Still struggling with the loss of my dad... help?

I know that the mortality rate of ruptured brain aneurysms is about 40-50%, but still, why couldn't my dad be in the other percentage? I see so many stories on here of people surviving ruptured aneurysms, and it makes me feel even worse for my dad. He didn't deserve to die this soon.

Why didn't he quit smoking after he had developed emphysema?

Why didn't he monitor his blood pressure like the doctor wanted him to?

Why did he never have any tests done to see if he had aneurysms or anything else wrong in his brain? He had every other test known to man except the one that cost him his life.

Why didn't I just get him the help he needed right away instead of thinking the problem would resolve itself?

How am I supposed to do this without him? I'm not prepared for this.


Does your church have a support group on grieving?

Is there a social services group at the hospital where your dad was who may be willing to talk with you?

Is there a BAF support group near you?

Is there another stroke or TBI group local to you...where there are such similarities of brain a different cause?

Would researching your ancestry for possible genetics be of interest to you?

I think you told us he had had a couple prior same/similar problems....that did resolve...

Only he knows why he did not monitor his BP...if you had done it, would he have changed his life?

if you had gotten him immediate help, there is no guarantee that time would have changed the results...

Valerie Harper has said "All of us are terminal. Nobody is promised the next day, or the next moment. So live every moment, in the moment"...

There is a social worker at the hospital, but they obviously can't help me. I've asked the neurologist, nurses, everyone else pretty much every question I could think of. I even asked my dad's own doctor he last saw last July, and the result is always the same.

There was nothing anyone could do, the damage had been done. I can't accept that. My dad was still talking after his head was hurting. He even got up to go to the bathroom. They said he had a stroke, how do you have a stroke and still talk normally?

My dad's personal doctor said he never knew about the aneurysms (which he had two). He only knew that my dad had emphysema, which was why he was having trouble breathing sometimes. It just so happened that this time during his breathing attack, his aneurysm had ruptured too.

My uncle died a few years ago and they never could figure out caused it, though I didn't really learn too much about it, so they might have but I got the wrong information. It was probably an aneurysm too. It could very well be genetic.

You are going through the process of grieving...and like many of us when we grieve, we ask "why?" and you know what the answer if we were to get one...would never make some point you will come to accept what has happened and do the best thing you can...cherish the good memories and move on and live life...~ I pray that this will happen for you...but it will take much time...~ Colleen

It doesn't make any sense. How can someone be fine one day, then gone beyond all recognition the next? I just want my dad not to hate me, I can't move until I know with certainty that I could have prevented this from happening. I just want him to forgive me for this.

I know he wouldn't want me to feel this way, but how else am I supposed to feel? He was ripped away from this world, what gives me the right to live on but not him? It's not fair to him or anyone else who loved him.

I'm healing slowly but you are right, this may take a while... sorry for spamming the boards with a bunch of posts.... it's probably really annoying and stuff...

Still suggest re-connect w/your uncle's family....and grandparents...

You did raise my curiosity....i.e. was he having leaks/mini-ruptures...causing the breathing attacks?

When I had my first (bringing me to first ER)...I was alone w/blackout fracturing my right shoulder...on waking, I could barely breathe...B4 I could get off the floor, I had to go into a series of yoga deep breathing...before I even had enough sense/strength to try to sit up and find my cell phone...The cause before the 2nd ER...I told friend I thought I was having a heart attack...Two days later told my 3rd ER doc...noted in my record that I told him I thought I was having a heart attack before the prior ER..I had such limited memory of that third ER...(there was a 29 day span from 1st to 3rdER)... I saw PCP after the 1st and the day before the 2nd...and and and...

If it took licensed/degreed, board certified docs...(ER, PCP, Orthopedic, anesthesiologist...and more)...29 days to figure mine out... how would you expect, or be expected, to make the most appropriate decision at the most appropriate time?

Back to Valerie Harper's and Colleen's statements...

Dear Pat,

Sadly, my grandparents aren't alive anymore. My grandpa, my dad's father, died of a heart attack. He was actually younger than my dad was when he died. My uncle's family members have all moved away and I don't even know where they are now.

I am pretty sure that my dad's breathing problems were an unrelated thing due to smoking. My dad has been smoking his entire life but only within the last year or so he started having trouble breathing and he was only given an inhaler and some Nitrostat pills for it. The attacks would only happen once, maybe every month or so. It only last a couple of hours and then he'd be fine.

The day that his aneurysm ruptured just so happened to be the same time he was having an attack. I didn't know anything could ever be wrong in his brain....

He did complain a few times of having a headache a week or so before it happened but I never really thought much of it. They may have been what they refer to as "warning headaches" and that he should have gotten checked out. If I had known then what I know now, maybe he'd still be here. I wish he was still here.

no kirbiboh, you are not annoying and you must stop beating yourself up, I do it too, I knew something was wrong and I did nothing, I had 2 migrains in the year preceeding my sah. -the first ones of my life, also I had weak and dizzy spells when I smoked but I knew nothing about aneurysms other than they kill you like my uncle and my sisters co worker friend who dropped dead at work and he was very young 18 ish I think. I quit smoking many years before the sah oddly enough. I love the fact you are sharing it will help you and it will help us at the same time as we count our blessings~~ take care

Dear Ron,

My dad had been getting these headaches every couple of weeks or so and he said that they were so bad that nothing could get them to stop, including taking aspirin after aspirin. I think this is what they refer to as "warning headaches" that signify that an aneurysm is bound to rupture soon.

