. I'm sure I'll get over it, if I ever do win. :) I also was exhausted during my dad's last month, because I was ill myself. I know my father has forgiven me for what I didn't do, but the hardest part is to forgive myself. Like you said, I need to concentrate more on the things I did right.

I recently sprained my ankle and for a few days it was very hard for me to get around without a lot of pain. There was no one to help me since I now live alone for the first time in my life. Oddly enough, the experience gave me some comfort, because it made me realize what a comfort I was to my father, because he didn't have to struggle on his own. Sometimes just being there is the greatest gift we can give to a loved one.

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dbarron

After two years, I still cry sometimes when I think of my mother...many of your thoughts have come to our heads as well. It does fade some with time, I can tell a lot of difference now compared to a year and a half ago.

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gilda77

Thank you, dbarron. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad that time does help the feelings to fade somewhat. I am better than I was the month or two after my dad's death, because I'm crying more freely which is healing. Only people who have experienced what I have experienced, like the good people on this forum, can understand what I'm going through. As for the people who haven't experienced loss to the degree we have, I no longer expect them to understand.

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