Guilt and the final curtain

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by AFF, May 15, 2006.

  1. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    Hi all, i haven't posted here for a while but thought i would as things have become quite difficult of late.

    this weekend by dad was put into hospital by the care home as his condition had deterioted.

    unfortunately i live quite a way away and run a business so i only manage to see him once a month at a weekend. the last time i saw him was about three weeks ago and he wasn't the best. he couldn't really walk but was able to smile occasionally (he always does) and his eyes still were alive. it was still distressing though.

    yesterday on hearing the news i made my way to the hospital with sisters and mum, one sister of which has been looking after him alot as she lives close by. i can't thank her enough for this.

    i was very nervous about this but thought i could handle it. as we came to the ward my mum got out of her wheelchair. whilst she was doing this i was looking about for dad. there was only one obvious person in there who it could be, but i didn't recognise him. lying there, mouth wide open, eyes shut, teeth blackened, extremely frail. i had to do a double take as my head couldn't take in what i was seeing.

    i tried to be brave and went over with everyone. my sisters being alot older seemed able to cope better, my mum too, but in front of everyone in the ward i couldn't control my grief and i began to cry. i had to face the wall for ages so no-oen could see but i suppose it was quite obvious. the problem with the ward is it's not private and everyone there was quite healthy(ish) in comparison.

    eventually i got it together and sat beside him. every now and again he'd open his eyes and look vacantly at me. my sister who comes regularly is the only one he can recognise as 'being there' for him now.

    as i sat there he started shaking, his knee would jump up, his hands shake, usually if he was asleep, like a bad dream. but it's more likely his brain causing this.

    after two hours i had to leave and said goodbye. it felt like the last and to be honest, the family are now talking about 'resting places'. i go on holiday in two weeks but luckily i have travel insurance. but what to do?

    i cried all the way home on and off as thoughts drifted in and out of my extremely slow car journey. almost like the road wasn't there anymore. thoughts of what ifs and why didn't i pay more attention to his strories instead of struggling to get away half the time. all these questions i'll never know the answer to.

    and i blame myself. living too far away to help so burdening my sister, not knowing how to react when with him anyway, too scared to have taken him out when he was ill anyway because i just couldn't handle the problem of his dementia (but i did a few times and in hindsight it was great).

    there's nothing i can do i know, it's just it helps to get it out in the open.

    my dad was the perfect gentleman, the perfect role model. seeing him lying there like that kills me. but i'm determined to go again this week. but what about holiday? should i go if he's still holding on? i don't know what to do about that because it seems unfair me off on holiday and my dad laying there in the condition i saw him in....
  2. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Aff,
    So sorry to hear that your dad is so ill.
    My brother could have written that! We are who we are, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Don't beat yourself up, it's not what your dad would want.
    The holiday? Do you have any idea what your dad's prognosis is; are we talking days, weeks, months? If days or weeks, in your position I would forget the holiday, spend as much time with my dad as I could, and be there to support my mum and sisters. If anything were to happen whilst you were away the rest of your family would have the added stress of having to try and contact you. Maybe you are being given the opportunity to be there for them now, as they have been there for your dad when you couldn't be. (Remember though, this is only the opinion of an emotional female, but when my mum reaches the end I hope that my brother will be there for me and my dad.)
    Tears are healthy - so don't worry about them. Does it matterif anyone noticed? I think not.
    Take care.
  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Isn't it wonderful to have a dad like that? Celebrate that, always!

    AFF, my only advice is to ask yourself 'What would my dad want me to do?' , to answer that as honestly as you can and to make your decision from that perspective.

    ......and then not to feel regretful whichever decision you make..... and whatever the outcome....

    Years ago, my husband and I holidayed - guilt-ridden when FIL was in a hospice - prognosies are only that - a 'best estimate' of exactly when or even 'how' ... damned if it's right, damned if it's wrong. And so are we.

    FIL lived months longer than predicted and enjoyed the holiday snaps we brought back and vicariously enjoyed our pleasure - then again, we risked a UK holiday some years later and were 'called home' early when my own father deteriorated.....

    Almost impossible.... would you feel better yourself to call in the insurance now and book something else when you feel better able to 'enjoy' it?

    Alternatively (and I am sorry I am speaking from very cynical experience) how long do you put your own life on hold 'just in case'????

    I am sorry if that is not much help, other than to say I am thinking of you... and of all the agony in your post.... here whenever....

    Love, Karen, x
  4. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    Aff, sorry to hear you're feeling so awful. I'm looking after my dad quite well now and spending a good deal of time with him. But I didn't up until about a year ago. He bored me stupid, I always wanted to get away when I saw him, and as he started to be more ill I felt more repulsed by him. So I can well emphatise with some of your agony on this one. Thing is, we can't do anything about what we have and haven't done in the past, all we can change is what we do NOW. I'm doing my damnedest to make it a good end, even though it's been pretty lousy all the rest of the way. Amy is so right .... we have different strenghts and weaknesses and not everyone can cope with this.

