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My dad just died, what do I do?

13 answers | Last updated: Sep 01, 2014
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Q
A fellow caregiver asked...
What do I do now that my dad just died? What are you supposed to do after a father dies?
 

Answers
Caring.com User - Barbara Kate Repa
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Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of WillMaker, software enabling consumers to...
94% helpful
answered...

Sorry for your loss. For better and worse, the first week or so after a death are often filled with attending to many details -- most of them related to See also:
What is my first step in administering a will for my mother?
tending to final details of securing end of life paperwork and final disposition of the body. While the tasks at first may seem daunting, many people actually find they are relieved to be occupied during the most raw early moments of their grief.

If you are the main person handling these concerns, you will need to be attuned to:

  • finding out whether there are specific instructions for donating the body or organs or tissues
  • securing a physician's certification and death certificate, which will be needed later in dealing with insurance and estate matters
  • arranging for an autopsy in the rare instances in which one is required
  • seeing to the details of a burial or cremation, and
  • deciding whether to hold a funeral or memorial service.


Other tasks you may wish to take on or delegate to others may include;

  • notifying close friends and relatives about the death
  • collecting information for a death notice or obituary
  • stopping newspaper subscriptions and arranging to have mail forwarded to another address
  • finding someone to care for your father's pets and home if that is necessary, and
  • locating estate planning documents, such as a will or living trust.


In all the busyness of this business, treat yourself gently and acknowledge your grief. Talk with friends and family -- or consult a grief counselor or clergyperson if you feel the need.

 

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40% helpful
dollvintage answered...

My Father justed passed in June suddenly (not necessarily unexpected).

Understand nothing will be quick...banks assume you are a terroist, insurance companies don't want to pay you the money and family emotions run high...crying and screaming are ok but might be better kept in private. And primal screams hurt your throat.

1). Find a good funeral home-mine was God sent. 2). Find all legal documents and assets (and liabilities). 3). Share the work with other family members or ask for help from friends... you are under stress. 4). Go thorough posessions when you can. My recommendation is to sort them and box them then give yourself sometime... there maybe some items you would like that you gave away or sold in heist. (My Mother in Law put all of my Father in Laws tools and equipment on the curb never asking any of the kids about it or selling them for money ...the garbage pickers made a mint those weeks). 5). An attorney can help with the legal notifications and title and deed paperwork but it will cost money.

Hope this list helps... still going through it all now myself including being the sole trustee for the family trust and having to pick up the sole caregiver for my elderly mother...certainly not my plans for early retirement... Post if you have any questions, chances are I have been there and done that. Deepest sympathies and prayers. DV

 

18% helpful
Leami answered...

I am wondering how to handle going through my mother's things after her passing? My brother and I both live 2-4 hours from Dad. Our father lives where my mother's things are. I was thinking to have my brother's family and my sister in law's family help out for a weekend. This would include a 12 and 9 year old. It has been suggested to only my brother and I assist Dad and afterwards have other family members choose what they would like to have. I want no family conflicts, if possible.

 

17% helpful
Leami answered...

Leami,

My mother passed away in Dec 2010. My brother and I both live over 2 hours away from Dad. It has been suggested to me, it is best for my brother and I go throught mother's things with Dad. After the 3 of us have gone through everything, I plan on having the in-laws and grandchildren come and take what they would like. Afterwards, we will hire an auction house to come out and inventory, sell and send us 30-40% of the proceeds.With only the immediate family, there will be less conflicts. I am finding that only being able to go up once a month or so, it is going to take a long time to sort things out. I hope this is helpful to you.

C.

 

40% helpful
queenbee10 answered...

Live to the best of your ability. Live well, try to learn as much as possible about others, yourself--life in general. Try to leave (when your time comes) a more experienced and better person and try to help others. Death is a natural transition from one plane to another. We all just do our best and try to LIVE--that is the best testament to the people who brought us into the world.

 

50% helpful
BeginHereHSM answered...

We created a self help book/toolkit that helps guide you through all the day-to-day tasks necessary after someone has died. Our site has free downloadable forms with instructions on how and who to notify specifically. Sorry for your loss, it is not fun experiencing this...here is the website www.HelpingSurvivorsManage.com. Again, sorry for you loss.

