Life was easier with dad around.

It really was, you know. The last two weeks have been the hardest of my life. My trusty suppression of grief instincts - born and raised in the ashes of failed relationships - helped me make the phone calls that needed to be made, helped fill out the forms that needed filling, but, inside, I don’t think it’s helping much.

I had a pretty deep spiritual landfill inside myself somewhere, where I could put all my hurt, irritation, and general bad feelings and cover 'em up. It functioned fairly well, and I became known, amongst most of my friends, as the guy they could turn to in the crisis. You know, because I was “strong” and stuff.

But, bloody hell, it hurts right now. And I know it sounds like a bad pop-psychology cliche, but I think I forgot how to feel. I mean, I cried perhaps a half dozen times since my dad passed away two weeks ago today (it’s still Tuesday here in HI, FWIW), which, compared to my mom, is nothing. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to compare grief, like there’s some kind of prize for grieving the most, but it feels like I’m not grieving correctly, for chrissakes! Hell, it doesn’t even make sense to me!

And hell if I can remember the last time I felt truly happy… I mean, yeah, watching Buffy puts a smile on my face, but that’s hardly the same thing. Alcohol offers a blissful, if short, respite from all the pressure I feel building up inside, but the last thing I need now is to become an alcoholic, right?

Well, sorry to burden the boards with all this, but I have a bunch of “how are you doing” emails to respond to, and I figured I should get this all off my chest first, lest I worry somebody.

KK, I speak from experience; I lost my Dad 12 years ago… sometimes it seems like a long time, sometimes it seems like yesterday.

The one thing I remember I did (and for me, it was the right thing to do) was to take a conscious decision that I was going to be easy on myself. No matter what I thought, or felt (or didn’t think, or didn’t feel) I was not going to berate myself for it. I figured it was going to be hard enough to cope without me adding to it.

It is hard. It will become easier. Some part of you knows that.

Take it easy…

I feel like there’s a million things I should be doing for you and saying to you, but I’m stumped as to what those things are.
My thoughts are never very far from you. Take care, hon.

emotions are sneaky things. be patient with yourself. things you think would never bother you, will. it may be easier for you to talk to us here on the boards, than people that you can see face to face. we are here for you.

When my dad died four years ago (wow, it’s been four years already?), I didn’t feel any grief at all for the first week. It came around in its own time. Sometimes your mind won’t allow you to feel because it’s just too much to feel all at once.

Different people deal with grief in different ways, but for me, I finally had to come to the realization that the feeling of loss was never going to go away. I just got used to it and learned to live with it, and eventually I even learned how to be happy again too.

Like Xerxes said, try to go easy on yourself (you might go easy on the alcohol, too). This is probably the worst time for you, and there is no one “right” way to get through it. I hope that things will improve for you soon.

I know people have probably told you this, but it’s ok to mourn and there is no right or wrong way to do it. You need to allow yourself time to go through the mourning process.

If you would like, I would love to hear about your dad.

KK my dad died in august this year. I am truly sorry for your loss. I think about him often, but at times like these it’s really good to just cry. deb2world is right, thereis no right or wrong way to mourn. I wish you the very best in this difficult time…


It’s not easy for me to cry when I’m with my family, so when my father died and I spent most of my time with Mom, I didn’t cry except some when we first found out he was dead. When I went home, I didn’t cry much, because I felt like if I ever got started, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I spent all of my time at home putting a puzzle together.

Everyone has given you good advice. Let your mind and heart do what it needs to do to get through this. If you still feel like you aren’t gdoing what you need to do, you might consider a grief therapist.

Thank you all.

Zyada, thanks for the puzzle story. I felt quasi-horrible doing random stuff (read: video games) to distract myself from everything. You know, like I wasn’t taking his death seriously or what have you.

It doesn’t help that I honestly believe that he’s better off now. Not that I’m particularly religious or anything, but seeing how quickly my father’s health declined in the last month and a half or so (he had lung cancer, btw)…well, he almost has to be better off now, I think.

I mean, he went from being able to get around fairly normally (if a tad slower than usual) to being bed/wheelchair bound and on oxygen in the space of, again, a month and a half or so. God, cancer is a shitty disease… (And not to sound ungrateful or anything, but the treatment wasn’t a picnic either.)

They say, or so I’ve heard, that ‘acceptance’ is the last step in the mourning process - is it so bad that I got there so quickly? Or that I have so little black clothing (that isn’t way the heck too warm to wear in Hawaii)?


