Psych Central

I’m not dealing well with my dad’s death

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: My dad died about 7 months ago from bone cancer. I was his caregiver since i was 15. I dropped out of school to go and take care of him . my dad was gone most of my life and left me with my alchoholic abusive mom, while he was away. When my dad came to visit me, it was like he was saving me.and i looked up to him so much..over the past 3 anda half years i lived with him, i got to know him very well, he was truly my best friend and was the only one i could really talk to, this last summer he got really sick, the doctors all told me he was going to get better. Then he got very sick and was put into a drug-induced coma and was on a breathing machine. He told me he never wanted to be on life support, so after a day i put him on comfort care, he passed, i was the only one who could have made that decision, and i didnt want him to be in pain anymore. I am so angry all the time, and my mind is always fuzzy. i do what i have to do and nothing more. i am depressed.. i know i need help but i dont know where to start. me and my boyfriend fight, and its usually my fault, i am controlling, and last night i actually punched him in the back. coming from an abusive childhood i hate that i did that. no one has the right to hit anyone, i have so much rage and hate in me, my dad was truly my life. I am so frustrated. if you have anything that would help, please let me know. because i dont know what to do with myself.

A: I’m very sorry for your loss. Please understand that what you are feeling is absolutely normal. You are grieving. You finally got the father you always wanted, only to have him taken away – this time permanently. You had to make decisions that were very, very hard to make. Of course you are angry. Of course you are sad. Of course you are having a very, very difficult time. You are right that you shouldn’t take it out on your boyfriend. There are no excuses for violence. But please don’t be hard on yourself for not being able to handle this on your own. This is the first important death you have experienced. It takes time; often far more time than people expect. It also helps to have support from people who have been through it. If you have a community of faith, please reach out to it. If you don’t, I suggest you find a therapist who specializes in grief. Ask your doctor for a referral or go to the Therapist Locator on our homepage. If you can’t afford a therapist, there are web sites and web communities for people who are working through grief. Give yourself some help and some time and you will work it through. I know that you know that, as hard as this is, you were blessed to have a dad you could call your best friend. Even death can’t take that away.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jan 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). I’m not dealing well with my dad’s death. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/01/14/im-not-dealing-well-with-my-dads-death/

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