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I Feel Lost…

Just three months ago, my dad was living independently in his own home. In May, he transitioned remarkably well into an assisted living facility. Two weeks ago, he began receiving hospice care. And now he’s gone. My dad died peacefully in his sleep early in the morning of July 23rd.

My heart is broken.

I feel lost.

At first, I wasn’t going to share this with you, my Dear Readers, until later. Maybe it’s not appropriate I thought at first and what would I say anyway?

I wasn’t ready. I’m still not ready. Then I thought more about it. This blog is about breast cancer and loss, after all. And when I am going through difficult times, I do what I always do. I write about it. So I will keep doing that now too.

I feel lost.

“I guess we are now starting a new chapter in our lives,” I said to one of my sisters the other day when saying goodbye.

“I guess so,” she said.

But how do we do that?

What now?

I feel lost.

Many of you know my dad was a history teacher in the small town I grew up in. Yes, I had him for a teacher too. I wrote a bit about that in my memoir, btw.

Even during hospice care, my dad was still teaching. He was helping students from the local college learn how to give injections, how to apply creams and ointments, how to properly help an elderly, terminally ill person roll over in bed and other intimate details of end-of-life care.

He was still giving lessons with a mind that was as alert and sharp as ever and a heart that was as big as ever too. It was only his body that gave out.

Throughout my life, my dad has been my best teacher.

Now my dad has taught me a thing or two about dying.

I didn’t want to learn the latter lessons, not yet. Once again, I was not ready. I am not ready now.

I feel lost.

It’s a privilege to witness and be a part of a loved one’s end-of-life care giving. I embraced this time as best I could. They are the sort of days and nights precious memories are made of.

But now what?

I feel lost.

I will write a more proper post to honor my dad’s memory at some point later on when the time feels right. For now…

My heart is full.

My heart is grateful.

My heart is broken.

And I feel lost.

Do you have a loved one who is no longer living you’d like to share something about?

Are your parents still living?

If not, how did you begin that next chapter in your life without them?

dad and me

My dad and me – the last photo taken of just the two of us.

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Ilene Kaminsky

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

My dad’s dying intrinsically changed me forever, as I spent two weeks bedside talking to him while he was in a coma. He woke up once upon my arrival and held out his arm, said my name and I rushed to him and with a weak hug he whispered I love you. He slipped back into the coma never to open his eyes again. I could tell when he was in pain, when he was at peace, and when he was ready to go. I felt his feelings and provided a voice for him. I breathed in his last breath as I told him don’t be afraid, I love you, I’m here. It’s okay now. It was harder in October of 2013. I was angry he left me again, but that passes and now I talk to him regularly in the small box of his ashes with his universe painted glass Paperweight next to it. I love him but all isn’t lost and I had the gift of his breath, that’s part of me always.

Nancy

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

Ilene, Thank you for your heartfelt words. I am intrinsically changed as well. Sadly, I wasn't with my dad when he died. Or my mother either, for that matter. I'm okay with that as there were not things left unsaid and yet, it's still saddens me. It's too painful to write about that yet, even now, three years later. Thank you so much for sharing about your dad.

C

Monday 29th of August 2016

Nancy, I am so sorry for your loss. Lost. Yes, that's how I felt when I lost my mom. She was my best friend my entire life- she and I never fought, never went through a bad stage- nothing. We were always so close- I talked to her daily and most of the time SAW her daily. I wasn't sure I'd survive her death quite honestly. My dad and I have never been close and I have no siblings. Losing her was losing my family. I've now lived 1/4 of my life without her and I still feel a huge hole.

Nancy

Monday 29th of August 2016

C, Gosh, what a heartfelt comment. I'm sorry about your mom. And I am sorry about that huge hole...Thank you for sharing about her.

Julia

Monday 8th of August 2016

Oh, Nancy... I'm so very sorry to learn of your father's passing. My heart goes out to you and your family.

We're in the same boat - I lost my father in January and am still reeling, still lost. Maybe more lost than in the beginning?

It certainly casts a pall over the bright days of summer. My thoughts are with you as you grope your way through the miasma of loss.

Nancy

Monday 8th of August 2016

Julia, I am very sorry to hear about your father's death. Feeling more lost now than in the beginning makes perfect sense to me. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your words of encouragement.

Kathi

Wednesday 3rd of August 2016

Nancy, I'm so sorry. I don't wonder that you feel lost. I was shattered when my dad died. And now, like me, both of your parents are gone. When that happens, we're like rudderless boats, drifting and unprotected. A huge part of our lives is gone. Our parents were always there. Until they're not. It's such a shock. Hugs and comfort. xoxo, Kathi

Nancy

Monday 8th of August 2016

Kathi, I feel exactly as you described, like a rudderless boat, drifting and unprotected. It is a shock and I do feel lost. How do you find your way? I'm pretty clueless right now. Thank you for your kind words and hugs. xo

Christine

Wednesday 3rd of August 2016

Nancy, I join in the commenters to say I'm so sorry for your loss. Your dad sounded like a person that made a difference while he was on this earth and you should be proud of that. My father passed away 20 years ago, but I still miss him and always will. I have a lot of good memories and our family still uses a lot of his favorite phrases—especially, "It's always something..." which pretty much covers everything! My mother is still alive at 90, but we did move her into assisted living recently after she had a series of falls. My nephew passed away at 44 of a very aggressive colon cancer a few years ago. He went through a lot of extreme surgeries which only extended his life for a short time because he just did not want to leave his wife and kids behind. He was in home hospice care at the end and the staff was amazing. He was kept very comfortable but it was horrible to watch him waste away. Don't apologize for your feelings of sadness, anger or hopelessness. Keep writing! You do that so well.

Nancy

Monday 8th of August 2016

Christine, I love how your family still uses some of your dad's favorite phrases and of course you still miss him. How could you not, right? Hope you mother does okay in her assisted living facility. I am sorry to hear about your nephew, that must have so difficult to witness. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I'll undoubtedly be writing my way through grief too. Thanks again.