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My Dad’s Funeral was Yesterday


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I’m 35, the middle child of three girls. My dad was 67. He died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday, October 6th. I’m not doing well.


A little back story on my dad’s health. He collapsed in March from seizures. He’d never had seizures before in his life. It was terrifying, he was in the ICU on a respirator, we couldn’t see him because of Covid, they weren’t allowing people into the hospitals. We couldn’t even talk to him on the phone at first and he was suffering from a lot of confusion and didn’t understand why we weren’t there.

They tested him for everything (but corona, which I kept telling everyone that some people have atypical corona symptoms. Some people experience seizures and confusion, but all the medical professionals dismissed this.  A simple google search will tell you it’s true. I have a severe distrust of doctors now, but I digress...)

During this time I was in flight or fight mode, just an absolute mess.  I couldn’t see him or talk to him, and I was so worried he would die. I wrote him a letter telling him how much I loved him, but I was so afraid I’d end up reading it to his grave and not to his face.  I was reaching out everywhere for people to pray. Crying constantly and praying for the angels to watch over him.

I have mental health issues, depression, anxiety, and ocd.  I have two suicide attempts in my past, and that was before any of this happened.  I just knew I couldn’t survive if my dad died. I couldn’t and wouldn’t carry on.

He lived. And the relief was tremendous.  I read my very emotional letter to him at his 67th birthday party, to his face.  I cried while reading it. 
We were closer after that. I’d visit on Sundays because I do my wash at my parents, and he said he looked forward to seeing me every week. He enjoyed my visits. He helped me start a pumpkin patch this summer. I wish I would have helped him more with his garden too because he made some sort of mistake, put some deadly chemical on it, and his whole garden failed.  This makes me sad because it was his last garden and when he had been in the hospital after I’d finally been allowed to talk to him on the phone, I had told him we would put a garden together this summer,  I was trying to manifest us being in the garden together, visualizing it, but it didn’t happen, at least not the way I visualized. We worked together on my garden, but not his.  I don’t know why I didn’t help him. Was I busy? I don’t even remember.  But after he accidentally killed everything, I still thought we’d have next year, 2021 to do his garden right.

Sometimes I hate myself for not doing enough with him.

Anyway, he was still on the seizure medication for months, all summer, and he couldn’t drive because of it, and they never did figure out why he had a seizure in the first place. (And no one tested for coved antibodies or believed me that this could be a possibility... but whatever.) His teeth started bothering him. Seizure medication can cause dental issues. Again, a simple google search tells you this.  But Dad later asked some medical professionals about this and they said they’d never heard of it, and dad said I’m not a doctor, I don’t have any medical training; he only trusted his doctors. (I kind of think all doctors are idiots now, but whatever. It doesn’t change what happened.)

He went out of town for five days, staying at a hospital under constant medical supervision, so that they could take him off his seizure medication and see if his seizures came back.  My mom accompanied him, they let her in but she had to be out every night by 9. He was there for five days, with all types of gizmos stuck to his head, they even had to be a foot away from him when he went to the bathroom, which he hated.  He tried to hold everything in. He never had any seizures which was great. His neurologist said his heart rate went down to 40 one night and he needed to see a cardiologist, but she only worked with the head, not the heart. She also thought he was on too many medications, for high blood pressure and what not. She was going to send a message to his doctors about this.

Meanwhile, I was house sitting for them. It was stressful because I found out one of their rabbits was very sick, so I took it to the vet and it had to be put to sleep, then I had to bury it afterward, and I was very stressed from all that. I saw my dad briefly when he returned home. He was tired. He told me he was off the seizure medication now, and I said that was good. He asked me how things went and I said bad and he said he already knew about the rabbit,I didn’t need to tell him any more about it, and he said he was tired and going to bed. And that was our last conversation.

