Processing My Worst Day

November 8, 2013 was the worst day of my life and it changed me and my life forever. My Dad unexpectedly passed away. We later found out he had a rare cardiomyopathy called ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy) and 80% are diagnosed on an autopsy report. I was the only one home. I found him unresponsive and I knew he was gone. He was outside raking leaves. I’ve held on to things I didn’t even know I was holding on too. The last few counseling sessions we’ve had has been going back to that day and processing it. We are finding out that my anxiety and some of my depression thoughts stem from that day.

I’m still working on all of this and it’s not going to switch overnight. I literally have to say these things to myself so it starts getting wired in my brain.

  1. It’s not my fault that I was sleeping and woke up to find him unresponsive
  2. Even if I would’ve been out there when it happened nothing would have changed, his heart was so badly damaged
  3. I didn’t ruin everyone’s day/life because of this
  4. I can’t control other peoples emotions- it’s how they feel

I know in the back of my mind multiple times a day I would have the same exact thought but what if I woke up earlier, what if the doctors are lying to me and I could’ve really helped him and he could’ve still been here. Without fully knowing, I was blaming myself every single day.

As we were talking to my counselor we all started connecting the dots. After Dad’s death I became very sensitive to feelings. I never wanted to upset anyone or frustrate anybody. I didn’t want someone to have to work harder because I did something wrong. I would tear myself apart whenever I thought I made someone feel like this. This stems from the limited communication I was allowed that day. I called my Mom and let her know kind of what was going on. I was told to tell her we would meet her at the hospital. I knew the whole time he was dead but I wasn’t allowed to tell my Mom. I had to call her 2-3 more times under supervision- I guess to make sure I didn’t say dad’s gone. My mom’s best friend drove her to the hospital and was there with her. During this time my Mom had started calling family and saying to come to the hospital and it didn’t sound good. My Aunt picked my sister up from her last day of student teaching.

I knew he was gone and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. As an 18 year old who just lost her Dad I was just going through the emotions really unable to fully think. I had just gone through so much trauma. The EMTS had worked a while on Dad. We had some hope but we all knew what was going on and no one was ready to say it. We all wished that this wasn’t happening. I had 2 authority figures telling me I couldn’t tell my Mom that he was officially gone. So I knew she was sitting at the hospital with hope. All the family were clinging to hope. I hated that I was essentially lying to all these people and giving them false hope. I hung on to this for years and I still do. We are working right now to re–wire my brain from this.

I was so scared of causing anyone pain after this. I began to feel personally responsible for their feelings. Last Wednesday we all connected these dots. This is where my depression came from. I had horrible thoughts in the fall (which I’ll blog about later) and it was stemming from this. I wasn’t good enough, I was making everyone upset, I kept messing up. This was what was running through my brain all the time.

My last words to Dad were I love you and those were his last words to me. We said them the night before he passed away. I’m forever grateful for that memory. When anything is mentioned about my Dad, the first image I see is his pale green gray face when I found him. We’re trying to work on this to get it back to a happy memory with Dad. I have PTSD from this but it hasn’t really ever been addressed until now with my counselor.

I am so thankful for my counselor. The last 2 weeks have been hard for me. I had to go back and relive the worst day of my life. Those feeling don’t just go away when the session is done. I’ve been missing Dad so much right now. He would’ve been 61 tomorrow.

We are working now on seeing something good that God allowed after he passed. This is so hard because it feels so wrong to say or think that. That was the worst day of my life – how can something good happen? I’ve been able to blog about this and raise awareness about grief. I don’t know exactly how someone feels, but I can be there for them as they walk their grief journey. I’m able to sense kids feelings at school. I can be a support to them.

It feels so weird to think of good things. She said this was a horrible day and God was there for you and your Dad and your family. His death was going to happen anyway. I had 2 choices to look at it with the glass half full or half empty. The glass half full is where God then uses me to help/connect to others.

This is a lot of hard work, but necessary work. It’s still very new and very raw to me, but we all have to start somewhere. This is helping me process that day and understand nothing was my fault.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22



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