After the funeral

It was my Dad’s funeral yesterday. It was gut wrenchingly difficult, I almost collapsed in agony when the pall bearers brought in his coffin, I was sobbing uncontrollably, I found myself feeling like I was letting my Mum down, not that she would ever see it that way, but I just lost all control. The cognitive dissonance of knowing Dad was in the coffin but also absolutely not in the coffin because Dad as Dad has gone. In spite of my collapse, I somehow managed to deliver a eulogy to him. I often have to do public speaking at work so I think I switched myself into a different mode. I am so pleased I managed to deliver my eulogy myself. I feel I did Dad proud. We played meaningful music and had a montage of photos of his life with us, ending with a beautiful moment of connection between him and my youngest daughter, a photo I am so glad that I have. The wake was well attended and it was really good for me to be able to talk to all these people about Dad and who cared for Dad too. But as people left the wake, I felt this sense of rising panic. I didn’t want to leave the venue, I wanted to keep sitting in this space that was all about Dad. Maybe because in my head at the moment everything is all about Dad, so it felt like the right space to be. The rest of the world feels alien and unfamiliar and just plain wrong.
I’m afraid of life now the funeral has passed. I felt like I could trust that people wouldn’t expect too much of me between him dying and the funeral. But now I feel like I’m in this freefall - somehow I now have to do the rest of my life without him. And I don’t have a formula on how to do that or professionals to pay to make it all go smoothly, it felt like there are people guiding you through the funeral, helping hands. But today I feel bereft and afraid of the new normal that will never be normal again. I am incredibly fortunate to have support in my life. But I also feel so lonely and vulnerable and the emotions are simmering just underneath the surface ready to spill over at any moment and then I’ll just go, there’s not even an obvious trigger, but I’ll suddenly cry or get vertigo or feel I might faint. And the anxiety is off the charts.
How do I get through the days now the funeral is gone by? Will people understand that the funeral is simply a ritual and not “closure”, a word I utterly reject and don’t relate to at all. At the end of the wake my Mum said well we got through today, then together we grimly said now we just have to get through the rest of our lives. And at the moment I can’t quite get a grip on how to do that even in the coming days. Thanks for reading if you got this far x

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Im so sorry for your loss. I lost my father on 30th Jan and the funeral is 1st March. I feel many of the things you describe and i fell like less of a person without dad around, almost like part of my armour or strength has been ripped away.

This is a new chapter in your life, one which you didnt want to start but that we all know is coming. I read that at the beginning the grief will hit you unexpectedly and completely wipe you out and, with a little time, you’ll see it coming but it will still knock you over. With a little more time it will hit you but you’ll manage to stay in your feet.

You don’t need to be “normal”, not yet anyway, and it is ok to not be ok. Take each day gradually and try not to focus on the next if you can avoid it.

Im going to be a pall bearer at dad’s funeral and im saying a few words but atbthe moment just hearing the songs he wanted played upsets me. Ive only cried a few times since he died and then i started asking myself why i wasn’t more upset. However you are grieving is the right way.

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Hi @magenta sorry for your recent loss. I can relate to everything you’ve shared. I’m a year on from losing my Mum suddenly and unexpectedly in January’23. After the funeral there’s definitely a sense of gathering yourself together to get on with living. I knew that’s what my Mum would want so I tried hard to get on with daily normality. Except obviously everything has changed and some days you wonder how you can get through. I read a lot of books about grief and found it helped to normalise everything I was feeling. Slowly as the days go by, feelings ebb and flow. Most of the past year I’ve felt like I have a cloud of sadness shadowing me. My motivation for life certainly took a dip, but I have survived a year with all the painful absences on anniversary dates. I found it easier to give myself permission to be sad and not fight it. A year on and I am trying to be more open to opportunities to feel a sense of joy in life, to feel emotions other than sorrow. I would say, it’s still a work in progress but this can be expected after a lifetime of love. Sending you best wishes, take care xx

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My dad passed a week ago today and his funeral is on 6th March, i am dreading it, i am due to read a poem at his celebration of life service and i am so worried i will mess it up and not make him proud :broken_heart::sleepy:

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So sorry. The funeral is hard, it suddenly makes everything real. I’ve lost my dad as well and can relate. :heart:

Most people do expect the funeral to be a closure. I imagine that’s because they aren’t personally affected. So the best thing is to ignore them or, if they are friends, tell them how you feel. Hopefully they will understand.

