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My dad in his final stages and I can’t handle any more

13 Jun 2018 10:17

my dad has lung cancer and was given the news that he has 2-4 weeks left of life.

first of all I’d like to say that it is a very strange relationship I have with my father, he has never been physically abusive but always verbally and mentally he has a strong mind and always had people waiting on him as to not get his back up.

well his final wish was to die at home, my mum has unfortunately over the years isolated herself from the outside world and I know she can’t do this alone.

we both took time off work so he could have his final wish and pass away at home. We are now in week 2 and I am physically and mentally exhausted, he has gotten extremely nasty lately throwing things and saying horrible things 

I don’t know I just keep telling myself how much of a horrible person I am I did care for 7 years and although it’s different with family the care side still gets carried out the same way and he is treated with nothing but the dignity he needs care love and respect, so why do I feel so absolutely useless why does he continue to be so evil god only knows how I will cope when his time comes if his final words are bitter and hurtful.

while in the first week I thought we bonded for the first time in my whole life, he actually said he loved me he has not said that to any of his children told my mum how much he is happy about me being there I just don’t know how to cope anymore with it all I am so exhausted 

all my life I longed for a loving father, the week of his diagnosis of end of life care I got that, 1 single week of my whole life and I feel selfish so selfish this his is time, but what more can I do, I care for him, I look out for my mother, my brother doesn’t handle it well so I reassure him the family is asking me for regular updates I am organising as much as possible for his funeral and the funding of it that I have to put on a credit card, my college course has come to an abrupt end, my daughter and my partner are at home and I only see them when they come to visit and no matter how hard I try he does not appreciate what I do I’m just so lost

Re: My dad in his final stages and I can’t handle any more

13 Jun 2018 17:05 in response to Laura1983

Hi Laura

Welcome to the forum though sorry for the reasons that bring you here.  I respond because I have a similar relationship with my Mum over mny years. However the difference is that she is in residential care (for her own safety due to mental bi polar disorder) so I am not faced with the abuse day to day. 

You are not at all selfish and can only do your best to support your Mum as your Dad faces his final days. My Mum has been receiving end of life care for some months now( probably bowel cancer but she refuses all treatment for some time) and nothing I have done. or try and help with now, makes much difference to her ways.   It is hard to take and also difficult to know how we should feel especially when it comes so late in their lives.  I am sure he would not want you to beat  yourself up about your feelings (no matter what he may say) and you have and re doing your very best to cope in such difficult times.

The forum is a great place to off load if it helps and I  hope in time you can find an inner peace and the support of those who do love you.  Take care. Jules54 

Re: My dad in his final stages and I can’t handle any more

13 Jun 2018 17:49 in response to Laura1983

Hello.  It is difficult for someone outside the family to comprehend what you have been through during your life with your father and now with the unpleasantness which you have done nothing to deserve. Your father's demons do not reflect on you; you are a good daughter who against awful odds has done your best for your family.  Unfortunately  it seems to be the case that end of life can exacerbate an already bad situation such as your father's unpleasantness; even people who have never been nasty in their lives can turn like this before they die.  I haven't experienced it personally but quite a few people who have posted here have had to go through this.  Again, not a reflection on the loving family who are caring for them.  Don't push yourself beyond your limits though; seek help from friends, ring MacMillan Cancer Support (Freefone 0808 808 0000 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm) or the nurses here (0808 800 4040 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).  You are a good person; hold on to what you know is right for you.  Annie

Re: My dad in his final stages and I can’t handle any more

13 Jun 2018 22:24 in response to Laura1983

Hi there ...

I have cancer too ... so one day it will be my time to go through these last days ... and my opinion is cancer can make us emotional and angry at life ... that is no excuse to treat those caring for you like this .. if ever I took things out on my family, I would tell them to get me in a hospice ...

You have done so much more them most could do ... you are amazing to still go on trying ... it sounds like he never appreciated you or your mum ... he's lucky she didn't leave him years ago .. l have also done caring jobs along the way... and would do anything to help when they go through this journey except when they get abusive ... l would leave the room as soon as he starts and say you'll come back when he can treat you better ... I know this may sound hard ... but those who have helped me on this journey,  I will be forever greatfull and try to help them in any way I can as a thank you ...

So be kind to yourself .. look in the mirror and tell yourself you are worth more then that .. you are a star .. and your dad is getting more love then he deserves ... you are not super man ... your just human ... phone McMillan and ask for help in his last week's ... they came round to my brother in law in those last week's to help with care ... it will help you and your mum to get a brake ... 

My heart goes out to you and your mum ... I hope you hold her hand after ... and help each other through .. sending you both a vertual hug ... Chrissie  xx

Re: My dad in his final stages and I can’t handle any more

17 Jun 2018 01:48 in response to Laura1983

Yikes Laura, it's so hard to know what to say.

Sounds like he's always been a difficult man, so expecting any change for the positive is pointless now.  However, I would hold on to that moment when he told you he loved you because the chances are very high that is his REAL feeling towards you.  When someone says something like that despite never having said it before it is highly likely it is their real feelings and they are just incredibly poor at expressing positive emotions (not uncommon in men of a certain era).

I'm not one to excuse nastiness normally, but I will always try and remember that if someone has gone unchallenged for such a long time then they are only partly responsible for their behaviour.  That's not to blame his loved ones, life is far too complicated for it to mean that, just that behaviour will always continue if not challenged, indeed the lack of challenging lets the person believe they are in the right.  Please note in NO way am I criticising anyone for not having challenged his behaviour previously, some family dynamics make it impossible to do so and no-one is to blame for that.

It is also probable that your dad's newfound level of nastiness is down to anger or hatred he feels towards himself.  Too often men's (and sometimes women's) outward anger and hate is actually how they feel about themself but are unable to process it properly.  Of course elements of old age (early stages of dementia etc.) can make a person incredibly nasty and aggressive.  Again it is driven by fear that they realise something is wrong but they don't yet understand what it is, it's severe frustration really.

None of us are in your dad's head obviously, but from the way you write about your family (the fact that the family has stayed 'close' despite his behaviour over decades) it just seems so likely that he is the kind of person that acts out his own feelings towards himself and that none of it is actually about how he feels towards you or your mum.  And there are always people that try to push others away rather than see those people hurt by their passing, while it may seem a bonkers approach to us lots of people prefer to try to make a loved one hate them in the bizarre belief if will make it easier for that person when they are gone.  Humans are too darn complicated Laugh and for men of what I would guess is your dad's generation they just were not remotely taught how to handle stress, grief, hurt, and many have a tendency to throw it outwards as nastiness towards others.

You and your mum are being absolutely amazing, it certainly sounds like he doesn't deserve you, clearly not a selfish bone in your bodies.

Please look after yourself and your mum first and foremost.  If it gets too much walk away.  Also, ask for help (be it counselling or practical help that gives you a good break from him).  But do hang on to that time when he said he loved you because the way you've written it sounds like probably the most genuine thing he has said.  When he's being nasty try and remind yourself of those words as even in those moments he will be enjoying having you there, just not be managing to show it.

I've seen so many people favour the types of behaviour that push others away when they were facing death, in the early stages of dementia, or even people that act in a way to end a relationship with someone they dearly love because they have become disabled and don't want the loved one to have the 'burden' of caring for them.  Some of us make a life of pushing away our loved ones for fear that we will end up hurting them somehow and we know they deserve better.  It's irrational, but it's very human.  It's something I've had to learn not to do and practice NOT doing it.

Take it easy on yourself (same goes for your mother), you sound like a dream daughter.

LJxx