Sunday Tittle Tattle: A Hundred Million Voices

sunday tittle tattle

I have been overwhelmed by the response to my post about grief; emails, texts, comments and messages have been popping up in their hundreds – almost thousands – with the most heart-warming words and comforting sentiments. Perhaps the most significant thing I’ve taken away from all of the messages isn’t that everyone is so kind, so thoughtful (although that is incredible in itself) but that so many people have their own sad story to tell. The death of someone you love is such a horrific shock – yet it happens to people all around us, all of the time.

“My Dad died two years ago, I still can barely talk about it.” “My Mum died of cancer ten years ago. I miss her every day.” “My Mum passed away when I was twelve, my father when I was fourteen. I lost my Mum to cancer eight years ago. I lost my Gran last year. I’ve now lost both parents. My Mum passed last June. I lost my brother, then my Dad. I lost both parents when I was a teen. My husband just lost his Mum. I lost my Dad last April. My boyfriend’s Mum has cancer and his Dad passed last month. I’ve just lost my Dad last week. Last month. Last year. I lost my brother when I was six. I lost my Dad when I was fifty six. Forty three. Seventeen. When I was 5. I lost my Dad in 2013. 2008. 2018. 2004. It still hurts. It slowly gets better. It never gets better.” 

Reading the messages filled my head with what seemed like a hundred million voices; I couldn’t seem to quiet the last voice before listening to the next, and so they all just built up in my head until there was this amazingly powerful din. Not a bad din, not at all, but a comforting, companionable sort of din – rather than feeling alone in my particular type of grief, I could hear all of the other people who had experienced the same thing, all talking to me together in this rich tapestry of sound.

That might come across as slightly loopy, but imagine being sent a couple of thousand condolences cards, some with just short sympathy notes on them, others with lengthier messages and many with long, moving accounts of experiences with grief. Apart from not having to open envelopes (my fingers would have been shredded after that many!) that was exactly what happened to me; thousands of condolences cards landing on my doorstep. It was overwhelming and beautiful and I’ll never forget how kind people can be, to take the time to write and salve some of the hurt from the wound that a recent loss leaves.

I’m actually writing this post whilst also trying to write my Dad’s eulogy – I keep flicking back to the comments on my website in an attempt to bolster my spirits and give me something akin to courage. Although when I try and picture myself actually reading out any of the words – even the first sentence – I find myself going to pieces, so I have no idea what I’ll be like on the day. The minister has (quite sensibly, I suppose) offered to read out anything that we (me and siblings) feel we can’t, when it gets to the crucial moment. And so I need to write the eulogy as a finished speech – not just a series of notes and prompts, which is my usual way of doing things for any sort of public speaking.

But this isn’t public speaking, is it? It’s private speaking in the extreme. Because no matter how much you try to write for the people who’ll be listening, you’re really speaking to the person who’s died. It turns into a love letter, of sorts, except that it isn’t a letter they’ll ever be able to read. I didn’t ever think much about the afterlife before, but I’ve begun to really hope that there is one. Or at least, there’s a period of grace when they can still look down and see and hear us. I keep thinking, if he just looks down when I’m telling him what I want him to hear, I can say all of the things I should have said before.

Grief, Stage 2,891. Over and out. And thank you if you have left me a comment or sent a message; I’ve read every single one of them and couldn’t be more grateful or touched.

Read: Grief, Disbelief and a Survival Technique

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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60 Comments

  1. Jane Howarth
    March 18, 2018 / 8:53 am

    This week was my mother-in-law’s funeral. She was 90 when she died and had suffered from increasing disability in her last few years but it was only in the last couple of months that she lost the vim and vigour we all knew her for. Before that she was bright, fierce, funny and loved her family. For her (and us) death was a release from suffering but I’ve got no idea what it must be like when it comes out of the blue.

    My partner wrote and delivered her eulogy. My one piece of advice is write a verbatim script because concentrating on that got him through delivering it. Ethel would have loved what he wrote and I really hope she could hear it because it said everything. For the rest of us it brought comfort and some gentle laughter.

