One of my sis ters called a little while ago and told me that my dad has colon cancer that has metasisized to his liver. They don’t expect him to live past the end of the summer- he is refusing treatment, which I guess I understand- he is 79 years old and doesn’t want to do chemo.
I live 500 miles away, and the next visit I make will likely be the last time I see him alive. How do I deal with this??
katie1341 I’m so sorry for you and your family. I can understand your father not wanting treatment. I’m sure he’s feeling that it’s time and he’s ready for it. My father died just last month (at age 79) from a combination of alzheimer’s and other health problems. It’s tough to let them go but dad made his wishes known about not being kept on life support if and when that time came, so his wishes were honored. It’ll be hard going home knowing that it will probably be the last time you see him alive but he will be so glad to see you one more time.
Remember the good times you had. Remember what a great dad he’s been to you. Know that he will be made comfortable and will die in peace. Grieve some now and after he dies. I know I did when I knew my dad was dying. If it’s at all possible to be there when the time comes, do it. It will be hard watching him go but he will have the knowledge that his family was there for him at the end. I know dad knew we were there. If it’s not possible, at least go before he dies. I know you are and it will be hard as I said earlier, but both your dad and you will be so glad you made the trip.
I wish you peace. My thoughts and prayers will be with your father, your family and you. If you need someone to hash out some feelings with feel free to email.
You don’t mention if your mom is still around. She will need your support. Look into hospice to help your dad in his final days.
This sounds cold, but it’s necessary. Make sure you know what his final wishes are regarding burial, cremation, etc. Find out where the important papers are, his will, any life insurance policies, etc. You don’t want to have to go hunting for them.
As for dealing with it, I don’t think anyone is truly prepared for the death of a parent. Visit with him, make him as comfortable as possible, and enjoy the time you have left with him.
E-mail me if you like. We lost Ivylad’s father about two months ago due to cancer, and trust me, even though you know it’s coming, it still hurts when it finally happens.
Just be sure to go Katie. Tell him you love him and share thoughts and memories. I lost my Mother a few months back and my Father many years ago. It is hard but his memory will live on. One thing I would do different if I could, would be to ask questions. I have so many things I want to ask my Mom now that I should have asked then. I now have a collection of old family photos and I don’t know who some of them are (probably my Great- Grandparents, but I don’t know) If you have any family photos take them with you on your visit with Dad and take a stroll down memory lane . He will enjoy it (whether he is a kind hearted gentleman or an old codger) and you may learn something.
I can tell you love your Dad and that will never die.
My mom is still alive, and she told my sister that she feels like she’s losing her anchor. They are living in a really nice assisted living place now, they’ve been there for about 2 yrs. My dad said that they really miss having a pet- we had cats and dogs and horses and ducks growing up, and they instilled a real love of animals in us. I think I’m going to take Auggie, The Cutest Dog on the Planet when I go visit.
Aw, that’s such sad news. I lost my dad not too long ago (from a different kind of illness). I’d say the important thing is just to try to made good use of the time you have left and fill it with happy memories. My dad’s death was rather unexpected and I regret that I didn’t get much of a chance for closure.
I definitely think that bringing the dog with you would be a good idea. I’ve often heard that having contact with animals can be therapeutic for people who are ill.
My thoughts/prayers are with you and your father.
I lost my mother to cancer when I was 17… I am 20 now. It is still fresh in my memory.
heres what I learned:
Talk to him as much as you can. Have him tell you stories of his life. Learn as much about him as you can. Both of you will appreciate this.
When you are not with him, try to surround yourself with people as much as you can, but listen to yourself. If you feel like you need to be alone, then be alone. Surrounding yourself with people will help you focus on other things. Even little things make you laugh at hard times like this, and it feels good to be around people that help you laugh.
If your father is spiritual or religious, get him a gift that supports his beliefs. He will really appreciate this.
even the little things will make him comfortable whether it be his favorite meals, or his favorite tv show. try to surround him with these things.
remember that miracles do happen. When my mother was diagnosed, the doctors gave her six months to live. She lived two and a half years.
you will get through this… I assure you. please keep us posted. our prayers are with you.
Such sad news, I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I lost my dad about 2 years ago to pancreatic cancer with liver mets. Be prepared for extreme changes in his appearance. Don’t be alarmed if he seems to drift in and out of the “now” and talks as if you were still his baby girl. Make sure he is well taken care of, by nurses and caregivers who understand that death and dying affects the entire family. Keep him comfortable. Talk to him, even when he appears to be asleep. Give him permission to leave - many terminally ill people are just waiting to hear those words from a loved one. Don’t wear black (my dad freaked out when I showed up to the hospital in a black sweater). Let your friends help you - you need good support right now. Many gentle hugs and loving thoughts will help you immensely.
My prayers are with you and your family now during this difficult time.
While my dad was dying of brain cancer last year (he died one year ago tomorrow), my family and I had a chance to read a book written by two nurses, about how people feel when they experience their deaths, the emotions they go through, and how their loved ones can support them and help them pass their remaining time in comfort and happiness. It’s called Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying, and is by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.
One thing that you may not think of while you are with him, owing to your emotions, is to say your peace with him. Tell him all about your life and how valuable he has been to you as a father, and how his love and teaching has served you well. One thing the authors talk about is how much dying people need to know that their family, especially their children, will be all right after their death, and that they did well by them during their life.
My father and I never got along very well, but we had reconciled in the last few years before he got sick, and I’m grateful I was able to tell him all this. He was in a coma, but I think he understood me as they say that hearing is the last sense to go. I hope this helped him resolve any feeling he had of unfinished business.
Finally, my sincere condolences to you. Even after such a long life, letting go can be terribly difficult. I pray for comfort, understanding, strength, and patience for you, your family, and your father during the end of his life.
I’m sorry to hear your dad is ill. My mother died of the exact same cancer six years ago. I was in the same boat you are…not knowing what to say. I just spent time with her. We never did talk about the illness, but I told her I loved her and we just spent time together. I always did tell both my parents I love them, so it wasn’t like having to say something that had gone unsaid.
It is very hard to watch, especially watching the surviving parent try to cope with the loss of their partner. Hospice was great for all of us (we had in-hospital hospice rather than home, which, in my opinion is not as good). Use them. They’re there for the rest of the family as much as for the patient. I wish you and your family peace through this.
I’m so sorry, dear—are you in touch with the assisted-living complex, the nurses and doctors associated with it? Can you make sure your Dad gets the pain meds he’ll need, and what services are available re: hospice, and all that?
Good luck—you just do what has to be done, you’ll be surprised what you can get through when you have no choice.
katie1341, I am so sorry to hear that. I am going through a similar situation with my grandmother right now. She’s dying and I live too far away. My heart goes out to you. If you need to talk, my IM is in my profile. Or just keep posting. It helps to be able to get it all out.
Swampy**, so sorry to hear about your recent loss. Hugs to you too.
Thanks jellytoes. Hugs are always welcomed here. katie1341 hope all the replies are helping. Visit as often as you can and call often. Even if your dad doesn’t feel like it or can’t talk, your mom will get a lot out of the call.
My sincerest condolances. There are really no words that will make this easier, but you are in my thoughts.
I went through this last year. Dad had been ill for a long time. I saw him Thanksgiving day in the ICU. He improved enough that day so that they moved him to a normal unit. I spent the day with him. He asked me if my life turned out as I had hoped and what kind of life I lived. That night he went into a coma and died 6 days later.
There are no easy answers. Lean on your friends, both RT and here. Know that it is OK to hurt and be sad. Know that there are people who care.