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Old 11-25-2017, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Losing my Dad, trying to stay grounded


My 89 year old dad has just been diagnosed with cancer that is not treatable. He has probably just a short time to live (2 or 3 months maybe?). My mom is not well either (dementia, he had been taking care of her) so my siblings and I are taking turns staying with them.

I am grateful for the good things that have come out of it -- a drawing closer of our family, all siblings stepping up, coming up with a good plan for mom's future care, seeing my dad's courage. But man, it is also overwhelming.

I'm having a hard time getting my mind to quiet at all. I worry about him experiencing pain and suffering, and worry about my mom coping with the loss.

I'm trying to get exercise every day, get lots of sleep, eat healthy. I am using meditation and prayer a lot, especially when I'm restless at night. But I can't seem to stop the obsessive fear and worry.

(It goes without saying that I won't drink over it -- simply not an option, even if it sounded good, which it doesn't. I want to be present, walk through the grief, and help my family).

I know we're so lucky to have had him for such a long life, and to have a little time to plan for his passing. But that doesn't stop my mind from spinning.

Any suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I am so sorry, tursiopps. You are going through such a difficult time.

Remember, caregivers need care, too. I am glad that you are taking time for yourself - so very important.

Prayers your way.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am just so sorry to hear about this! Have you contacted the local hospital about hospice services. They provided such kind, warm, loving care for not only my dying FIL but also to those of us caring for him. I hope you can find a way to build an extended support network!
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Very sorry, tursiops.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm really sorry to hear about your dad, I know how difficult it is when our parents get sick. Make sure to take some time for you, and also make sure your siblings do as well. Caring for sick parents can put a strain on sibling relationships too, because each of you has an idea of what is best for your parents. I have had to learn to step back and listen when making decisions about my mom, not always easy.

Tell your dad all the things you love about him, thank him for helping you become who you are today. Lean on family and friends, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
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Old 11-25-2017, 12:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you all so much.

We do have a referral to hospice, so we'll get connected to them in the next week or so. I know it needs to be done, but i hesitate to put my dad through another visit with another stranger. But i know they will help and we of course can't do this without them, so we'll get it done soon.

Thanks for the support.

PS, it also is helping me to read around this grief sub-forum, to know that you all have found a way to come through very difficult losses.
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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T9- although my grief is different, for different reasons- the words you shared resonate with me. There is, for me at least - no easy answer. Grief will have it's day. When that grief does not have a definitive end- but seems in invade like rust on metal..it makes stuff hard work. V
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Old 11-25-2017, 01:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Apols- my keyboard has issues.

Very hard work. I do not know if you can do anything more positively or different than you are. The hard work is in the every day doing of every day life.
My usual only basic advice (to me mostly) is to remember the HALTS bit.
If you are
Hungry- eat
Angry- walk, meditate, breathe, write/whatever
Lonely- friend for coffee, meeting....
Tired- sleep OR
Thirsty- hydrate
Sad- breathe, share whatever.

Fix it yourself o get help fixing it. Even if it only works for 5 minutes, then wash-rinse-repeat.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't have any advice but to be gentle with yourself Tursiops.

I don't know anyone - alcoholic addict or not - whose mind would not be spinning in your circumstances.

Just remember that you need and deserve support too.
Thinking of you and your dad and family

D
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I lost my mother to cancer many years ago when I was deep in my addiction, my father passed two years ago from dementia, and I am so grateful I was sober during those difficult years. What I am most thankful for is the ability to walk through everything knowing that God was working it all out just perfectly for me.

Lately I have been experiencing moments of grief, and others have told me there will come a time when only sweet memories remain. Until then I lean on God, friends and family, and my program of recovery when my heart is heavy. I feel very fortunate to have a huge support system in my life.

I pray that you find moments of peace when you are feeling overwhelmed. You are doing very well by taking care of your mind and body, keep it up, the support will always be there when you reach out.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you for the support and thoughts ... it really helps.

A few bumps along the way ... I set up an appointment for hospice for next week, and hopefully that will go smoothly.

I am wanting to increase my parents' outside "hired" help, so that my siblings and I can continue to meet our job responsibilities and take care of our own families. We'd still be there a lot, but it would just be helpful to have some backup. My parents, on the other hand, don't want strangers in the house, and would like to be left alone, or just rely on family. They'd like to reduce the outside help.

