Death & Dying - Hospice Term Paper

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During that time, I cannot recall mourning, but I cannot recall feeling much of anything else, either.

My grief returned more intensely than before at the graveside service.

Afterwards, I was exhausted by the emotional flood that I had experienced, but it is equally possible that the relief was more a function of all the energy that it had required not to release during the time between my father's death and his funeral. As powerful as the feelings of outright grief were some of the more unexpected feelings I began to experience in the next few weeks: feelings of anger at my father, anger at myself, shame, totally inexplicable feelings of hurt, and fear, and also relief.

A realized for the fist time, only weeks after my father's death, that I was angry at my father: angry that he'd refused the dialysis which could have prolonged his life; angry at having had to watch him die because of that decision. Consciously, I understood that my father's situation was terminal and that he deserved not to be in pain, but on some other level - perhaps the level of the child of his that I will always be - I was angry at him for choosing to leave us even a moment before he had to.

A realized that I was (simultaneously) angry at myself and ashamed, for having any feelings of
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anger at my father, who deserved only my sympathy and understanding. I was not conscious of it at the time, but I realized that I had also resented my father for having had to assume the role of his nurse, of which feelings I had also been in denial at the time. Acknowledging that resentment only lead to more feelings of shame at having the audacity to resent my father for having changed his diapers a few dozen times, compared to the many hundreds, if not thousands, of times that my father had done the same for me as an infant. Admittedly, I was also afraid of ever being in his condition.

When I finally admitted to myself that I also felt a measure of relief when he finally died, I felt a wave of shame for having thought as much of myself and the inconvenience it would have been to continue caring for my father at home, had he persisted very much longer than expected in his deteriorated condition of helplessness.

Ultimately, I reached a peace with my own feelings, even if they revealed personal shortcomings that nobody else had ever recognized in me. In some way, my father's death was a learning experience for me that could never have been gained any other way. Perhaps, that is why, more than anything else, the feelings that most characterize my memories and recollections of my father are summed up in three very simple words: "Thank you Dad."

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