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Old 14.02.2011, 20:21
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The death thread.

I don't know about anyone else but I find it hard to grieve here in Switzerland when no one, I know, knows the person who's died.

Maybe it's because I'm a Scouser and I just need to hear the tales and funny stories, maybe I need to be dramatic and be a part of the last farewell. Maybe I'm just strange, but I never, ever feel someone has died untill I know the date of the funeral. Strange but true.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:30
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Re: The death thread.

I've just come back from a family funeral in Ireland. You know they're dead when you've seen them lying in their coffin and carried them on your shoulders to their grave. It won't stop you grieving but it gives you closure. These days we're too cut off from death. Sometimes the old ways are best.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:33
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Hmmmm. So it's like you need evidence - not necessarily concrete- that the person has died, something to make it real? Makes sense to me.

What's a scouser? (did I even spell that right?)
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:36
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Re: The death thread.

Edot a scouser is someone from Liverpool.
yea Nev I totaly understand, In Ireland everyone goes to a funeral/wake and you all have each other to lean on. Here death is almost as taboo as sex.
Edot, I am not sure its about seeing physical evidence, its more about being involved in the final journey of the person you love.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:37
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Re: The death thread.

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Hmmmm. So it's like you need evidence - not necessarily concrete- that the person has died, something to make it real? Makes sense to me.

What's a scouser? (did I even spell that right?)
You did spell it right. It's a person from Liverpool. We are famous in so many ways but mostly for our ability to steal what ever you or your car are wearing without you knowing it.

It's just hearsay though.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:40
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Re: The death thread.

I feel for what you are going through Oldhand as I know you lost a dear friend.

My best friend died 4 years ago when I was away so when I returned I called to find out that she had gone and the funeral had passed. I think that a funeral is a closing and the time in between is so hard.

I came to terms with my friends passing by going for a day trip to Sissinghurst in East Sussex. We used to go often, stop and have tea in Tenterden Kent, a real girlie day.
I went there and spent the day there in the beautiful gardens and when I was sitting there a bird flew onto the bench and sat next to me. It was then that I could really say goodbye.

Maybe when you next go back to the UK you could go to somewhere that the two of you shared in some way and hopefully you will find some peace and meet up with mutual friends and you can chat about shared times.

On my friends birthday, I always go for a picnic with a couple of mutual friends where we remember her but not in a sad way.

Sending hugs to you..
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:43
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Re: The death thread.

I'm glad you started this thread Oldhand as two friends of mine (here in ZH) have had deaths in theirs families this past week. One lost her father to cancer and the other lost her unborn baby. She was six months pregnant. I have been especially disturbed by my friend who lost her unborn baby. She had to have labour induced this weekend to give birth. They had to name the baby and register him and now bury him. This has just been running through my mind the entire weekend and I'm very very saddened by it. She is handling it well. She is very religious and believes the child has returned to his Heavenly Father. This, on the other hand, gives me a warm comforting feeling.


Just thought I'd share.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:43
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Re: The death thread.

Back on Topic please OH!
I, too, find it very, very difficult to grieve, or even realise that someone I loved has died unless I can attend the funeral. Otherwise, as I didn't see family members in England anyway, I don't 'miss' them and when I next go over, have to give myself a big kick to remind me that I won't be seeing them any more.
Actually travelling to my elder brother's funeral with my elderly mother, I thought, "Ah well, I can stop worrying about Mum soon. We'll be in Birmingham and then Francis will take everything in hand."

The old traditions had good reasons for being adhered to.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:51
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Re: The death thread.

Longbyte, I take it the brother who died was the one who you thought would take over.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:52
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Re: The death thread.

Exactly - I know it sounds too stupid to be true, but it was.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:53
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I didn't mean physical evidence. But you need something to place you in the right mindset to grieve. My husband's favorite aunt died a few years ago and we were unable to attend her funeral. A couple months later, another aunt gave me a necklace our aunt wanted me to have. It wasn't something i'd wear, but it reminded me of her. Touching the beads made me think of her and I had a good cry.
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Old 14.02.2011, 20:57
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Re: The death thread.

I'm so sorry for your loss Oldhand.

A thoughtful discussion..
my mother believed that we should not attend the funerals of our grandparents because "it's not for young people".

I did not attend any, and to this day I keep thinking they're alive.. though it has been between close to 20 years. I feel sorry, because it would have been a last loving good-bye, and with that grieving brings healing.
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Old 14.02.2011, 21:33
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Re: The death thread.

Quote:
I didn't mean physical evidence. But you need something to place you in the right mindset to grieve.
or some, it is having the physical evidence - a body lost up a mountain, or in the water.... can have a different effect on the grieving process, even if one knows intellectually, that the person is dead.

I also agree that the "old ways" are the best - to have a body to see and say goodbye to, to be able to sit and share stories with others who have been close to the deceased person, to cry and even to laugh , together, is a healthy part of the grieving process. Personally, I recommend having an open coffin in a room at home long enough to allow family members time to say their personal goodbye's. One of the saddest sights I saw, was a group looking helpless, watching the hearse disappear from the church to the cemetary, whisking the deceased family member away in a town that discouraged funeral processions, cutting short that gradual "letting go" period.