KKBattousai - while acceptance is generally considered the final “stage” of grief, I think that we aren’t confined to any one stage, or running through them in a specific order. I know that I felt acceptance very quickly like you have, but I still have periods of grief when something happens to remind me of Dad, or just when the stars are in a certain alignment. And cigarettes still make me angry.

I noticed in looking up the stages of grief that they have changed some. Here is an article with the classic stages: But other sites have different stages, including an initial stage called “emotional anesthesia”.

I can see where knowing he is better off isn’t helping you. Grieving is about your loss. No matter how brutal his illness was to him, as long as he was alive you still had him with you. Don’t feel guilty about wishing he was still here. I’m sure if you had the power to wish him alive, you would wish him healthy and pain-free as well.

You will survive this. It will get better. But you will never be the same.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

My father passed away in 1981. Cancer. It was pretty sudden but he admitted later that he’d been feeling kinda off for a while and just chalked it up to old age. I was there at the hospital when he died. He didn’t recognize me.

My brother wrote a song called Time for a Change. The chorus went “My father died, I’m feeling much the same. Maybe now it’s time for a change”.

It’s amazing how easy it is for us to bury feelings and in burying the bad stuff we end up burying the good stuff too. I think that stoicism is a fairly bad way of expressing the loss of a loved one and trying to forget the bad feelings only leads to forgetting the love and the happy memories. At least that’s what happened to me. I’m working hard now to regain my good memories.

I hope you find the strength to feel whatever you’re feeling, whenever you feel it. There’s no right or wrong way.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Being the “strong one” can be very isolating.

Take care. Seems like you have many friends here.

KK, I’m sorry your dad died. As with others in this thread, I’ve been there and I think I understand what you’re saying. We have no real standardized way of grieving - we’ve got some conventions, but it affects people differently. While I certainly wasn’t happy at the time, the several days of wakes that attended both my father’s and my step-mother’s deaths are actually, in retrospect, some of my fonder memories. Right up there with my niece’s wedding.

And if I can be permitted an excursion, I think the death of a close one, particularly family, presents us with a problem. It makes us feel bad. Other things make us feel bad, some of which we exercise some degree of control over (I shouldn’t haven’t gotten so drunk in the company of all those Dopers, if I’d just paid this bill yesterday, etc.) and others we have no control over (WTC attack).

The things we exercise some control over are also generally things that we, by ourselves or with a small contingent, feel bad about while the rest of the world is unaffected. Bigger things, like WTC, where we individually exercise little or no control, make us feel bad and that “us” includes all of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

So your personal loss falls outside both of those categorizations - it’s a thing that makes you and a small part of the rest of society feel bad, yet you have no control over it. Things that make us feel bad that we have some control over beg us for solutions. And the search for those solutions includes examining our own behaviors for things we might recognize as bad; if we find them we can attempt changes and solve the problem.

But you can’t “solve” grief. And we have no prescribed way of dealing with it.

Geez, man, I read that over - well, I hope I didn’t careen to far away from it being at least comprehensible. I hope it helped.

Ultimately, the above may be total horse hockey, but your obviously feeling a bit down. So I’m mainly here to say it sounds to me like you’re having a pretty normal experience of one of life’s big bummers, and I know it’s a bummer and good luck with it, pal.


I’m taking a class called The Psychology of Death and Dying right now, and the denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance continuum has been mentioned several times. What’s also been mentioned is that one can fluctuate forward and backward.

The mourning of a loss is different for each person; there are no rules. What I’m going to do here is list something called The Tasks of Mourning by William Warden. He says a grieving person needs to:

  • Accept the reality of the loss

  • Work through the pain of the loss

  • Adjust to the environment in which the deceased is missing

  • Emotionally “relocate” the deceased and move on with life.

I know that sounds horribly clinical, and, unfortunately, he doesn’t say how to accomplish these things.

The best description I heard was to think of yourself as a big pie chart. What percentage of that chart is:

a) Son
b) friend
c) spouse
d) father
e) worker
f) brother
…and so on.

Whatever portion of that chart is made up by the percentage of the relationship to the person you lost is now missing. Either something has to replace that part, or other parts of the chart have to expand to fill in the empty space.

My dad died about four years ago. We shared so many common interests, ane he was the only person I could talk to about some things. I still miss him, but it continues to get better.

I hope you can find something to fill the void in your pie chart, and I wish you well.