My father passed away last night....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by scent of cedar, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    It was not entirely unexpected, but....

    I think I am posting about it to learn how those of us who have lost our fathers were best able to comfort our newly-widowed mothers or our children. Both difficult child and daughter are taking the news well, and it may be that there IS nothing more that we can do but to try truly to hear our family members, and to share our own stories and feelings honestly with them.

    There will not be a funeral, per my father's wishes.

    We are thinking about conducting a memorial service next summer when everyone is home again. (No one is home right now ~including my mother. My father passed away while they were on vacation.)

    Thanks, everyone.

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Barbara...I am so very sorry. (Hugs). The memorial service idea sounds like a very good idea. My situation was different in that my mother died young and my father took it very badly. I handled the funeral arrangements, but there was no burial. We had a service at sea many years later at the insistence of myself and my mother's best friend. Right after her passing, I visited my father often and brought him gifts of food. I often called as well. Our situation was strained though because he was a very difficult person. Be sure to take care of yourself. I know in my situation, I was trying very hard to reach out to my remaining parent (ironic and sad cause he was an abusive difficult child), but was forgetting to nurture myself through the grieving process. So, I just wanted to mention to you to make sure you take the time you need for yourself to grieve your loss. (Hugs).
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would just keep checking on mom, making sure she is eating and taking care of herself. She may need grief counselling, as may you or the kids. In my town the funeral home that is the biggest has free grief counselling groups for anyone - new death or old, buried with any funeral home (not just with them).

    I am so very sorry. At least he was off having fun when he died.


  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{{Barbara}}} I'm so sorry. The idea for a memorial service sounds very nice. That's what our family did as we were all spread out throughout the country back then so we chose a date and location (my brothers in NY) and met there for the service and party. It was very nice and heartwarming, I think my Dad would have approved as it'd been a few months so instead of everyone being sad, we were just happy to be together to celebrate Dad's life, Know what I mean??

    My mom was around 69 then I believe and still active with her social circle and also traveled between her retirement home in the winters and to her Summer place near my sister in PA. Initially she was very distraught but my Dad battled a long illness, so in a way, it was a relief for her to know he was no longer in pain. I think we all just made extra efforts to invite her out for lunch/family things and call her frequently. She lost her Mother on the day she buried my Dad's ashes 2 months after his death, so it was a double whammy for her and again, we just tried to be there for her.

    Gentle Hugs~
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Barbara, I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

    My step-dad died in 2000 - he'd been sick about a year with cancer. He was the perfect mate for my mother and they had 14 years together, which was really far too short. They had a heck of a lot of fun, though. Two peas in a pod - same likes, same dreams.

    I think the hardest part after he died was that while she has a huge circle of friends, he really was her very best friend. She went through about 6 months of being *really* tearful and horribly lonely. Nights were the hardest, because he was a very social guy and they were always going to parties or concerts or whatever, and after he died she just stopped. Felt like everything they had done together no longer was appropriate for just her, alone. Talked about selling the home they bought and decorated together. It was very hard to hear because I really didn't know what to say to "fix" it ... so I just listened. For my mom, at least, it was just something she had to go thru. I think the only thing I was vocal about was that she needed to wait on selling the house. I thought that selling it then would've been a huge mistake. Fortunately, she never did bring herself to put it on the market and I think in a way it's a comfort to her now.

    I should say that she and I have never been close and neither one of us will seek support from the other, so I probably don't have a good idea of her grieving process up close.

    Again, I'm so very sorry.
  6. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Barbara, I am so sorry about your loss.

    Even when it is expected, it is very hard to lose a parent. My father was 87 when he passed away, we were with him in his home, and it couldn't have been more peaceful. And yet -- it was a shock.

    You can't do more than be there for your mother if/when she needs you. And the same with your children. Just talking about it is very helpful, talking things through, being a good listener.

    I'm sending you a hug, with wishes for strength to get through this difficult time.

    Love, Esther
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Barb, sending my condolences. It's always sad when a parent leaves us on so many levels.
    I'm not sure if you were on the site when my dad passed away. He was at our home. I found my siblings a huge support. We told stories and laughed and cried. It felt right sharing those stories and how much we had healed our relationship with him as he mellowed. It was a special time with my brother and sisters.
    My parents divorced late in life so mom was in the periphery. I can't really help with how to console her for her loss. Maybe letting her share stories of her life with your dad. It always feels cathartic and clean.

    Just a thought.

    Take care Barbara. I'll keep a good thought for you and your family.
  8. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    My condolences. My father in law died first, but he had been divorced from mother in law for 20+ years, and husband was an only child. and we did not yet have children, so there was only a small short thing in my church with just me and husband in attendance, and no comforting for any spouse.
    mother in law lost her current husband next, but they hadd moved halfway across country and seldom saw us, so again, not much for us to be involved in - altho we did then take over financial support of mother in law, and then we did move her in with us, she was not happy with us and left, and went back half across country, where we continued financial support.