    • Elizabeth paredes
      March 18, 2018 / 9:36 pm

      We love you Ruth ,big big hug. Praying for you and your family especially your mum

  2. Katie
    March 18, 2018 / 9:09 am

    I am so sorry for your loss, sending love and light x

  3. Lisa
    March 18, 2018 / 9:22 am

    Hi Ruth, I lost my dad last Monday and I am finding strength and comfort from your posts about your dad. Wishing you and your family all the love and strength at this time xx

  4. Emma
    March 18, 2018 / 9:41 am

    I haven’t lost a parent so can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of writing Ruth x

  5. Cassandra
    March 18, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Beautifully put.

  6. Rachel
    March 18, 2018 / 10:29 am

    Firstly Ruth, what a heartfelt post at such a difficult time for you I lost my Dad at New Year 2011 – he was sadly only 58years when he passed away. I felt I had to speak at his funeral, and wrote a eulogy of all our childhood memories of Dad and what he did for us growing up. Somehow you will find the strength not to falter on the day, because you want to be a voice for everything you experienced as his daughter…that’s how I got through it anyway. Good luck and god bless x

  7. Maja
    March 18, 2018 / 10:31 am

    Very touching. Sometime later, your grief will turn into gratefulness, for knowing that wonderful person your father was. Hugs from Switzerland.

  8. Alison
    March 18, 2018 / 11:16 am

    Hi Ruth,
    My brother passed away at 48 after a long battle against cancer. We were shocked to discover he’d written his own eulogy, and arranged for a friend to read it. I have a copy of it, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions. I decided that I wanted to speak at his funeral and spent days and days pouring over my ‘speech’. I wanted to do him proud. I was determined to go through with it and I did. I mostly kept it together and coped by pretending I was doing a presentation at work. Everyone told me how brave I’d been which I thought was ridiculous. My brother had shown such incredible courage, knowing he was leaving his young family behind. I just can’t imagine how distressing it was for him. I just did what I had to do. I wasn’t courageous. I did what I did through love and because I had to do it for him. It was non negotiable and one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. You will make your Dad proud, and you will make yourself proud. Xx
    Ps I believe firmly in an afterlife and that gives me great comfort.

    • Melissa
      March 18, 2018 / 3:22 pm

      Your brother sounds like an amazing person and a wise one. You, I believe, are cut from the same cloth. I’m sure you did him justice on that day just as you are doing here, writing your reply.

      • Alison
        March 18, 2018 / 8:34 pm

        Thank you so much for your very kind words, Melissa. X

  9. Anupama
    March 18, 2018 / 11:41 am

    Ruth,
    I would urge you to try Bach Flower Remedies to help you through this. Let me know if you need the names of the specific remedies. I have used them to deal with emotional stress and trauma with much success.

    Anu
    India

    • Tara
      March 18, 2018 / 4:32 pm

      I’d love to know what they are, if you feel like sharing.

      • Kayleigh
        March 19, 2018 / 8:17 am

        This is the official Bach remedy website which explains the different remedies and how to mix them etc. I would recommend also reading the FAQ’s.
        If you live in the UK you can buy the remedies in some Holland and Barretts and Whole Foods.

  10. Mary Kai
    March 18, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    Just sending love. All I have.

  11. Jillian
    March 18, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    This was me, 5 years ago. I had this need to write down what I was thinking (which is very unlike me) and without realising it I’d written my dad’s eulogy. There was no way I could read it aloud so my husband and brother in law did it instead. You’re right, it was a love letter of sorts and I’m so glad I was able to do it. Be kind to yourself and know that you are helping other people navigate this too. You’ve put into words many of my feelings from that awful time that I haven’t been able to articulate x

  12. Stephanie-M-M
    March 18, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    Oh how I love your Sunday Tittle Tattles, even if it’s something very sad and emotionally.
    When I read the eulogy of my granddad I concentrated on my breathing. It is not much and I guess everyone has to handle it on their own way; BUT never forget to breath. It Is okay if your voice breaks. We tend to stop breathing in these kind of situations. Take your time and breath between the sentences and words if necessary. Sending lots of love and strength your way.

  13. Susan Schaefer
    March 18, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    I’ve sent you a very belated card from the US, using an old address that I think I found on your website. In case it never reaches you, I would like to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed following you for the past 4 or 5 years – ever since my daughter told me about AMR. When you posted about your dad, I felt such a stab of grief for you. I am so very very sorry to know that he’s left too soon. You write so beautifully about him. He must have been so very proud of you.
    Sending you love and strength from across the sea, Ruth.

