I’m scared that my memories will fade away

My Dad died of Covid just over a month ago, and I’m already having trouble remembering what happened when we were last together.

My parents both live abroad, but they visited in January for my 18th birthday. I also feel terrible because I never got to say goodbye. I didn’t realise how seriously sick he had been, and I was busy with schoolwork so I wasn’t even able to call as much during (what none of us expected to be) his final days. I know it’s not an excuse (because I should be calling as much as possible anyway, not just because someone is dying), but by the time I realised my mistake in prioritizing the wrong things, he was already on the ventilator. Even by that point I was almost certain he would get better. But he never did.

We would always message each other our I love yous every night, but that wasn’t enough. I didn’t know that the last time I heard his voice was the last time I would (same for a lot of people I guess, which is all the more reason to make sure we treasure every moment. I thought I lived my life doing that, but only when someone dies do you realize it was never enough).

I hate goodbyes, but I hate not getting the chance to say them even more. Unfinished business is the only thing that survived.

I can’t change what I did or didn’t do in his last days, but I hoped I could have the memories we shared from the rest of my whole lifetime to cherish, except I feel like they’re slipping away and I don’t know how to hold on. My Dad and I were unbelievably close, and I don’t ever want to lose touch of how we were. I already lost him once, I can’t lose him again - how do I stop it from fading all away?

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May 26, 2020
Treasuring the Memories after a Loss
by: Lesley from GriefandSympathy.com

Hi

I don't know your name, or where you're from, but we are so sorry for your loss at this difficult time.

Try not to be hard on yourself. You weren't to know what was going to happen and it's very easy to judge ourselves in hindsight. Would your Dad want you to feel like this?

You obviously had a wonderful loving relationship and he knew you loved him. He must have been so proud of you that you were working hard at school and would have understood.

As far as your memories go, I don't think they will fade away. I lost my Dad very suddenly 9 years ago and I still have many very vivid memories and even now new ones come up when reminded by family, friends or photographs.

You are possibly still in shock at the moment and that might affect your memories in the short term. Your brain protects you from the pain that some of these memories might evoke at the moment. They will come when you are ready for them.

In the meantime, perhaps keep a journal, write about some of the precious times you do remember so you'll have them for ever. You could also make a scrapbook of your Dad's life as a memorial to treasure. Write down all his favourite things like songs or tv programmes. Write down stories of his life and what he meant to you. Add photos and any other treasures you have.

One last thing, which can be a good way to forgive yourself is to write a letter of apology to your Dad. Once you've done that, imagine him receiving it, and then write what he would say back to you. I think you'll find you have nothing for which to apologise.

The grief process is not easy. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to work through it. There are many pages on our website that can help. Perhaps start here:

How to Deal with Grief

Wishing you peace and strength at this time.

Lesley
www.griefandsympathy.com

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