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What to do

(80 Posts)
Grandmadinosaur Tue 02-Mar-21 09:40:51

I lost my mum a couple of weeks ago. Sad as it is it was a relief as she had been ill for a few years - latterly with dementia. My parents live an hour and a half’s drive away and hadn’t seen them for a year due to a COVID. My DH and I did visit my dad the day after she passed and the funeral is in a couple of weeks. My dad has asked me if I want to go and see her in the Chapel of rest. This is my dilemma. It’s a case of what I shall see. I know the last year took a toll on her physically and would like to remember her how she was. Also should we go under the present rules as we shall be going anyway for the funeral? I feel like we should go as support to my dad who is putting no pressure on me. He is the most easy going person I know so there’s no feelings of guilt. Or is there from me? I don’t know what to do?

crazygranny Thu 04-Mar-21 11:06:04

He is asking if you would like to do something that might make you feel better. If you are at all concerned that this will only make you feel worse then don't do it. Hang on to the good and happy memories.

4allweknow Thu 04-Mar-21 11:07:44

Some people want to go and "chat" to their deceased loved one not necessarily to look at them. If you feel that would help you and your Dad could you do this with a closed coffin. Would still be in a funereal environment and you may be a bit overwhelmed. Perhaps the best way is to remember your DM as you saw her alive, with happier memories.

jenni123 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:08:22

I did go and see my Dad, it did not look like him,,, so a year later when Mum left us I did not go and see her, wanted to remember her how she was.

Bluesmum Thu 04-Mar-21 11:10:41

So sorry for your loss. My mum asked me to go to the undertakers to see my dad, as I had not seen him for several months before he died, so I did but how I wish I hadn’t!!! He had deteriorated physically so badly and so quickly, he really did look skeletal and that image haunts me to this day, some 40 years later, whenever I think of him! I was with my dh in the hospital when he died last year, he had also deteriorated very rapidly in the few hours I spent with him, I was quite shocked! He had always been very proud of his handsome appearance, even in later life he never looked anywhere near his age, but when he died he looked every one of his 92 years, plus a hundred more! I gave the undertakers strict instructions that no one be allowed to see him, he would not have wanted to be remembered looking that way! I have a lovely photo of him taken just a couple of weeks before, eyes shining brightly and his beautiful smile, that’s how he would want to be remembered and he always will xxx

effalump Thu 04-Mar-21 11:17:13

I went with mum to see dad after he died 9 years ago. I was very aprehensive but he just looked asleep. I stood next to him with my hand on his chest and I didn't feel weird or anything. In fact, it was oddly, very calming.

Moggycuddler Thu 04-Mar-21 11:20:48

I went to see my dad at the chapel of rest. I had never seen a dead body before like that, and it was a big shock. Even though he passed away peacefully and I expected him to look "normal" and though there was nothing wrong, he didn't look like my dad. For weeks after, I couldn't get the image of his dead face out of my mind. I wished I had not gone and just remembered him as he was. When my mum died, I didn't go to look at her and I'm glad. Whatever a person is, it has left the body when they are dead.

Jan51 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:22:05

I didn't go to see my Mum or Dad in the chapel of rest, I would rather remember them how they were although I did see my mum a few minutes after she died at a hospice. They had made her look very peaceful as though she was asleep.

Patticake123 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:24:29

Please accept my condolences. The decision has to be your own. When my father died I went to see him and was greatly reassured that Dad wasn’t there anymore, just an empty shell. This helped me at the funeral and subsequently because I knew the coffin didn’t contain the man I loved so deeply. When my mum died, I was with her. I washed her , combed her hair and told her how much I loved her.?

GrammaH Thu 04-Mar-21 11:26:04

I'm so sorry for your loss & feel your sorrow as my mum died nearly two years ago. I still haven't come to terms with being without her. My sister, who is younger but very domineering, was very insistent that I should visit the undertakers to say goodbye to mum but I managed to ignore her for once & listen to my heart which told me I most definitely did not want to see her dead. I saw her the day before she died & I knew I shouldn't see her again, my goodbye to her then was final. We all must do what we feel is right for us in the circumstances- mum was alone in a side ward when she died, the staff hadn't expected her to die that day just after having had her breakfast, quietly & without any fuss. My sister sat with her body & chatted to her & visited again at the undertakers. I couldn't have done that for anything. I want to always remember her alive & vibrant.

Annaram1 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:28:10

When my dear husband died I was asked by the funeral directors if I would like the coffin open or closed when they delivered it to the church the night before the funeral. I said closed. My family and I went to the church and we sat around the coffin and reminisced.
My friends husband died young. By special arrangement with the funeral home the coffin was left open for a week. Their daughter aged 9 visited every day to chat with her father.
I believe that in America the coffin is left open at the funeral
service so that all who want to can see the deceased.
Everyone is different.

