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** TRIGGER WARNING ** Sensitive content re Dad at Funeral Home before funeral

(23 Posts)
ChristmasLightLover Tue 06-Feb-18 21:45:30

I don't want to distress anyone with this post. I'm trying to work out what's reasonable and need some input.

My Dad died 9 days ago. We've been to visit him several times, and have found it to be a real source of comfort. He's looked great and we decided to not have him embalmed. His mouth was a little open and his eyes were naturally closed, just as the point of death. His funeral is Thursday.

He's been changed today and put into his coffin. Someone decided it would be a good idea to close my dad's mouth and to do this they've put cotton wool in to pad his cheeks a little and it looks like they've sewn his mouth together. He looks entirely different. I'm so sad. He doesn't look right at all. And the action of doing this has 'dragged' or tightened his skin up and now his eyelids don't entirely cover his eyes as they did before.

The whole point of this, is that I didn't want them 'messing' with my Dad. I'm so sad that we've had such a great experience and now, this is not ending as I wanted it to. I've spoken to the funeral home, asked them to see if the eyelids can be brought further down without glue or altering him in an intrusive way.

I'm just so sad. I've been so happy to sit with my dad and now it doesn't feel as it has. I don't know what to think. I don't want them to undo what they have done as that's even more intrusive. What is reasonable for me to request at this point? Should I do anything else? What can I do?

Do I need to accept that this has happened and that I know it's not my Dad that's left there and move on from it? I don't know what to think.

Thank you for any thoughts. I really do not want to upset anyone but didn't know where else to post. Thank you.

foxmuldersufo Tue 06-Feb-18 21:47:47

Sorry for your loss.

Without him being embalmed he will be rapidly decomposing. They will have to do something to keep him viewable.

foxmuldersufo Tue 06-Feb-18 21:49:01

Remember that your dad is somewhere better now and that his body is just the physical part of him. He lives in your heart and in every one of your family.

I’m truly very sorry for your loss.

susurration Tue 06-Feb-18 21:56:34

I don't know what to say, except that I am sorry for your loss.

I think the difficulty is that without embalming your Dad is going to start to look different fairly soon. When they changed him it could have been a simple matter of that being the closest way they could get to him looking similar to before unfortunately. Without knowing what happened when they moved him it is hard to say.

I feel for you, I really do flowers

Fekko Tue 06-Feb-18 21:59:52

Try not to think of how he looks now but how he did when he was here.

ChristmasLightLover Tue 06-Feb-18 22:04:01

Thank you. I am wondering if there is any way I can try to see a good thing in this - I've been very attached to sitting with my Dad and found it to be a good way to connect with him. I've been worried about the funeral and cremation as then, I won't be able to sit with him. I'm just so sad. I saw him yesterday and he wasn't any different so I don't see what's happened as they've changed him and put him in the coffin.

I am also aware that I want someone to be angry with so I don't want to over fixate on what's happened today.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 06-Feb-18 22:08:30

My mum died a month ago so I hope you will understand that I have some idea what you are going through. It does sound to me as if it may be time to focus on your memories of your dad when he was alive and move on from sitting with his body. Nothing can take away all that you remember of the good times and I hope that the funeral enables you to celebrate what he meant to you and let him go.


JaneEyre70 Tue 06-Feb-18 22:12:48

I used to work in an undertakers, and believe me, there is a lot of effort that goes into making someone "presentable" for families. Bodies decay very rapidly without embalming, and your dad passed 9 days ago so at some point he was going to change in appearance. I perhaps would have expected them to have warned you about this, but it may best not to see him again as further changes will take place. It's very sadly a process that the undertaker has little control over, and they always do their best to make it as least traumatic for you as they can. I'm really sorry for your loss flowers.

NorthernLurker Tue 06-Feb-18 22:13:59

I think most people find there's a point when a persons dead body stops looking like them, I think this is as much about that prose as it is any intervention. I think it's time for him to say to yourself that sitting with his body is no longer what you need and it's time to let that go. Very sorry for your loss.
Have you got all of your photo albums out and looked through your memories of him? That might be helpful to do now.

NorthernLurker Tue 06-Feb-18 22:14:56

I don't know how prose got in to that sentence!

JaneEyre70 Tue 06-Feb-18 22:15:50

You could ask for them to close the coffin and put a framed photo on top, so you can focus on who your dad was, not what he is now if that makes sense? That may be an easier way to sit with him and say goodbye.

MyBoysAndI Tue 06-Feb-18 22:19:12

I totally understand how you feel. My dad was embalmed and l really wasnt happy with it. There was yellow bruising to his face, one of his hands was blue. His lips started to part so l could see the stitching. The worst bit though was that he had hair growth and my Dad was always clean shaven

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 06-Feb-18 22:19:16

Im sorry you have been upset by this, it will not have been done with that intention or e en without any thought. It will have been done with your dad and you at the forefront of their minds and the best of intentions.

JoyceDivision Tue 06-Feb-18 22:21:04

Hi Op, my dad died last year and when I went to see him he had been cared for as you describe.

