wings and things

Planning a funeral

on August 12, 2016

Anthony isn’t dead yet, and we have never discussed things like burial versus cremation, so I guess those decisions will be up to me, and Ming.

Today, I fed him his vitamised lunch, but he wasn’t particularly interested in the food; he was, as usual (as in the last week or so), very thirsty, so the drinks were a success. Conversation was close to nil and then he went to sleep while I watched television blankly.

I soon realised that he must have had one of those TIAs (mini-strokes) because he was unwakeable. But, as I’d already signed the forms indicating that Anthony was not a candidate for hospitalisation, resuscitation, a feeding tube, or any intervention, I didn’t alert the staff. In all honesty, having seen him diminish so rapidly over recent days, I rather hoped he would die with my warm thumb on his cold wrist.

All afternoon, I kept checking his pulse, hoping for two opposite things! I wanted him to die, for his sake; I wanted him to live, for my sake, and for Ming’s.

Death is definitely on its way for Anthony. Strangely, I didn’t see it coming but now I do. Accepting that has helped me, tonight, to make funeral arrangement decisions. If I make those decisions now, and pre-pay for his funeral, we will at least be able to grieve without so much red tape.

Last week, Ants and I would have been able to joke about funeral caskets; last week, Ming and I would have been able to discuss the future with Anthony in it; this week the whole story has changed.


32 responses to “Planning a funeral

  1. I’ve said it before, I love your love.

    Distance, and not having ever met you and Anthony and Ming has not diminished the depth of feeling your words, your lives, have made me feel.

    So many times I’ve felt like I was sitting in the room with you and Anthony, listening, laughing. Existing, with you.

    You’re always his girl Julie, it shows with everything you do with your love for Anthony.

  2. susanpoozan says:

    Facing reality is always hard but you are facing it with your usual courage.

  3. I truly admire your courage and willingness to share your story with the world. I hope writing has been cathartic for you and your blog will help you remember your husband. Wishing you strong days ahead.

  4. My poor girl, how awful for you. Sending you hugs xxx

  5. In my experience there are two schools of thought on funerals. If you have discussed it and you know exactly what the other person wants, you have a clear direction. Carrying out their wishes gives a sense of fulfillment. If there is no direction or the other person doesn’t know or care about what happens, you are free to do what is the best to help you in your grieving process. I truly think that the funeral should be to comfort those left behind and to give a sense of closure. My advice would be to think of what would give a modicum of comfort to you and Ming. You are strong and practical, Julie. You’ll do the right thing.

  6. KDKH says:

    Such conflicting emotions are normal, but that doesn’t make any easier. My thoughts are with you three.

  7. You are my hero, your tremendous courage, love and generosity are so inspiring. I am sending you all of my love and hugs Jules!

  8. Sending you love from across the seas and honouring your courage, your dignity, and grace. You Jules are a woman of great heart, and spirit. Wishing you strength and peace of heart. Much love to all of you.

  9. ksbeth says:

    a ring of hugs from me around all of you

  10. Judy says:

    Wow, Julie – you’ve been facing his impending death in the face for years now. But your stoicism and practicality on this post is so striking. Perhaps all the grieving you’ve done up until this point is cushioning this.
    I have no doubt that anguish is pressing your insides. I’m sending you the biggest hug and lots and love. What a tough journey you’ve been on. Thankful you have Ming to hold onto.

  11. So difficult to read this, Julie, but as others have noted, your courage and love for Anthony are an inspiration. Sending good thoughts in this difficult time…

  12. letstalkaboutfamily says:

    I am so sorry for what you are facing now. We all know it is coming, yet it feels like so sudden when it happens. I will think and pray for you as you go through the coming weeks and months. This is a difficult time for you and Ming as you face new questions each day and wish you could just ask Anthony. You have been so good to him and have had a wonderful love together. I hope this love and memories help you through the days to come as you sit by Anthony’s side and face each new day and decisions to come.

  13. My heart goes out to you and Ming.

  14. You are doing really really well. I am proud of you.. c

  15. Living and dying happens so fast and so slow.I am with you in thought and prayer.

  16. Julie ❤ There came a time before my dad's death that I hoped for it too. Hugs to you and Ming and I do think that your recent planning ahead will be a blessing when the time comes. You're in my thoughts and prayers. ❤
    Diana xo

  17. batgurrl says:

    Though we have never met I too from across the sea am a huge fan of yours. You trapped my heart with the peacocks and the farm. Then you blessed us by sharing your journey with Anthony. Not all of us could be so strong. Big hugs from all around the world to you!!

