Mum died, her body is in the hospital, can dad go just to say goodbye?

(13 Posts)
Spero Mon 10-Mar-14 21:26:36

Sorry this is a bit random but I am not sure what to do and wondered if anyone had any experience of this. I have tried googling but all I get is information about funeral directors and organising a service.

My mum didn't want a funeral - she wasn't religious. She died on Tuesday at home with dad and her body was taken to the local hospital. Dad is obviously very upset and shaken up - she was diagnosed with cancer in early January so he hasn't been able to get over the shock of the diagnosis and now she is dead.

He is asking me and my brothers to take on sorting stuff out which of course we don't mind doing; he is in no fit state. BUT we all live at least four hours away which is making things difficult.

I saw him on the weekend and he agreed he wanted mum cremated without fuss and we would spend some money on a celebration of her life in June for all friends and family. None of us have any religious beliefs.

So I spoke to a firm today who will arrange it all for a flat fee and send us mums ashes afterwards. I emailed dad to say that this was what I was doing and I got an email back that he and my mums brother would like to attend the cremation after all.

I was a bit worried about this as I could see it mushrooming and people being upset they weren't asked etc. Immediately my two brothers said they wanted to go too. I replied to everyone saying it looked like this was turning into a funeral after all so we would need to contact someone local to dad to arrange it.

Emails are flying back and forth and dad now seems to be saying he just wants to go to the hospital to say good bye, nothing more. He doesn't want a ceremony, just to see her body?

I have absolutely NO clue if this is even possible. I assume the hospital isn't geared up to visiting as everything I have googled seems to assume that funeral directors will come and take the body away.

Sorry for the length of this, I am just at my wits end and want to stop all the emails flying about and just make a decision. I want dad to do whatever he feels is best, but I am not convinced he really knows what that is at the moment.

Sars123 Mon 10-Mar-14 21:42:58

Hi, sorry for your loss. I'm not sure on the right answer for you but just wanted to suggest you contact the funeral directors as I'm sure they will have had a similar senario before. It may even vary from hospital to hospital so if they are local I'm sure they will know the hospitals policies. Alternatively most hospitals have a main number(switch board) who would either be able to answer your question or put you through to someone who can.

Sorry for your loss flowers

Your mum's body will be held at the mortuary in the hospital until the funeral directors have been appointed- that won't be until after her death has been registered. You can usually view a body during their opening hours by arrangement. I'd suggest calling the hospital in the morning and checking what the procedure is.

A full funeral service does not have to take place if you don't want one. The funeral directors can advise you of your options. HTH.

pancakesfortea Mon 10-Mar-14 21:47:32

Hospital chaplains can also be a great source of support, not just for religious people.

When FIL died DH and BIL saw him at both the hospital and at the Funeral Directors. The hospital had a viewing room iirc. Call the hospital and they should be able to help you.

Sorry for the loss of your Mum - it's hard anyway, but when it's sudden it can really knock you for six I feel sad

imip Mon 10-Mar-14 21:52:01

Yes, I could see my daughter's body in the hospital mortuary. They have a special bereavement room that the body is brought into. I imagine it is the same in all hospitals.

We had a very small funeral. I'm sure the crematorium could do something v small. Just marking the cremation really.

Perhaps bringing the family together with the funeral directors would be a good step forward?

I'm very sorry for you loss, very sudden...wishing you peace...

Spero Mon 10-Mar-14 21:59:31

Thanks very much, I will ask my brother to ring the hospital tomorrow and sort something out. Dad just wants to say goodbye - I don't want to as I don't think that is my mum, she is gone - but I want him to do whatever he thinks will bring him some peace.

millymae Mon 10-Mar-14 22:24:41

Spero - sorry to hear about your mum. I don't have any real knowledge about the legalities of cremations but I did attend one once where apart from a brief introduction by the undertaker who simply asked the few of us who were there to remember the deceased in our own way whilst the body was brought in to be cremated there were no other words spoken at all. A piece of classical music that had been chosen by the undertaker played throughout and in all the whole thing must have taken no more than 5 minutes. It was extremely moving.

Perhaps it might be worth you contacting the crematorium that will be used and asking them what the minimum procedural requirement for a cremation there is - it may well be no more than bringing the body through the chapel, which in essence is what happened at the cremation I attended. Once you know what is legally needed you will be more well placed to refuse the unnecessary things the undertaker may try and persuade you are necessary.

As to your dad going to say goodbye to your mum in the hospital mortuary this was very definitely possible several years ago. It may well still be possible for all I know but I would have thought that it is now more usual for relatives to view the body once it has been moved to the undertaker, if for no other reason than they are more geared up for this than hospital mortuaries.

Spero Wed 12-Mar-14 14:14:10

Thanks again to everyone who replied - dad went to the hospital today with my uncle and aunt and left some flowers with mum. The hospital were lovely apparently, I don't know why I was panicking so much. He feels much better for going to say goodbye.

Didn't notice this was you at first Spero. I am so sorry for your loss. Random panicking totally normal at times like this! thanks

I went to see my Dad in hospital the day after he died in 2009. Was lovely, much nicer than at the Funeral Directors' where I saw him again later, after he had been embalmed.

Arrangements sound tricky, especially with the distances involved. It's still very soon after her death, I am concerned that your Dad may not actually know what he really wants just yet, that's why he's changed his mind a couple of times? Hope it all settles down very soon xx

Spero Mon 17-Mar-14 14:06:31

All he wants is for mum to be back. But of course he can't have that. So nothing is any good. He seems quite hopeless and very very sad. We will have a memorial in June and then I hope I can persuaded him to move in with me. I think he will definitely need company.

kerstina Mon 17-Mar-14 19:00:53

So sorry for your loss. What a lovely daughter you are to have your dad live with you I would like to do the same with my mum as all my grief for my dad seems to be wrapped up in worrying about her. Just want to wrap her up and keep her safe. At the funeral of my dad one of my mums friends said to me ''Look after your mum'' as she hugged me as she was leaving. She knew I would but it was very moving.

Spero Tue 18-Mar-14 10:20:27

Thanks - I am just very lucky I took out insurance so when I got cancer last year I moved house and have room to build him a shed at the bottom of the garden! If we all had to squeeze in my previous two bed terrace, I am not sure I would have made the offer...

But he's my dad. And its horrible to see him so sad and broken. I think mum had a great life. I wish she was still here but she got to die in her own bed, with dad, she did most of the things she loved and she got to know her granddaughter. Some of my friends lost their mums in their 20s which is so unfair, they missed so much.

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