  14. March 18, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    I just want to thank you so much for sharing such a private and deeply emotional time. Grief is another one of life’s taboos and your journey will help someone else out there who is falling the pieces and having to deal with this too. I’m so so sorry for your loss and I just want to say you have handled this with complete class and dignity. Your dad really would be very proud x

  15. Carolina
    March 18, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    Dear Ruth, I lost my father 21 years ago, when I was 18. I couldn’t say goodbye to him, and that haunted me many years until I became a mom, and from that they I thought “wow, he knew”. Of course, he did. Whatever you need to tell him, I’m
    sure he knew. The biggest hug ever.

  16. Lynne
    March 18, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    My mum died 2 years ago from oesophagal cancer. She suffered horribly before she passed away. I remember her every day as the beautiful woman she was, her bright blue eyes all glittery and her lovely smile. I miss her and I know I always will. I’m sorry for your loss Ruth, and I wish you love. I hope your memories of you dad will bring comfort as my memories of my mum bring me xx

  17. Angela C
    March 18, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    Whether grief is public or private, the pain resonates for all who care to feel it with you.

    I had to step in at my mother-in-law’s funeral when I realized that no one was coming forward to speak. Cowardly, at the first opportunity, I sat and waited for others. At her grave site, our priest offered another chance to share our thoughts. In a great rush of Catholic guilt, I knew I could not let her join the earth without a few words. I don’t really remember what I said since more than half of my energies was focused on not tearing up. After the interment, my father acknowledged my words with a pat in the shoulders.

    I ended up with a good deed two-fer. I know my mother-in-law was smiling down on me and Dad knew I would do him proud when his time come.

    Calm your heart and know that any words will bring you peace.

  18. Carolyn
    March 18, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    Just because you can’t see him doesn’t mean he isn’t with you and that he cant hear you , I’ve talked to my dad continuously in the nearly 17 years he’s been gone , some days I laugh , often I cry but I still feel him with me.
    He was taken so suddenly we didn’t get any kind of goodbye but maybe that’s a good thing because he didn’t leave he just went out of view for a bit.
    Wishing you love and luck with the eulogy , I wasn’t able to do it as I couldn’t trust that when I opened my mouth anything resembling speech would come out so instead I wrote his epitaph “ No man is indispensable, but some are irreplaceable “ short and to the point …just like my dad

    xx

  19. March 18, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Hi Ruth, thanks for sharing all this. It has made me think of my dad again and losing him. And how it feels now, 4 years on. I’m fine, but sometimes the tears just will come when least expected, like when I read your post today. And it feels good to cry, because for me, it’s not often enough. And tears are good. Thinking of you. I hope the elogy went well. It doesn’t come out well in writing but you see what I mean..Sometimes I listen to the songs that were played at his funeral, chosen by me and my sister, and I cry…But I’m so glad I made the right song choice. 4 years + on, They still feel right. And life carries on, I try to make the most of my mum although she lives in France and I’m here.

  20. Helen
    March 18, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    Sending you lots of love and strength Ruth. I gave the eulogy for my Mum and I’m so glad I did because it was part of my healing process. It is different for everyone so do what is right for you. I read it out loud over and over and over again in front of my family until I couldn’t cry anymore and they couldn’t either. It helped me to see the whole funeral as symbolic, which it is. When I saw my Mum after she passed away, it absolutely confirmed to me that we have souls. All that incredible loving energy doesn’t just disappear. I talk to her every day. You will find your own path through this and in time you will look back and wonder ‘where the hell did I find the strength to get through that?’ but you will. Blessings to you and your family xxx

  21. Catherine
    March 18, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Hi Ruth, my Dad died in January after a lengthy horrendous 2 years. I so wanted to be able to speak in his funeral but knew that I wouldn’t get through the first few words. I decided to ask my best friend to speak on my behalf. She did a beautiful job and the best thing was that she was composed from start to finish thus allowing everyone to hear every word. I am so sorry for your loss and I am wishing you strength, peace and light. God bless, take care x

