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The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:32 am
by D.J
Okay, so, in normal circumstances i would have posted how i was feeling in HDYFRN, but unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances. The following post details the events i have lived through during the last six months, and only now do i feel like i am ready to begin to talk about what has happened.


"Does he understand? I won't survive"

Six words, six little words that will haunt me for the rest of my days. They were said by my dad after he left the doctor's room at the hospital in Bath on October 23rd 2016. He had been unwell for a couple of months, but none of us knew the extent of his illness, and this was pretty much the most devastating diagnosis anyone can have; stage 4 terminal cancer.

To be honest, i can't remember much about the couple of weeks that followed, as Dad found himself in more and more discomfort. Despite that though, he was still able to shuffle about and do a few things. Soon though, the pain had become too severe and a GP was called to the house. He was then admitted to the hospital for five days so they could bring things under control. They did this by administering a course of radiotherapy, the problem there though was that it was only used to treat the symptoms, nothing was targeted at his underlying illness. Anyways, Dad was discharged on 5th November, and now his discomfort was a bit more controlled, he was able to do a bit more around the house. Soon though, the side effects of the radiotherapy took hold, and for ten days and nights, Dad found it impossible to keep any food in, it was relentless, and shocking in ways you could not imagine, and by the end, he had become so weak that he fell over into the bath and had to be rescued by us in the middle of the night.

Once these effects had subsided, for a few days, things were quieter, in fact, he had a pretty good weekend and was looking ahead to doing a few things in and around the house. On one monday evening at the end of November however, everything changed, i first knew of what was happening when i heard my sister downstairs call out that she was going to dial 999. My dad was having a stroke in the armchair, i went down to see him and he couldn't talk and was struggling to move. The medics came within just a couple of minutes and they attended to him quickly and with great care. Once they had taken him away to the hospital for emergency treatment, it all got too much and i headed upstairs and just completely broke down.

The stroke had been devastating, although dad's speech had returned quite quickly, this, along with his condition had taken it's toll, and it had taken away his mobility. During his ten days in hospital, it transpired that he was too weak to undergo any kind of proper physio and so was unable to regain the level of movement that he needed to get around. When dad eventually came home, a medical equipment van arrived and set up a huge hospital bed and various other contraptions in our dining room. When i first saw all this stuff, i completely freaked out so i can only imagine how horrendous it must have been to have had to use such things.

Dad was home for eight days in that dining room, although he was unable to get out of bed, he was able to communicate and we did all we could for him, though i never thought i'd see the day where i would find myself having to buy adult nappies, the illness you see, had not only taken away his mobility, it had also robbed him of his dignity, and for someone who had been such a strong character, this was probably the most devastating aspect of it all.

Then, on the final day, his condition deteriorated rapidly, it was December 18th, and the illness had spread to his brain. He was by now, hallucinating, and was so poorly, that an ambulance had to be called once again. This was to be, his final day at home.

Christmas here was a non event, taken up by taxis ferrying us back and forth to the hospital, we did an exchange of gifts but that was about all that happened. There was nothing to celebrate, and it was becoming clear that Dad had to go into a nursing home. A friendly NHS man came to see us over the christmas period and informed us that a place had been found in a town nearby, he showed us around and although the situation was bleak, at least it was a lot better than the harsh environment of a hospital ward.

Because of the christmas and new year period however, he wasn't able to be moved to the home until january 2nd, which meant he had spent several weeks in hospital and to be honest, some of the care he received during that time was pretty sub standard though i am not prepared to go into the details of that at this time.

I went to see Dad in the home on January 5th, by now he was in a really bad way, but we talked, spent a bit of time looking at some photos, and when it was time for us to leave, he told me he loved me, and i did so vice versa, then, as i left the room, he waved me goodbye. This was the last time i saw him, as the following day, he lost consciousness and began to slip away.

Dad passed away in the early hours of January 8th 2017.

