Paying Respects.

by Lori Dwyer on June 5, 2011 · 16 comments

Attending my husband’s funeral, just eight days After my world changed from normal to sad, was the most surreal thing I’ve ever done. The most surreal thing I think I ever will do.

I blogged that night, and I vaguely remember doing that, so exhausted, my eyes swollen and red like sandpaper, my mind still trying to play catch up with how the hell this happened to me, to us, to Tony.

There were so many people there.. hundreds of them. But when the long black car pulled up, and I managed to lift my body, which weighed a solid tonne with grief, from the gothic insides of it… there are people everywhere. All I can see are people.

And I know not a single one of them. there is not a face there I recognise and for a moment I wonder, bizarrely, if we are at the wrong place, wrong chapel, wrong crematorium. Then there are funeral directors and roses and we are led inside and my feet are so heavy and I don’t want to do this, I want to go home, but let’s just get it over with, I want it over.

They have an AV issue, they take forever to start.

And the only pall bearer I remember is my brother and I am so proud of him, what a long journey to make, what a heavy burden to carry.

And then I see the fucking roses on the coffin and they are purple and I know Tony’s sister ordered blue and yellow and I cannot stand that purple colour, I cannot do this, and I squeeze my mother’s hand and whisper “Not funny, Tony“, and I start to giggle hysterically, sobbing at the same time.

Will you be OK to speak? Do you need someone with you?

No, I say, this is what I do. I know I wanted to speak, I always knew, but I didn’t know what to say. Words tumble out my mouth, laced with salty tears and once I am done I expect to feel relief and there is none.

And the slideshow makes me cry, and so does the music. And funerals are so fucking horrible and hot and I want to go home, home to my Purple Life.

It’s when the curtains close, that I lose my ability to speak, to form words. I can do nothing but stare at the ground. That heaviness, it’s so complete it’s almost like it’s impossible to move, I will never do it again. I leave the chapel, feet dragging, eyes down, and sit in a gazebo outside and people come to ‘pay respects’ (fuck off and leave me be, please) and all I can do is stare at them.

People leave. I am one of the last to go.

I wish I’d gone to his coffin, once everyone left, and said goodbye.

I’m glad I didn’t.

We have stayed for so long, there is another family arriving, another funeral to begin soon.

Life, it goes on.

What a bitch.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Paige June 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

i am so so sorry for your loss. you are stronger than you realize.


Crystal Cheverie June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

What a bitch, indeed.

Nothing but HUGs….


Sophie June 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

My daughter's funeral was three years ago today actually. It was a very foggy day for me, very surreal. In many ways I disconnected.

I remember talking to my husband and someone had to tap me on the shoulder and point to the white car that my daughter's coffin was being driven away in. I didn't want to look at it. It was too sad. Too awful. I disconnected and watched it as though it were a movie… and all I could think about were the poor drivers who we going to go past this car, with the tiny white coffin and the bright pink fairy wings lying beside it… and how sad and sick that would probably make them feel.

I remember thinking that I just had to get through that funeral and then I can go home and hide away for a while.

I am so proud of you for speaking. We were never asked to or expected to. I sometimes wish I had.



Hear Mum Roar June 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I just feel so sad reading this, sad that you guys had to live it. ((HUG))


Hope’s Mama June 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

So much of this sucked me right back to three years ago, the day of my daughter's funeral. The first few paragraphs especially. And yes, the line up of people with hugs and sorrowful looks. I just wanted to sink in to the ground with her.
I'm so sorry, Lori. The memories of that day are almost worse than the actual day I lost her.


Amy xxoo June 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I havent had to attend too many in time ( thankfully ) but even as a mourner who wasnt extremely close to the deceased, funerals are no fun fair. They're miserable – even the bits where the person giving the eulogy tells a funny story about the deceased person, and everyone has a quite giggle or smirk to themselves. Even those bits are miserable. So well done to you for having made through and out the other side…


deardarl June 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I think the hardest thing for me was leaving the church …. walking behind the coffin, a child's hand in each of mine. I stared straight down at my shoes on the long walk out, then watched the boys load my husband into the back of the hearse. Then my SIL tapped me on the shoulder and started trying to introduce me to people and I just looked at her and wondered how she could just go on like this was some sort of party where I wanted to meet everyone. Surreal indeed.


Janet NZ June 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I'm not having a funeral either.
And if I do, I'm not going to be there.
Too fucking hard.


River June 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

this brings a memory of my Sister-in-law's funeral where 99% of the town turned out, she was such a well-loved person.

Funerals are very, very hard.
I'm not having one.


Shell June 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Oh honey, I can't even begin to imagine how incredibly hard that was on you, how hard it still must be. You are one strong lady.


KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna June 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

what brooke said.

i remember going to a funeral of someone very close to me and thinking similar thoughts.



Brooke Farmer June 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

Reading this, the only thing I can say is, "Ow." That hurt. That hurt me and I didn't even live it.

"I wish I had…. I'm glad I didn't." We have all been there. But few have been where you are. (thankfully)


Being Me June 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

Agree, Toni. We had to give one "for others"….. Apparently a necessary evil. I don't know. Lori, oh I so hear you on the paying respects conga line. So effing hard to receive. xo


Alienne June 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I did actually find my husband's funeral cathartic – it was good to see how many people came, some I had not seen for years, and from all over the country. I think the worst bit for me was getting into the car on the way there then seeing the hearse in front with the coffin, and having to follow that horrible box all the way to the crematorium knowing that my husband was inside it. With hindsight I would have driven myself there and waited for him.


Mary June 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm

It is 18 years ago today that my father died. I tested pregnant that night.

I miscarried the next day.

Talk about surreal. I completely get what you write about today – although the circumstances were far less confronting.


Toni June 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

They say funerals are for the living, for closure. Be damned if I can see how. They suck.


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