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Life goes on....feeling guilty


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I just lost my Dad. He was diagnosed with lung cancer on Sept 2nd. He'd had back pain for about six weeks and went in for some tests when they found it. We knew the situatuion was bleak (it'd spread to his bones, liver, adrenal glands - you name it) but we never expected it'd be so quick.

They were still doing diagnostic tests and we hadn't even met with an oncologist yet. That appt. was scheduled for the day he died. Dad had a bronchoscopy done on a Tues. He was sent home on oxygen after complications with the test. By Friday, my mom had to bring him to the ER because his breathing was still bad. I knew the situation was bad, but I was thinking we had weeks, hopefully months, not days. They admitted him to the ICU and he deteriorated so quickly.

He was disoriented and combative Sat night. It was horrible to see because he'd always been such a happy-go-lucky guy. His respirations became very labored and the doctor asked for permission to put him on a vent. My mom and dad never had a chance to discuss this, but she agreed to it so that my brother had time to fly home to see dad one last time. It was awful to see my dad with those tubes. At least my mom, sister and I got to say our I Love Yous. By the time my brother arrived the next day, Dad was so sedated he couldn't communicate. The next day, blood was filling his lungs and the doctors said there was nothing to do. As a family, we decided that our Dad wouldn't want to remain on the vent and we had him extubated. The chaplain explained that we were putting Dad's life back in God's hands. My dad died Sept 19th, Monday night, with his wife and kids around him telling him how much we love him.

I am so sad to have lost him. My Dad and I had a special relationship - we have the same easy-going disposition, same outlook and same dopey sense of humor. He was a perfect blend of all the best qualities. My sister jokes that I'm having him canonized, but I can't adequately convey how much I adore my Dad. He'll never walk me down the aisle, never see the kids I hope to have someday. It's so painful.

At the same time, now that I'm back to work, I feel guilty that life goes on. Intellectually, I understand that it has to, but I feel like I'm disrespecting him by going back to work and laughing with friends and having fun with my boyfriend. In some ways, I feel like the loss hasn't completely sunk in because I feel OK. I thought I'd be a basket case - shouldnt' I be?? I feel so guilty. I miss my Dad so much, so shouldn't this be harder? Does anyone else feel that way?

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I know there are people here who know exactly how you feel and give you beautiful support and encouragement. I have not been in your situation, but I was so moved by your post...

I have a similar relationship with my dad. I just want you to know, for what it's worth from someone who has never been in the situation, that I think you RESPECT your father's memory by going on with your life. that said, I hear grief can take a while to set in...

so I am glad you posted, sorry if I wasn't the sage advice you hoped for but I know you'll get it from others.

be well, you'll be in my thoughts.



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I wanted to tell you from a parents perspective what love is to us. Its simple, 2 little words, "your happiness" We concieved you in love, raised you with love, wish love for you, and leave you on this earth to carry on our love. Your happiness is all we want so carry on, laugh, work, plan, live and love. It is our legacy lived through you.

My heart aches for your loss, I have never lost a parent... but my kids might.

I don't think love is measured by grief. That only those who are not able to "go on" loved the most. I believe your father spent his life loving you, teaching you, and dreaming of the day his little girl would be able to support herself. To overcome lifes obsticles, these are the gifts he left you. Celebrate the life you have and the woman you are because of him. He would be proud I'm sure.


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Hi Stacey..

You will not get the sage wisdom out of me either, someone else down the line will have that for you.

All I can say is like bunny, I was also moved by your post. So sad to have lost a love so quickly. On the other hand, there is much to be grateful for. His suffering did not linger and prolong. You were able to say your goodbyes and I love yous to him. I know that he was present for that.

Each day is different. Whatever the feelings you have in the day, they are yours to enjoy. Feelings are what make us human. Be grateful for now that you do not have the painful emotions associated with death. If you have joy and happiness, enjoy that. Do not open the door wide and pull in the guilt where it does not belong. If it creeps in on its own, then deal with it, but don't go looking for it.

Life is too short. Please let your emotions come as they will. Grief is a process. Come here to vent any and all feelings that you have.

So very sorry that you lost your Dad and part of his dreams and your dreams for his happiness.

