Burying your Dad

A friend of mine buried his Dad last week. I sent him a text message on the morning of the funeral, just a short one to let him know I was thinking of him.

And then had to pull over on my way to work because I couldn’t breathe.

I’d been thinking about Dad’s funeral. Waking up at HWSNBN’s house on the morning and him not even remembering what I was doing that day. ‘Have a nice day’ were, I think, his parting words as I left the house.

Driving home. Getting showered and ready, doing my make-up. New waterproof mascara. Hair up or down? Putting my carefully chosen new dress in a suit cover thingy and driving to my brother’s house.

Us all getting ready there. These shoes, or those? This bag, or that?

Getting a taxi to Dad’s house. Waiting outside with all of his friends, drinking caps of whisky. The horse and carriage arriving carrying Dad – black horses, black plumes. Travelling behind in the limousine. Stopping traffic.

Getting to the crematorium to find pandemonium. Cars and people everywhere. The biggest funeral they’d ever held. So no-one has gone inside, and everyone watches us as we get out of the cars. Respectful silence. All eyes on us. Horrible.

In the crematorium. It’s so full. So hot. Dad’s best friend reading out words from me and his friends. My brother finding the strength to read for himself. And Dad’s voice, singing to us all. As if we could use any music but his.

At the wake. Pandemonium of a different kind. The ambulance arrives for the first casualty of alcohol at about 6pm. Standing in the bar at about 11pm, totally alone in a crowd, crying my eyes out. A little hand slips into mine. The teenage daughter of one of Dad’s friends. She leads me to the dance floor, and we dance. An actual angel.

How the FUCK did I do all of that? Make decisions about my hair, for fuck’s sake, remember to buy waterproof mascara. How on earth did I bury my Dad? I couldn’t do it now.

And different yet the same, seeing myself sobbing on the kitchen floor, the night my ex-husband left me. How the FUCK did I get up off that floor? He left. I asked him not to go, begged him to come to counselling with me, and he went anyway. And then 2 minutes later, came back. I thought he’d changed his mind. He’d just forgotten something.

How did I ever pick myself up off that floor?

People are stronger than they think.

It would be Dad’s birthday on Tuesday. I went up to see him with my brother today. We had a nice walk among all the gravestones, choosing one for Dad. It’s time. That marble, that typeface, NOT that gold lettering, those engraved flowers are actually quite nice, one vase thingy or two?

The decisions you have to make when you’re a grown up.


5 Comments on “Burying your Dad”

  1. salute to your strength lady! for getting up off that floor…

  2. S. says:

    Oh, Darling. Your strength is immense. Allow yourself those moments of tears, you need to mourn. You need to mourn for your father, your lost marriage and your current lost relationship. Cry, scream, pound your pillow, get it out. And be nice to yourself, you have been through a lot and stayed strong all along. Sometimes the tears come from a place of strength too.
    You could make all those decisions because you had to. You made all those decisions because you picked yourself up off the floor. You are standing now, and just have to learn to walk so you can travel down a path that is better for you.

    I want to apologize about the length of my email. I am sorry if I wrote too much, or was too personal. Sorry if I offended you.

    I hope this note finds you well and happy!
    xo – S.

  3. silly_G says:

    The tests of ones strength are so hard when the test is losing a loved one. Such a common human experience, yet we are so alone when it happens. Strength and love to you in life (and your friend as well)

    Nice to see you!

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