He also started to lay down on the floor every couple of days because he felt so tired all the time. It wasn't like him at all. I don't know if he had dizziness, but he definitely did the day it ruptured.

If only I had known then what I know now, he could have gotten checked out... but knowing him, he'd never set foot in a hospital unless forced into it. I knew nothing about aneurysms and now they are the only thing in the world I want to know about. I just really want to make his death make sense to me.

Thank you Ron for the kind words once again.


I am very sorry for your loss. I have read this and your other post and I hope I may be able to explain that sometimes, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent something like this.

First like many people here I suffered a ruptured aneurysm and was given about a 20% chance of survival. It happened suddenly, with no warning and no previous symptoms. I used to smoke and not take care of myself. But the conclusion was this was a genetic thing. Also like others here I survived. I didn't survive because my anyone in my family did anything before the rupture. In fact I could not have been healthier at the time. Likewise had I not survived, no one in my family could have done anything avoid it.

The interesting this is that if it weren't for complete luck, I would have been gone 10 years earlier. By pure chance I had an MRI for something unrelated and they found my aorta was so large it could rupture any day. This would have resulted in certain death. Again I had no symptoms at all, and the next thing you know I am having open heart surgery.

The point I am trying to make is that sometime our bodies betray us. Sometimes our bodies give us signs something is wrong and sometimes they don't. In the case of brain aneurysms, they can and do happen to anyone at any age from a little baby, to a 90 year old adult. I know you want to blame someone or even yourself. But what you have to understand is there was absolutely nothing you or your dad could have possibly done to avoid this.

My father passed away 23 years ago. He had just had a complete physical and was checked head to toe including a screening for colon rectal cancer and given a clean bill of health. Not six month later he started having some strange symptoms. Next thing you know we were told he had 9 months to live due to colon cancer that had spread everywhere. I felt just like you, very angry. Especially since they had just screened him for it. I still miss him. I still wonder what if. But I did what he would have wanted and moved forward. At some point you will need to do that also.

This past September my daughter and her 35 year old husband were vacationing in Greece. While there he died in an tragic accident. Now my daughter is alone with a 3 year old baby boy and no one to blame. Sometimes as tragic as life can be, things just happen.

The loss and anger you feel is part of the grieving process, but many people need help getting through it. As others have said, you need to get yourself into a support group or individual counseling as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to cope with your loss and move on with your life.

I wish you all the best.

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Dear Tony,

Thank you for your kindness. I know I shouldn't blame myself, but I certainly can't blame my dad so I'm the only one left to blame. It's just so terrible that he had to die like that. He was the one person who understood me and loved me unconditionally. He was always there for me. He was the kindest person in the world to me. He gave me literally everything I've ever had and in return he is given a brain aneurysm.

I've been mad at the world and I know nothing could have stopped this, I just wish I had known what was going on with him so I could have gotten him medical attention immediately. He probably didn't stand a chance of surviving either way, but still... I keep replaying it over and over again and each time I do, he lives and he's fine and has no neurological defects whatsoever. I know that scenario would be impossible, no matter the circumstances, but it would have been nice to know for sure his chances had he gotten aid the moment his headache began.

The cancer that was found in his lung did actually give me a sort of relief, knowing he didn't have to suffer through that. Had he lived and been stuck with neurological deficits only to succumb to cancer months later, he definitely wouldn't have died as happy as I thought he was. He would have been miserable, and that's no way to go out.

Accidents happen and I get that, I just never thought that accident would have involved my father, who was the last person this should have happened to. Dads aren't supposed to die. Ever. I would gladly trade places with him. I would have given my life for his in a heartbeat.

My dad's body did betray him. It eventually just said enough is enough and gave out. All the poison that he was putting into his body wasn't helping him either. He made his own decisions in life and I can't fault him for smoking because when he smoked, he was happy. When he was happy, I in turn was happy. It wasn't anyone's fault, yet I blame myself for it and criticize myself every step of the way. I know I need to talk to someone about this. I can't even think about how my life is going to go on without him.

I need help and I'm going to get help. I can't let this control my thoughts forever. I have to come to terms with his passing or it will haunt me for the rest of my life, however short it may be. I most likely have an aneurysm myself if they are indeed related to genetics so that should be something to look forward to, I guess.

Thank you for everything.

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Tony I read your reply...and it was good to see this from you...your posts are always enlightening...and it say's it all....Thank you always for sharing your inspiring thoughts ~ Colleen


In your last post you stated "Had he lived and been stuck with neurological deficits only to succumb to cancer months later, he definitely wouldn't have died as happy as I thought he was". What an absolute blessing! You have in one short sentence answered your own question as this may have been the best possible outcome. No deficits, no pain, no suffering and happy

My brain aneurysm has come back and is not operable. Some have asked if I am afraid I may die from it. My response is always the same. I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of having another rupture and living though it. The thought of being incapacitated and burdening my family with taking care of me for rest of my life is just more than I could bear. My guess is your father would feel the same way.

Thank you Colleen. I always try and help where I can.


You have helped me a lot in this. I know him surviving wouldn't have been much good for anyone, it would have been so painful to watch him be like that. But still, I wanted more time with him for my own selfish reasons.

I now feel the same way as you. Watching what happened to my dad made me realize how easily your life can end. If I have a brain aneurysm, I'm not even sure that I even want to know. I don't want to burden anyone, especially when my dad did everything for me throughout his entire life. He deserved so much more than this. I won't let his death go unnoticed. I'm going to try to the best of my ability to make sure no one else has to die like that. I truly hope that you are not one of them.