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Need some advise burying a parent

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  • #16
    Aw, man, I'm sorry. Welcome to the Official Club of Funeral Planners.

    Re what to do: Did your dad have wishes? (Knowing he preferred cremation is a HUGE start.) If he did, follow them. Was he a vet? The VA will pay for a small headstone, if you wish. And maybe you can start a flag collection. (Sorry, morbid humor. I give mine to the American Legion. 2 so far.)

    I've only planned thru funeral homes and also, once, a church (Mom).

    My blood relatives so far ar cremated, church service, ashes scattered in local fishing hole owned by unsuspecting corporation. Cost-$1200 to $2K.

    My husband, even w/ cremation, cost 5K due to his family's wishes-full service inside funeral home, overpriced urn. He was interred in his family's plot but had graveside service as well. It all adds up, quick.

    Music is important imo. I've run the gamut, depending on the deceased.

    MANY death certs. I'm still handing the damned things out for my husband.

    I'm so grateful my Mom discussed this w/ me, 2 weeks before she died. I think, in the main funerals are for the survivors. Do what comforts you and yours. Myself, I'd rather visit a fishing hole than a cemetery, when I get the need to commune w/ the departed. YMMV.

    I think I'd like to be scattered on a coral reef...and all my titanium needs to go to the scrapyard.

    If the service goes awry, try to relax. It's your dad saying hi. (My brother made the CD of Desperado skip, I reckon. Just in case it was sheer incompetence, I no longer deal w/ the funeral home of Eureka KS.)
    Last edited by betheny; 11-15-2011, 06:44 PM.
    Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


    • #17
      I send my deep est condolences Andy, and wish you peace and comfort.


      • #18
        I had Mom's photo albums at the church lady lunch before her service. Guests were enthralled. If you do a memorial service enlarged photos on easels beat the hell out of a corpse in a coffin imo. Another reason cremation is so great.

        Sorry if I sound flippant. I run these events on humor and the occasional solo, loud, hair-rending meltdown.

        If your dad had no minister, I'd recommend asking his closest friends to eulogize. I hate a funeral w/ preachy-preachy about a stranger, by a stranger. Let the preacher pray, of course, it's comforting. But let those who knew him-you, if you're up to it-remember the man whose life mattered. And it DID, Andy. His life mattered. Don't forget.

        We bought an urn, used for my bro. Re-used it for Mom. Stupid thing will probably temporarily house Gaines's forever. We believe in getting our money's worth. We only use it for the service and on the way to the fishing hole anyway. You need a Phillips head screwdriver to open and close.
        Last edited by betheny; 11-11-2011, 02:28 PM.
        Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


        • #19
          We are sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself as you work through your sorrow and grief.

          All the best,
          GJ and NL


          • #20
            That's one of the roughest things in life, to lose a parent. That's why funeral parlors know what to do. They'll handle everything, Andy, and take some of the load off you while you're still coming to grips with your dad's death. Let them handle it. Stay strong, but tears help, they are a kind of release. I cried too, and not just a little bit. My dad was also cremated, and he wished for his ashes to be dumped into the little mountain creek where he and my mom spent their honeymoon. It felt good to do what he wanted. Best of luck to you, time will help even things out, it won't always feel like it does now.
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            • #21
              I got the gears in motion this morning, went the the funeral home/cremation society place and had things started. They are supposed to pick him up tommorow. Viewing/urn type/etc to be decided later after I'm not running on 2 hr sleep. It's a couple hundred either way for whatever choices so I really dont care, the hard part is deciding.

              Death certificates/Doctor signing off on stuff/misc crap is being handled by the Funeral home so that is good. Property/money was in a trust where I'm secondary IIRC, so I just need to get a hold of the lawyer involved, probably deal with that on Monday. Really not looking forward to dragging ass up to his place and having to go though stuff. I think that will be the next hardest part.

              Thanks for the well wishes and advise, it helps having some experience along the way as this is my first immediate death. My dad was very nonchalant about the cremation, he basically said to everyone he related his wishes to, was cremation and then made a blowing sound while holding out his hand. The hard part is figureing where to do this and when.

              Just feeling really empty now and somewhat overwhelmed with the stuff I know I need to do. I miss my Dad, he was a great guy.


              • #22
                Andy, I'm glad you were able to start the process and that the funeral home will handle most of the procedural issues. You're right, going up to the house and going through your dad's belongings will be very tough. Somehow, you will find the strength to do it - but, oh, yes, it is heartwrenching.