  22. Tara
    March 18, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    When my Dad passed 10 years ago, I knew it was up to me to speak at his funeral because my sister couldn’t. Instead of putting everything I wanted, or needed, to say to him in the eulogy though I wrote him a long, rambly letter that went in his casket instead. The eulogy was just a highlights of sorts because I knew I could only hold myself together for so long. I also included a long poem I found online about grief because it summed up how I felt at the time and it gave me something to focus on reading which helped in the moment. It was easier to focus on someone else’s words and emotions than mine…do you know what I mean? Anyways, it flew by and I got through it somehow and I’m sure you will too. I tried to convince my sister that she had the strength inside her to speak, but she didn’t believe me. Just trust in your own strength…it’ll be there when you need it. Truly. Send you strength and positive vibes all the way from Canada! xo

  23. Alice Davies
    March 18, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    When our beloved mother died, my sister and I went and sat in the empty church where the funeral was going to take place. We took turns standing at the lectern, reading our eulogies to each other. We both really wanted to say the words without tears on the day and so repeated our eulogies over and over. We cried and cried and spluttered and stumbled but on the day we both found the strength to stand tall and proud and tell the congregation just how loved our wonderful mother was.

    Have courage Ruth x

  24. Emily
    March 18, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    What a beautiful post, Ruth – not loopy at all. Thank you so much for sharing. Peace and love.

  25. laura
    March 18, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Its almost a year to the day that I read my eulogy at my mams funeral. My very kind vicar extended the same offer to me, and at the beginning of the service during that long walk through the church to her favourite song I was definitely going to take him up on it. But the subsequent service was such a perfect celebration of my beautiful mother, and the room was filled with people who loved her. I found the strength. As will you. Thinking of you. This to shall pass. Xx

  26. Onya1213
    March 18, 2018 / 5:32 pm

    HELLO, RUTH. I started writing this after your original post, then got sick. And, it was going to be an email, but now I’ve forgotten the address. So rather than risk the very real chance of it not getting written at all, I’ll write t here, but sort of as a letter (and it’ll be a bit long, and personal. But here goes.)…If a may, one writer to another: I think the most difficult thing a writer can attempt is a eulogy, esp. for a parent. I’ve written nine eulogies in my adulthood, and delivered three of them (both parents, and a very dear friend). I’d rather write multiple masters’ thesis than a eulogy for a parent because, well, they are your parents and what, really, can you say to adequately capture what it is you think you’re trying to capture? Writing eulogies defies all the writing rules, too. As hard as we try to make them linear and follow the directions, they do not, and should not. Because a eulogy is not an obituary; it’s not a history (although history can be part of it); it’s not a list of accomplishments; it’s not even particularly fact based, except as any facts pertain to your experience with, in this case, your father. It is emotion. It is raw. It is snatches of memory, in context of other memories and life stages. It is a celebration of your dad’s impact on your life, and the gifts he’s passed on to you. In fact, you could read what you originally wrote in your first posting, and that would be a truly respectful, encompassing eulogy. Because only a well loved person of immense influence in your life could elicit such a reaction. I have to tell you, Ruth, that was one extraordinary piece of writing. I know you didn’t set out to produce an extraordinary piece of writing; it’s always when we’re not trying that the truly remarkable stuff happens, right? But you did the one thing that many writers fail to, and that’s show, don’t tell. I was breathless reading your post, because of the rawness, the immediacy, the honesty, the sheer sense of being ambushed, overwhelmed, outraged, just plain sad, in all its many guises and levels. And, blanketing it all, the universality of it. It’s very much the same way I felt when my dad died. And then, mom. That sort of visceral reaction to the loss of an important life figure is about as powerful, and real, as it gets. And is a tribute in and of itself, because I’m fairly certain there’s only one or two other people in your life whose loss would create such an impact…My suggestion to you is, grab those memories flitting by, the ones that mosey in, uninvited, capriciously. Snatch at all those random images. Wrestle the rawness into words as best you can, and say thank you through those memories. Put all that on a page and print it out. Forget about transitions and all the other directives of essay writing. You’re not wiring an essay, you’re painting feelings with words. After you’ve printed out the eulogy, practice reading it. Because you will stutter at parts, you’ll be ambushed by unexpected emotions brought on by…well, even just the sound of a particular word. Grief is an unruly foe, it really has no dos and don’ts, no manners at all and it is not very respectful or considerate of the person experiencing the grief. I found that reading the eulogy, out loud, several (many) times was my best defense against being unable to deliver it. Repetition takes away some of the immediate power of language to batter you into submission. The eulogy about my mother started with one of my enduring memories of her, which illustrated her abiding faith in her god; “After my brother was injured, mom and dad went to bed holding hands on one side and clasping their rosary beads on the other.” This one image summed up my mom’s approach to her life, her moral compass and what informed her thought processes. It seems an innocent enough sentence, not particularly emotional at first glance. But it’s the one I stumbled over through repeated practice runs, and the one that almost did me in on the day of the funeral. Had I not already spoken that sentence about 20 times, out loud, I don’t think I would have been able to continue…Whatever you produce, Ruth, will be fitting. Take away any pressure you’re putting on yourself to write the “perfect” eulogy; that tribute already exists, in your heart; you just have to decide what bits you’ll share and make public….I have no doubt your dad was an extraordinary man, Ruth. I never met him, but I do know you. You didn’t grow into the creative, intelligent, artistic, funny, droll, curious, adventurous woman you are today, in a vacuum. You will do him proud, even if you can’t say a word. (But then, there’s always the minister!) I wish gentle days ahead for you, and that it won’t be too long before a smile beats a tear to your face when you think of him. Fondly, Onya1213 (aka unattuna, and Anne).

