General Question

Ron_C's avatar

My father died today, I'm 62 and don't know how to handle it. Even now I am crying.

Asked by Ron_C (14470points) February 3rd, 2010
73 responses
“Great Question” (12points)

I know it’s ridiculous but I have never had anyone that I am close to die except for my mother and she died when I was nine. As the oldest of the children, my brothers are relying on me to guide them. I want to run away and hide. I want to forget about everything, I just want this to end.

I can barely think and everyone wants me to prepare and to do paper work and handle all the necessary details. I am lost and need suggestions. Sorry for bothering you with my problems.

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Answers

TheLoneMonk's avatar

I lost my dad 3 months ago. I am the eldest and it was tough but you just have to walk through it. Drink to his memory. Talk with his friends. Talk with family. Be with people. don’t sequester yourself from others. You need them and they need you. Sorry for your loss.

rovdog's avatar

You’re not bothering anyone. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it may help to talk to the people around you and (even on here, should you choose) about what you’re feeling.

HTDC's avatar

My condolences for your loss. I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to lose a parent or any family member for that matter. Just give it time and remember he will always be in your memory. Think of the good times you shared, but allow yourself to cry, there is nothing better than to let it all out.

janbb's avatar

I’m so sorry for your loss. Cry all you need to; the paperwork will get done. Lean on those whom you can.

ubersiren's avatar

You don’t have to guide anyone. Your siblings are all grown ups now, so just grieve in your own way. You’re not responsible for anyone’s emotions but your own during this time. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It will take time and comfort for all of your family, even you, big brother.

judochop's avatar

First of all let me start off by telling you that I am very sorry for your loss.
Secondly, this is the natural order of things. No parent should ever out live his/her child. Death becomes us all. It is not the end but the begining.
Cry all you need to, it does get easier in little bits. Honor your father with a candle for the night and maybe some prayer if you pray. Make his favirote meal and enjoy it. Confort yourself and grieve all you need. God be with you.

chyna's avatar

So very sorry for your loss. Do you have a spouse or S.O. that can help you? If not, your siblings can and should help. Don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe they just need you to need them, or to ask for their help. My heart goes out to you.

CaptainHarley's avatar

You’re not “bothering us.” This is one of the reasons we’re here. If you’re feeling the pressure of being the eldest too acutely just now, tell everyone to leave you alone long enough to grieve for your father. They should certainly be able to understand. You just need a little time.

JLeslie's avatar

What sad news. I am so sorry for your loss. Are you married? Can you ask your wife to do it? Or, maybe admit to your siblings that you are beside yourself and enlist their help, or the help of one of their spouses. Ask for help if you need it, I think they will understand.

Had your father already voiced what he wanted for his funeral? I think the funeral home will guide you, and if you belong to a church let your priest, rabbi, whoever is applicable help you too.

Adagio's avatar

I don’t think anything prepares us for the death of someone we love. I hope your family is supportive of one another. On a practical level perhaps there is someone you know well and trust but is not emotionally connected to your father’s death, who would help with all the things that need to be taken care of when someone dies. It may allow you a little more room to grieve although there will be lots of time for that in the days to come. Take care of yourself and allow others to take care of you also. Warmest wishes.

filmfann's avatar

It is so unfair that at this, one of your worst moments, you will have to make very important decisions. Where to bury your father. Where to hold a service, or memorial for him. Who to contact. What to say, or have said, at any memorial. How to settle his estate.
You will agonize over all of it, but each piece of this you settle will bring you a little relief.
I understand you want to be by yourself now, but I encourage you to be with your siblings, and others who knew and loved your father. You will find comfort in shared grief. You may even find yourselves laughing over wonderful stories about your father.
I am so sorry. You will be in my prayers.

Ron_C's avatar

*Thanks to you all. My family is scattered all over the country, my wife is coming down from our home. Right now, I am all by myself, I know it will be better when the family gathers. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR RESPONSES AND SYMPATHY. It really helps. I will try to thank each of you, individually, after my sanity returns. Again, thank you all very much.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve lost both of my parents & it’s a horribly hard thing to go through. You are NOT bothering anyone. You came to a place where you feel comfortable. Let your grief out anyway you feel like. You’re among friends here. (((Ron_C)))

lfino's avatar

I’m really sorry. It’s an awful thing to go through. Don’t ever feel bad for asking us for help. That’s what we’re here for. Are you close to your brothers? I’m guessing they’ve relied on you all their lives to do what needs to get done. I would try to talk to all of them together and just tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them how hard this is for you. Maybe a few of you can work on it together. Do a conference call. It does really help. My brother and I kind of made a pact and started doing things together actually before my mom died, and it made all the difference in the world. The pressure isn’t there when it’s all being shared. Also, not being able to think is normal. Not remembering anything is normal. Give yourself plenty of time to heal from this.

