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I am uncertain if my actions were correct in the moments before my father passed away

Tagged as: Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 October 2018) 2 Answers - (Newest, 12 October 2018)
A female age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My dad died 4 weeks ago. The day he died, my mom, myself, my 4 siblings and other extended family were in and out of the hospital room. My dad went in for some tests, was in the hospital for almost a week, and was told he could go home the morning he died. Later that evening, his heart stopped. It was sudden and unexpected.

During his final moments, a few of us were gathered around his bed. My siblings were in the hallway but came in and out of the room. I could see my dad started to struggle and went to stand beside my mom, who was already at his side. I feared that he was slipping away, I took his hand, and told him to hang on. That he could do it. That it wasn't his time. He looked into my eyes and I could tell he was sad and scared, but almost resigned to his fate, like he was slowly letting death take him away. I know he looked at me with love. And if he could stay around, he would have. I was in tears and pleading with him for a few minutes. During this time, my mom, told me to "get out of there." Like she thought I was in the way or shouldn't have been there. I don't know why she would say such a thing. She didn't react, she only stood there. I guess I just felt compelled to take his hand and try to comfort him. It's almost as if she resented me for it.

I was my dad's favourite child, according to many family members. My bond with him was special. He loved all his kids but I could do no wrong. I was never my mom's favourite. And because she had 3 other daughters plus me, everyone was always vying for her attention. Except me. I had my dad. I never had to work for his attention. I always got it, no matter what the others did.

I wasn't trying to hurt my mom or make her resent me. I just stepped in because I saw him suffering and struggling. It was purely an instinctual, unplanned reaction. I didn't know he was going to die at the time. My mom was by his side, but stood there quietly.

I am worried that I robbed my mom of her final moments? I wasn't trying to do anything like that. I just wanted to confort him, and I wanted him to see his daughter's face, to encourage him, and be a comfort. A face he has known since she was a baby.

I'm worried my mom will resent me for the rest of her life for this. It was immediately after I held his hand and was telling him to hang on that he flatlined and went into cardiac arrest. The siblings who were there bolted out of the room because they couldn't handle it. I stayed until they kicked me out.

They said they never had a chance to say good bye whereas I was the one to hold his hand and I was the one whose face he saw as he slowly died.

And now I am feeling guilty.

Guilty for being there for my dad. Guilty for being there in his final moments. Guilty that I am resented by the others. And now my dad is no longer there to take my side.

I'm not sure how to handle this. The grief is still very raw. And I would hate to feel resentment from my family, at a time we should be coming together. I am not sure if it was selfish of me. But the weight of this is hard to take on top of the grieving.

Don't know how to get past it. What to do, if anything?

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (12 October 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntI am so sorry for your loss.

I was actually crying while reading your post. That must have been so hard for you. However, you and your dad, close in life, were close in death too. The last touch he felt in this life was yours. The last voice he heard was yours. That is special. Hold onto that.

Hopefully your family will rally round and support each other, including you. If not, then you must draw strength from your dad's spirit, and turn to friends for support.

Thinking of you at this sad time.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2018):

You didn't do anything wrong and she will know this .. maybe she told you to get out as she thought you were scaring him to make the final journey.. I pleaded with my mum to stay .. I told her I had counted all hee hairs on her head and she had extra .if mum says anything just say like her you wanted him to stay and that if itboffened her your sorry . But wait and see and be kind to yourself

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