Cindi o'h

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Hi Stacey,

I think I can help you out. I too adored my Daddy... he was and is so much a part of who I am today. I had four years to prepare for his death. You had mere weeks. I think you are going through a myriad of different things... the most prominent being "shock"... you know your Dad is gone, but it has not completely hit you yet... it happened so very quickly. Ones mind is an incredible thing and it can do just about anything to "protect" you. You are handling his death the best way YOU know how... there is no right or wrong. We buried my Dad one week before Christmas last year... and we STILL all got together for the holiday. We didn't exchange gifts, and there was no tree, but we played cards, we laughed, we even went in the hot tub. I think about it now and say MY GOD how could we have done that... I can't even fathom it... but at the time, it was how we coped... in a way its a bit of denial I think. The second reason you are handling it "so well" is that in your heart of hearts, you know you would do anything to avoid having your Daddy suffer. I know thats how I felt... I would have moved heaven and earth so that man would not suffer. So, when he died peacefully, it was abit of a relief, the fight was over, the uncertainty of "how is this going to play out" was over.... and most of all, he was finally at peace. Grief is a strange thing... it comes and goes in waves. You may be fine now and two weeks from now you may become that "basket case" you were expecting... or you may not... either way, its okay. There is no right way to grieve. I hope I helped you out a little bit... I will pray for you, and I am sorry for your loss. Love, Sharon

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I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss. I lost my father when I was only 12. There was so much I didn't get to tell him, but I didn't know it then. Your feelings are completely normal. Live life for him, that's what he would want you to do. You will never forget him.... he will be in your thoughts every single day.

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I am very sorry to hear about your Dad.

I understand what you are talking about as I too went through a similar phase. I lost my husband Jim on March 31st of this year. My sister knew that he had been my best buddy for 27 years and was prepared for the basket case that she and I both expected I would be. His brothers had been here the last week of his life and then my sister flew in the day after Jim died and stayed with me through the next week. She listened to me make necessary death-related business calls, went with me to pick up his ashes, etc., etc. She stared at me a lot. She then said "you are eerily normal". I almost felt manic and went 100 miles an hour. After a while, it dawned on me that intellectually I knew he was gone, but in my heart he was just out of town for a while and would be back.

Well, needless to say, the heart finally figured it out too. That means I have had alot of sad days since, but I never lost my ability to laugh with others about silly things in life and especially to laugh at memories I have with Jim. We laughed a lot and he would be sorely ticked if I forgot how to do that.

A grief class I went to said that life from birth until death is a series of laughter and crying, up and down. You laugh and smile at a birth and you cry at a death. And wouldn't it be sad if someone died and no one cried? And wouldn't it be sad if someone died and no one left remembered to laugh?

This is very long but I hope it lets you know that I think you are perfectly normal and obviously loved your Dad tremendously, which is not measured by the number or timing of your tears. Thanks for posting about your love for your Dad. It is very heartwarming.

Take care,


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I can't say anything to make you feel better. :( But Sharon did a wonderful job relating to your loss. I am a parent--there is nothing more important to me than seeing my grown children live, laugh and love. Hold your father in your heart....and live. God bless you and I know your dad loves you forever. Nancy C

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Thanks for all of your responses. I do think I am in shock and that it hasn't hit me just yet. I think that for me, it'll be a gradual process. My dad's loss will slowly dawn on me.

Just last night, I was headed to my mom's to try to keep her company and help with some thank you notes. I stopped at a hardware store - my boyfriend has been trying to help me assemble some furniture and we needed some parts. My dad was so handy and my boyfriend is not, though I know he's trying so hard! Anyway, I couldn't find the right hardware and got in my car and cried all the way to my parents' house. This is the type of thing my Dad always did for me. Who is going to do it now? I know it'll be fine and I'll figure it out, but I just felt so lost and alone then.

Plus, going to Mom's for the 1st time after the funeral was awful. It hit me that Dad's not there anymore and won't be again. My mom even received a wedding invitation addressed to her "and guest." How awful must that have been for her. It makes me so sad.

I know we'll be OK because we have great support with family and friends, but I know that the days ahead will be like a roller coaster.

I know it's unfair and life isn't easy, so we just have to deal, but I would give anything for another day with my Dad. Thanks for all of your messages and prayers. I'll continue to ride the roller coaster (don't have much of a choice, do I) and keep you guys in my prayers.


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I'm a dad and a grandad. I have also lost both parents. I believe you would honor your dad by living as normally as you can and not feel guilty. He would want you to do this. You can also honor him by cherishing his memories and by living the best life you can. That is what counts. I think people forget that funerals are not just to mourn the dead but to celebrate life. Your dad continues to live through you. Do it! Don

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Stacey, i am so sorry. It all happened in a blink. This must be very hard to you and your families especially your mom. You all even didn't have enough emotional preparation for this. I feel so sad for this. On the other hand, he suffered less too.

