Not Ready to lose him.

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Not Ready to lose him.

My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July of 2018. It was extremely lucky and the tumour was 1cm in diameter. He was given a good prognosis and responded well to chemo. We were hopeful & I took that time for granted. 


He stopped chemo in October temporarily with the plan to have Whipples procedure in December/early Jan however following a laparoscopy it was found he had cirrhosis of the liver due to a genetic liver condition called haemacromatosis (the whole reason the cancer was found in the first place). This put a delay on things once more however his specialist decided things may still go ahead so he didn’t begin chemo again. Just after Christmas dad started experiencing severe pain. To dad, as most tradies born in the generation of the  Baby Boomers, a 2/10 pain wise is an 8 to the average person so when dad as saying his pain was a 6 or 8 it was serious. 


On the 13th of Feb, the day following his mother’s funeral he was unable to attend, it was confirmed dad’s cancer had spread and was now Stage IV. Just having turned 56, he was told he had 3 months left - if lucky he’d be here at Christmas if he got treatment which may not have worked. 


I feel so much guilt because I feel I haven’t done enough in my life yet to make him proud. I feel so much guilt because I feel I’ve taken him for granted so many times. I’m angry because I feel I’ve been deprived of having my dad be able to give me away at my wedding or have a father daughter dance or see me graduate or have a baby or build a house or be there for any future milestones in my life. I’m angry I have to watch the man I always thought was invincible die before my eyes. I’m angry because he’s one of the most selfless people I’ve known and he deserves so much better. 


I don’t know how to cope or prepare myself for this but I feel I’ve already started grieving the loss and he’s not even gone. I look at him some days and want to cry knowing there may not be long left and that soon I’ll be helping my mum and brother plan his funeral. 


I just don’t know what to do or say or think. I’m only 23 and I’m not ready to say goodbye for the last time. 

Frequent Contributor

Re: Not Ready to lose him.

What you are feeling is called Anticipatory grief: it refers to a feeling of grief occurring before an impending loss, it is extremely common and natural. It is your mind preparing you and slowly exposing you to those feelings. (The feelings varies from person to person).


Unfortunately feeling guilty often comes hand in hand with grief, no matter how reasonable or logically your reasons are. This is expected and normal, millions of people have felt the same way before you. Facing an impending death of an loved one is confronting and forces you to reflect on your life and raises many questions regarding the future, whether it be about fears, worries, guilt or what will be missed.


It's okay to feel guilty, it's okay to be angry - no matter the reason. You love your father, you want to do more for him and you feel like you need to do more for him, no matter what that may be. That's okay, you don't need to do or think about anything. There is nothing required nor expected of you. Cry all you need too, you don't need to be brave, your allowed to be scared and angry.  Cancer is cruel, it is unfair, it is not bias but most of all it is senseless.


Communicate, speak with your family, your friends or even an stranger if you must. You don't need to be strong, share your fears and worries with them. They love you, they will support you. 


Take things day by day as they come, write your thoughts or feelings within an journal if you like, find your emotional release. Share stories with loved ones, ask questions that you may not know about him. Remember: Do what you feel like you need to do, just don't forget about yourself. How can you look after or support someone else if you cannot support yourself?


My thoughts and prays are with you.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Not Ready to lose him.


i completely understand what you are going though . I have been my fathers full time carer for the past 3 months and it has been extremely difficult. He has been admitted to hospital on Tuesday with only days left now and I'm still not ready to say goodbye. So I wanted to reach out so you know there are people that are feeling what you feel and we are all on this site to support each other anyway we can. I wish you all the very best in an extremely difficult situation. Xo

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New Contributor

Re: Not Ready to lose him.

Approximately 31 years ago when I was 27, my father passed from colon cancer.  My dad was not in my life that much as my parents divorced when I was 13.  My family was REALLY disfunctional since the words "I love you" were never used.  The one and only time I heard those words from my dad was shortly before he died, and only over the phone (he was in Germany for experimental treatments).   Tell your dad how much you love him, let him hear those words.  Talk to him.  Share your life with him.  He loves you.  Spend whatever time you can with him talking about his life and yours. As a mom of two adult children (27 and 23), believe me when I say that you have already made him proud in big and small ways by just being you. If you can, find a good therapist to provide support.  I'm sorry that you are traveling through this loss, my heart goes out to you.  

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