I looked on it as Dad's body, not Dad. Does that make sense? They had prepared Dads's body, not Dad. Dad had left this life, this was his earthly remains, his corpse, but who he was, had already left.

It may sound harsh, but almost compartmentalising things made it a lot easier to cope.

Also, due to his illness he had changed rapidly, and this was so much more obvious after he had died that again, I could seperate Dad from his body I was sat with. Also, ashe had lost so much weight the actions of the undertaker was a bit more obvious, however, that is their skill, and I was fortunate that a friend knew someonewho worked there,so sent her a message to say 'Joyce's dad is in, just wanted to let you know so you'll take care of him' and shereplied that of course they would.

A tiny insignificant thing but helped me so much.

Big hugs op, it is hard, but focus on anything positive, focus on love, on laughter,on times you were able to help each other, times you made each other proud... your dad, surely,would not want to see you so sad flowers

JoyceDivision Tue 06-Feb-18 22:23:45

MyboysandI, that's sad, I'm sorry you were unhappy with how your dad was looked after.

One thing I noticed when looking at dad was, due to jis illness, he hadn't shaved a while which was unlike him, yet the undertakers had given him a fantastic smooth shave

sourpatchkid Tue 06-Feb-18 22:31:42

Honestly I would see this as your chance to start letting his body go.

My dad died 2 years ago and the undertakers did a terrible job (they didn't even wash his hair!) - I regret not washing and styling it myself, I've no idea why - we cremated him it hardly matters! But my point is, they badly let me down in how he looked but in the end it didn't really matter. His body went into the coffin anyway. I had to stop being with his body .

Look for your comfort in something else now. Let his body go x thanks I'm so so sorry for you loss

Mishappening Tue 06-Feb-18 22:33:20

Sorry about your Dad OP, but glad that you have found solace in being with him this week.

I saw my Mum after she died and found it unhelpful; so chose not to see my Dad. Mum did not look like herself - I prefer to remember her as she once was.

It may be a good thing in a way that your Dad does not look as he did - this is the beginning of letting go - which is hard, but right and proper.

SpringSnowdrop Tue 06-Feb-18 22:41:02

OP your feelings are understandable and I once saw a documentary showing how a certain culture (I can’t remember where) cared for their dead who stayed alongside them and they continued to ‘care’ for them even after death which I totally understand in a way could be helpful.
Anyway I just wanted to say so sorry it was hard to see these changes and am glad you got a little time with him before this happened too. I think the whole grieving process must be absolutely hard as it is so it must be easy to really mind something like this, however well intentioned it was. I feel for you and hope you have a lot of support from friends and family

FoxtrotSkarloey Tue 06-Feb-18 23:04:50

OP I'm so sorry for your loss, I lost my Dad last year and it'a so hard. My Dad was already not really himself due to illness but the funeral directors warned us we could expect about a week of him looking as he was and possibly up to two weeks before they really wouldn't advise it. Even after about a week his nose structure had started to drop. The thing I found hardest actually was how cold he was to touch, but it really made me realise it wasn't my darling Dad anymore. His beautiful soul had gone elsewhere and his body was no longer needed.

Perhaps the funeral home could give you the answers about why they did what they did when they did, if it would help?

Timeforachange68 Wed 07-Feb-18 09:32:00

Mishappening I too saw my mum at the funeral directors & wished I hadn't, I wasn't sure in the first place & went to support my dad and my sister - I often see the image in my mind & wish that wasn't the last memory of my lovely mum - it just wasn't her

OP were you not asked about embalming when you first met with the funeral director? I'm sure it was something we had to pay extra for in order for my mum to be presentable to see after 10 days or so

redastherose Wed 07-Feb-18 20:21:30

My Dad died just before Christmas and couldn't be buried until the new year. I went to see him once a couple of days after he had died when he had been prepared by the undertaker and it was a comfort to see him looking pain free and at peace. After that his coffin was closed. With the best will in the world if the coffin hadn't been closed after that initial visit he wouldn't have looked anywhere near as good nor as like himself as the funeral was 15 days later.

I know it's difficult but after that point it was Dad's body but not my Dad.

You will feel better once you've had the funeral and the cremation.

Sorry for your loss.

echt Thu 08-Feb-18 08:11:00

When I saw DH in his coffin, he looked different because of the preparations. Even with photos, it's hard to get the look of the face at rest, particularly the lips, which are, as you say, sewn together.

He looked rather like a faintly annoyed Breshnev. I took photos, though. I think part of the impact of difference was because of the efforts we'd made to make him look like himself, , lovely shirt, jeans, etc. I never went back.

I think the FH did the best they could.

It might put your mind at rest to ask the FH about what they did, but as others have suggested, take this as the start of its not being his essential self.


CarefullyDrawnMap Thu 08-Feb-18 18:02:01

Christmas I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't know whether you are much of a reader but if you are and enjoy literature you might like to read the George Saunders book Lincoln in the Bardo. He's a wonderful writer, full of compassion. It's about death, really, and letting go, and how hard it is, but how inevitable and how necessary. It was painful in places but you're in a painful place anyway, and I just had a feeling someone in your position now might find it helpful. flowers

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