  27. Tanya
    March 18, 2018 / 5:34 pm

    I lost my aunt just over a week ago. She was 79, flew around helping ppl with no illnesses. We still dont know what happened but most likely she had an aneurysm.
    She was more like a 2nd mam or a nana to us. Ive had her all my life and im heartbroken. I did a reading at her funeral service. Cant remember all of it. I have nothing but happy memories of her and know that we always included her in everything we did. What hurts beyond belief is the future and not being able to include her in that. I had to cancel her bills etc and 1 of the ppl i spoke to was so abrupt, i was left in tears after the call. Grief is a freight train and when it gets to certain stops, it can flatten you.
    Thinking of you at this impossible time. Jst know any1 out there, you are not alone. X

  28. bell
    March 18, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    So sorry Ruth. That word is such a small word, but it carries a big punch. I lost my father first, then the next year, my grandmother, and the following year my Mom. For me, it got easier, but everyone is different.
    Sending you love and prayers.

  29. Gisela Spencer
    March 18, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    Darling Ruth,
    I lost my mom about 8 years ago, to suicide apparently. When I went home, (I live in the USA) I found out someone in my family had a hand in it. It was not suicide. Not sure which is worse. But this is not about me. Even in this I found beautiful memories of the tremendous Joy and Kindness she was an expression of. More and more I find ways to seek joy amidst the sadness of missing the touch of a hug and seeing her soul shine through her mischievous eyes.
    I will hold space for you, its so incredibly tough.
    xx

  30. Sharon
    March 18, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    I can assure you as a christian that there is an afterlife. In the verses of the Bible especially the psalms there are amazing words of comfort and solace to the soul and spirit. There is one particular verse somewhere in the Bible about the Lord weeping when he saw the power of death over the human spirit…. how greatly it does affect us. Thinking of you.

  31. Abigai
    March 18, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    Ruth, I wrote and read my Father’s eulogy almost 17 years ago when he passed. I didn’t think I’d be able to read it and the vicar said if I didn’t feel I could, or couldn’t continue, he’d carry on in my stead. But do you know what? I found the strength, with my Father’s coffin before me, draped in the RAF flag, I did it for him and my voice was for the most part, firm and clear. And I was so glad I was able to just stand there for him, even if I couldn’t have read those words, I helped send him on his way with love, pride and the new knowledge that the soul is eternal and our bond would continue. As for writing the eulogy, I struggled too till, although it sounds a bit corny, I looked inside my heart and the words then flowed. Your Dad will be there beside you Ruth and even if you can’t manage to read, it doesn’t matter, there are many ways to honour him and he will be proud. Death cannot part you though it seems to. x

  32. Alexandra
    March 18, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    Ruth, I am so sorry for your loss. I will pray for you and your family.