I just read your response and saw that your siblings are scattered all over. That’s ok. They can still help. I was 200 miles in one direction, my brother was the same in the opposite direction, and I had a brother that lived in the same town as my mom, so living miles away doesn’t get them out of helping. You may just be better at organizing, planning, thinking through what needs to be done, and that’s why they’re looking at you. Usually there’s one sibling that the others just count on, and right now when it’s the hardest thing in the world, they’re still looking towards you.

Supacase's avatar

I am so sorry for your loss.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I hear you- my dad is 86, in hospital, and I feel like the end is near and that I’m not going to be able to handle it. You just have to walk through it, as was mentioned earlier. Also, know they can’t outlive you.. good luck please keep us posted on how your’e doing

aprilsimnel's avatar

Please accept my condolences. Ask for help from all your relatives. You can’t be expected to do all this alone.

life_after_2012's avatar

Be strong for him. Atleast in front of everybody for aslong as you can, when you feel like falling apart, just keep it together for a second longer, just one second longer, it could be all the time you need til you get some time alone.

TLRobinson's avatar

Your loss is enormous, your feelings are understandable, and you have us all offering condolences. Time may slow down and it all may seem too much; don’t apologize or feel bad about how you’re feeling, you’re human.

One of the best gifts we can give our deceased love one, is to honor and celebrate their life. As you go through the steps of handling your fathers affairs, draw on the strength of who he was, and what he
meant to you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It doesn’t matter how old you are – pain is pain. I am sorry for your loss, my father and I weren’t close – he died a couple of month ago and in some ways my life is easier – in your case, however, nothing and no one will ever replace him and you will now have a new life with a bit missing – you will move forward, remember all the good memories.

laureth's avatar

I don’t have any real advice, but my heart goes out to you. You can talk to us here; we will listen.

Response moderated
loser's avatar

I’m very sorry for your loss.

dr34m3r's avatar

feel better. everyone experiences death within one’s lifespan eventually. you will feel much better in a while =]

princessbuttercup's avatar

Dear Ron, I’m so so terribly sorry to hear this…you aren’t bothering at all…my prayers are with you and your father loves you so much Im sure and he is always with you…

srmorgan's avatar

As we have all said, sorry for your loss.

I am 60, I lost my Dad two Thanksgivings ago and I did a fair bit of crying myself’; at home when I got the news and then when I flew to NY and went to his funeral. I was fortunate that my sibling made all of the arrangements.

Grief is a normal human emotion. There is no shame in crying, there is no shame in feeling a terrible loss and there is no shame in continuing to grieve openly, whether for a month, six months, a year or for the rest of your life.
In this country, we seem so concerned with achieving “closure”, whatever that means.
Closure is bullshit. We eat, we sleep, we grieve. It takes time. It gets easier, it gets better but deep down you never really get over it. In the future, you will remember your father fondly, lovingly, but the loss will remain.

My mother used to work two blocks from me in Manhattan. For several months after her death, I would instinctively pick up the phone at work to call her when something popped into my mind that I would have asked her. I had to stop myself in the middle of dialing and give myself a dose of reality. I still miss her, it has been 27 years but the pain is gone, the depth of the loss is gone.

It does get easier. You will feel better. but it is going to take a while. Don’t worry about letting your emotions show and if anybody makes you feel lousy about it or tries to make you “stop”, ignore them.

Again, my condolences upon the loss of your father.

SRM

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’m really sorry to hear about your father’s passing. Even though you may feel like your siblings are relying on you, reach out to them and to extended family or friends to help you; make the decisions together, and rely on the counsel of others. The funeral director should help guide you through the burial process, and the estate attorney’s office will help you with that process.

Things really do go much slower than you think, and don’t move any faster with it than you are comfortable doing.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s very difficult to focus through grief but if you just look at the task at hand and focus on it it will give you an anchor in this time. As hard as it is if you can be a support for your siblings you will be honoring your father. Just as best you can set aside some of your desire to be alone in your grief and just be there together in your grief. Give yourself permission to just go through the motions and later to let yourself feel it all completely. Life must go on. Someone must be strong. My father died when I was in my 30’s and it was a good year until I felt over it. My sympathy to you and your family.
This too shall pass.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

