Is it normal not be emotional about my father’s sickness?

Of course I’m sad and worried, but I feel like I’m being too pragmatic and rational? Like, “ok he has stage III cancer so what are the next steps? How can I take some of the burden off my mom”. I have a good relationship with my father, I did tear up a few times, but overall I’m not really desperate or overwhelmingly sad.

Is It Normal?
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  • It will come unfortunately. It might be a year after he passes but youll feel it eventually.

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  • It's possible that you just aren't feeling those emotions now because you just don't have the time. Especially true the more you are involved with his care. Just too many other things to think about for now.

    That happened to me when my mom had pancreatic cancer. I wish you and your family well for a positive outcome.

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  • Thank you so much! You comment was so, so helpful and I will keep your words in my head and in my heart.

    It’s very recent, only a month since he’s been diagnosed and still in the process of getting everything ready for treatment.

    I’m really struggling with the whole “right way” thing. I feel like I’m more worried about the toll this disease is gonna take on him, my mom and my sisters than I am about losing him. More worried about it being years and years of treatment and pain than I am about him dying. I think it might be a coping mechanism or maybe just my way to grieve.

    I’m not really worried about not grieving when he dies, because I know I will. Ever since I got the news, I do tear up everytime I think about my memories with him. I guess i really am a “grieve later” type of person.

    I’m really sorry for rambling and I’m sorry if it makes no sense, english is not my first language.

    Again, thank you and take care!

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  • Sometimes when we expect such things, we aren’t as sad. And everyone grieves differently. Some people prefer to grieve after the loss. Sometimes it can be better that way too, as you can spend time cherishing the time left.

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  • I was not sad as my mom was in her final days of life (her body had started to shut down - she lasted 10 days after that started).

    I was actually more relieved that soon her suffering would end.

    She was cheerful up to the very end. Complementing nurses on their hair, etc. all the time.

    I was not sad after it all ended.

    I did not have time to think about things at the funeral as I was the person who arranged and ran it... and that was mainly what I thought about. It went very well.

    Only later did some of the emotion hit me... but, key is that I have no regrets about anything. I had already done everything I could for her while she was alive for many of her last years.

    I wish you the best and hope it all goes smoothly.

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  • Yeah, that's normal.

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  • MonteMetcalfe and pinkpotato9 both make very good points about what could be going on. I also agree with what potato says about grieving; there is no "right" way to do it, and you will experience the death of your father in whatever way you're equipped to deal with it.

    I wonder how long you've known that he had cancer. If he was first diagnosed some time ago, it's possible that you started going through the grieving process at a subconscious level then. So even if you focused on him surviving until some indefinite point in the future, perhaps deep down you understood that the cancer could kill him, and you've slowly moved through the stages in a gradual, low-key way until you've reached acceptance. Looking back, I can see that this was my experience when my wife died more than a decade after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

    My mother-in-law died a couple of weeks ago, and the funeral director my wife chose was someone she'd got to know well in another, non-funeral related job many years ago. She mentioned to my wife that something she'd observed since her change of career was that the most ostentatious, over the top grieving is usually by families which are not happy ones, and where there were clearly unresolved tensions between the deceased person and their surviving relatives. On the other hand, in families where the dead person was loved and where everyone had had some time to come to terms with the approaching end, say anything that needed to be said and resolve any tensions, there was usually a lot of sadness, but no wailing or gnashing of teeth, and the funeral chosen was usually not lavish and hugely expensive.

    Weirdguy mentions that you might get hit with strong emotions at some point in the future, and I think that's very likely. It's getting close to two decades since my wife died, and there isn't a day that passes when I don't think of her at least once. She was a large part of my life for more than 20 years, just as your father has (I assume) been a part of your life since you were born. If your relationship with him is generally positive, there most likely will come times when you miss him very much, and you shouldn't be surprised if those feelings hit you in connection with really silly little things as well as major life events.

    Losing a parent you love sucks, but it is a natural part of life, and it's something that most people can cope with. Hopefully, you will have plenty of positive memories of him that you can hold on to. I suggest that you think about whether there is anything you might regret never having told him, and consider saying it now.

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