The only thing i remember about that day was sitting on the sofa feeling completely and utterly numb.

The next few weeks passed in a blur, i carried on as best as i could, when out and about, and even on here, i just did what i needed to in order to keep up appearances. The paperwork we had to deal with was both substantial, and harrowing, on Jan 12th i found myself stood shivering in the cold waiting for a taxi having had to go to the next town over in order to see the registrar.

The funeral took place on January 31st, only close family were in attendance as having anyone else present would have gone against his wishes. The eulogy was mostly what i wrote myself, and it was a lovely service despite being one of the most horrific things i've ever had to do.

Several weeks later, Dad's ashes are safely stored in a cupboard downstairs, but despite the time that has passed, i am completely and utterly broken.

I am not the same person i was before all this happened, most days i am just a hollow shell, haunted by what has transpired, and i don't think i will ever be the same again.

As we grow up, and get older, we all know deep down, that as our parents get older too, things like this can happen, but no matter how much we think we will be able to cope when such events do occur, it really does hit you like a freight train and it has been beyond anything i could ever previously comprehend.

I guess, all i can say now, is that when it comes down to it, nothing else really matters in life but family, in the grand scheme of things, everything else is irrelevant. Treasure your family, no matter how much you scream and shout at each other, and no matter how much they annoy you and make you want to tear your hair out, being with them, is more important than you can ever imagine, especially seeing as sooner or later, fate will likely transpire to take one of them away from you.

As time goes on, i am trying to focus on more positive things, and in doing so, perhaps begin to piece myself back together. I would also like to take a moment to thank Richard for being there for me during some of my darkest hours, no matter how much he may wind you guys up with flags, the queen, and such, when it mattered, he could not have been a better friend to me, especially since he was the only person i spoke to online about any of it.

I guess that's about it really, there's not really anything else left for me to say.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:47 am
by Tsunade
I'm really sorry for your loss D.J.

Losing a family member isn't a nice experience. It's horrible and it hurts like hell, but it gets easier. You may feel like a shell now but you'll slowly find yourself again in time. Just remember that your dad was proud of you and that he'll never really be gone, he's in your memory and your families memory and photos.

I may not be online much, but I'm here if you ever need to chat or vent to.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:45 am
by OrangeRakoon
I can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like for you D.J, and still must be like to begin coping with.

You have my greatest sympathies.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:26 pm
by Robbo-92
Sorry for your loss D.J,

It's terrible losing a family member under any circumstances but even worse when they have such a slow decline, sadly I've seen it three times already with the 3 grandparents I knew (one sadly died before I was even born), each suffered varying levels of Demtia and 2 had a form of cancer (although neither died from the cancer), it was more the TIA's (which are like mini strokes from what I recall the doctors saying) that took their speech away from them, induced a form of dementia and well, we saw the people we knew just slip away, one of my grandmas didn't recognise anyone in the last week/week and 1/2 before she sadly died.

I know it might sound a little unfair on them but it was almost a blessing when they passed away. Obviously we were all sad, but happy at the same time that none of them would be suffering any longer and that we didn't have to watch the people we knew and loved slip away from us even more.

Hope you and your family are doing relativly ok considering the circumstances D.J.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:43 pm
by Nintendonator3000
Really sorry for your loss DJ - my best wishes to you and your family at this time.

I'd also like to thank you for sharing this story as it really has made me think about the importance of family - something that's easy to forget at times. Stay positive and keep on going DJ, I'm sure you'll be back to yourself in no time. It's important to mourn, but also to celebrate his life too.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:57 pm
by D.J
Thank you all for your kind words, typing this up today was incredibly difficult, so much so that i had started it several days ago but kept abandoning it because i couldn't bear to continue.

I was told today that writing everything down like this was important as it is an outlet to assist with the healing process.

Over the past couple of weeks i have basically thrown myself into whatever distractions i can find, whether it be coin collecting, playing games, or uploading random stuff to youtube and i will continue doing these things as they are helping me get through it.