                Your grief will probably wash over you in great waves at first - one minute you might feel capable and resolute, the next awash in pain - but they will gradually even out in immensity and intensity over the course of the next year, and beyond. Let the tears come, and be as kind to yourself as you would be to anyone else suffering a great loss.

                One of the best pieces of advice I received after my parents' death was not to make any major life decisions (as far as that is possible, anyway) until a full year had elapsed, since grief on this scale interferes with our thought processes.

                Blessings in all the days ahead.
                MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


                • #23
                  So sorry Andy.


                  • #24
                    Yep, you'll miss him. Sorry to not have even mentioned that, it's the unspeakable part. You'll probably feel kind of numb for a while, when you're not breaking down. It's God's way of getting us through the day.

                    You'll be inspired re where to scatter him, I promise. Our fishing hole hit me upside one day, when I was agonizing about other details. Suddenly I KNEW where my brother wanted to be.
                    Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                    • #25
                      Andy, so sorry for your loss. Regardless of their age, it is difficult to loose a parent.

                      My father died just 3 years ago. He also desired cremation, and he and my mother both had a pre-paid plan, which made it much easier. We kept his ashes for a long time, more than 6 months after his memorial service (which was 3 years ago today). At the memorial service we had a big poster we made with old photos of my dad, and a DVD running of the same things with some of his favorite music, and everyone told stories. It was great.

                      He wanted to have his ashes scattered at sea near the sailboat race course near his yacht club. We donated his boat to the Sea Scouts (per his wishes) and arranged with them to take out several boats to do this. My mother was not able to go as the boats were not wheelchair accessible, so she and my sister stayed on shore and watched via telescope from the yacht club and listened in by cell phone. We waited until the boats were available, the weather was good, and my sister (who lives out of town) was able to come back for this ceremony. I was able to do out on my dad's old boat.

                      We had had an unfortunate experience with scattering ashes at a national park with my uncle, so my sister found a biodegradable ash urn on line (more like a box) which we packed the ashes into. I actually put the box over the side of the boat along with scattering roses from my dad's garden and leis we also purchased on line from all of us. We said a few prayers and read a couple poems as well. It was very moving, and not expensive. We all went out for dinner afterwards.

                      Technically you have to have a permit to do this in the ocean within 3 miles of shore (and at a national park) but we didn't do this either time, and never were detected.

                      The funneral home can arrange the flag from the VA if you let them know. Be sure you get enough copies of the death certificate....we needed at least 20 for many different needs. Social Security needs to be notified immediately on Monday as well.

                      I hope you can find a way to do this that is meaningful for you and that meets your father's wishes as well.

                      Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 11-11-2011, 09:31 PM.
                      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


                      • #26
                        So sorry, Andy.


                        • #27
                          Andy -
                          It sounds like you've got things moving OK. I went through this twice early this year - first my wife, then my Dad 3 weeks later. We are not religious, so things were all very private.
                          The memorial services included only relatives and good friends, so we held both in our house - the funeral home was not involved in them at all. Friends helped arrange things and provided food (although for my Dad's we hired a caterer); I had some musician friends provide music before and during - music that was particularly meaningful to Carolyn and Dad. I wrote a bio of my wife for my sister-in-law to read (obviously I couldn't manage that), and my siblings and I wrote about our Dad, containing little stories of things we had learned about his life that others didn't know about; we each read ours. And then others were invited to speak. For those who didn't wish to speak themselves, we provided cards they could write on for a friend who was acting as facilitator to read out loud.
                          Good deal there was a trust set up - that saves a HUGE amount of hassle. But there's still a lot to do. I'm still not finished with Dad's, 9 months later.
                          Hope these ideas help. PM me if you want or email me: rfbdorf at onlinenw dit com.
                          - Richard


                          • #28
                            Very sorry for your loss Andy.


                            • #29
                              Sorry for your loss, Andy. It always hurts.

                              My mother's plans were set, so that helped. We belong to a Jewish burial society (Orthodox, actually), so they handled almost everything (we had to pick the rabbi for the funeral. We couldn't find the one that knew us - as a neighbor, not as congregants - so we used someone else.) The pine box, the funeral home, the burial site (next to my dad, it sat empty for 44 years.) That's my future, also, save the site is unknown.

                              Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.


                              • #30
                                my sympathy for the loss of your dad Mr Andy.

                                My mom died suddenly, with no prior arrangements for her death. we, my siblings and I all traveled from out of state to go to her.
                                My brother contacted local funeral homes and found a place fairly quickly. cremation was around $5000.