the huntered housewife

our family life, our way

Organising a Funeral

on September 9, 2016

Okay, so those of you who are friends on my personal page (almost all of you) would know by now that my Dad passed away from cancer on 7th Sept.

As Dad’s cancer advanced, his goal was to reach his 78th birthday because his own Dad passed away at 77. Dad turned 78 on 1st Sept. He did it! Then he let go, too tired and weak, with little quality of life to warrant continuing the fight. He spent less than 24 hours in hospital. He was ready to meet his God.

There was a wonderful team of family, friends and nurses helping to care for Dad, without whom he would have had to go into a care facility as life has seen his 3 offspring spread around the country and globe. Neighbours popped in or called out as they passed his place to make sure he was okay, the women cooked meals and baked cakes to keep his sweet tooth satisfied. You know when someone says “let me know if there is anything I can do”……..I sent some very ripe bananas to a neighbour and asked her to bake something with them or else they were being thrown out and within half an hour we had warm banana muffins in our hands. Something to offer visitors as they came.

Dad was a very practical and organised man. (I wonder if that has rubbed off on me?!) He prepaid his funeral, had his readings and hymns for the funeral chosen, had me authorised as his Power of Attorney and Medical Guardian for when he could no longer get around and/or make sound decisions, made sure I had contact numbers for anyone he has professional services with, went through is financial records with me, ensured I have access to his computer, introduced me to the lady at his Church who puts the funeral service together, organised catering for his wake and did almost everything he could except book in the date.

Which is where I came to my first hiccup!

I rang the funeral directors and organised an appointment. We chose a date and time and tried to ring the Priest to make sure it was okay. After two days of leaving messages and escalating it to the Bishop’s office we discovered the Priest was away on retreat and as a result the Parish Secretary was not needed to be in the office, hence the answering machine hadn’t been checked to be able to return my call. A few more phone calls between a few people saw Father ring the funeral home (great timing as I had popped in and was there at the time) to advise that the original date didn’t suit.

In the meantime I had been to the venue where the wake is to be held to put Dad’s plans into place with the tentative date and to pay a deposit. The caterer had already told me that it would be no trouble to change the date, so we did.

Cue me making a phone call to the funeral coordinator at the Parish – only to leave a message on her answering machine. I have since discovered that she is away! Dad, you were so organised, we couldn’t have everything run smoothly, could we?! Another lady at the Parish is helping with what needs to be done there.

Dad lived in a complex owned by a local aged care service but the complex was completely independent living, with no staff onsite. I have a name and contact number to ring but guess what? That lady is away until Monday!!!! We have two weeks from the date of death to clear out the villa – I know this because Dad had already called to ask. I’m sure the company will have heard along the grapevine by now but they would need to be officially notified by the family.

So my next job is to organise pall bearers. I have teed up 4 out of 6 so far and may go with a 7th, depending if those I have in mind are able to attend Dad’s funeral. That is something I would rather ask people over the phone rather than by email, so those calls will be made tomorrow. Dad was happy with the list of names I came up with when he asked me to take this task on.

Anyway, we have a funeral. It’s a bit like organising a wedding in that everything has to line up and you feel stressed until you have everything in neat rows.

I haven’t had a big cry yet, just a couple of times with a few tears. Like I said to Dad, the emotional side will catch up with me later. First, I have jobs to do. I am very much like him in this regard.

My writing tonight has been a brain dump – there is so much bouncing around in there I just had to get it out to make sense of it.

Hope you don’t mind Dad!

Karen xx


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