A book that I have reread several times, deals beautifully with death: Tangi, by Witi Ihimaera

Kia kaha.

Last edited by Longbyt; 14.02.2011 at 21:37. Reason: square brackets for ever.
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Old 14.02.2011, 22:23
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Re: The death thread.

Oldhand, my recent personal experience is that is is not even linked to actually being at the funeral. Last April my very healthy mother died very unexpectedly and far too soon. She was unconscious for a few hours but it was not enough time to get back to the UK to see her. I did arrive a few hours later and stayed with my father for over a month in the family home. It was a sad time as you can probably imagine.

But when I got back to CH, it all suddenly became very unreal. What had seemed so concrete and emtpy at my childhood home became just a bad dream back in my every day life in Ch. And you are right, when no one else really knows her, the opportunity to really talk about how you feel, and at length, is hard to find. I still regularly find myself thinking "must ring Mummy" or "must ask Mummy that next time she comes". A couple of weeks ago when making a new recipe for marmalade (that she had recommended) I even got as far as picking up the phone and starting to dial to ask her advice.

I think I will know she is really gone when I am able to stop myself still thinking she is here, and I don't know how or when that will happen.

Take care.
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Old 14.02.2011, 22:31
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Re: The death thread.

My dad died unexpectedly last month. I rushed home to the US to help my mom get through it all. As per his wishes, we had him cremated. As we drove home, holding the small box of his ashes in a box on my lap, I couldn't help but think that the box was about the size of a newborn baby, probably about the size I would have been when he first carried me home.
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Old 14.02.2011, 23:38
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Re: The death thread.

I just saw a documentary on Swiss TV called "Surviving Amina". I don't know how people pull off bereaving their toddler kids. So moving. Argh, death and Valentine's day.

I hope you are ok, Oldhand. I wonder, if sometimes, being remote from the whole situation helps one maintain a healthy and happy mental image of that dear person, you know...How you used to know them...the nicest image of them. Call up somebody who knows that person, too, share with them, maybe..

There are more situations like these...Not just grieving, when somebody dies. Most of us had some life back there before we moved here, anything you talk about back there to somebody here, is somewhat remote, different planet. I think confiding in some expats probably brings some consolation, since they know how it is. I think it is hard to be able to relate to you, for some local people in here, since they often forget one actually comes from somewhere else, has a family and friends there, etc.
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Old 15.02.2011, 09:28
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Re: The death thread.

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Oldhand, my recent personal experience is that is is not even linked to actually being at the funeral. Last April my very healthy mother died very unexpectedly and far too soon. She was unconscious for a few hours but it was not enough time to get back to the UK to see her. I did arrive a few hours later and stayed with my father for over a month in the family home. It was a sad time as you can probably imagine.

But when I got back to CH, it all suddenly became very unreal. What had seemed so concrete and emtpy at my childhood home became just a bad dream back in my every day life in Ch. And you are right, when no one else really knows her, the opportunity to really talk about how you feel, and at length, is hard to find. I still regularly find myself thinking "must ring Mummy" or "must ask Mummy that next time she comes". A couple of weeks ago when making a new recipe for marmalade (that she had recommended) I even got as far as picking up the phone and starting to dial to ask her advice.

I think I will know she is really gone when I am able to stop myself still thinking she is here, and I don't know how or when that will happen.

Take care.
My sympathies to you all, unexpected death is so difficult to come to terms with.
Ecb - it was so uncanny to read your story - my reasonably healthy Mom, passed away last April, [also very sudden, and far too soon] whilst she was here on holiday. She travelled to Germany, to visit my sister, 5 days before.
I know the sinking feeling, followed by a heaviness that sets upon you, when you think, Oh, I havent spoken to Mom in so long. Jus that realisation, brings tears to your eyes.
Unspoken goodbyes, and words of love that cannot be shared, widen the void. We miss her so much.

wishes of love and light to you all.............I do certainly believe that we will be reunited with our loved ones.
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Old 15.02.2011, 10:31
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Re: The death thread.

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I've just come back from a family funeral in Ireland. You know they're dead when you've seen them lying in their coffin and carried them on your shoulders to their grave. It won't stop you grieving but it gives you closure. These days we're too cut off from death. Sometimes the old ways are best.
i have to agree. i recall a few funerals and different ceremonies and no matter how weird the ceremonial burial, one thing that struck me about it was that it really did mentally prepare you for the death and bring closure to the death.
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Old 15.02.2011, 10:31
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Re: The death thread.

Thanks for starting this thread. I know exactly what you mean. When my Dad passed away I refused to accept it - but in the end I had to. When my son was stillborn we did not have a funeral and it still seems to be unreal, especially because there is no place you can go to and grieve, it is almost as if he never existed. When it happened I decided against seeing him or claiming his body for a funeral because I could not bear it but that was probably a mistake.
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Old 15.02.2011, 12:34
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Re: The death thread.

Natasha started a similar thread about loss over distance. For those who need help/support, there were lots of ideas/conselling/help mentioned.

EDIT: here it is: Dealing with death of a family member whilst living abroad.
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