Health Grieving Process – Coming to Terms With Death

My Father’s Final Journey

In 2002, my father required triple bypass surgery. My father had severe heart disease, and his heart muscle was fragile. My father’s surgeon was extraordinary! My father and President Clinton had the same surgeon. My father’s surgery was a success. All his doctors called my dad the miracle man. My father’s doctors thought his life expectancy would be five years. My father’s team of doctors was so wrong. The doctors had no idea the will, fight, and determination my father had to fight for his life.

Health Grieving Process - Coming to Terms With Death 1

In 2011, my father was diagnosed with metastasized prostate cancer, which metastasized to his bone. My father told his family the doctor said his life expectancy was two years. But, again, my father beat the odds. I have been in denial about my father’s health and decline for years. I am just realizing now how sick my father was all these years. He always seemed to beat the odds, and I, too, like his doctors, believed he was a miracle man.


In early September 2016, I went to Florida to visit my parents. I was so excited to spend a week at their home, enjoying our time together. My parents and I had fun trying new restaurants; we enjoyed going to the movies, playing cards, and, most of all, talking with each other for hours about anything and everything.

This time, when I arrived, my father was not feeling well. My father lacked energy, and it was difficult for him to move his body freely. Additionally, he was suffering from severe back pain. I believe my father might have suspected his cancer was progressing by the amount of pain he had in his back. My father did not want to take any additional tests for his prostate cancer since he was told that his Zytigra medication was his last hope.

I asked my father several times to let me take him to the hospital, but he refused. I didn’t stop; I begged and pleaded with my father to let me take him to the hospital. My dad refused and said, “Let me see if I am feeling better in a few days.” My father was a tough, stubborn, and strong man. He beat the odds and was known as the miracle man.

I asked my father to go with me to pick out a computer I was buying him for his 81st birthday. I knew something was wrong when my father said he did not want to go. He loved computers. He was one of the first people I knew who bought a PC to surf the internet. My dad was always ahead of the times and a true visionary. When the internet first launched, my dad predicted that it would be huge and that technological advancements would change how the world would conduct business.

I went to Best Buy to buy my father an all-in-one computer for his birthday. The experience was not the same without my father. We would have had fun learning about new technology and selecting his birthday gift. I brought the computer back to my parent’s home and set it up in my father’s man cave, his den. He was so happy and thankful to have a new computer with all the bells and whistles. Still, my dad was not himself; he hardly surfed the internet or played games. I was sick with worry.

The next day, I convinced my father to spend time together; we went to his favorite Jewish Deli in Delray Beach, Florida. On the drive to the deli, my father hardly spoke. This was highly unusual. My father was never lost for words. We always enjoyed interesting conversations and could talk about anything. When my father finally did speak, he said, “I wrote my own Eulogy, and I want you to promise me that one of my children or all of my children read it when it is time.

My father told me he did not want a Rabbi, who was a stranger, to talk about him and his life. My father tried comforting me, saying, “Now I expect to be around for quite some time. I showed little emotion while my father was talking about his Eulogy. I did not want to show my father how deeply heartbroken I was at the thought of his passing. I thought about it often and was stricken with anticipatory grief for many years.

My father and I were very close; I truly cared for him. He never judged me. I thought that was amazing, especially since I am gay (I wouldn’t say I like the word lesbian). I am in a 15-year relationship with a woman. My father loved my partner and treated her like a daughter. The truth is, I am fortunate; both my parents accept my relationship and treat my partner like a third daughter. My partner treated my parents well and had a great relationship with my mom and dad.

Roberto Brock
the authorRoberto Brock
Snowboarder, traveler, DJ, Swiss design-head and HTML & CSS lover. Doing at the nexus of art and purpose to develop visual solutions that inform and persuade. I'm a designer and this is my work. Introvert. Coffee evangelist. Web buff. Extreme twitter advocate. Avid reader. Troublemaker.