Just over a week since Dad’s death and I have sense of unreality. I’m off work and it’s like we’re having a very strange holiday. On one level I feel relieved. The stress of the last seven months has lifted, but the reality of Dad’s death hasn’t sunk in, so I’m not feeling the stress of that yet. It doesn’t help that the funeral isn’t until the 1stJune which is heck of a long time in limbo.
At the moment my grief is all about the fact that he suffered so much, both mentally and physically. I’m grieving seeing him so vulnerable and helpless. I’m also feeling very shaken up by the experience of actually seeing him die. His death was as good as we could make it under the circumstances, but it still wasn’t what I would have liked for him. He never accepted the fact that he was dying and he fought it all the way to the end. This denial had a huge impact on us as his family because it controlled everything. So I’ve been grieving a lot about his illness and the way he died because it was just so fucking sad and traumatic for all of us, but I haven’t even started to think about his actually being gone.
Also, I think I’m waiting for my “real” Dad to come back – not the sick one, the “other” one. His illness changed him a lot and that kind of change in a person allows you to disassociate and psychologically separate them into two figures. Even while I knew my Dad was ill in the hospice, I still jumped whenever I saw bearded men who looked like him. I jumped out of my skin the other day when Mum inadvertently sent me a text from his phone. It’s like there are two Dads – the one that got ill and died and the other one who I last saw in October and who is surely still around somewhere and who I’m expecting to return.