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One year on.

3 May 2013 08:49

It started with what felt like a hole that had suddenly appeared in my heart after being told that my Dad had lung cancer.  That hole was made ever larger each time I saw him because with each visit I could see he had become sicker as the cancer slowly sucked the life out of him and at the end of each visit I wondered if that was the last time I would see him as I lived so far away.  He never complained about the pain or about the cards he had been dealt although I know he was devastated when he learned that the chemo wasn't working.  Every waking moment was filled with thoughts of how much pain was he in or how long before he lost the fight and how difficult would it be to cope with once he was gone.

The fight was lost one year ago today!

I thought that the hardest thing I had ever had to do in my life was sit around the breakfast table and discuss Dad's funeral arrangements - with Dad.  But that was nothing compared to how difficult it was to carry his coffin on the day of his funeral.  As the service was finally coming to an end and the curtains began to close around his coffin I heard someone yell out in pain.  It turned out to be me!  I didn't realize it at the time but it was at that moment that the hole in my heart started to close until now it is a crack slowly being stitched by time.

There are still very difficult days when out of the blue the grief hits me like a train that I didn't see coming.  I also know that even though I am doing far better than I was a few months ago, an important part of me is missing and I will never get it back and as a result I am not quite the same.  I have less patience and I actually feel like a selfish person because despite knowing there are people far worse off than me I will continue to wallow in my own self pity until I am able to snap myself out of it.  I miss the person I used to be and I want him back almost as much as I want my Dad back.

A picture of the two of us sits proudly on a piece of furniture in my living room but I still can't look at it for too long because the longer I gaze at it the harder it becomes to understand that he isn't here anymore.  For my entire life I always knew that I would find it difficult to come to terms with losing him whenever that time came and now dealing with his death is is just as hard as I always thought it would be.  Unfortunately that knowledge has provided very little comfort.

I have cried and I have mourned his passing but I have also celebrated how fortunate I have been to have him as my Father.  A true hero is someone who teaches us things like respect, compassion.  Someone who can seem so much larger than life when all they are actually doing is just being themselves.  My Dad was all of these things and so much more and I feel proud and very lucky to have had a Father who I consider to have been MY hero.

His name was Rex which is Latin for King.  No other name could have been more appropriate.

Thank you so much for reading.

Garf.

Re: One year on.

3 May 2013 09:22 in response to GARF

Hi Garf

I have just read your post and I would like yo say that I am so sorry that you lost your dad.  Cancer is a terrible shocking disease and it has destroyed numerous people's lives.  I could feel the intense love that you had and still do have for your dad and of course making the funeral arrangements after  he past is one of the hardest things you have do, especially when you love somebody so much is bad enough, but when they are still with you that must have been so painful.

Garf you don't realise it but you also brought a bit of comfort to me, you see I lost my lovely husband 6 months ago he had Malignant Melanoma and as

you can imagine it is still very raw we were married for 45 years.

What you said was that you are doing far  better than what you did a few months ago  and I thought oh I only hope I am going to be a lot better than what I feel at the moment as the pain is with me most of the time and I go through his final days so much it drives me crackers he is in my head all the time I cannot get him out of my mind.

So thank you Garf I am so sorry for your sad loss but by coming on here you have brought  me comfort.  I hope you don't mind me telling you my story but I thought it might bring you a bit of happiness knowing that you also helped me.

Take care

Beryl

Re: One year on.

3 May 2013 09:38 in response to GARF

Oh Garf,

I do feel for you on this sad aniversary. I often say, when we lose one of our parents, things will never be the same for it leaves a big hole in our lives that van never be filled. Your father seems to have been quite a man and I feel sure, he will be very, very proud of you, for all the support and advice you give to others on this site. It is easy to see how much love you had for him. He has helped make you who you are and he can be proud of the kind and compassionate person you have become. We all face challenges in our lives and it's how we rise to those challenges that decides the sort of person we are. You say you feel selfish and wallow in self pity at times. That's not how you come across on here, believe me Garf, but if at times we do feel as you say, we are only still mourning those we have lost and who can blame us for that. As you may know Garf, I lost my mother over seven years ago and just like you describe, something silly sometime sets me off and I feel all choked up inside and lose control of my emotions for a while.

Thank you for writing this today on what must be a painful day for you, but in my book it's a great tribute you have paid to your father and his memory today. Thanks also  for your kind replies to me over the past few months.

Please take care, will be thinking of you today, Brian

Re: One year on.

3 May 2013 11:04 in response to BerylB

Beryl and Brian, thank you so much for the replies.

Beryl I am very happy that my post has been able to offer you a little comfort, especially as despite knowing how difficult it is losing a parent I can't imagint the pain you must be feeling at losing your husband.  This truly is an evil disease that seems to attack people who have done nothing to deserve it.