My condolences for the loss of your father. Be up front with your siblings that as much as you’d like to take the reins in handling the arrangements, you’re a bit overwhelmed and ask if they each can lend their support because some may be stronger in some areas than you know of or they expected of themselves. This is a time for you all to work together and get to a place where you can have some breathing room to grieve in your individual ways. Feel what you feel, it’s a lifetime of emotion and no one should fault you right now.

plethora's avatar

You are feeling exactly the way any normal loving son would feel in the same circumstances. You are not failing anyone and you do need to express your emotions in tears and words and in a gathering of the family and bringing each other close together. You do not need to do it all. Spread the work out. Some stuff does have to be done now, but you will get it done. My father died 37 years ago and I still miss him sometimes and am just overcome with grief and just sob. And I’m a guy close to your age. Just do what you can and do not think you are a burden to anyone.

borderline_blonde's avatar

Oh gosh, what awful news. I’m so sorry. I don’t think anyone can ever really get over losing someone that meant so much to them and that they shared such a huge part of their lives with – but it does get easier. Take it one moment at a time. Again, so sorry you’re going through this.

Strauss's avatar

@Ron_C Let me add my voice to the chorus. I, too, lost my father, over 20 years ago, (I’m very close to you in age) and I still miss him tremendously. Use the “alone” time now to do your private grieving. It’s OK to cry, it will help to ground you. Your father will still be with you, in your memories. Share a story with each person in your family. When they arrive, don’t be ashamed or afraid to cry together. You no doubt laughed together when your father was alive, so remember those times. Tell the stories. Drink the toast.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Yetanotheruser

Great answer! : ))

Rarebear's avatar

Know this. Many people on this thread have lost their father as I did, from pancreatic cancer 3 years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him, but the pain has subsided and life goes on. It’s exactly how he would have wanted me to go. He would have come back from the grave and kicked my ass if he thought I was moping about him.

This too will pass.

In the mean time I highly reccommend grief counseling. I don’t know if you utililzed hospice, but if you did, use that resource for grief counseling. If not, get it somewhere else.

susanc's avatar

Thank you for letting us be with you.
It’s an awful hurt. You’re not alone. So sorry.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am sorry for your loss. Your feelings are valid and crying is nothing about which to be embarrassed. Finding a funeral director that has a good reputation will be your first task. They will guide you through the other steps. Bring a trusted friend with you when you go. They can give you a perspective that will be less biased by your grief and confusion.

wilma's avatar

@Ron_C I’m so sorry. My dad died just two months ago. I have done most of my grieving privately. Crying in the shower at night, and when I am alone. Do that when you can, and don’t be afraid to grieve publicly as well. Sometimes I wish I could.
I think things may ease up on you when your family gets there. My siblings were a huge comfort to me when my dad died. We were together and acted as a family.
This journey has just begun for you. Time will ease your pain. I say that with hope, because I need to believe it too.

alldacatsmama5's avatar

Dear Ron…. I also am so sorry for your loss. There are no words right now that bring the deep comfort that we all need at time like you are experiencing. But know that we will be with you, and what a amazing community this is that come to your side to shoulder your pain. ...just a note.. when the docs “turned off” the machines that my Mama was attached to, I had the honor of holding her hand and speaking words of comfort to her until the line were all flat. I am blessed to have that memory. But she is in my heart and ever will be. I am healed enough to be able to share her passing ..I send blessings to you too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I was thinking about you. I hope you found some comfort in the last few days being with your family and friends.

Irishmar's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss. Sounds like your dad lived a long life. You cry, and feel all the feelings that come with such an enormous loss. My dad passed away 2 years ago, and I still mourn that loss and think of him often, and now smile and remember the good times.

Ron_C's avatar

I learned a lot during this experience. We buried my dad on Monday while most of the community was still digging out of the biggest snow storm in ten years.

I learned that I have an absolutely wonderful family. They arrived from all corners of the country to help out. I learned that I have the smartest and most supportive wife, daughters, and granddaughters a man can have. I learned that I never gave enough credit to my son-in-laws, they were terrific, especially when it comes to digging us all out of the snow and ferrying us back an forth from dad’s hilltop home.

I learned that the guys from the American Legion in White Oak are the most considerate and caring group of friends a man could have.

I learned that my dad had friends whose ages ranged from teens to octogenarians.

I learned that even I can do the impossible if I am willing to ask friends and family.

I learned that the folks here are willing and able to give comfort to a virtual stranger.

Thank you all, I also learned to love you all. There are still tears in my eyes but they are in gratitude for all of you that helped in my time of need.

Ron

wilma's avatar

Thank you Ron, and I am glad that through your grief you learned some very special things.

janbb's avatar

I’m also glad you got so much comfort through your sad time.