  33. Angela Guest
    March 18, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    Sending love and strength to you Ruth at a very difficult time. I was too young to say any words at my dad’s funeral (I was 8) When my mum passed away (coming up 11 years in may I was 47), I was like a child again sobbing uncontrollably and wishing this was all a horrible nightmare and she was still here and everything was back to normal.. All the things I wanted to say about my wonderful loving caring mother I just couldn’t get out, thankfully my brother took over..my thoughts to you and your family xx

  34. Maria
    March 18, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    My father in law passed away 12 months ago. My husband and his siblings had had a difficult relationship with him, and the funeral, though very grande, was about to become a very sterile event. I had just found out that we were expecting our fourth child and the prospect of the family taking a back seat at such an important event was unbearable. As he now is the head of the family he thought long and hard and finally wrote an eulogy. The whole process was so moving and beautiful to watch. He spent two weeks talking to old friends and partners, his siblings and the only two living relatives his father had, a picture formed in his head, he got to know a different side of his father and his respect for this man grew. I found that this process was so important, so healing for my wonderful husband.
    And this is what I hope that it is for you. I dread the day that I might have to do this difficult work when my parents pass away.
    I think you are incredibly brave and can be very proud of yourself.

  35. Ashley
    March 18, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    I think you are helping a lot of people too, with your openness. You are certainly helping me. I have regularly read and re-read the last paragraph of your 13 month update ever since you posted it. The bit about bravery and dread and calmness and change. It’s helped me greatly with an ongoing situation, so thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am hoping the best for you in the coming days. Perhaps if you feel you can’t manage it on the day, you could read your words aloud later, in whatever setting feels appropriate. xx

  36. Fe
    March 18, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    You do write beautifully, I’m absolutely certain you will convey how you feel and do him proud, even if you don’t feel up to reading it!

  37. Clare
    March 18, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    Sending lots of love to you, Ruth. Beautifully written and makes total sense. Thank you for sharing and being open about your grief… I think it’s so important to just talk about it and I’m sure you’re helping more people than you know. I can certainly relate and I can tell you, as I’m sure many others have said already, death, grief, bereavement, loss… it’s all totally sh*t but it does get easier with time.

    I’ve lost both of my parents (both to cancer – my mum when I was 23, and then my dad 2 years ago when I was 27). My sister and I organised my dad’s funeral, including writing the eulogy, and it’s one of the hardest things to have to do. But I also found it quite cathartic. My dad loved to write and after he died we found a whole load of notebooks that he had used to jot down poems and little notes, which we included some of in the eulogy. We also asked friends and family about their favourite memories of him and included those… and in the end, it wasn’t so awful.

    If you aren’t able to read it out yourself on the day, that doesn’t matter. Either way, you *will* get through it. Lots of love xxx

  38. Elaine
    March 18, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    I couldn’t read and move on. I never believed in an afterlife or anything spiritual until I lost my Dad. I was 20 and the day after his funeral it snowed. Coincidence? most likely, but I was totally obsessed with the snow. He used to always say “When you can drive you’ll grow out of it”, but I’ve never did. The completely irrational part of me thinks that was his way of cheering me up. This year is going to be tough. My mum was diagnosed with cancer on the 13th anniversary of that snowfall. Days later we had 4 inches of it (I live in Cardiff now…we’ve had snow once in the 8 years I’ve lived here). I woke up to snow this morning, the day before my birthday. It’s so unrealistic to think it’s his way of saying he’s watching over, but I still take comfort in the thought of it. So take comfort in the little things. It’s ok to feel sad, the rawness will fade in time (give it as much time as you need!) and be replaced with a curiosity of “What would he think of this?!” Normally for me it’s politics, but I wonder what he’d think of my husband, my choices, my life. But he’ll always, always be proud of you Ruth!

  39. Caroline
    March 18, 2018 / 11:01 pm

    Hi Ruth, thank you for including all of us in your thoughts although a lot is on your mind right now. I think for people who like to share their feelings about this with others, it feels very comforting and helpful. You feel understood. I feel like people don’t talk about this in daily life. Although so many people lost someone way too early. You have to deal with it all by yourself. Although I am not a religious person and my dad also wasn’t, he once walked a few kilometers on the way of st James and he bought himself a pilgrim mussel (its what the pilgrims used to have to guide the way). I gave it to him to his grave for whatever way he might need this. I cannot explains this feeling. I did not read a eulogy but I selected music and we put up pictures of favourite memories. For one, it kept me busy and afterwards I had this deep feeling that he would have liked it this way. I am sure you think of something beautiful to tell him and all of his friends and family.
    My aunt told me something one because I was always afraid of dreaming of him but she said (she lost her daughter/my cousin very early) that she is not afraid but happy if she dreams of her that she visited in her dreams. It think it’s a nice way of feeling about it. I wish you and your family the strength you need for the funeral and I hope the day will be like you want it to be.

