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Visiting your loved one in the Chapel of Rest

(37 Posts)
bigbluebus Tue 19-Nov-13 21:13:54

My dear Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of last week. He was old, but as fit as a fiddle - or so we thought.sad. We are busying ourselves with all the funeral arrangements and finances and supporting my Mother, who is frail and lost as Dad did everything for her.

Mum wants to go and visit Dad in the Chapel of Rest and has asked me and my brother to go with her. It hadn't even occurred to me until it was mentioned today. I have no previous experience of close family bereavement and so this is all new to me.

Can someone who has done this please tell me what to expect? I know Mum is arranging for a Priest to come with us as both she and Dad are devout Catholics, so I assume he will do some sort of blessing/prayers as there was no opportunity for the Last Rites. But I can't begin to prepare for seeing Dad in a coffin as I have no idea what to expect, except that Mum has taken Dad's suit in for him to be dressed in.

Musicaltheatremum Tue 26-Nov-13 21:27:22

I went to see my husband the day before his funeral. He had died peacefully at home. I am so glad I did it. It was the most harrowing distressing part of that horrible time but it was the correct thing to do. I went with my children (18 and 16) and we put notes in the coffin with him. I think the thing that upset us more was seeing the lid of the coffin saying his name with his age (50) on the coffin. It brought it home and made it very real but I look back and see it as an important part of the grieving process.

echt Thu 28-Nov-13 08:03:06

I think seeing your dad in his suit will be a comfort. When I saw my dad, he was in a shroud provided by the funeral home. If you looked close it was just pinned over the body and into the sides of the coffin - like Howard Wolowitz's fake polo necks. It made my lovely dad look like the Pope, when his weird jumpers and tatty tweed jacket would have been just right.

The same happened when my DB died who, oddly, had the same negligent attitude to daily clothes as our dad.

When my DM died, the care home she was in dressed in a lovely skirt, blouse and vivid scarlet cardigan. So much better, such a comfort.

I'm crying a bit just writing this

All the best, bigbluebus. On the whole, seeing your dead loved ones is better than not.

echt Thu 28-Nov-13 08:04:45

That should be "dressed her". The idea of a care home in a scarlet card is a bit odd. smile

echt Thu 28-Nov-13 08:05:07

Or cardi.

LilyTheSavage Thu 28-Nov-13 08:29:01

Hi Echt. I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm loving the scarlet cardi - and didn't mis-understand what you meant. We had my DS (aged 21) dressed in some favourite shorts, old rugby socks, a vest and his fluffy dressing gown. It was a really eclectic mixture and looked dreadfully mismatched, but his brothers had chosen them and they were perfect. I chose his dressing gown as he loved wearing it and also his big snuggly blanket. When I went to see him the first time in his clothes at the funeral home chapel of rest they'd draped the blanket over him like a tablecloth so I rearranged it to snuggle around him. To their credit they left it exactly as I'd put it.
Makes me cry a bit too writing this. Hope you're ok now. XXX

3girlies Sat 30-Nov-13 19:57:22

Hi, firstly I am very sorry for your loss. I went to visit our daughter aged 6 in the funeral home a couple of times, firstly alone, the funeral director was very kind and stayed with me, then with my parents, husband and Flora's sister who was 10 at the time. I as very glad that we did this, she was dressed in a beautiful outfit and I was glad that she was no longer in pain, just us. I am very glad we did this this, took a few last photo's, and spent a little time with her. Hope you feel the same. XX

strugglinginsilence Sun 01-Dec-13 11:17:14

Oh Lily, my heart goes out to you.

I lost my DH nearly three years ago and also spent a lot of time at the Chapel of Rest with him, I would read the sports pages to him each morning until the funeral.

I do think if the loved one has died after a lot of medical intervention it is best not to have the memory of how the treatment leaves them.

Look after yourselves, bereavement has a huge impact across your whole life and you need to be kind to yourself.

LilyTheSavage Sun 01-Dec-13 15:27:17

Thanks for your message. I'm sorry about your husband. My DS died very suddenly in a tragic and silly accident. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him before his funeral. We are still in shock nearly four months later.
I like hearing about you reading the sports pages to your DH.
I hope you find peace and happiness. XX

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 10-Dec-13 18:47:13

so sorry to hear about your dads death sad

i saw my dh almost 3years ago in the chapel of rest - i did it as needed him to look as normal as possible (as death was suicide and i found him) and needed a good last memory iyswim

funeral directors were lovely, they told me to take my time, i chose what clothes i wanted and they shaved and brushed his hair (silly but what i wanted)

you can go in alone, or with them/a friend/relative

i left some of his fav things, like packet of tobacco/lighter/bottle of beer

you can stay as long or little as you want

it was a weird exp, and tbh not one i want to repeat ........ but needed to go

dh mum didnt want to see him shes a cold woman and my female friends didnt either (fair enough) so went with his aunt

some of dh male friends went to say goodbye to dh

as hard as it was/is to go, personally it was something i needed to do and would have regretted not seeing dh x

carrielouisepenn Mon 06-Mar-17 15:49:57

Hi everybody, I just thought I'd add to this post whilst it is fresh in my mind. For a week or so I've been scouring the internet for ways to prepare myself for seeing a loved one in the chapel of rest and all I could find was that they don't look the same. I think that's kinda a given. Blood has been replaced with chemicals etc to preserve them etc but that's by the by.
When I saw my loved one I was remarkably surprised she looked well. Not like she was just sleeping because nobody sleeps like that but she looked relaxed. I couldn't believe how much blood played a role in giving you colour until today and the marvellous things they can do with makeup and asthetics just blows your mind.
I couldn't get over how much she had shrunk, I know my loved one wasn't particularly tall anyway but she looked tiny and very fragile.
She was cold to the touch and the skin didn't have as much malability? As it normally would normally the skin is quite squishy for want of a better way to put it.
She looked beautiful almost smiling and looked like she had a tear in her eye.
The green dress she wore complimented her so well.
Think she's ready to go now, Funeral is tomorrow, held back the tears as much as I could thought I'd done quite well.
Hope this helps someone as to what they expect.

BigFatBollocks Tue 07-Mar-17 06:26:00

Sorry for all the losses on here. I didn't go to see my dad although I was with him when he passed. My mum kind of put me off saying his jaw didn't look right, so I never went. Now, however, I wish I had and this is two years on. I just wish I had, he was my dad.

boolifooli Tue 07-Mar-17 07:44:50

It's deeply painful but so is losing someone even without seeing them. I don't regret seeing her. It doesn't haunt me. I think it helped me feel I had said goodbye.

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