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My sister and I met at the funeral parlour to make the arrangements for our dad's cremation yesterday morning. So much to think about! Thank heavens we were of one mind as to how we wanted the service to progress. It didn't take us long to agree on the lay-out and text for the invitation to be sent out, the floral arrangements for the service to be picked, the date, time and place for the ceremony to take place to be agreed, the food and drink to be served there. In this, we were helped by Dad's foresight in having taken out an insurance policy years ago that covered all the basics and some of the extras, giving us a clear idea of how he would have liked things to be done. It also helped with the finances; when the final tally came in, we were surprised to find it hardly made a dent in the sum we'd set aside in our minds (not that we had discussed this at all beforehand). So, for his final and proper send-off, we came up with the idea to host a dinner in a Korean restaurant for all mourners after the cremation ceremony, which is going to take place late afternoon this coming Tuesday (it had to be a Korean restaurant, as the time Dad spent in Korea fighting the communists had been the determining factor for the entire rest of his life, and he ever afterwards thought of himself as a soldier first and foremost, even if he left the army shortly after returning from the war in the final days of 1953). We're meeting with the chef and proprietor later this afternoon to discuss numbers and menu.

Then we spent a few hours writing out the invitations, and calling and taking calls from people shocked at the news of our father's sudden demise. Because it had been quick, and unexpected. He hadn't been ill. He was woken up day before yesterday same as usual, washed and clothed, and then before he went in for breakfast complained of a slight tummy ache. The doctor on constant call in the home had a look at him and deciding that he was just a bit constipated, was in the middle of prescribing him something to ease his stool, when Dad made one final jovial remark...and slumped back on the bed. The doctor said he'd never seen anything like it: one minute, his patient was trading jokes with him, the next, gone into the next world.

I'm glad it happened like this, both for his sake as for mine - it means there's nothing I could have done, even if I had gotten the news immediately. Because I'd allowed my niece to change my ringtone, I didn't realise it had been my phone ringing in my purse all day, and therefore only noticed I'd missed 8 calls when I took it out in the evening...

Before we left the funeral parlour, my sister insisted I see my father. Up until that moment, I hadn't shed a tear (or maybe just one). But she was right, seeing him opened the floodgates, and we stood there, clutching at each other bawling our eyes out. Then she left me alone with him to say a final farewell, and that was hard. Strangely, he looked better than I'd seen him in weeks, very peaceful and still. But he was so cold, my fingers froze when I touched his cheek the way I'd always done to wake him up whenever I found him asleep, and it was then that I realised, he really was gone. When I got home a few hours later, I was so blinded with tears I stumbled and fell on the stairs. I put my left hand out to break my fall, and I think I must have sprained my wrist, because this morning it's swollen and hurts like a mother. If it's not better in a day or two, I'll have my GP have a look at it.

When the home couldn't get in touch with me, they called my mother, who after having given up on trying to reach me, notified my sister. She came down and arranged for him to be taken away, because the house rules stipulate that a dead body has to be removed from the premises immediately. Likewise, his few belongings will have to be removed within 3 days of the death occuring as well, so I'm going down there after posting this, or they'll be destroyed. We don't know if there's anything we want to keep, but we don't like the idea of his stuff ending up in the skip so soon after his death. After that, it's off to the florist's to order a wreath, and to the photographer's to have our favourite picture of him enlarged to poster size, to set up in the crematorium for use in the service. Then all we need to do is make the final arrangements for the valedictory dinner, and for each of us to write our speeches. The wake, or viewing of the body, has been arranged for Monday evening.

Comments

( 26 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
curiouswombat
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
Such a comfort that the doctor was there with him, and you all know that there is nothing that you could have done, that anyone could have done.