Once again, i appreciate the support.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:15 pm
by pokemaniac212
I can't begin to imagine what the last few months must have been like for you. Thoughts are with you and your family.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:29 am
by Vtheyoshi
It sounds like it took courage for you to write all this up, I commend you for that, and my deepest sympathies go out to you and your family.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:27 pm
by danbish
Dear me, I can't imagine what you've been through over the last few weeks. I also don't know what to say to you other than I'm very sorry for your loss and for the pain you and your family have had to go through over those last few months.

Many, many commendations to Richard too for being that rock you needed especially through those darkest hours you describe. It took guts and masses of courage to write and open up like you have and that in itself shows how strong you can be even in horrific times like this.

I think I speak for all of us here when I say that you're not alone and there's always people on here ready and willing to help when its needed, Richard is the evidence of that. We're all here for you.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:55 pm
by Yubel
I can only imagine how difficult the past month has been, it sounds truly awful. Although Iv'e not experienced anything on this scale, I am encouraged to put feelings into words and even aspirations for the future, regardless of how far fetched they may seem.

In light of your own experience however, I now realise how small a part this really plays into the overall process of recovery and therefore can only commend you - for not only making it through to now, but also for sharing with us a summary of what it was like - and offer my condolences.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:42 pm
by kerr9000
Sorry to hear about all of this DJ, only stumbled upon this thread today, It was a few years ago my mum went into hospital and didnt come out, it really broke me for quiet awile, I still have my moments when it hits me again to this day. I hope your managing to keep on managing and finding things to do, I found that sort of thing helpful too.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:39 pm
by D.J
Okay, so, i thought i'd just give a quick update on how things are.

Things have quietened down a lot around here lately, just going about my business day to day, and trying to focus on more positive things. I openly admit i've become a bit obsessive with the whole coin collecting thing, but when i'm doing that i'm not thinking about what's happened. We started to sort out some of Dad's stuff recently, some of his possessions were things that we knew he would not have wanted to keep anyways (old books and jigsaws mainly) so we have been donating them to charity as he would have wanted them to go to a good cause.

During this process however, we discovered Dad's stamp collection, now, i knew that he once collected stamps, but i never knew the extent of what he had as he never talked about it (well, not to me anyways, we never did communicate very much, but that's just kinda how things were between us). Anyways, Mum said that i should have the stamps as she said that both she and Dad knew that i would keep them safe. I have since looked through some of them and i have been truly shocked as to sheer size of the collection i'm now in possession of (and i've yet to see the collection in it's entirety as i've been told there is more tucked away in the cupboards). In one box i found seven bags full of stamps from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and rather than take a photo, i made a video of some of the more interesting ones i found...

Generally though, i just feel empty, what happened haunts me every single day, and sometimes, the slightest little thing will set me off. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like it's real, i still expect him to walk in the door.

Thank you again though for all the support, i do appreciate it, and will just continue to try to focus as much as i can on more positive things and try to heal as best as i can.

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:15 pm
by OrangeRakoon
Considering your oft-mentioned coin collecting and general like of buying memorabilia, that stamp collection seems like a wonderful thing for your dad to have left to you :)

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:33 pm
by Bleachyleachy
Not that I have any first hand experience of dealing with the loss of a parent, but if you can find anything, however small or trivial, that helps from day to day, that's good - because at the end of the day the only thing that'll really help is time.
In my second year of university my best friend lost his father to cancer. After a few months of zombie like behaviour he eventually bounced back, and I'm sure you will to. Sorry for your loss and best wishes

Re: The Last Six Months

Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:30 am
by Resurrection
That's tragic. Sorry for your loss DJ, you have my deepest prayers and sympathies. As BleachyLeachy said, the only thing that will help is time. It's a waiting game, but you're a strong guy. You will move past this. Until then, feel free to vent in this thread or via PM.