Dad died 3 weeks ago

My dad died just over 3 weeks ago from renal cancer aged 74. Although he was diagnosed last year he went downhill really fast in April so his death was still a real shock. We were always close and I dealt with doctors and tried to look after him before he died.

Yesterday I went to see his body. That was important for me but also very traumatic. He was so cold and didn’t look right. But at least I could finally see with my eyes that he is dead. His funeral is on Tuesday. I’ve been doing everything to arrange funeral etc as he and my mum were separated. They had a bad relationship and she has been really nasty to me a lot of the time in the last few weeks.

For the first few weeks I’ve just been numb and in shock. It’s been a sense of unreality like I’m looking down at someone else doing all this stuff but really Dad is going to pop up any moment. I’ve also had a lot of anger towards my mum and other family.

Sometimes I can get on with things and I just feel sort of nothing-y (slow and not totally engaged but not crying or anything). When I look at pictures from yesterday of dad’s body it is such a shock and then I can cry. It’s just difficult to believe that my big strong dad is gone. Right now I’m upset that he’s lying alone in the funeral home until Tuesday (even though I know really that it’s just his body). I’m also really upset that he’s going to be cremated. I hate that his body will just be gone. The pain of knowing I will never see or hug my dad again or hear his voice is right now just totally overwhelming. I do have a little boy so I have to keep going but I am so, so tired.


Dear BryonyD83,

You have had a lot to cope with in a short period of time and it sounds like you had to do most of it on your own. Your dad must have been very glad to have your love and support at the end of his life. It must have been really hard to see him go downhill fast. I hope you had a chance to say goodbye to him before he died.

I understand what you say about seeing his body. When my dad died 5 years ago, I was there in his last moments, with my mum and two of my sisters. He was in his own home, in a bed in the living room, and it was just like he had fallen asleep. When I next saw him, it was the day before his funeral and when I saw his body in the coffin I broke down, because it was only then that the reality hit me, Until then I had ‘held it together’. It took a while before I was able to direct my mind to the memories of him when he was alive, rather than of him in the coffin.
It is stiill very early days for you. I am sorry that your mum and other family have not been very nice. You don’t need that on top of your grief. I hope there will be others, maybe a good friend, who will be there for you. This site is also a good place to find support, so it is good that you have joined us. Please feel free to post as often as you want, there will always be someone who will reply. xx Jo

Hi BryonyD83
Very sorry for the loss of your father . i lost my dad in July '22
I can understand seeing dad open coffin was traumatic . I saw my dad open coffin and i was in a right state. I went on my own which made it worse- no support so i know it can be difficult. And that has stayed with me seeing him and my dad didnt look too good . I kept saying is this my dad ?
My dad was cremated as well . I never went to the funeral as i was on my own and couldnt cope with it and i dont believe in Cremation. Its difficult when theres no grave and my dads ashes are going to be scattered which is worse .
Take time for yourself . Light a candle , write a memory book all what he said and did . put up photos of places you went together .These things can help . Unfortunatly at times as i found out things arent always going to help and there will be bad times but try put thesepositive things in place . Cry when you need to Sit and take time to think of your dad
Can you make a place in the garden a special area in memory of your dad Plant a few special plants and take time to try and rest
Could you go away for a few days rest after the funeral
Look after youself keep posting we are all here for you