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Question
Posted by: alley-c | 2010-09-02

death

hello cybershrink

been feeling in a much better state of mind until recently
i don''t quite know how to deal with my most recent curve ball that life has thrown at me

My dad has been living overseas and last year he was diagnosed with cancer, they told him he had at best 2 years. Exactly a year to the day i receive a call from his wife (not my mother) that he''s died.

I''m having issues coming to terms with the fact that he''s actually gone - I don''t actually believe it.

His wife and I have never got on that well, and my dad had issues with the truth...

My facts about why I''m struggling:
1. I spoke to him the day before he died, he was planning on coming to visit at christmas, he didn''t sound to me like someone who was at deaths door.
2. If any family went to visit him and they told me that he didn''t look well and I ocnfronted him about it- he told me he was fine, they said he lost a lot of weight - he told me when i was at your wedding (last year) i weight 125kg, i know weigh 115kg - for him that''s not a big weight loss, he was 6ft6
3. I aksed him if i needed to come, he said no he would tell me when - i never got the get on a plane phone call even though his cousin said i should

Now I have no regrets that I didn''t go over and see him before he died - personally I would rather remember the healthy looking man that walked me down the aisle at my wedding rather than the sick cancer riddled man that he was sure to be at his time of death.

His wife had a funeral for him at his cremation in england and we had a memorial for him here when his ashes were buried, but doc I still don''t believe that that was him in the little box - he was a big man, how did he cremate down into a 15cm x 7cm x 5cm box????

I received the phone call at midnight - i was asleep - how do I know that this all isn''t just a dream, i always expect when the phone rings that its him... how do i get closure and just believe this?

I thought i would be ok after the memorial and believe it, but i don''t.

I can''t even consol myself with a death certificate becuase his wife won''t let me see it, she told me that the doctor''s refused to sign it becuase he died so suddenly and they did a post mortem which she says revealed he had a heart attach - but still she won t let me see the death certificate.

And finally jsut to really make my conspiracy theories worse - when she was out for the memorial the story she told of how my dad died was exactly and i mean identical to how his dad - my grandfather had died - strange coincidence????

Doc please, how do i get my closure???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Always the curve-ball, right ? Where a death like your fathers happens in another country, unexpectedly, and without your involvement in the final illness ( and maybe when you haven't been close to the person for some time ) it is hard to experience it as entirely Real. Even when it has happened in front of you it can be hard to accept the unacceptable facts.
Judging by your comments, maybe he himself did not want to face the unpleasant facts of his illness. By allowing him to keep the illness and risk all a bit unreal in his relationship with you, maybe that was comforting for him ? And you do indeed have good memories of him as a well and loving man.
With only that little box of ashes, yes, it is hard to envisage the big man shrunk to that. But there's something very democratic about cremation - we all shrink to a much smaller package than might be expected.
Aspects of unreality, such as expecting a phone call, are common experiences - like glimpsing someone, in a crowd, who looks like him.
I don't understand your step-mom being coy about the death certificate. A death certificate is a publ;ic document, on public record, and through the right channels, anobody can get a copy. I don't know the current British system, but it may even be checkable online.
In order to avoid cover-ups for foul play, there are special precautions before someone is allowed to be cremated.


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3
Our users say:
Posted by: alley-c | 2010-09-06

thank you cybershrinky and disappointed both posts have helped in different ways and i think i''m starting to feel a little better each day.

disappointed - i''m sorry for your loss and hope you are coping ok.

Reply to alley-c
Posted by: Disappointed | 2010-09-02

You are going through different stages of grief. It is very hard to accept the loss of a loved one especially when one isn''t with them when they pass.

Do you think you could be ''reading'' too much into things to convince yourself that he is not gone? Send your step-mother a letter asking her for a copy of his death certificate. Explain to her that you are struggling to come to terms with his passing and you have been advised to get a copy in order to help you cope. I am sure she will do it for you then. Maybe she feels you are pointing fingers at her and she is being defensive, remember she is also grieving the loss of her husband. But by letting her know that you are struggling too she may feel more compassion and help put your mind at ease.

I have often heard of relatives dying in much the same way, especially from heart attacks or cancer. I think again, you may be looking for something in her story to establish your beliefs in his existance.

I am sorry for your loss. I think you help your dad live through his illness by believing in him and what he was telling you. I think he wanted to be seen as he was before and not being ill like others were seeing him.

You will get to the stage of grief called ''acceptance''. This is the final stage of grief and after I lost my first son, it took me 21 months to accept his death but a full 5 years until the grief left me. I still miss my baby but am able to think about him without crying.

You will get there :-) hugs!

Reply to Disappointed
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-09-02

Always the curve-ball, right ? Where a death like your fathers happens in another country, unexpectedly, and without your involvement in the final illness ( and maybe when you haven't been close to the person for some time ) it is hard to experience it as entirely Real. Even when it has happened in front of you it can be hard to accept the unacceptable facts.
Judging by your comments, maybe he himself did not want to face the unpleasant facts of his illness. By allowing him to keep the illness and risk all a bit unreal in his relationship with you, maybe that was comforting for him ? And you do indeed have good memories of him as a well and loving man.
With only that little box of ashes, yes, it is hard to envisage the big man shrunk to that. But there's something very democratic about cremation - we all shrink to a much smaller package than might be expected.
Aspects of unreality, such as expecting a phone call, are common experiences - like glimpsing someone, in a crowd, who looks like him.
I don't understand your step-mom being coy about the death certificate. A death certificate is a publ;ic document, on public record, and through the right channels, anobody can get a copy. I don't know the current British system, but it may even be checkable online.
In order to avoid cover-ups for foul play, there are special precautions before someone is allowed to be cremated.


Reply to cybershrink

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