 

100% helpful
answered...

Hello "xox_candi_xox," I'm sorry for your loss. You may find some helpful information in the response that is left by Caring.com Expert Barbara Repa above.

You may also find some helpful resources as you grieve the loss of your dad:

I hope that some of these resources are helpful for you during this difficult time.

 

58% helpful
soulfulwriter answered...

Forgive me if I am wrong, but most of the answers to the "what I do now" sound cold and just addressing the "practical" and task oriented phases of dealing with a loved one's death.

It seems to me that the question is more on the emotional side. "My father just died, what do I do now?" can be easily interpreted as "Oh, my God, I just lost my father who was a huge part of my life, my rock, my best friend. I am so much in pain that I do not know how to go on with my life."

The answers that somewhat addressed this issue directed the person to links for grief support. That's great. However, aren't these people sharing their grief here and looking for comfort? If so, why not share with them how we coped with losing a loved one, like a parent? Sharing our experience might help them cope with theirs.

I lost my mother to breast cancer over twenty years ago. Although I knew that she would eventually die of the disease (stage IV), it was not any easy on me to know this fact when she died. After she died, I felt I was in limbo. I went through the "practical" tasks described above as in a daze. I was her only child and everything fell upon my shoulders. Everyone else in the family seemed to disappear as if by magic, leaving me alone with my grief. Fortunately, my son was only three years old and as a single parent, I had to "hold it together" for him. Having that responsibility certainly helped.

Nevertheless, the "being in limbo" feeling took months to go away. Also, to my surprise, I seemed to have "adopted" some of my mother's personality traits for a while. Going through her stuff was a painful experience. I think it is best to leave that "task" alone for a while instead of diving into it right away while the grief is still in "raw form".

As time went by, I allowed myself to cry my eyes off when alone. It brought some relief. I also found that what worked for me for a while was to avoid anything that had to do with my mother, even thinking about her. I think that is one of the stages of grief. As getting angry towards the departed is another stage. I did. I was very angry at her for a while (especially since she had refused treatment after her mastectomy). I felt betrayed. I felt abandoned. Of course, then, I felt guilty for having those feelings.

Allow yourself to grief fully. Don't let other people rush you through the grieving process. There is no set timeline. Some people, like me, take longer to move on. Others are able to overcome the grief and move on with their lives almost immediately. Each one of us have our own way of coping. Find yours. Perhaps, writing how you feel might work for you. Or, acting as if your father were still around and having imaginary conversations with him. You will say good-bye to him in your heart and mind when you are ready. Cherish the memories of the moments you had together. They will always be with you and your father remains in your life through those memories. Allow yourself to feel his presence. The body is the only thing that dies. The body is just the vessel that our spirit uses to function in this physical world. The essence of our being is eternal. Your father is still alive either in another realm or here in spirit form looking over you until you are able to overcome the grief and move on, There's no rush. Just allow yourself to take it one-day-at-a-time until you're ready to let go. It might take you days, weeks, months, or even years. That's OK. It's your life, not anyone else's.

Hope this helps. :)

 

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67% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

Take things one day at a time. Everyday it will be a little easier.

I lost may father last year and the best advice I can give you is to do what you need to do when you need to do it.

For me, pushing forward with the practicalities like emptying his flat and collecting his paperwork together kept me busy which is what I needed at the time. I also ask myself often what he would say or do in a certain situation - this helped enormously because he wasn't sentimental about possessions at all. His point of view would have been "chuck it - who's going to use my old pants now!" It helped us to remember him and even though it sounds strange, to laugh about some of the harder things we had to deal with.

My one regret is that I didn't open up enough to let my friends and family really be there for me. Remember people want to help you and love you and be there but you have to ask them to help and let them in. I hope you find the strength and support you need to move forward at this difficult time. x

 

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100% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

When my father passed away, we first called immediate family and close friends. We asked them to spread the word for us. Once the funeral arrangements were set we used www.passingword.com to notify everyone via email. This really helped because so many people knew and loved my father, it was such a simple way to get the details to them. Allowed so many more to attend or at least be aware of his passing.

Sorry for your loss, and yes it gets better. I still think about my father everyday.

 

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100% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

I found the biggest consolation after my Dad died was talking to his old friends.

 

 
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