Lost my dad last week

Discussion in 'Coping After a Sudden Loss' started by wdp, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. wdp

    wdp New Member

    On March 28th, I reached out to my 68 year old dad to check in on him once per day as I had been doing during COVID-19 times. My mom died 6 years ago from cancer, and he and I are the only family left. He didn't respond, which is atypical. I went over to his house to check on him, worried about what I would find, but hoping he was just asleep. I found his grocery deliveries on the porch, and I immediately knew something was very wrong. I looked in the window and saw my dad, laid out at the bottom of the stairs, but breathing. He was in a gigantic pool of blood. I called the ambulance and told him I loved and him and he would be OK. He was unable to respond. The paramedics arrived quickly and took him off to a hospital. I arrived at the hospital, and they would not let me in due to COVID-19. I waited in the car for a while to be told what to do and where to go.
    I was told he had severe bleeding in the brain and it was very, very serious.

    With being unable to go to the hospital due to COVID-19, I decided to be useful and ordered a bio clean company to come to the house to clean up. While there, I found he had been drinking a bottle or two of wine. This is a big deal because my mom made him promise to never drink at home. Which he honored until COVID-19. After putting together his digital use, I figured out my father had fallen down almost 24 hours. He fell down the stairs just an hour after I checked in on him the day before.

    To add to the situation, falling down the stairs was literally my dad's fear. He had bought his first house after mom my died close to us, and he was so happy there was no stairs. When we had to move for my wife's work and he decided to move and join us, he was scared to death of the stairs in the house he was looking at, but decided to go for it anyway.

    The hospital eventually figured out he had a stroke, but they have no way of knowing if the stroke was before or after. The week went on, and he never became responsive. So, we had to make a very difficult choice: put a feeding tube in his stomach, keep him alive and send him to a nursing facility that is overrun with COVID-19, or put him on hospice care. My father was a brilliant man and wouldn't want to be kept alive in any form, he would have wanted to die and be with my mom if he couldn't live life the way he wanted to, so we decided that hospice was what he would want. Unfortunately, he never made it to hospice. The hospice facility would not take him without a COVID-19 test that showed negative. My father started having difficulty breathing. We had to say goodbye to him over facetime from one of the nurses because of the COVID-19 situation. We have no idea if he heard us or not.

    My wife and I are absolutely crushed.

    We have no idea if he had a stroke while walking down the stairs and fell, or if he fell because he drank too much that night.

    My wife feels like his death is her fault because we moved our whole family out here for her job, and the job went to shit almost immediately.

    I feel like it's my fault because I didn't push harder to get him to not drink at home. He mentioned getting a growler off the cuff, and I just let it go. I also feel like it's our fault because my wife had gotten a test for COVID-19, and we sent a message with the test results to the family thread, but apparently it was the wrong thread, and my dad didn't get notified, so he spent four days extra worried about us. I'm worried the stress (which he didn't handle well) contributed both to his drinking and his stroke if he had one.

    We also know this line of thinking brings nothing but pain, but we can't shake it.

    After my mom died, my dad and I's relationship changed. He became not only my dad, but also my best friend. He was literally my only friend out here. I feel so alone and empty now and our current context is making things worse. Every time I close my eyes (and often when they're open), all I relive is the terror of finding him in a pool of his own blood.
  2. David Hughes

    David Hughes Well-Known Member


    So sorry for the loss of your father. It had to be disheartening to have lost your mom in the past, and then find your dad injured and needing help.

    To have your dad taken to the hospital and then being unable to be by his side is one we all wish to never face. When one of my sons had breathing problems and was taken to the emergency room we too were faced with this exclusion due to covid-19. My son got beyond the scare, but I know how it is to feel isolated and unable to be with family at the toughest of times.

    I agree houses with stairs are for when we are younger. For the ten years we lived in Florida our house was one story, very welcome.

    While you know he fell and how long ago it was, it is not as important that you did get to him. If only we could turn back time, alas we can’t. Yes, the drinking and isolation were most likely contributors to his falling. It is awful what being shut in is like for us all.

    I know when I was taking care of my mom after my dad's death, if we had been in isolation mode it would have been one of one of being with my family or having to put mom in a hospice house. It is hard all the choices life puts us through, we struggle for so many answers. So while mom died before all this mess as did my wife issues such as these are too horrible to think about.

    So true, no good choices for loved one leaves both of you no choice really at all. Saying goodbye from a distance and not knowing whether he heard you is sad indeed.

    When you have faced death the worst thing anyone can ever do is try to put blame on themselves. It serves no useful purpose other than to make people feel like less of a person - so please never do that. Unfortunately, in life bad things happen no matter what we all do. You loved your dad, that is all that matters. Please never second guess either of yourselves.

    The best thing you can do is start to work on these emotions you have built up inside over time. It isn’t easy, but it is what helps you face life again with measured actions, as you recover and your focus returns.

    It is not easy to talk about your feelings. It is not easy to talk about loss. As you talk with family and friends and even complete strangers in these times of isolation, you realize it starts to feel better opening up.

    I know as I talked and talked it also then jumped to another thread and offered my thoughts to others. It is a healing experience to share with others how we are hurting so bad inside. It just takes time, it isn’t easy, but it is so worth it in the long run. So please talk, talk some more, and just don’t shut up.

    Also, look through old photos, listen to their favorite music, watch any videos you made of family and share them with each other, and cry as often as you need. I listened to so much music after my wife died the likes of which would amaze you. The videos were in the hundreds, so many, some repeated. Our minds are fragile after loss, so we need to realize we need time to grieve.

    Please never give in to despair and make sure you take care of one another. You are just hurt, it will take time to recover. Peace be with you tonight.


    A song for you both

    @APPY likes this.
  3. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad, and finding him hurt the way you did. It’s so difficult losing our loved ones. And not being able to be close to hold his hard, sit by him and just be with him because of this health crisis is just so hard.
    I’m afraid we all second guess reasons things happen, we tend to put ourselves through that even though we never should. Neither you or your wife should have any guilt or question anything. You had no way of knowing what could happen in the future. You’re a loving caring son, who checked on his dad regularly.
    Having to make the difficult decision between hospice and a nursing facility, is no decision any of us want to have to make. And not being able to see him in person because of the health crisis we’re going through just piles more pain and anguish on you and your wife. The life we’re all living through right now is so difficult Without such a loss, my heart breaks for you and your wife.
    My recent loss was of my husband, he was 63 and had a massive heart attack, he had no health issues at all, one night he didn’t feel well and two hours later I lost the love of my life. My life is a shadow of what it used to be, absolutely nothing is the same. I lost my Dad when I was 36 like you are, he passed from cancer,, he might have lived longer if his doctor caught it but it was found too late. However, I know how the loss of your Dad is affecting you, I was sure I wouldn’t live a single minute without him. But I had to help my Mom through this loss but I know how you’re feeling and that it’s debilitating. It’s wonderful that you became so close to your dad and got to have that special time with him. Try to remember those times and eventually they’ll make you smile. For me it took a very long time after losing my husband, he passed 11/17/18, and I still struggle to get through every day. It’s a fight, I live one day at a time, as the day ends I say ok I made it through today, try to sleep and then try to get through tomorrow.
    I find keeping my mind busy helps, I know it’s very difficult with this life we’re living right now, but like David said, talking and sharing your story is so very helpful. Keep posting, and reading and reach out to family and friends. I know that this site can be very helpful, just knowing what you’re feeling is normal and understood by everyone on here is very comforting.
    Wishing you and your wife better days ahead
    @APPY likes this.