TLRobinson's avatar

I’m so glad to see you found comfort and joy Ron.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Love got you and will get you through, Ron. I am happy for you about in that regard.

(((((((HUGS!)))))))

Adagio's avatar

It is great to hear that at a time of urgent need everybody around you pulled together and supported each other. It is both wonderful and sadly ironic that situations like yours bring out the best in people. Take take care Fluther friend.

lfino's avatar

@Ron_C, and now I have tears in my eyes, but they are happy tears for you. Thank you so much for getting back to us.

Strauss's avatar

@Ron_C thanks for sharing with us in your time of sorrow.

Ron_C's avatar

@Yetanotheruser, @lfino @aprilsimnel @TLRobinson @janbb @wilma @Irishmar @JLeslie I can’t express sufficient gratitude to all of you. Thank you all for the help. I am a bit surprised because when I wrote the question, I doubted that anything said would help, I think that I was just venting. Instead, I read all of the replies (through my tears) and feel greatful and comforted by all of your messages.

Ron

lfino's avatar

I’m glad we were able to be there for you.

TLRobinson's avatar

Just remember, we’re just a “fluther” away.

rovdog's avatar

@Ron_C I’m so glad that other people on this site were able to help, if even a little. It’s admirable and courageous to share something that personal and I want to thank you for that.

Ron_C's avatar

@rovdog thanks. I was working on closing my Dad’s affairs this weekend. The house seems so empty. I just can’t believe that he is gone. I expected to hear him telling me what to do. He was good at that.

Everything I change or clean up seems to make him disappear a little bit more.

I will probably never finish thanking you guys for your support.

lfino's avatar

@Ron_C – the clean-up is always a sad time, too, not to mention exhausting. I’m sure the reason your dad always was telling you what to do was because he knew this day would come, and he knew you’d be there for him one last time. This experience is also allowing you the memory of all those times. He’s not disappearing. Think about how many times you’ve thought about him just today. His memory is there in you and he’ll always be just one thought away.

Ron_C's avatar

@lfino You’re right, I never thought about it that way. I have he certainly has been on my mind. It just seems that as we distribute the scrap books, give his possessions to charity, and work on selling the house, he is disappearing. I could almost hear him. on Saturday night when I stayed in his house. This is one of the hardest things that I have ever done.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I know how you feel about friends and family being so incredible during difficult times. One of the worst times I went through in my early 20’s I had several people who were just amazing. After the incredible sadness passed, and I could thik straight again, I realized that one of the biggest things I took from the experience was learning how to be there for others during their hard times.

I’m really glad you have such a wonderful support system.

As you go through your dad’s things, keep everything and anything you think you might want. You can always get rid of things later. I really regret not taking my grandmothers china, really really regret it. I took photos she had laying around, and made an album (I have never made an album before, I am not crafty in general) I wrote out my memories related to the photos and some history about what was common back during that time, so if people in the next generation look through it they have some context. I could look at that album every day.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I know what you mean about the pictures. Some are around 100 years old and my dad was probably the only one that knows who those people’s name. I think I’m going to compile them in approximate order and pass it around the family to see if anyone knows about them. Unfortunately, I am one of the oldest family members. It may be a difficult project.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I wish I had made the album while my grandmother was still alive. For her, and for the album itself. My aunt and mother helped me identify the photos as much as possible. I made copies of the photos to keep, but I put the originals (because the copies really don’t look the same) in the album with photo corners, so it looks like the old days, and you can still take the photo in and out, it is not glued into the album. It is a BIG project. Took much more time than I anticipated. I finally did it about a year after my grandma died, but I was not working at the time and could really focus on it.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie It will be a big project. I am now carrying a briefcase with bills tax forms, and insurance policies. I still need to get these straightened out. The pictures will fit in a packing crate better than in another briefcase. My goal is to finish it before I die. I figure I have another 30 years, I might make it.

read's avatar

im sorry for that,
just smile and close your eyes
try to do what you want to do
i hope you’ll be better:]

Ron_C's avatar

@read thank you. Like my wife says, I’ll be crying for a long time.

read's avatar

crying is a way,you just find this way,
that’s not bad:]
when you not cry anymore,be happy
the sun will be there for you next day

Ron_C's avatar

Thanks, too bad I’m not religious, I could believe that my dad is in a better place. My dad was a very good Catholic and I have to admit that the priests at his funeral were a great help. They also said very nice (and true) things about my dad and were very nice to us even though we didn’t follow their religion. I think that if more Christians were like them, there would be less religious strife in this country.

read's avatar

I’m not religious neither,i just love nature,the sun,trees,river…
they make me happy
i hope they’ll be useful to you:]

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I so know what you mean. I tend to believe when you die you are dead, but I wish I believed that you get to be with the people you love when you die. My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, and I would wish for her that she could be with her father. He died when she was 5, and she missed him, longed for him, her entire life. I do firmly believe that if there is an afterlife that the people who have left us are not in a worse place. For me, I do not worry about the person who has passed away, I think about the loss for the people who loved them, and if they were not able to do what they wanted in life or died young I feel a loss for that person as well, what they could have still enjoyed while here.

read's avatar

yep.

