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Stefan

Closure, Distance and losing Parents

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Stefan

My father-in-law passed away on Saturday. He's a retired minister of the United Church of Canada, stepfather to my wife. He married more people than he can remember (! no, no, he performed the ceremonies :) ) and baptized all 13 of his grandchildren and 1 great grandson.

I'm inexperienced in these matters of losing family members, but I want to share two things I learned:

(1) It's amazing how much easier the arrangements are when you can drive over to your surviving parent, comfort them and help with the details right away, compared to being far away and not in-the-know. Here were 5 daughters and stepdaughters stepping in to help my mother-in-law right away. How lucky that she had so much support.

(2) It's important to get closure. If you can't afford to fly back to attend the funeral, at least make some effort to get closure soon, before it takes too long. My mother shared how she didn't go back to Germany for her father's funeral, and when she could finally visit years later, she had to mourn instead of having the vacation she'd planned. She kept expecting her father to walk through the door at her mother's place.

But how can one get closure without attending a funeral? I've thought about it now, but like I said, I'm inexperienced. I think it would depend on what each person needs to get their closure. I have savings set aside for an emergency trip to SA, but so far I'm hoping to see my folks before it's too late.

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Cathy K

My mother died last August at the age of 89. I wasn't able to return to South Africa and don't regret not going. She had Alzheimer's. All my brothers and sisters still live in South Africa and they took very good care of her. My one sister was a gem. She lives in Rustenburg but made the trip to Pretoria every weekend to visit my Mom. She saw to it that my Mom got the very best care in a facility that she carefully selected. My one brother visited slightly less regularly, but always bore gifts for everyone: fruit, biltong (finely cut) chocolates, etc.

I phoned every weekend, and when telephone conversations became difficult, I changed to Skype. A few days before she died, my sister sat next to her bedside with her I-Pad. She Skyped me and turned the I-pad towards my Mom. She was already comatose, but I softly spoke to her and told her how much we all love her. We were always very close and I'm sure she heard me.

Her death was a relief. It was difficult to see this once vibrant and beautiful person slowly regress into a world that frightened her beyond comprehension. She was always very practical and I'm pretty sure she would have taken exception if I flew all the way at great cost just to attend her funeral. She herself left a long time ago. It was just her body that still remained. I cried a little bit, but smiled a lot more, grateful that her spirit was at last free to soar.

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Nelline

Don't want to say too much, but had such a brilliant Skype session with my dad (81) today... he was just released from hospital after another procedure. I feel so guilty for not being there. But he is happy I am safe and prospering. And that makes me feel guilty too :-(

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Cathy K

This applies to us as well. Should our family make the trip to Canada if something happens to us?

We already made it clear that we would have no funeral or celebration of life. Our souls are important, Our bodies not so much.

Closure is relative. If I was to be remembered, planting a tree or shrub somewhere is a good way to do it.

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Guest Petros

I have always said that when I die they must plant a fruit tree over me and then if ever anyone comes to visit they can have a fruit and see if its been a good year for me in the afterlife :)

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OutOfSa

I have always said that when I die they must plant a fruit tree over me and then if ever anyone comes to visit they can have a fruit and see if its been a good year for me in the afterlife :)

Are you not trying to tempt us into getting into trouble? (Apple tree by any chance???)

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Stefan

The tree idea appeals to me, just wondering if dogs are allowed in the area... Actually, instead of a funeral and an expensive spot in a full city graveyard, my grandmother purchased (leased?) a tree, with spots around it where she and her children's ashes will be placed. Some cities in Germany are doing this with their woods; this one is near where she used to hike while she was "younger". She's 96 and still sharp. I've lost count of how many times we've said goodbye to her, thinking it's the last.

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Merv

My wishes for when I shuffle off this mortal coil? Put me in the cheapes box possible (cardboard would be fine) cremate me and if there is a funeral (and anyone actually comes :holy: ), play "we will rock you" and "we are the champions" by Queen, as loud as possible and everyone has to join in as loud as THEY can. I think that would be awesome!! I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered, preferably over the sea somewhere (In the Caribbean would be great), as I don't want anyone to feel obligated to visit a gravesite.

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