Monday, February 17, 2020

Lost in Pain (from my Father's Death)

casket

One of the worst things that could happen to a daughter just happened to me. And for the first time in my life, I have no idea how to deal with such pain... a pain that’s slowly poisoning me and the people around me.



My 87-year old father died last February 8, 2020 at exactly 12:32 am.

prayer for the dead

He was bedridden for almost 5 years already. He had a few health issues but the main problem was his heart. He was capable of having a stroke anytime so we decided to have him under my sister’s supervision in Manila. She’s a doctor with tons of “doctor friends” and her house is accessible to a lot of good hospitals like the National Kidney Institute, Philippine Heart Center, etc.

For 5 years, he was in and out of the hospital. At home, he had two caregivers. Since he was already being fed through a tube attached in his nose (NGT), his daily routine was strict. All his medicines were given on time and he had a weekly check-up.

Since I live 124 kilometers away, I only got to visit him every once in a while. My eldest son goes to school every day and my husband has a business that is open 7 days a week. But whenever we get the chance, we would always see him.

Lately, his speech became slurred and we couldn’t understand a word he was saying. His 87th birthday was last month (January 6, 2020), and that was the last time I saw him alive. When the celebration was over and I told him that we’re going home, he stared at me with his “leaving so soon??” eyes. I assured him that we’re going to visit him again soon and kissed his forehead (our family doesn’t say “I love you” or do kisses like other normal families... so that was special).

If only I knew what was going to happen a month later, I would have hugged him.

But the thing is - I was preparing myself for years now. I was afraid to get hurt when the time comes, so I was slowly detaching myself. I’m a daddy’s girl and I couldn’t imagine my life without him ever since. But I was wrong. Nothing can prepare anyone for things like this... especially for the death of a parent.

My dad died in the arms of my sister and his caregivers. I was not there when it happened. My sister called me and requested us to come immediately. My husband and I immediately went home to pick up my mom and our kids, packed our things, and went straight to Manila.

The next thing I knew, we were already arranging his funeral, cremation, and inurnment. The night before his 3-day viewing, I was glad to get the chance to hold his hand for the last time.

holding dead hand

urn

I got myself an ash pendant so I can keep him close to my heart all the time.

ash pendant

Until today, I still couldn’t get the chance to grieve. It seems like his death hasn’t sunk in yet. But the fact that I would never see him anymore is slowly killing me every day. I can’t cry, I don’t know how. But the people around me are already affected by my uncontrollable mood swings. For the first time in my life, I ran out of ideas on how to deal with these feelings.

I just miss my father. I want to see him in my dreams and be able to talk to him.

Is this normal? Am I losing it? Every night when everyone’s already sleeping, the pain keeps on getting worse. And the hardest thing is I don’t know how to tell people how I’m feeling. Maybe this was because of my years of training how to shut my feelings down, but I know that this is different, this should be different.

I know that I should seek help. But how? I couldn’t even figure out where to start.

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