    Ps. if you're going for major guilt trip, can I suggest you start with dad and make him the priority, and then worry about your sister later ;) Letting her see your tears and allowing her to know a little of how you're feeling might go a long way to resolving thing with her.
  5. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Have you sounded out your travel insurance company about the fact that you may want or need to cancel? I don't want to be alarmist but I believe there is something in the small print of most travel insurance policies that states that if someone close to you is in poor health and could therefore cause you to change your holiday plans then you should inform the insurance company when you buy the policy. That is not confined to the people you are travelling with, it's anyone close to you who is in such a state of health that your holiday could need to be cancelled because of a worsening of their condition.

    Do your sisters and mum know of your holiday plans? Have they said how they feel about it?
  6. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    Sadly there can be no "right" answer for you. You must go with your feelings. You are already beating yourself up badly over things that you had little control over so I think I would be thinking forward to how you might deal with your feelings if the worst scenario should come about. You are already grieving and a holiday at this point may do little to help your emotions. However if you have a family of your own then they too must be considered.

    Thinking of you
  7. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I know I have never been there where you are now seeing a parent the way you have, but I do feel for you.

    Hard question & I had to ponder on it
    Yes I two would talk to family members in how they feel it if I went on holiday, & if they Ok with it I myself would go on holiday, seeing that you book it , also if told by doctors that they can not give a time limit ,as we all know that the last stage can go on for a long while .
  8. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    thanks all for your kind words. i feel better today. tbh, i'm not grieving more as such, i feel it's just one big long grieve which just ebbs and flows. sunday when i saw him was a shock, but an inevitable shock which i triued to prepare for.

    since he was diagnosed you just know in the end a time like sunday would come. i just didn't realise how much can happen in a few weeks. as i don't get the chance to see him as much as i'd like it's worse still.

    i've checked my holiday insurance and i'm covered to cancel. unfortunately the destination is coming into hurricane season so later may not be a viable option, but hey, it doesn't matter at this point. it's funny, my g/d was in exactly the same situation last year when we had a holiday booked. three weeks before her gran fell over (she was perfectly healthy and mobile), cracked her head and got a blood clot. three weeks later she died. we still went on holiday as her parents insisted it's what her gran would have wanted and my g/f had had good conversations with her gran right to her last days. but she missed the funeral. unfortunately i don't get the chance of good conversations, something i've missed for years due to AD, something i wished i'd had before all this.

    for info, my dad is also my grandad. grandparents adopted me from mother in 70s and brought me up. so i get the best of both worlds, grandad and dad, which is probably why he is so endearing. he will always be my father though, even though the family get confused trying to semi-rectify the situation (i was told when i was 10 they weren't my bio parents - much trauma for a ten year old and role changing for whole faimily).

    i'll check his condition today and see what occurs. i've dropped all schedules with my local sports club because i don't feel like being disciplined right now, just want to be me.

    i am concerned at my next planned visit this weekend. it's horribel, i hate the visits, but they're also so important to me. is he going to be worse, tbh, i can't imagine 'worse'.

    also, my g/f has offered to come but i feel uneasy about it. i'd like her to remember my dad when there was at least some of him recognisable, like in the home, the earlier days. i don't really like the idea of her seeing him like he is. he was always the most proudest, cleanest person around. he doesn't know my g/f as AD had already onset quite alot by then (year and a half ago).

    but am i being selfish when she only wants to support me? i just feel i'd rather go on my own, do my grieving in the slow car journey back (on my own) and go from there.

    am i being silly? she'll understand either way i'm sure. hwoever iw as ther when she was with the gran when she was in practically the same condition last year. that felt wierd as it was. but her gran fought for weeks after she was expected to live.

    my mum thinks it's best if my g/f doesn't see him like that. what do you think?
  9. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    No your Not being selfish or Silly

    Just tell her what you have told us

    I am sure your girl friend well respect, your views in how you want to Grieve , as you say

  10. suef56

    suef56 Registered User

    May 10, 2006
    Hello Aff

    so sad to hear that your Dad is that ill and sad for you for the shock of seeing him so changed. My heart goes out to you. ..
    I don't think we can assume what a person can hear or understand in their last days even with the grip of dementia--don't go by the blank look in your Dad's eyes go with what thanks you have for him, and hope that somewhere deep down he knows you still.
    I don't know if my Grandmother or my MIL understood what I said to them in their last days...but I certainly felt better saying some of my goodbyes out loud in their presence.
    I think you have felt like your last visit was possibly your last time with your Dad, but if you are given the 'gift' of this weekend perhaps you could write a few things down to tell your Dad in person.

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