I feel what you feel, we whole family reacted just unexpectedly calm, life is life, must move on, many things you always do every day will do continously every day. But emotions will pop always afterwards, like myself, 17 months after my dad's death, I still tear suddenly while something is stirred up. But I also treasure this emotion and sadness because it reminds me how much I love my dad, how sad it is to lose him. He is then always in my heart, more than the time he's alive. His death makes a great impact with me and life is never be the same. I am more pessimistic than before !!

Stacey, take good care of your mom as it traumatizes her very much. I believe you are very proud of having your dad's shadow. LOVE is forever....

My thoughts are with you.

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Stacy, I'm so sorry for the untimely demise of your father. I echo your sentiments regarding the pangs of guilt. My dad is having quite a rough time with the chemo and trying to have some semblance of a normal life makes me feel guilty and disrespectful also. I would always feel that it's not 'appropriate' to go out with friends and have fun at this point, because of how much money my family has spent on treatments, among others. I know it's wrong to feel like this but I feel it just the same.

He'll never walk me down the aisle, never see the kids I hope to have someday. It's so painful.

Oh Stacy... =( Although dad is still around and doing okay so far, I'm thinking the same thoughts too. And it's incredibly painful... I hear you.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that you're not alone in this. You are in my thoughts. Hugs from across the miles.

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It's good to know that others out there understand what I'm going through. Thanks. I agree that when you do feel the pain of the loss, it's almost good. It feels appropriate to be in pain after losing someone I love so much. So, I guess I'll try to appreciate the good times because I know I'll also have some bad times.

Thanks so much for your postings. I hope the days ahead are easier for each of you.


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Stacey....from one Daddy's Girl to another....he will be with you when you walk down the aisle and he will see your future children. Not in the physical sense that we crave so much, but you will know it....

My dad died before my daughter was born....one of the greatest moments was when my daughter walked out of her bedroom one morning (she was three or four) and said, "Grandpa took me fishing last night." I asked her if she had a dream about Grandpa and she said no, that it wasn't a dream that he had taken her fishing in the night. She was really to young to have known that my Dad was an avid (rather, RABID) fisherman.....and that was about the age I was when he started taking me.....

He will be there, I promise you that.

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Dear Stacey,

What wonderful replies you have gotten. I have read them all and felt each one had something important to say.

I lost my Dad to a sudden heart attack when I was 2 weeks from graduating from high school. He was my best friend. I had no interest in attending my any of my senior activities. Following graduation there was a senior all night trip planned for the class that was a cruise I was really looking forward to, yet did not want to attend after his death. My Mom talked with me and told me how much my Dad would want me to go on that trip and to celebrate Graduation with my class. I went . I cant say I didnt think of my Dad but I can say I laughed with my friends and enjoyed the night.

There were 8 children my Mother was left to raise but I watched her stand strong and be our rock when I am sure she needed a rock!

She is now 80 yrs old, a long ways from 46 which is how old she was when my Dad died. She went on living as we all must and has a million memories of my Dad but has also made a million memories with her children since his death.

I know about grief as I also lost my husband suddenly when he was 29 years old in a car accident. I had 2 sons with him and was a 28 year old widow. I had no choice but to go on. I have lived my life since then, remarried and brought my sons up to be men I admire. Life does go on ... Grief will certainly creep in, but always remember the people we are grieving loved us as much as we loved them and want us to live, to smile, to laugh and to go on to be happy.

I am so sorry for you're loss and I pray each day brings you closer to getting through you're grief and to the understanding that life must go on and we must try to be as happy as we can. You're Dad will be with you always.

God Bless you and you're Family,


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Try not to feel quilty honey. Your dad wouldn't of wanted that. But I do know how you feel. My dad passed from cancer in 1999. And like you our entire

family was present, about 30 people. Just try to remember how lucky you were to have that. Not everyone even gets that time. Take care.


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I read thru your story with tears falling. You have not had time to accecpt the cancer much less his death.

My mom died in 1994 after about 18 mos of nsclc. I tried that next year to keep things the way they had been. After that I changed some of the holiday get togethers, it just did not feel right with her gone. Time does help.

Prayers with you


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I am very sorry to hear you lost your father to Lung Cancer.

As you can see, many of us have lost a loved one to LC. But, I would like to go one step further and maybe suggest to you that you might want to look into a Grief Support Group. Most Funeral Homes have them or know where to find one. But, your welcome to grieve right here if you feel comfortable.

My Sincere Sympathy,


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