I know that my step mother is still hurting deeply and will do for some time to come.  I phone her every Monday when I used to speak to Dad and sometimes she is very down and other times she is in quite good spirits.  I know she has better days when she has friends around her and has been doing something to keep herself occupied and I hope you are able to do the same.  I don't think it's wrong to try and distract ourselves from the grief we are feeling as long as we acknowledge it and accept it.  Please take care.

--------------------------------

Thanks again Brian for somehow knowing the right thing to say. (you do that a lot.)

You mentioned about how you think Dad would be proud.  I have said in the past how Dad and I never said the words "I love you" and that doesn't worry me too much because I just know he loved me and I am sure he knew I felt the same.  Having said that I truly wish that I had managed to find the courage to tell him how proud I have always been to be his son and that regret will always stay with me.  I have a lot to thank him for and I know you feel the same about your Mum.

Best wishes.

Garf.

Re: One year on.

3 May 2013 14:49 in response to GARF

Oh Garf

Thank you so much for your kind words I am sure that your dad knows how proud you are to be his son, I can feel the love you have for him in your post. Also I am sure he is proud to have you as his son,  I am quite sure your lovely dad is still with you watching  over you and loving you as he always did.  Please do not have any  any  regrets I think men tend to keep their feelings to themselves more but that does not mean that they do not love or respect you any less.

How lovely that you phone your step mother and like her I am much better with company, but we moved from up north to Southampton with David's job so all my friends are back home although my son and daughter live close by, I spend a lot of time alone and I do get very sad at times.  My children are both very busy with their jobs etc., but I see them at weekends and I do feel better then.  I make sure that I do something every day though otherwise I would be overcome with grief.

Well Garf I am thinking of you today please take care and don't forget dad is still with you loving you just like he did when he passed.

Take care

Beryl x

Re: One year on.

9 May 2013 07:44 in response to BerylB

Hi Garf, I hope you are good today , I only just saw your post from the anniversary of your fathers passing and just wanted to wish you all the best and hope thing get better as the days go by, you have been so nice responding to my post xx take care xtonic

Re: One year on.

9 May 2013 18:39 in response to GARF

Hello Garf,

We lost our Dads around about the same time.  Mine had a recurrance of his Oesophageal Cancer after we all thought he'd beaten it.  It will be one year since we lost him on the 15th June this year.  I like to have ways to remember Dad, and try to honour his memory and all the things we learned from him.  On his birthday (he would have been 65 on the 27th March) my sister was home from Norway where she now stays.  We had pie beans and mashed potatoes for tea that night.  Dad loved this for his tea, and so I thought well, that would be a lovely way to celebrate his memory, we'll make it a tradition.   At the end of April this year I did a 10k run for the first time in my life and raised £1200 for Gastrocan, the local charity run by my Dads oncologist.  It felt so nice to be doing something to try to help improve things for people with the same illness as my Dad, it really helped me stay positive and I hope to do it now every year.

Anyway,  I have read your posts often on this site and you have offered many people words of support and comfort at what is such a difficult time for everyone.  Bless your heart for that, your Dad will be so proud of you, wherever he is. Kathryn x

Re: One year on.

9 May 2013 20:37 in response to GARF

I just read your story Garf and I felt your pain, I'm sorry you have lost your father to cancer and feel the biggest empathy for your continued loss. My mum was given 2 weeks to live today but already feel her death has begun, we are all supporting her and putting on a brave face. I think you articulated what your dad meant to you and could not of loved him an ounce more, as you I've always dreaded losing my parents and was sometimes angry when I remember my mum telling me as a kid "she would never die". I have been reading other life stories on this site and it makes me feel stronger to hear time does heal, I wish you well. Nick

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 08:37 in response to katielouie

Thank you so much Kathryn, (You are the only other person i know except for my eldest neice called Kathryn with this spelling.)

First of all it sounds like you are coping pretty well with losing your Dad and like you I am trying to do something constructive and so have arranged a team challenge at work to raise money for Cancer Research. One of the guys who works for me has a young cousin who is terminal and a girl in our accounts office has a 52 year old Father who has cancer and is having an operation on Monday.  Fingers crossed for him.  I am so sick of this disease taking such good people out of this world and it's past time an effective cure was found.  If we can help do that then good.

My sister marked Dad's passing by throwing rose petals into the sea just as we did when we scattered his ashes but as you may know I live too far away so I couldn't be with her.

I have often read your posts when you respond to someone's problem and you are insightful and just plain good hearted and when you say my Dad would be proud of me I can guarantee that your Dad will feel the same of you.

Until next time, take good care and enjoy the pie, beans and mashed potato. (I think I might stick with sausage and mash though!)

Garf.

