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Registering death - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Registering death

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
114 posts
So glad it went well. Strange things, funerals, but somehow very necessary emotionally.
The next stage of getting back to a changed reality is possibly the most difficult. Keep carrying those tissues and expect those emotions to come at you out of the blue.
Big hugs.
Jx
Funerals are not really for the dead, they are for the living. That’s my take on it anyway, and it did me the power of good.
So true Sajehar - my Dad used to say that we were not to cry at his funeral as we weren't crying for him but for ourselves; instead we should be happy that he had gone to a better place - he also said we weren't to wear black (the one 'colour' he hated !) so there was no black in evidence at his funeral.

As I see it funerals should be a celebration of the life of the deceased person - we spent the wake in gales of laughter as we took it in turns to remember silly things Dad had said or done in his lifetime - shame he wasn't there to enjoy his own funeral, he would have loved it !
As I said in my last post I think dad’s time to crumble is after the funeral. I was right. Just last night, after the wake, he was asking time after time, to no one in particular (even though I was in the room), “What am I going to do now?”

I didn’t know, so I just said, “I don’t know dad, but I’ll think of something.”

“You will, won’t you.”

I didn’t know if that was a question or a statement, so I replied, “Course I will. Mum would expect no less. Besides, if there is an afterlife, I don’t want mum haunting me…. That’s all I bloody need!”

That made him laugh.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I was supposed to give mum’s eulogy, and very much wanted to. But try as I might, I couldn’t write it. Not because my mind was a blank, but the opposite. Too many thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories buzzing around my head like blue-arsed flies; and as difficult to capture.

Dad could see the difficulties I was having and told me to leave it to the civic celebrant. After all, that’s what we were paying her for.
With a mixture of guilt, shame at my failure, relief and worry that she wouldn’t do mum justice I agree.
I needn’t have worried; the CC did brilliantly and, with a little jealously, I’ll admit she did a far better job of it than I would have…. The cow!
Mine would’ve been far too emotive, personal and probably (correction: definitely) too longwinded.
Odd that I became emotional when mum’s music was played, but soothed when the CC spoke…. These CC’s know their stuff.

An odd little incident happened. Despite telling the CC during the home interview that mum wasn’t particularly religious, she included a reading from Ecclesiasticles (defeated the spell checker) booming from the speakers.
That’s the bit from the bible going on about, “There is a time to reap and a time to sow.”
Have you ever heard the thing in its entirety? I hadn’t.
Apart from all the lovey dovey stuff; it gets really dark: There is a time for hate, there is a time for love. There is a time for war, there is a time for peace. There is a time for smashing stones, there is a time for building with stones… and so on.

At first this inclusion shocked me but, as I listened to it, I thought what an inspired choice. It was mum to a tee. She was both a declared pacifist who also happened to believe in a tooth for a tooth, etc.
The CC gave me a very nervous look. I could tell she was thinking have I crossed the line here?
I gave her a great big wink and nod to let her know she hadn’t. She visibly relaxed. Actually it was bloody well spot on. Mum would’ve loved it.
As was a poem she recited about someone’s love of gardening; that too was mum to a tee.

As the final curtains pulled across mum’s coffin, I wept very quietly. That Ecclesiasticles stuff had really affected me. I finally realised that dad and me were right to refuse mum going to hospital again and to let her die in her own bed in her own time. I’d never really been sure before. Now I was.
Her time had come. And we were right to refuse any further medical intervention (other than help keeping her comfortable and morphine if required, which it wasn’t thank god.)
I think I was crying more for me that we’d done the right thing, rather than for mum.
After that emotional roller coaster, what did I go and do?

As soon as we got to dad’s local holding the wake (he’s been a regular for 40 years) I was the first in line to eat the food as my stomach was grumbling worse than Alf Garnet… I was so hungry!?

It was great to meet up with so many aunties, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, etc and exchange daft/moving stories, plus their trials/tribulations and equally daft/moving stories.

As ever with these things, we all promised to keep in touch with one another. Which, of course, we won’t do to any great extent…. Until the next funeral/wedding… such is life in the shadow of death.

P.S. I’d love to know what all that stick tapping stuff with the funeral cortege was about.
I looked it up on the net last night and the closest I could come to was some ritual engaged by hobos in America tapping sticks on graves. Scroll half way down.

http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/hobo ... o6wCSs2V2A

I can’t see what hobos in America would have in common with a bogstandard English funeral. But these pall bearers – one on either side of the car plus one in front – were doing this cane/stick tapping/bashing stuff on the road whilst there were crawling at a snail’s pace up our road.

Some neighbours were waiting outside, and waved/bowed to us.

Is this like some ancient ritual that has survived the times? I’ve never heard of/seen it before.
I liked it. The pall bearers bashed their sticks on the ground in unison.
I didn't speak at either my husband's funeral, or mum's or dad's. I've done lots of public speaking, but I also get emotional, and so I opted. out, taking the view that I didn't have to tell anyone anything important anyhow, they all knew I loved and cared. The "time to be born" poem was sung by The Byrds in 1965 - I hope the link below works, and it gives comfort if/when you need it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4
“What am I going to do now?”

I didn’t know, so I just said, “I don’t know dad, but I’ll think of something.”

“You will, won’t you.”

I didn’t know if that was a question or a statement, so I replied, “Course I will. Mum would expect no less. Besides, if there is an afterlife, I don’t want mum haunting me…. That’s all I bloody need!”

That made him laugh.
Sajehar, that was a brilliant response. I love your warmth and humour.

I'm glad the funeral went well and it sounds like your Mum would have been well pleased with the occasion, so hopefully she won't be haunting you (unless it's to thank you). :)

I think that funerals serve two main purposes; the first being to pay respect to the life of the deceased, and carry out their final wishes (taking into account any religious beliefs they held), and the second being to allow people to express their grief openly. It's healthy to let out the grief and tears. Ideally, people should also feel able to share happy and funny anecdotes about the person who has passed on, to celebrate their life. I'm sure the wake was buzzing with happy conversations about your mother, as she was such a character.

Thanks for sharing all this with us. Sometimes I feel a little daunted about how I'm going to handle it when my mother finally slips away, so this thread has been valuable to me.

By the way, you mentioned your brothers. It seems to me that after all you've done to support your parents over the past 3 years, maybe now would be a good time for your brothers to step up and support your father a little more. Try to encourage a little more input from them now.
Glad it went well, Sajehar. My mum certainly haunts me. Even now a year later I can feel her eyes rolling heavenward as I do something she would have disapproved of :D
My gullet rules overall.

Dad was looking a bit lost, so I invited him to join me eating a meal at at a local pub that wasn’t his local.

He loved it, as I knew he would. I even introduced him to the joys of cappocino!

That braised steak is to die for….
An it only cost a fiver.

But more importantly, he got talking to people.

But then he told me I had to do the same thing. I will, and I did... now will you?
I'm unsure who you were directing your last question towards, Sajehar, but part of the reason I post on this forum is that there are very few people I can talk to in real life about my elderly parents. I'm not close to my sisters and they don't have much empathy towards my mother. My husband is supportive but after years of me leaning on him for support his patience is wearing a bit thin. Friends are busy with their own lives and I try to avoid discussing my parents at work, as I'm in danger of dissolving into tears when discussing my mother and don't want to be unprofessional. So, it's here or nowhere, for me, and I reckon there are plenty of other people here in similar positions.

Anyway, it's lovely that you and your Dad enjoyed a night out. It's great the way you're supporting each other now.
114 posts