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My Dad lives in South France and is dying. What do I do?(4 Posts)
My Dad lives in South of France and is dying of lung cancer complicated by covid. He has been in a hospice since December and has taken a sudden turn for the worse this morning. I am unsure what I should be doing as I feel so distant.
I managed to track him down via distant relatives and his new wife in December after hearing on a distant family grape vine that he had lung cancer, and we have been in touch, mainly on Whatsapp voice messages, most days since. We have forgiven each other and made our love for each other clear. I have bonded with his wife who I have never met and she is with him most days. She is Spanish but speaks French well so is dealing with the medical team and paperwork. It is very frustrating as I don't think I can get to him. France has just gone into their lockdown and I have young children here with little support around. Although our relationship has been a difficult one with a degree of negect in childhood/ teen years , and many years of no contact on his part, there is love there and I have a huge urge to be there and hold his hand.
I want to do the best I can in this situation but I am paralysed by not knowing what I should be doing practically. I have no siblings and don't speak French. I can't see how I can get to the funeral which happens much quicker after death than in the UK apparently. Any ideas of how I can do the right thing here and of any ways that I can be part of both his death and his funeral whilst being so far away very welcome.
I know it must be hard, but if you’ve made peace with each other and he’s getting care and support from his wife there isn’t a lot you can do, without being a burden to other people.
Not speaking French means you could easily have problems explaining your situation to the police enforcing lockdown, and COVID patients in intensive care can’t have visitors anyway.
I think you should be with him in your thoughts. Pray for him if that sounds right to you. And ask if the funeral service can be streamed from the church for people unable to attend. There will be other people like you.
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation - my Dad died very suddenly a year ago today, also in France. We talked to the French Embassy in London and on their advice obtained a letter from
my Dad’s doctor saying he was very unwell and that it was appropriate that his family was allowed to travel - we took the Eurotunnel and drove and were only challenged by UK immigration on the way out (they quickly relented when I tearfully explained the situation). We didn’t make it in time to see my Dad, but were there for my Mum when the news came. Our kids are older and thankfully I persuaded my husband to come with me.
The funeral was 2 days after he died - we quickly realised that it would have to be DIY (he had no truck with religion) - in the end it was lovely, held in the garden of the funeral home - all the neighbours came (the French are big on protocols around death) and I, my brothers and my husband all spoke - my daughters sent recollections of their beloved Grandpa, flowers were from the garden - I think my Dad would have loved it, low key and relaxed followed by dinner in the garden and plenty of glasses raised and memories shared.
If you are able to travel it’s worth a call to the Embassy who should be able to advise what paperwork you’ll need. UK gov rules permit travel for family emergencies, though you’ll be required to quarantine at home on return (and Covid test are costly).
I hope whatever you decide that your reconciliation gives you (and your father) some comfort.
So sorry you are dealing with this.
Travel to France is possible from the U.K., but you have to have a PCR test (not a nhs one) and quarantine for 5 days after arriving. There is also a curfew 7pm-6am) and forms (attestations) needed if you are travelling more than 10km from home or during curfew.
You might find this link useful
Then more tests and quarantine to get back to the U.K.
My neighbour is going through this in reverse: his mum is in hospital in the U.K., it's possible, but difficult.