Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Coping with the loss of my dad

I went through this before when mom had passed and it was a very sad and difficult time for me as I had been sad and depressed for a long time and needed eventual assistance to help me through it. Mom was sick for a long time so we knew we would eventually lose her but the pain was still so difficult to bear.

With dad's loss it was a complete shock as we did not see it coming. He was 73 years old and in reasonably good health. He was on medication to help stabilize his mood and he also had to monitor his blood sugar levels for diabetes. He was very active and was a daily part of all the grandchildrens lives. He enjoyed all the kids and talked so proudly of all of them.

So when I found out that dad had died of an apparent suicide and the way he died and the fact that it was so sudden and unexpected I just had so much shock and numbness and feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I knew I had to do something as I have a family and a 10 year old special needs son who is the center of my life and I had to be strong for him. I did need some time to grieve my dad and think back to all the many happy times we shared as a family. I knew this pain I felt would never go away as the pain I feel for mom is still with me. I just need to try to find a way to manage it and cope as best I can with the situation. I believe in life we are all faced with challenges and loss which is inevitable and the way we handle them is very important and if we need to talk with others it is very important that we do so. It is also important to talk with a medical professional if you are feeling depressed or have continual anxiety. I have been suffering from depression and anxiety of late and am trying to find the right form of medication to help eliviate those feelings.

Life is so fragile and we walk a fine line and we have a lot of experiences and joys. We also have periods of sadness and difficult times and we try to find a balance in dealing with all that we are confronted with. In the aftermath of my dad's death I tried to keep myself busy as my employer allowed me to take as much bereavement time to deal with the grief I felt. I agreed I would take the full week and be back to work the following Monday as that was what my dad would want. He would not want me to wallow in pity and sadness and he would expect that I get back to life as usual. I had a hard task ahead of me in explaining to my son that dad was gone and I was not quite up to it yet so I would leave that for another day. Right now I felt I had to take care of myself however selfish that sounds but realize I can't help others if I am having trouble helping myself. I went to see my doctor and he prescribed me antidepressants to help me with my overwhelming feeling of sadness and depression. I also needed to write my feelings out so I used Youtube and Facebook as a way to express my feelings and dedicated songs to my dad and wrote touching sentiments about him which attracted some attention and beautiful responses of condolences and good wishes which was very helpful.

I sometimes keep things to myself and have a hard time expressing them and one way I deal with it is to either take a drive with no particular destination or I take a walk. One night I was feeling a bit down so I decided to take a walk and I was not sure exactly where to walk to as I usually walk in the neighborhood around the nearby blocks. This night however I walked out side of the neighborhood to newbridge road which is a main road and headed north in the direction of the hicksville train station. I decided to continue walking in that direction with the goal of reaching it. I was running all sorts of things through my mind and felt I was on overdrive and had only one thing in mind which was to go to the platform of the station. I really did not know exactly why but I felt I had to. As I approched the station which was a 3 mile walk in one direction I proceeded to the platform and when I got to the top I walked down to the middle of it so I could catch the trains going by. I decided to lean at the edge of the platform to try to understand what was going through my dad's mind when he supposedly leaned into the path of an oncoming train speeding through the Bellmore train station.

I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness and dispair as I stood there watching the trains go by and knowing my dad was struck by one and I just could not believe it. I started to tear up and I prayed for my dad and spoke to him like I always did to tell him how much I loved him and enjoyed all the special times we shared and how wonderful he was to my family and how great a grandfather he was to Matthew. I told him I was sorry to lose him and prayed that he was free of pain and with mom. I stayed at the station for a half hour just standing on the platform watching the trains go by and thinking of my poor dad. I started to feel overwhelmed with grief and decided I had to go so I headed down the stairs as I looked skyward to give my dad a wave good bye and tell him I miss him and love him. As I walked down the stairs I was crying and started my walk home thinking how special my dad was and how we all will miss him very much. I did not really benefit from the experience but felt it was something I had to do as part of the grieving process. The next major obstacle I had ahead of myself was explaining about dad to my son. I was going to need help from my wife to speak about it. I am still dealing with the tragedy and trying my best to cope and I am fortunate to have a wonderful family, wonderful sisters and their families, wonderful relatives and wonderful friends. I am also grateful for facebook, youtube and blogspot to allow me to express my feelings. My dad was a wonderful man and I am so happy we had him for as long as we did. I am just sorry he was experiencing such pain and I could not be there to help him in his time of need as he has always been there for us.

Dad was wonderful and will be truly missed and I tell you that I will be ok because I am devoted to my special needs son and need to be strong for both my wife and son.

May you always be at peace and reunited with mom!


your son

Ed and his wife Maria and precious son, your grandson Matthew

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Please feel free to read my writings and leave a kind message or suggestion. Thank you. Emily