  18. Vicki says:

    Saying ‘goodbye’ must be the hardest thing to do, but it sounds like it’s time (to consider this eventuality). I feel for you at this difficult time. Vicki x

  19. Julie.. I know your heart is heavy as you face Anthony’s passing. I can only say that I will pray for strength for you and Ming. Please know that you will be in my thoughts… Diane ❤

  20. bulldog says:

    What more can I say but…. Sterkte…. my heart felt Sterkte

  21. Much love to you and Ming, Darling lady – and to your love Ants. Know that so much love surrounds you mostly because of who you are …

  22. do you realize that when it comes to funerals that you can do almost anything you like ?My husband wouldn’t talk about his impending funeral so I made all of the arrangements myself and tailor made a funeral for him.He never went to church so I thought to have a church service would be stupid. He would not appreciate it at all so I had him cremated, he had decided on that cos we were planning on moving to Australia after his death and liked the thought of being able to come with us but the rest was up to me so we had a service in a country style rustic pub down by the beach and planned it to co-inside with the outgoing tide and one of my daughters and some of our visitors made dozens of little paper boats which people at the funeral wrote their name or a message on before placing them into the out going tide to be taken out to sea and it worked just the way we had hoped. An hour or two later a group of little boats could be seem way out in the bay heading toward open sea.Also had a slide show with pics of husband throughout his life and the number one hit song from each year since he was born softly playing in background.I wrote the service and the hospice minister read it though anyone can. It was funny because that is what we’re like but had a few little sad parts as well and I know he would have loved his ‘last party’. It was as a lot of funerals are these days a remembrance day focused on his life not his could have a service on the farm and his ashes could be buried under a special yet to purchase tree in your new garden. You can do anything you like the sky is not even the limit as you can now apparently blast someones ashes into space if you feel so inclined.I just like the idea of tailor making a funeral for the person and making it something they would be proud of.Maybe you don’t care what I did for my husbands funeral or anyone else’s but your imagination is the only limit on what you can do as long as a death cert is signed and body disposed of in legal way.I think the ‘last party’ makes for a really good sendoff.We kiwis go pretty original on this sort of stuff.There comes a time when a person is declining that you start thinking that it might be better for them not to go on any more. I remember that moment well. It was the end anyway but at that moment I was more than ready to accept it.When all of their independence has gone and all dignity too its time to call it quits. When you work in aged care and know what its like death doesn’t always seam like the worst option.Hope these ideas are helpful to someone. A funeral doesn’t have to be sad I was really happy at my husbands funeral because it was the last thing I could do for him and knew he would have loved it.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh Debbie, I am so grateful for these ideas and it is so wonderful to know someone who has already been through this. You’ve got me thinking more creatively now about how Anthony’s funeral might happen. You are a gem and have already made me feel stronger. I can’t thank you enough! Jxxx

  23. I was a bit dubious about sharing my funeral experiences as sometimes people facing such an up coming event themselves may be so deep into their own feelings and grief that they don’t give a damn about what anyone else has done or may even accuse others of trying to force their own ideas onto them only to have regrets later that they didn’t put more thought into it , so I’m glad you received my ideas in the spirit in which they were given, to share ideas on making a funeral more personal and I think if you’re in the position of having to have a funeral you may as well make it a good one because it will be the last memory associated with that person.and to have a funeral that is relevant to that persons life is more meaningful than your standard dull, sad , one size fits all funeral. Not much of a send-off I think …I’m sure Tony would rather hear Ming rock his cup -of- tea song than have everyone reluctantly trying to sing some hymn.Have enjoyed your posts and updates and will continue to do so in the future. Thoughts are with you both.

  24. tersiaburger says:

    I have and hold you and Ming in my heart. I wish you strength and courage in this difficult time of your lives. Lots of love my friend

  25. When I saw the title of the post I was sad but then I read that he hasn’t died yet and felt a little better, I understand your two minds, we are like that with nan she has no life and would be better off with pop in heaven but at the same time we don’t want to lose her it is hard when we go in to see her and she is asleep and cold and you are in two minds as whether you want her to open her eyes when you kiss her.

  26. Judi Lynn says:

    Near the end for my mom, my sisters and I hoped she could be free of her Alzheimer’s, the sooner, the better. Planning the funeral ahead made everything easier. So glad we did that and glad you’re going to, too. My sisters didn’t want any funeral since Mom wanted cremated, only a graveside service, so that’s what we did. And it’s about all we wanted to handle. It’s nice you and MIng will have those decisions out of the way.

  27. Michelle M Burns says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I truly appreciate it and send you all hugs and love ❤

  28. Amazing, and sometimes so sad, what s mere moment can bring. Bless you in this journey.

  29. Such a powerful post.
    Thanks for sharing and igniting ethical questions in all of us. Although very sad, it’s a great experience you’re giving your readers on this very personal journey of yours. Xx

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