Dilettante's avatar

When my Dad, the greatest man who ever lived, passed away, I was spending the weekend at a friend’s house in a nearby city; we were eating dinner when the phone rang, and when my friend answered the phone and looked over at me, I knew what it was…my older brother informing me of Dad’s sudden passing. I reacted quite calmly; went into the bedroom, packed my belongings, and began the drive to my parent’s home, where we were gathering. About an hour later, driving along, I noticed something in my mouth, between my cheek and teeth…it was the last bite of food I was eating at the table an hour ago. My point, and for you to remember, I was in a kind of state of shock, although I thought I was fine, thinking clearly. I had simply frozen, storing the food like some ridiculous chipmonk in the corner of my mouth.
Then, when I got to my folk’s house, my brother pointed out to me that I had two different shoes on my feet. Again, this weird “shock” effect. My point: Be careful, you are not thinking clearly, especially concerning important matters. Get help, advice, from a trusted colleague, attorney friend, etc.
Also, at the funeral, people were coming up to me and offering their condolences, sympathies…they were so distraught, strained…I was simply numb…I actually felt sorry for them, realizing they could not possibly convey what they felt, or fully identify, empathize with, what I was feeling at this moment in my life. I would just nod my head and thank them. But from that experience I learned how frustrating it is to try and comfort someone in your position. I am right now, at this moment, praying for your and your family. Remember, “This too shall pass.”

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie @Dilettante thank you both. I agree with the wish for a life after death and the shock of finding someone very important to you has left you behind.

I was only gone for an hour and a half. The noon news was on and Dad was in his chair holding the remote. I yelled to wake him, then shook his shoulder, and felt for a pulse. My last words to him were, “goodbye, I’ll be back soon”. He said “don’t spend more than $300”. I called on the way back from my errands to see if he wanted to go out for lunch; he didn’t answer, I thought he took a nap.

My main concern was explaining why I spent more that $300 for his new bed. That was three weeks ago, I’m still in shock. I expect him to give me hell for spending so much money.

janbb's avatar

@Ron_C It takes a long time for the permanence of someone’s death to sink in. It sounds like you’re coping well. I’ve never believed in an afterlife, but it’s a comfort to me to keep my father close through memories and conversations about him.

Ron_C's avatar

@janbb I think what helps me cope is the fact that I am the executor of Dad’s estate. I make lists, keep the books, pay bills and facilitate the sell of property. I am a little worried about when the job is completed. Right now I think of Dad every day because I am finishing his business. What will happen when the job is complete and I no longer have the list a guide? I am afraid he’ll just slip away like my mother that died 50 years ago. She, until my Dad’s death, was just a faint memory.

janbb's avatar

But you’ve had your Dad in your life so much longer.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Thank you for sharing that story. I actually love that his last words were for you not to spend too much money. I am thinking that this was a typical type of warning he would give you, but maybe it is a bad assumption. For me, and I can only speak for myself, if my mother had acted exactly as I think of her in my mind, which is many times her telling me about her girlfriends, telling me some great meal she had, or telling me about some new medical discovery or medical screw up, it would feel like an incredible loss that it was the last time I was able to hear her say those things, but comforting that she was herself until the end. At least that is how I think I will feel. I guess you never known until the time comes.

lfino's avatar

When your job is done with your father’s estate, you will be able to move on, but your dad will not ever be a faint memory. My brother and I spent a few years driving to my mom’s house to check on her health, moved her into assisted living, we waited through surgeries, then cleaned out her house, rehabbed her house to sell, and then finally planned her funeral. I didn’t know the actual ‘normal’ anymore and I was almost afraid to leave because my life had been my mom for so long. I was afraid of all of it slipping away. But you know what, Ron_C? She didn’t go away. That day was over four years ago, and I still think of her daily. I remember her funny dry sense of humor, and I think about her when I hear the crazy things on the news (she loved crazy). You will hear those songs on the radio, or watch those reruns on tv that you both watched and you’ll remember him. You might pick up a certain tool, and he’ll be there. Those memories will be there much more than you think. You’re dad won’t slip away from you because there was so much life between the two of you.

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