Wednesday, August 22, 2018


  • Thank you for your condolences and kinds words on the death of my father-in-law... really, for all your support over these past several difficult months. I did a lot of venting on this blog.  Thank you for your patience in hearing/reading me out! :)   
  • The funeral went as well as funerals generally go... 
    • FIL looked pretty bad at the end -- painfully thin & gaunt -- but he looked better than we expected after the funeral home worked its magic, so we decided to leave the casket open (as is generally the tradition in dh's family). 
    • We were overwhelmed by the number of people who turned out to pay their respects to FIL at the visitation (two hours in the afternoon and three hours later the same evening).  There were FIL's brother & sisters & their families, dh's mother's relatives, stepMIL's relatives & neighbours, BIL & SIL's neighbours and their friends from work & church, our nephews' inlaws & friends, friends from FIL & stepMIL's social club, "paisan" who had known FIL from Italy...
      • Dh counted the number of entries in the guest book later... 267. That's ENTRIES/lines/signatures -- not people. Many of those entries were for two or more people. We figure 400 people would not be an exaggeration, possibly more. About 100 attended the actual funeral the following day.  
      • (I couldn't help but think of Katie's small funeral, almost 20 years to the day earlier. We deliberately kept it to immediate family only, as I didn't think I could deal with others' grief on top of my own. Still...)
      • (I also couldn't help but think -- not for the first time -- that my own funeral is going to be MUCH smaller too. Maybe not quite as small as Katie's, but...) 
      • My cousin & his wife, who live on the other side of the city from me (and still a good 30-45 minute drive from the funeral home), were among those who came. They were the only people there specifically because of their relationship to ME, and I got genuinely teary when I saw them making their way up the aisle through the crowd towards us. 
    • The visitation, funeral service (conducted by a Catholic priest, although mass was not served, since it was not a church) and burial all took place at the cemetery, in its funeral centre. After the service, most of us walked over to the burial site. It was a very hot, humid day, but there were trees to shade part of the way, and a bit of a breeze. Many people commented to us what a nice thing it was to do. We agreed. 
    • Afterwards, we went back to the funeral centre for a reception/lunch. This is NOT something dh's family usually do, but I am very glad we did it. BIL raised a glass and toasted his dad, saying, "He probably wouldn't have eaten anything here [FIL was a notoriously picky eater!]... but he would have loved the company!"  :)  (Yes, he would have!) 
  • Some members of the family are dealing with their grief better than others... we are trying to be patient with them. I keep thinking about what dh & I learned about grief through our support group, and also about what Lesley Pyne had to say about it in her book -- namely that you have to face your grief and deal with it, eventually. You can't just keep stuffing your grief into a box and trying to sit on the lid; eventually, the lid is going to pop open and the grief is going to spill out, possibly in unexpected and maybe even harmful ways. 
  • Dh is feeling a bit at loose ends, I think... since he lost his job & then retired, five years ago, he made a point of going to see his father once a week or so by himself, in addition to our visits with BIL & SIL every other weekend or so... and those visits became more frequent as it became clear the end was coming sooner vs later. Suddenly, he has a lot more free time on his hands. 
  • Dh & I are making plans to head west to see my family in about a month's time.  I may have missed out on our usual summer visit -- sitting on the patio, going to watch the Little Princesses at the swimming pool, Dad's fresh garden vegetables -- but as consolation, I will get to go see Paul McCartney in concert with my sister, and eat my mom's amazing turkey, gravy & stuffing for (Canadian) Thanksgiving. :)  


  1. I'm glad the funeral went well. The aftermath (great title, by the way) is always hard to deal with, as everyone experiences different emotions and expresses them in different ways. I know I felt that I could cope with my grief at my parents' loss better because of what I'd been through with infertility, and what I'd learnt in those years of support groups too. I'm glad you're finding that - I do feel as if it is a gift of love from our lost babies. I hope that the family members learn to grieve in their own ways.

    I hope too that DH manages to find ways to fill his free time. I can understand him feeling a little listless now that those visits are no longer necessary.

    And yay for your visit west. It sounds lovely. And ... Paul McCartney ...

  2. I think, when a close family member dies, everyone is at loose ends once the ceremony is over and you're supposed to go back to "normal." But it will be quite an adjustment for your Dh - losing your dad is always hard, but when he's a big part of your schedule, it's exacerbated.

    I'm glad you'll get to visit with family. I bet it will be fun to be there at a different time of year. And Paul McCartney AND Thanksgiving? Awesome!

  3. I'm so glad the funeral was a good celebration of your FIL's life -- it sounds like it was perfect (well, as perfect as a funeral can be). I can only imagine how this loss would bring up all kinds of other grief, and I agree with Mali that "the Aftermath" is a terrific title. I can understand the thoughts on contrasting different funerals, past and yet to come (hopefully for a really, really long time). Grief is such a funny thing, and I love what you/Lesley Payne said about stuffing grief in a box. I feel that. I hope your visit west gets planned out and is a beautiful respite, it sounds lovely. And super jealous of Paul McCartney!