They insist on being independent, but they're really not. Neither can drive, my father is too weak to do anything but sleep on the couch, he can barely walk with a walker. My mother can't plan anything like a meal or remember medications, and is too frail to catch dad if he fell.

It's nutty. And I'm a little angry at them for it. I suppose the anger is probably part of my grieving process too ... I don't express it toward him, I just breathe deep and try to have some faith that we'll work things out.

Just venting. I just finished a six day shift and handed things over to my sister. I'm going to try to clear my mind and get some rest.

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Old 11-30-2017, 10:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't know it it helps but I was vehemently against outside help for myself.

I was am still very independent but things got to a point that even I knew I needed some assistance and I didn't want to burden Mrs Dee.

Pride one thing but I never want to be a burden.

I hope your folks might reach that point soon too tursiops.

D
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks Dee -- it does help.

They have so little choice in all that's happening to them, that it must be quite overwhelming. I want to cultivate my empathy for the magnitude of their losses. While being careful not to exhaust myself either. I need to accept an imperfect process too -- if they risk some hours here and there without help and they have some mishaps, well, maybe that's just part of the process too. I'm sure we'll find some balance.
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Big Hugs........they are fortunate to have the love of their children to support them and a blessing ya'll are able & capable Tops.

I found when when my parents went through similar circumstances, it became easier after a bit to tell them on certain issue and not ask. We did not take their wishes lightly, but it was a matter of practicality. Ultimately, they adjusted very quickly to new transient norms - hospice was amazing as were some private duty folks. It was of great comfort having professionals involved who had experience. They were of great comfort to my parents.


We also had a power of attorney in place to avoid any privacy issues, etc.

Stay strong Tops - you are in my heart and prayers as is your family.

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Old 12-01-2017, 07:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi tursiops. I'm sorry you & your family are going through this sorrowful, but inevitable time. My in-laws are in exactly the same state - both in their 90's & insisting they want to stay in their home. The only way it's possible is for family & friends to stay with them in shifts, as you're doing. Of course they're oblivious to all the chaos it's causing & would feel awful it they realized it. You & your siblings are angels.

I'm sending up prayers for you & your parents. Please know we share your sadness.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the support and suggestions. You're right Fly -- it's a delicate balance but some things may have to be more "telling" than "asking".

My sister took him to the E.R. for pain meds tonight, as he got very distressed by pain. Fortunately hospice said they will rearrange their schedule and try to get him enrolled tomorrow instead of waiting until Tuesday. I can already tell what an amazing help they are going to be.

And I will NOT tell my terminally ill father "I told you so" about how soon we needed hospice, because that would not be kind, even though it's true. (Sorry for the dark humor, but that is how my family copes ... my dad was eating ice cream last week and asked for seconds, saying "It's not like I gotta worry how this is going to affect my health in 10 years". )
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am glad to hear that Hospice will be able to help you so soon! I think it's wonderful that he can have ice cream and just whatever else he would like

I found the Hospice workers to be an absolute Godsend and I'm sure they will be such a help to you all!

Sending blessings and prayers.
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi, Tursiops,

I want to add my kind wishes to those already expressed by our fellow SRers. What a roller coaster you're going through. And will be for the foreseeable future.

Good to read that hospice care is set to begin. It's a hard conversation to have with a parent, I know. We went through this with my mother a little over a year ago. She was living with my brother and his wife -- and they were doing so much of the direct care. Hospice was a godsend. Mom passed away quietly at home a little more than two weeks after hospice began. I miss her, and Dad, so much but am comforted and blessed by memories of our lives together.

Peace be with you, Tursiops.

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Old 12-08-2017, 03:37 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thank you, Seren and Venecia. I came here in the middle of the night as as i cant sleep, and it's comforting to read your posts. I'm sorry, Venecia, for the loss of your mother.

Hospice has been coming in and they're a big help. Things are changing fast. Last week dad could walk with some assistance, now i have to lift him into a wheelchair. Yesterday he slept the whole day, except for waking a short while for two bites of lunch and two bites of dinner.

I am grateful for the closeness i'm experiencing with my family now ... there are many sweet moments.
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Old 12-08-2017, 01:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Support to you.
It is so hard......but you are giving your parents such love and kindness. You will always be able to be proud of that.
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