Don’t think about the rest of your lives. Just stay in the present moment and drag yourselves back to it if you have to. It won’t be possible to grasp the enormity of it for some time (how long is different for everyone), so thinking about it only makes you panic.

Sending hugs!

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Hi @Smc0082 sorry for your very recent loss. Don’t worry about the funeral, whatever happens it will be okay. I read a poem at my Mum’s funeral and was nearly overwhelmed by the emotion. People are very compassionate though and will understand what you’re going through. Take your time and breathe. You will find a hidden strength to get you through. Best wishes, take care xx

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Thank you so much everyone for your replies. I’m going to write back properly in the next few days. I’m struggling a lot with energy and pain but I look forward to writing back to you all soon. X

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I’m so sorry for the loss of your father @Fibungdung , your description of your armour or strength being ripped away really resonated with me. You’re right about it being a new chapter that none of us wanted to start but all knew somewhere within us that we would have to face. It’s good advice to try and focus on each day and not look too far ahead.
It sounds really wise that you’re listening to the songs your Dad wanted played as, while it’s so upsetting, it might help you prepare for hearing them at the funeral. I listened to the songs we had prepared for the funeral in advance and it was helpful to know them before I heard them at the funeral. We had to choose them as Dad’s death was so unexpected, but they really reflected him and what he enjoyed.
I’ll be thinking of you on 1st March, keep talking on here, as you say however you are grieving is the right way, tears are only one way of expressing grief, there are so many others.

Hi @Rosiepink , I am so sorry for the loss of your Mum so suddenly and unexpectedly, and so recently of it being barely a little over a year. I think it’s a great way of viewing it that you know your Mum would want you to get on with daily normality, as far as you can. It’s definitely helping me knowing that Dad would have wanted me to do the same. I have to get on with things to some extent as I have two young children, so they do force me into getting on with living in some ways. But I entirely relate to the cloud of sadness shadowing everything. It’s incredible that you’ve survived a year, as you say all the painful absence on anniversary dates. Thank you for sharing as it’s hopeful to see that it’s possible to survive this, at times it feels so unbearable, I do know that I’ll survive it in a logical sense, but my body and mind are in such disarray it seems hard to know quite how it’ll be possible. Take good care x

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Hi @Smc0082 I am so sorry for the recent loss of your Dad, such a raw and painful time. I really relate to feelings of dreading the funeral, I felt similarly. Do you have a plan B for if you don’t feel able to read the poem yourself? I know it’s so hard, but try not to pressure yourself. I had a plan B for mine, that the celebrant would read it, and we had an agreement that I could opt out right up until the last moment or halfway through.
You’ve chosen this poem that means something to you and your Dad, and that’s your tribute to him, you’ll be doing him proud just by being you because you’re his child.
My sister chose a song that was meaningful for her relationship with Dad and we played that, and her tribute to him was just as heartfelt though she didn’t speak a word herself, it was as beautiful and something he’d have loved and been proud of.
Try not to pressure yourself, there is no messing up at a funeral, it’s a place to remember your Dad and express your love and your grief, it’s a space for you and those who loved your Dad to support one another xxx I’ll be thinking of you on 6th March x

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Hi @Ulma , I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. :people_hugging: The funeral certainly was hard, as you say the reality of it all, it is so brutal and intense.

You’re right about just ignoring those who make us feel like ‘closure’ is a thing.

And I also really appreciate you reminding me not to think about the rest of my life without Dad, it’s not helpful at all, as you say better to try very hard to stay in the present moment.

Thank you for writing to me.

Sending hugs to you also :people_hugging: xxx

Thanks @magenta. Today was 3 weeks since dad died and the last couple of days have been the hardest so far. I think the shock and defenses my brain put up have started wearing off. I long to see him again, to chat to him again and it is so painful knowing that i will never do either.

