I know that it’s been several months since I last updated this blog, but I’d like to thank everyone who stuck with me. I bet you can guess what happened from the title of this blog post, so let me fill you in on the details.
My dad lost his battle to cancer
On October 13, 2016, just shy of his 62nd birthday (Oct. 24th), my dad passed away in his home. The cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, and possibly his brain. He was in hospice care for a few short weeks, and he preached his last sermon just three weeks before his death.
I became the main caregiver since I work at home. Honestly, I should’ve asked for help sooner. My mom had just gotten a new job, and I didn’t want to force her to stay home with me. I was afraid her bosses would let her go if she took a leave of absence only days into her new job.
The things you see, hear and experience when cancer takes a loved one are indescribable. There are things that will haunt me for the rest of my life. However, my suffering was nothing compared to what my dad had to go through. We made him as comfortable as possible, but he still struggled.
Going through the motions
I just couldn’t write. I couldn’t do any work at the time, and I certainly couldn’t unload my feelings here on this blog. For some, it would help. That wasn’t the case for me.
I’m dealing with everything surprisingly well for someone with mental illnesses. I thought I would be curled up in a ball for months, not able to function at all, but I have to give myself credit. I’m slowly but surely going through the motions.
Absence makes the heart grow sadder
The hardest part of all this is my father’s absence. My dad was a noisy roommate, as it were, and I’m not just talking about his last months. He was loud with everything he did. Thank goodness his career choice wasn’t “ninja” or “secret agent”.
Now the house is silent. When everyone is away, I’m left to only the sounds of silence and the occasional soft jingle of my cat’s collar bells. I’ll think of a joke that my dad would love, or I’ll remember something that I want to tell him… but he’s not there.
Coping with loss
I have found a couple ways to deal with my dad’s death that are somewhat helpful. I’m not saying these would work for everyone, but here’s what works for me.
Writing him letters
My Literature teacher from high school came to my father’s wake and gave me a journal. At first, I wanted to write my own thoughts in it, but I decided to instead use it to write letters. My dad told me that I could still talk to him once he was gone, and this is my way of doing it.
Looking through his belongings
It was amazing to find all the random stuff he had tucked away. I now use my dad’s Captain Kirk Star Trek bathrobe religiously, and I’ve kept all of his movies (even the ones I don’t like). He was always in his office watching TV and quoting movies that nobody else knew about.
Making use of bereavement services
Hospice offers to have someone come by the house every now and again to talk. I plan to go to a bereavement counseling session when the next one comes up, but I find that having someone come to the house is more comfortable.
Visiting his grave to have a chat
Whether or not it looks ridiculous to other people, I visit my dad’s grave and talk to him there. I’ve missed the last few Sundays due to the weather, so I’m looking forward to spring.
The future of My Journey To Freedom From Anxiety
I plan to keep this blog up and running as long as money allows, but I can’t promise timely updates. It will mainly be here as a resource for those dealing with mental illness and other mental health-related issues. Don’t worry! This blog will be here even if I’m not.