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    DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

I feel like if I'd known I would have seen him more...

I lost my dad a year ago from graft versus host disease, this was a side effect from the bone marrow transplant he received to attempt removing the cancer.He was in a coma for a week, but we all knew that he wasn't there anymore, doctors insisted he was but that was purely for their own benefit running tests on my father daily to try and find a cure. He passed away in remission. It was a rare cancer, affecting males in their 70's, he was only 40 when diagnosed. My dad and I weren't exactly close but we weren't distant either, we had our ups and downs like any relationship but as mum and him were never together I didn't see him much. I regret a lot, after finding out he had cancer he constantly told me it wasn't serious and they caught it early, but he failed to mention the doctors telling him there was only a 12% chance of him surviving. I feel like if i had known that i would have seen him more than every second weekend, taken time off school, stopped dealing with teenage shit like trying to be popular or what party is on this weekend, I would have spent time with him and have him pass knowing he at least knew me as a person.

Thank you for writing to us here at riprap. My name is Hilde and I am one of the team here together with Sue and Robyn. I am so truly sorry to hear about your dad and how you have lost him at such a young age. From the way you describe it, you were clearly not prepared that your dad might die as the cancer was in remission and you weren’t told about the severity of the graft versus host disease.

I think that the regrets you have now after having lost your dad are completely natural, although that may not make it any easier to deal with… I am a cancer nurse and have worked in cancer care for over 30 years and I can reassure you that most people find things that they regret and blame themselves for after having lost a loved one, no matter whether there is any reason for it or not. I can understand your wish to have spent more time with your dad and less time on what may now seem as ‘trivial’ things… But please don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that your dad chose not to tell you about the possibility of him not getting through the treatment… Most likely, he wanted you to have a ‘normal’ teenage life and it may have been a comfort for him to know that you weren’t aware of the seriousness of his treatment. No matter how close / or not close you were, most parents want most of all to protect their children and this would probably have been his way of protecting you, not telling you that he might not make it. I imagine he strongly believed that he would get through the treatment and because of that he didn’t want to worry you ‘unnecessarily’.

Of course, it may not have been the best for you after all, as you are now left with all those regrets about things you would have wanted to do differently if you had known. It’s very hard to get rid of those regrets but try to remember that you did what seemed right in the situation that you were in at the time and based on the information that your dad had chosen to give you. I hope that can help you a little bit with your grief and regrets and that gradually you may realise that this was how your dad wanted it even if it’s difficult for you now.

You are very welcome to get back to us anytime if you’d like to talk more about what you’re dealing with. However, it may also be helpful for you to make contact with people who are dealing specifically with bereavement. For instance, you may want to have a look at “Hope again”, which is a website set up by Cruse Bereavement Care for bereaved children and young people. If you have a look in our bereavement links section you may also find support from other organisations and you can find information on local bereavement services in our section called “Support in my area”.

I hope that things get a bit easier for you as time passes but please remember that although I’ve recommended some resources above, - we’re all here for you (Sue, Robyn and myself) should you ever wish to get in touch again and ‘talk’ about things.

Warm wishes, Hilde

Page updated 20/01/16