It is a long time since my father died, I think I coped partly with the resilience of youth, I would miss him more if he had lived to old age and I lost him now. So you are much in my thoughts at the moment.
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
It is a comfort to know there was sonebody with him when he died, and that it happened so quickly and without any struggle. Also, my sister for once taking care of our father, something she hardly ever bothered to do while he was alive, pleases me more than I can say.
tori_x
Oct. 17th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Hugz xx
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
::hugs back::
nwhepcat
Oct. 17th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear of your dad's death. But wow, quick and relatively pain free, and with a joke on his lips -- that sounds about as blessed as a death gets. (And as you say, eases the regrets for you missing those phone calls.) My own father died quickly after a full day of visiting family, and it was a shock for the family, but easy on him.

I'll be thinking of you and your family -- it's a roller coaster of emotion for a good while. ::hugs::
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
Thank you. You're right, it is a roller coaster at the moment, and I'm grateful my manager has given me the whole week off, or I'm sure I would embarrass myself eventually.

Edited at 2009-10-18 08:51 am (UTC)
empresspatti
Oct. 17th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to send along my condolences. I'm glad your Dad had a quick death and the last thing he did was tell a joke. Obviously, his family loved him very much. What a lovely legacy.

I've always thought that possessions and people leave us, but love can remain forever. I'm glad you love your Dad.
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
Honestly? My Dad, for all his faults, was very easy to love.
enigmaticblues
Oct. 17th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
*hugs you tight*

You know, if I had to pick a way to go out, I think that's how I would want to go. *many hugs*
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Me, too.
bnbalder
Oct. 17th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss...
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
deborahw37
Oct. 17th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
My thoughts are with you and your family
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
I know darling, thank you.
missmurchison
Oct. 17th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss, but I understand your being glad it was quick. My father passed in his sleep and one of my aunts, like your dad, in the middle of making a joke. It's so much better than a long illness.
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
If I could pick a death, I'd pick his. Or one very similar to it.
wackinessensues
Oct. 17th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Oh sweetheart, I don't know what to say. I suppose you are right, quick and relatively painless is for the best, but all the same, a shock to the system.

Be kind to yourself during these days, give yourself permission to turn off the phone and take quiet moments to yourself. And please remember, your guests and friends are there to help you grieve, if they are not helping be sure to ask for space. My thoughts will be with you and your sister!
gamiila
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Tania.
julchek
Oct. 18th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry about your loss, G - my sympathies to you and your sister. I'm glad your dad didn't suffer. Sending you my love and good thoughts.
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
Thank you, Jules. I got your message on Facebook, but as I'm still experiencing problems with Internet access and can only manage to get on it using my phone, which has LJ bookmarked, I can only answer you here.
desdemonaspace
Oct. 18th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
That's the way I'd go, if I could pick. My beloved aunt's and uncle's drawn-out illnesses were excruciating for everyone--them, I'm sure, but also for us who loved them.

Your dad sounds like a darling man. I pray God eases your grief soon.
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
My dad...when I was a little girl, he was my hero, and I worshipped him. When I became older, he lost his hero status, but instead became a man who had his faults as well as his strengths. Even so, I thought the world of him, and I'm not ashamed to say that my heart belongs to Daddy.
diachrony
Oct. 18th, 2009 08:51 am (UTC)
In spite of the sadness, I would wish this kind of painless death for myself and my loved ones, if I could choose. It's a blessing.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Sending good thoughts.
gamiila
Oct. 18th, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
Thank you, you're very kind.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 19th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Hi Hedwig, I don't have an e-mail address for you any more or I'd have written privately. So sorry to hear the news of your dad's passing. Although it's a blessing for him that it was quick, it's not so easy for you that you didn't get to say goodbye. I'm sure that your many happy memories will sustain you through this difficult time. Take care and know that I'm thinking of you. Will write by snail mail soon. love Carol x
gamiila
Jan. 29th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much for the message you sent me, and the sentiment you expressed therein. Also, thank you for coming on here to leave me this message. If you ever want to get in touch with me through e-mail, gamiilaatlivejournaldotcom re-directs straight to my primary inbox (just put @ and . at the appropriate places).
( 26 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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