Share Your Story
Hearing about others' experiences can be helpful when dealing with death and bereavement. Do you have a personal experience that you'd feel comfortable sharing with the campaign? If so, let us know...
My father died suddenly from coronary heart disease. I spoke to him on the day of his death, a lovely conversation about him buying a new house and how he would help me. That evening, I got a phone call from my mum saying that dad had collapsed after leaving the pub and an ambulance crew were trying to resuscitate him. I prayed for a miracle. When I arrived with my husband and three brothers, I saw my father on the pavement with a blanket over his body and was told by a police officer that he had died. The pain was unbearable and I remember crying while holding my dad. My husband, who never cries, was crying uncontrollably, as were my three brothers.
It felt like part of me died that night also. I remember banging on the ambulance door demanding to know what had happened to my father and why they couldn't save him. They said they did all they could but despite their best efforts they couldn't save him. It was so cold that night but I sat with my dad until the private ambulance came as I couldn't bear to leave him in the cold. The days following were the darkest and bleakest I have ever known. The pain was unbearable, as if someone had taken out my heart and was stamping all over it.
I remember taking my daughter to school late and the teacher asking me why we were so late. I explained that my father had just died and then broke down in floods of tears and was comforted by the teacher. I felt my emotions were out of control and did not know how I was going to cope. Registering the death was the hardest thing I have ever done. I waited in the cafe across the road and it was obvious I was registering a death as my face was red from the amount of crying I was doing.
The funeral was beautiful and I managed to read out poems about my dad. My friend told me afterwards she did not know how I did it and that it was one of the most beautiful things she had heard. The church was packed and it was comforting to know how well respected and admired he was.
It is very early days and I am taking things one day at a time. I know life will never be the same and the pain at times is suffocating but I hope with time I can live with it.
The Dying Matters Coalition is led by the National Council for Palliative Care,
the umbrella charity for end of life care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Freephone 08000 21 44 66