Three days later on a Monday, my parents sat down and tried to call cardiologists but they couldn’t get through to any, and Dad told Mom that because it was Monday, they were busy and they could try again tomorrow.  Then he mowed the lawn and took the trash to the dump.

The next day, when he was getting out of bed, he collapsed. Mom did CPR on him forever as she waited for an ambulance.  She also called us girls.  I remember getting the phone call. I usually leave my phone off at night but I had trouble sleeping the night before, so I had left it on to listen to sleep sounds. It rang, I answered, and she told me something’s wrong with Dad and to get there now.  I rushed to get ready, I prayed as I drove. My older sister called while I was on the road. She sounded much calmer. She said to come and I told her I was on my way, and I asked if she was there, and she said yes. I hung up and wondered what that meant. What was happening? Why did we all need to be there? Did they call an ambulance? What was happening?

When I turned down the country road near my parent’s house an ambulance was leaving, but his lights were off.  Then I passed a cop car with his lights off. Then another cop car, no lights. I was starting to worry he was dead. I was scared.  When I got to the house, there was an ambulance and several other service vehicles all around the yard. I parked in my usual spot, nearest the back door and got out, and some lady with a clipboard standing at the back door, door open, she looked at me and said, “I don’t mean to be a bother but can you move your car, we’re waiting for the coroner?”

I said, “Coroner? Is my dad dead?” And she said yes. 

My hands were shaking uncontrollably as I fumbled through my purse looking for my keys. I unlocked my car, and got in and moved it. When I got to the back door she tried to stand in front of me, right up in my face. She said something like, “I have to tell you-“

But I interrupted her because I was angry at her, I felt I shouldn’t have learned my Dad was dead in that way, so I said, “How could you tell me that! Get away from me!”

She moved out of the way, and I tripped over my dad’s dead body. It was splayed out on the kitchen floor with a sheet over it but the sheet didn’t cover everything. His hands and feet and the top of his forehead with all his black hair, it all stuck out. I think I tripped over a hand, and I started screaming and bawling. And looking for someone, a loved one, but the room was closed off. I could feel movement behind, like the paramedic people were back there, just watching me. Finally, my sister came out of the living room and hugged me. And we cried together.

The s***show continued. They needed my dad’s license so my sister and I had to walk through the kitchen where his body laid several more times, looking for his wallet. We finally found it in his truck. I must have passed his body, three or four times. I think three. Each time I’d tell myself I wouldn’t look, but each time I couldn’t take  my eyes off him. The coroner person made my older sister sit in the kitchen with her while she asked questions about my dad, with my dad’s body still lying on the floor. 

Anyway, they think it was a heart attack, but they didn’t do an autopsy.

When they finally moved his body, my older sister, who my mom says is the strong one, started making plans for his funeral. They picked out the clothes he’d be buried in. My mom, who was a mess, wanted him to be buried in camo underwear, because he liked camouflage, so it suddenly became very important to her to wash his underwear. My younger sister started cleaning because she said that is how she deals with stress.  I was just a puddle of non-functioning blubber.  I kept saying, “Do we have to do this now?” I ended up with a terrible, unbearable migraine.

The funeral plans were a whirlwind. The next day we went to a cemetery and picked out the plot, and stone, followed by a trip to the funeral home where we picked out everything. The casket, the little leaflets, what the leaflets would say, what the picture would be. My sister had typed out an obituary the night before (the day of his death!), and the funeral director went over that. He wanted us to pick songs. He gave us a name to a reverend that would call my mom and sister later to try to get a feel for the family.  My mom was a mess and she was having to write checks left and right. One for the plot, one for the funeral home, one for the flowers, she had to go to the bank and move money around. Such a mess.

We went home and went through picture albums to paste on boards. Not even forty-eight hours earlier my dad had been alive, on the mend even, finally off that seizure medication, and now we were going through pictures of him for his funeral.

I didn’t want to look at the pictures, but I got sucked in once my sisters were making their boards, so I made a board. It was very sad. We also picked out songs that night for the funeral. A lot of Johnny Cash.