JCFrance Thu 04-Mar-21 11:31:38

I lost my mum at the end of January, due to dementia. I hadn’t seen here for a year because of covid restrictions, the home had sent me photos and we FaceTimed just before Christmas. I didn’t go the chapel of rest as I wanted to remember how mum used to be and she had changed on the last year. It’s entirely your choice, I’m pleased I didn’t but I know others who have benefited from see their loved ones. ?

esgt1967 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:40:23

My mum passed away nearly 2 years ago, during the night in bed (she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer 4 weeks previously). My step dad called me in the morning and I went over to see her, still in bed, and although obviously it wasn't pleasant to see her like that, so cold and lifeless, I stayed with her for about half an hour just talking to her and holding her hand. I had seen her the Saturday before (she passed away on the Tuesday night) and although she wasn't coping with her diagnosis well, I never expected her to deteriorate quite so quickly. I saw her again on Sunday evening as we were called over as she was in a bad way, not eating all day and the paramedics were with her but she was stabilised and seemed "OK". I sat with my my mum for a while after the paramedics had gone, she was in a bad way but obviously I never realised that would be the last time I would see her alive. She wasn't the mum I knew, following the diagnosis she wouldn't get ready anymore and just spent all day in bed and that was really difficult for us to handle. Therefore, seeing her that morning after she had died, so thin and cold, her mouth slightly open from taking her last breath was heart breaking but I'm so glad I was able to spend time with her - it's not how I want to remember her obviously, I want to remember her full of life and love, but there was never any question of not seeing her before the undertakers came. If she had passed in hospital or somewhere else and I had been asked if I wanted to see her in the Chapel of Rest, I would have done so because I would have wanted to say my Goodbyes properly.

It is a personal decision but I would suggest that you go to see her in the Chapel of Rest, it's a very personal time but I'm sure you won't regret doing it.

Camelotclub Thu 04-Mar-21 11:44:21

I saw my Mum after she'd died as my sister wanted to and I felt I should go too. I wish I hadn't. Some cultures have a thing about open coffins, notably the US, and I can't understand it.

I wouldn't go, remember her as she was.

Gilly1952 Thu 04-Mar-21 11:47:40

Grandmadinosaur, Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your dear Mum xx

ExD Thu 04-Mar-21 11:49:54

How do you feel about yourself, when you die? Do you want all and sundry gawping at you? I don't.
How would your Mum feel? If in doubt - explain to your dad how you feel, and don't go unless it'd upset him by staying away.

Suze56 Thu 04-Mar-21 12:00:39

I was with my mum when she died - she too had suffered from dementia and it felt like we had said already said goodbye bit by bit. Her appearance changed so much over the last year as her personality and expression were eroded by this awful illness. My sister who lived some distance away and was abroad on holiday when my mum finally passed away did want to see her in the chapel of rest - said it wouldn't feel real before that. It did bring some closure but she hardly recognised mum and found that quite distressing. Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer here, just do what you are most comfortable with.

oliversnana Thu 04-Mar-21 12:06:02

So sorry for your loss.
My mum passed suddenly at the end of January. I had spoken to her 3 days before it happened.
When she first passed I wanted so much to go and see her as I have for my dad and all relatives for the past 30 years as I like to say good bye face to face so to speak. I decided 3 days later that I didn't need to go and see her. I don't know why this was but I didn't go and I don't regret it (yet anyway). Go with your gut instinct having worked in care and nursing I have people who looked quite relieved when they are released from their earthly torment.

Janetashbolt Thu 04-Mar-21 12:07:27

I regretted seeing my mum. The funeral directors had put make up on her, she never wore make up. Also she looked so little and shrunken, that " being" in the coffin was definitely NOT my mum.

Aepgirl Thu 04-Mar-21 12:07:42

My mother asked me to go to the chapel of rest with her to see my dad. I did, to please her, but I have regretted it ever since because although my dad had been ill for a long time, and I had helped my mum to look after him, and I was with him when he died, I still had the image of him in my mind of how he was before he was ill. It was a shock to see him in the chapel.

JdotJ Thu 04-Mar-21 12:09:11

Agree totally. I lost my mum 2 years ago, she'd had Alzheimer's for some 7 or 8 years,by that point and I was her carer for the last 4 years, after my dad passed suddenly.
I always say that I lost her the day she was diagnosed, she was still my mum but she wasnt if that makes sense. I had no wish to go and see her after she died, I wanted to remember her pre Alzheimer's.

DC64 Thu 04-Mar-21 12:14:17

So sorry for your loss - I lost my mum the end of last year cancer/vascular dementia... we did hospice at home.
It was a relief too at the end as she was so ill, nothing could be done just made her comfy and be with her.
I think you have to do what you need to do for you, doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks or does. I was there when she died so that is the image I still have of her at the moment ? - I’m hoping sometime I will get to remember her as she was before when she was full of life!
Listen to your instinct and follow that. X

Pammie1 Thu 04-Mar-21 12:14:35

My sincere condolences on your loss - such a difficult time for so many people because of lockdown and all that goes with it. I was with my late husband when he died in hospital and opted not to visit him in the chapel of rest. We opted for closed casket so no one could visit but a close friend wanted to see him so we made an exception. He was so upset after the visit and said he would always regret that decision as there was just a ‘shell’ and the man he knew wasn’t there. Sadly, this will be the case with your mum - the person you knew and loved is no longer there and has moved on to what I very much hope is a better place. Remember her as she was, and as she would want you to remember her.

Fernhillnana Thu 04-Mar-21 12:16:07

I didn’t see my mum by choice though several members of the family did. It’s so personal. I do remember vividly seeing my dad and thinking at the time, with great relief, oh that’s not dad at all it’s just a body. Weird but I never remember him dead, always live and happy.

jaylucy Thu 04-Mar-21 12:27:37

So sorry to read about your mum.
Hard to decide if you want to, if possible, to see her before the funeral. You have to think that will you regret it if you don't?
Maybe your dad just wants your support and feels that you need to see her to confirm that she has passed away as you have been unable to see her before?
I was able to see my mum in hospital a few minutes after she had died ( call from hospital, didn't get there in time) and I , in a strange way, was just glad to see that she hadn't changed in any way.

Sooze58 Thu 04-Mar-21 12:34:13

If there’s no pressure from your dad, I personally wouldn’t go. I think it’s much nicer to remember people at their best and not the shell they become. When I have seen people in a chapel of rest, it is nothing like them and I’ve always wished I hadn’t.