I tried working yesterday, i work from home mostly, but i just couldnt focus or concentrate on anything. Nothing was going in.

Today we had a meeting with the celebrant to plan the funeral but it was also mum’s birthday. The first in 50 years without him.

I miss him so much.

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Hi @Fibungdung , I really hear you, you miss your Dad so terribly, it’s so impossible to consider not being able to speak to him or see him again. I’m just a few days out from you, it’s been 3 weeks and four days since Dad died. I also keep having moments of utter heartbreak, the most simple moments that I will miss, his voice, his cheery way of saying hi to me.
I also relate to the difficulty of working, even if it’s from home it’s just trying to care or focus or concentrate that’s so difficult, the grief is so raw. Are your work understanding and sympathetic to your situation?
So difficult that today was your Mum’s birthday, as you say it’s a first without your Dad and that’s so painful.
How was your meeting with the celebrant?
You miss your Dad so much, I can hear how much you loved him in the way you write. I miss mine too. Though our grief is different, I do understand a lot of what you write and some of the things you may be feeling. Huge hugs :people_hugging:

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Thanks @magenta. Work is being really understanding but im also a fairly senior manager and so feel im letting people down and making them do work that i should be doing.

The meeting with the celebrant was good, i think it will be a nice ceremony which, ironically, dad would have really like to attend. In the days after he died we found a scrap piece of paper in his study with the two songs he wanted and his thoughts on death. I’ve had one of songs (sunshine on my shoulders by John Denver) going round and round in my head ever since and i’m going to read his thoughts at the funeral.

We also found an envelope addressed to mum with a note and a USB stick in. The note was the lyrics to another John Denver song (For baby) and on the USB stick was just an mp3 of the same song. We all sobbed as it played. We never knew he had such a romantic side! He was my parents’ favourite singer and was popular when they met and married. That song has also been in my head ever since.

@Smc0082

No one expects a perfect pitch at a funeral. Showing emotion is expected and actually adds to the reading. Have a back up person if you’re worried. Your brave doing it. It’s my Dad’s funeral next week, I just can’t do the reading. But I have other roles on the day.

I hope it goes smoothly. Big hug. :people_hugging:

I’m so sorry we’re on this terrible journey together. Wishing you strength and sending virtual hugs :people_hugging:

My dad died on 19 Jan. Funeral is next week and we’re still in planning mode. We lost mum in Nov 23 so it only feels like a few weeks since we were at the Crematorium. We have a bagpiper and I’ve been listening to the songs to choose the right ones, its been heartbreaking.

I’m back at work and can resonate about not feeling focused. I have zero tolerance for poor behaviour and am working far slower. But seeing people is helpful.

But I feel like I can’t breath properly right now. And my new role as mum and dad to my disabled brother is an adjustment. It’s exhusting to be honest.

I’m just trying to remember that I was lucky to be close to my folks and I had them until my 40s. Some people are not so lucky. I miss them so much.

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Hi all. My mum’s funeral is today… I haven’t really slept and I feel anxious… I’m actually dreading it…

Hi @Ola13 - I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mum, and sorry too that you’re underslept and anxious and full of dread about the funeral today. To be honest, I was exactly the same on the day of my Dad’s funeral last Friday. It is a hard day. But it’s also a day where lots of people who loved and cared for your Mum will be there to pay their respects, and also people understand that the funeral is really about the immediate family like you.
One thing that helped me a little was that the funeral was a day that was all about Dad, and because the inside of my head is all about Dad, there’s a relief in the day being focused on the person you’ve lost.
I also prioritised myself, I took away pressure to speak to anyone before the funeral itself, I couldn’t face that. I encourage you to remember today is for you to grieve and honour your Mum and not to worry about anyone else. Will you have someone there you trust who can look out for you during the day? I had my husband on duty to look out for me and my Mum and it helped.
I really hope today has some moments that you find a wonderful memory of your Mum and that you receive comfort from those around you. It’s a hard day but you’ll get through. I’ll be thinking of you. X

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@magenta thank you. My husband and 3 daughters will be there, also my mum’s sisters and their family. We all are close and will look out for me. xxx

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