The next day, Thursday, I just stayed home, at my childhood home and tried to get some work done online. Mom did some banking. My sisters were at their houses preparing eulogies which I was not doing. I was not going to speak at my Dad’s funeral. I’m a shy person and I was planning on writing him another letter and just reading it to him in private.  That day, I went outside to get my laundry from my car but my car was locked, so I sat on the ground and cried. And I talked to my dad and I kept repeating certain things, like how I wished that I was still little and all the things we used to do when I was little and I suddenly felt inspired to write a eulogy, so I brought a paper and pen outside and wrote about 3 short pages.

The next day was the funeral, just yesterday. I told the funeral director and the reverend that I wanted to speak too, but I wanted to go last in case I backed out. 

The funeral was very nice. The reverend was great. So many flowers. The sunflower splay we’d picked out on top of the green coffin looked beautiful and so many people had sent flowers and candles and wind chimes. The music was fantastic, they played the four songs we’d picked, and they were all very on pointe.  I didn’t back out of my speech, and people said our 3 eulogies were very touching. My sister’s boyfriend said I made him cry, and my cousin came up to me later and said I’d really helped him. 

When I got home I was exhausted but I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t slept well since all this started, but last night was the worst. I maybe got two hours of sleep. 

Today I was alone. I was going to do stuff like visit my grandma and walk dogs with my sister, but I backed out. I was tired and emotional, well I’m always emotional. I’ve been staying here at my mom’s and she found a cooler full of beer in my dad’s truck so she brought it in and asked my sister if she wanted it. My sister said she’d take it the next time she was over. It’s been sitting in the kitchen all day. I don’t like beer but I remember when my dad’s mom died, he went back to his woods by himself and drank. So thinking of him as my role model, and wanting to do what he’d do, I popped open a bottle and chugged it. It did not help. I became very weepy. I tried to go to sleep because I know I’m low on sleep but I couldn’t and just ended up screaming and wailing. I think when I’m alone, I’m worse because I’m left with my thoughts. And suicide ideation is not a new concept to me. I definitely was thinking hard about that today. 

I took one of my mom’s sleeping pills. It didn’t knock me out like I’d hoped, but I did eventually fall asleep for a few hours, and now I’m here typing this. Because I need help. It’s not just my mental and emotional body that misses him, it’s my physical one too.  I keep getting headaches even though I’m not headache prone. My stomach is all messed up, I have diarrhea.  My eyes burn. Food doesn’t taste very good. I do eat, people brought over some food, there’s food here to eat, but it’s sad food, cry into your plate kind of food, food mixed with tears. I’m experiencing a rainbow of despair. Just different shades of sadness. Sometimes I feel depersonalization, sometimes I feel dizzy and delirious, sometimes I feel needy, sometimes I feel hatred toward myself for not doing this or that, even though I know my dad loved me, and I know he knew I loved him. I feel sorry for him because he had such a hard life, and I feel angry at myself for taking him for granted for so long. I feel sad. I miss him.


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Dear Birdie8,

((((hugs)))) I'm so sorry for your devastating loss. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your family. 

It is normal  to be raw and upset and questioning everything during this sad and difficult time. I wonder if might help to stay with friends or family for a few days. Please know there are lots of resources in the community and through church. And we are here too. 

Thinking of you.




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I am really sorry for your loss. It is a very trying time for your family. I agree with reader’s suggestion to stay over with family or friends for a while. It all feels so unreal and it helps to not be alone. 

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Birdie. This is grief. It has so much power over us sometimes. I am so unbelievably sorry about your father. This entire scenario sounds tremendously traumatizing and overwhelming. Seek help. You have reached out here you can do it again. My advice is to look into counseling, therapy. I have a very similar background with mental health and I think it helps to have an outside non biased understanding person to talk to, people who can help you help yourself.  Hang in there. We are here and we all understand.  

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