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 08:46 in response to Chinavalley

Hi there Nick,

I am so terribly sorry about the recent news about your Mum.  This is so raw for you right now and I understand that it feels like there is no emotional healing at all while your Mum is still suffering.  I have said this many times but I don't think this advice can be given often enough - whenever you can make her smile, because in that instant there is less pain.  Cherish every moment and imprint them in your mind as they will help you in the future.  The time will come when memories of your Mum will bring a smile and not a tear but I know how far away that seems right now.

Nick I hope I haven't just made you feel even more upset but just know that there are many people here who understand what you and your family are going through and are willing to help where they can. Just come here when you need to vent.

Best wishes to you Nick.

Garf. 

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 12:36 in response to GARF

Hello Garf,

I've just read your story, and the replies that others have written. Your love and respect for your dad stand out so much, and it is clear that a year on, you still feel the pain of his passing so much.  I only hope that in time, the pain will ease and you will find a way to think of what has happened with less upset and hurt.

My beautiful mum will soon be leaving us, and I take a lot of strength from the many people on here who write so well and openly about losing a parent, and can demonstrate that as painful as it is, they keep going.  I somehow feel like my world will fall apart, to an extent it feels like it has already and I seem to be existing in an almost permanent state of disbelief.

I can't say for sure how I will cope, but everything I have read in your message about your experience seems along the lines of how I think it will be.  Do not ever be hard on yourself for the way you feel, and do not ever think you are wallowing in self-pity etc.  To lose a parent is a massive shock, to lose any loved one is, and each day you will feel how you feel and there are no rights or wrongs.  You talk about this has changed you, and you want to be the person you once were.  I can really relate to this, but again the fact you are not is indicative of how important your dad was to you.  I am sure that at some point, you will feel more like the person you want to be, but unfortunately I do think that losing a parent will change us forever so don't try and compare  who you are now with who you were.

Your message was so 'from the heart' and thank you for sharing so clearly what your year has been like - as I say, I only hope that time will continue to help you and that all your good memories of your dad will eventually help you cope with the pain of your loss.

Take care,

Catherine

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 12:50 in response to katielouie

Hello Kathryn,

I've just read some of your posts in reply to other people, and I hope this reply finds its way to you.

I just wanted to say a couple of things - firstly,that I am thinking of you as you approach the first anniversary of the loss of your dad.  I am sure it will be a difficult time for you, but I really hope you continue to find other ways to remember him with happiness.  Your messages always convey the love you have for your dad, but also give me and others ideas for coping, so thank you!

I also wanted to say congratulations for the amount of money raised in your Dad's memory, what a wonderful way to help keep it alive.  A cruel irony for me is that I started running quite a few years back, and thanks to the huge generosity of my friends/family/colleagues etc, raised money for Macmillan and Cancer Research.  Little did I realise at the time that one day I would have such a personal involvement with these charities (my Mum has been in the care of a Macmillan Nurse for the last month or so, and this has made a massive difference to her and my Dad).  The running has dried up a bit since the birth of my daughter, but in time I have promised my Mum I will get back into it and keep my fingers crossed that people will continue to be as generous so I can keep on supporting the work of these fantastic charities.

All the very best,

Catherine x

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 16:13 in response to CAE*75

Hello Catherine,

I would like to just leave a short message to say a huge thankyou for replying and to say my thoughts are with you and Nick during this horrible time.

If there is anything I can do to help please ask as I check this site most days.  If I can't help one of the wonderful people here will surely be able to.

Please take care and best wishes to you.

Garf.

Re: One year on.

10 May 2013 19:26 in response to GARF

Thank you so much Garf for your offer of help and for thinking of us, I know you know all too well what we are going through.

I am sure I will be on again soon, as find it really helps to have this place to put down my thoughts amongst those who really understand what this horrible disease does to both those suffering and their family.

All the very best to you,

Catherine

Re: One year on.

12 May 2013 02:20 in response to GARF

Hi Garf your post made me cry, I so feel for you losing your dad that way and i can so relate to how you explain your grief. I lost my own dear dad 3 years ago this month and Im afraid to say the pain and loss never goes away but it does get easier to cope with. My dad didn't have cancer but went into hospital fir a serious op but died before the op was started as a result of the anaesthetic. For some time after I didnt think I'd be able to cope and quite a few times felt i wanted to die myself. 

However last july i was diagnosed with lung cancer and i realised just how much i value life. I am cancer free at this time and there were many times i needed my dad here. I like you will miss my dad for the rest of my life and a part of me died with him.  I know my dad would have been really proud of the way i've coped and i'm sure yours would be too. We are so so lucky we had wonderful dads to be proud of.

No words can help you really but go easy on yourself because a year is no time at all, it will become a little easier to bear though i think of my dad every single day, several times a day but we woulldn't want to forget.  It is very obvious that your dad was a great man by how much you loved him.

Take care and I hope you find some peace. Karen