    My moms husband died 11 years ago, left mom and a young son (age 10)- he was not yet 60, mom was around 50. Sadly my siblings were not able to tolerate mom dateing, and mom for the most part shut us out, holed up and watched TV 24-7 and little else. she passed away 2 years ago.
    My best friend died 3 years ago this week, young, youngish kids, and left her husband behind, as well. We checked in with her husband often, and the kids, inviting them to social outings, made sure they were keeping up with day to day life, like paying bills, grocery and laundry....pitched in to help make sure they were doing so, knew how to do so etc. Mostly we let the new widower guide us in conversation and his feelings and thoughts. We remained open to him speaking about her, both good and even bad (sure, she was simply human and sometimes he wanted to say not so nice things)
    Her death was not unexpected, but it did speed up in how fast it came, and it was still a shock and very very hard for everyone. Before she passed on, she kept telling everyone, "everyone dies" But, well, of course it was still quite hard for her husband and kids, and her parents.

    In the case of a spouse, it is important to try to gently keep watch that the remaining spouse knows how to do things the spouse who is now gone might have taken care of in a relationship. And for some widows widowers, they do OK after and do not mind as much, being alone and now on their own than others do. SOme surviving spousses handle and tolerate others help, comfort, etc differently than others. Some welcome it, some- not so much. SOme might find help, comfort, concern to be intrusive and invasive. Some welcome it, need it, crave it, depend heavily on it.
  9. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    an observation, when my first husband died (we had no kids) well, we had been together almost 10 years.
    It was difficult for ME becuz if I said one word about him, people would very quickly change the subject or even get up and walk away! It did not matter that I was NOT droning on and on or dwelling on his...if I said so much as, oh husband showed me how to cook this---after I was asked where I learned to cook this- people would......change the subject! It made me sad, and angry, becuz hey, OK my husband was gone, BUT I was NOT gone and those last 10 years I was part of his life and he was part of my life and to deny HIS existance also denied 10 years of MY history.I found it difficult that they could not even let me speak his name out loud, becuz THEY were not comfortable with remembering he HAD lived. So I never did ever gte to really mention him at all again after about 2 days after his funeral. I did not think that was entirely fair to ME.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The loss of a parent is such a complex issue. My Dad died unexpectedly and first (even tho my Mother had cardiac issues for years and he had no symptoms!). I was "there" for my Mom. The most difficult part for me was that my Mom needed to express her negative emotions about choices he had made in years before...I was aghast and "role played" to sympathize as it was such a shock to hear.

    I'm sure you will make the best choices based on your family dynamics.
    Please accept my very sincere sympathy on your loss. DDD
  11. My thoughts and prayers are with you Barbara. It is never easy to lose a parent.
    When my father in law passed we had a little ceremony (just for the family) where we scattered his ashes in the ocean at the beach on one of the sea islands off the shore of our state. It was really kind of funny because we didn't stop to think when we planned it that the tide would need to be going the ceremony was at midnight.

    My own father died quite unexpectedly 8 years ago. It has been an ongoing adjustment for my Mom. She has done much, much better than I expected and I am very proud of her. I try to be present when I am needed, and absent when I am not. It's a real balancing act.

    Take care of yourself and give this grieving process lots of time.
  12. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    I have no experience with the death of a parent, but I wanted to send you my deepest sympathies. Your parents must have been pretty great people, because they have one of the nicest daughters I know. My prayers of comfort to you and your family.
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    I am so sorry for your loss. My dad was the only person who ever showed me unconditional love and I still miss him after 5 years. My grandma also died last night. She would have been 100 in June.

    Just take it one day at a time. Be there for your mom. This is such a hard time. My mom was so sad for so long. But she remarried 2 years ago to an amazing man who also lost his wife of many years. You never know what life has in store for you.

    I'm thinking of your family during this time.


  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I am so sorry for your loss. The memorial service sounds like a lovely idea.

  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    There is no right or wrong way in comforting - it's all about just being there for your mom or your children. AND taking time to grieve yourself.

    This may sound horrible but the day after my mother died & we were planning her funeral we started telling stories & cracking up at the funeral home. The funeral director, god bless him, just waited us out. After the laughter came the tears & then the strength to get through the next few days.

    The hardest part will be after the funeral & everyone has left; no one calls to check in after a month or so. That is when your mom will need the support, the ear - sometimes you become the punching bag & others you become a comforting blanket to your mom. I saw it with my dad & my siblings.

    I'm sorry for your loss - expected or not. Losing a parent is losing a big part of your life.
  16. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I;m so very sorry for your loss and im so sorry i am late to this.
    my thoughts are with you and your family.

    (((hugs to you))))

  17. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Thinking of you and your family.......sorry for your loss........
  18. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen sorry. I admit I have no advice as I have never lost a parent. I just wish you all the luck and hugs as you go through this process.

  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Im so sorry Barbara. This is something that really shakes me up because I adore my dad now after probably hating him for the first 20 years of my life. My dad is now 82 and I worry constantly.

    I lost my mom in Nov of 2005. This wasnt quite as big of a shock because she had full blown alzheimers. I felt it was a better thing for her to simply pass away instead of lingering on. It still hurt and was painful for me for awhile even though we had such huge issues between us.

    Losing a parent is rough. I did have to do some consoling of my kids because even though my mom was a fink...they loved her. I just know I will be a basket case when something happens to my dad.
  20. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Hugs Barb - so sorry for your loss