  40. SueM
    March 18, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    I am “the writer” in my family and so am expected to create the words for every milestone, event and celebration. When my mother died 7 years ago I welcomed the chance to eulogize her even knowing that I have an unfortunate affliction whereby my throat literally closes when I try to speak anything with feeling. The funeral was such a blur honestly that when it came time for me to read my heartfelt words, all I did was dash to the front of the church clutching my script, concentrating on being able to speak. I hadn’t noticed that there was a lectern with microphone, I simply stood by her coffin and spoke. Turns out only the first six rows could hear me. I ended up having to email the eulogy to most of my mother’s friends, who were legion, she was an amazing woman (god bless their patience). So all I can say to you Ruth is: speak from the heart and look for the microphone. ❤️

  41. Sharon
    March 19, 2018 / 12:42 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m not going to tell any stories about losing my parents…they have been gone for over 20 years. I will tell you that even after a quarter of a century, I have dreams where my parents are alive and well, and after waking, I am as happy as if I had seen them in reality. I hope you will have happy dreams of your father too.

  42. Lesley
    March 19, 2018 / 4:57 am

    What a beautiful piece of writing! You absolutely nailed the reality of loss, of sadness, of grieving, and of the unseen community of those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
    A few years ago I spoke at the funeral of my closest friend (she used to say we were better than sisters), and read the eulogy that her daughter knew she would not be able to get through. As I then read my own words about her, I was able to feel her in my heart, and was able to share with those there some of what she had meant to me and others. But oh yes, I had someone right behind me who was ready to take the pages from my hand in case I found myself unable to continue.
    Whether you have someone read the eulogy for you, or whether you read only part of it, or all of it, those who are there will know that it comes from you, and will not judge either you or your love for your father on your ability to say the words yourself.
    Waves of grief are just that – and we never know when they will hit. I was able to deliver the eulogy for my mum, but just couldn’t get through it for my dad. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.

  43. March 19, 2018 / 11:45 am

    I spoke at my sisters funeral, many years ago, and teared up halfway through. Finished it though and that was important to me. I wanted to say out loud the things I couldn’t have said before, she passed without warning and in difficult times.
    Still not sure about the afterlife, but I know it helped me a lot to actually say it, just for the chance of her hearing it.

  44. Sophie
    March 19, 2018 / 11:55 am

    So many sentiments above I would echo. I wrote and delivered my dad’s eulogy 9 years ago when I was 29. I really struggled writing it initially because it felt that suddenly I had no profound memories and everything I wrote seemed superficial. But what I did end up writing felt ‘right’ and true, and was surprisingly funny. Because so was my dad and his incorrigible habits!

    My learning: though I felt a bit concerned I wouldn’t make it through the speech, and one of my brothers was on hand to finish it (though I’m glad I did it because his delivery is terribly flat !), I find that having this role in the funeral gave me something to focus on. So much so that towards the end, I felt I hadn’t really ‘been’ there in the way that observers were. This caused a little fuss as I asked the funeral director if I could approach the coffin and touch it after the service was over. The only way to do this was to reopen the curtain! I’m really glad I did though, as it brought me back into the room and the reality (without the speech/task) distraction and allowed me to feel present and say goodbye to my dad. I hope you get to say what you need to say, much love and courage xx

    • Sophie
      March 19, 2018 / 12:09 pm

      (I also found – not as a compete get out clause! – that remembering that nothing would change my love and my relationship with my dad, so even if I ballsed up, the heart’s truth will prevail. Or something. Not to mention that myself and my three siblings have so many ‘Dad’ traits! I’m really sorry you’ve lost your dad, and glad you both got to have each other in your lives. Xx)

  45. Julie
    March 19, 2018 / 3:06 pm

    Last Friday, it was 2 years from the day my father took his life. Each day feels like a different version of grief. Some days involve fond memories, laughter, dumb jokes he would tell. Other days I find myself lost in imagining his pain and it’s unbearable. Grief resonates with me as Love too. That aching sensation exists because of how deeply we cared. While some days I wish I could box it up and hide it from view, I reminded each time I feel that twinge, that no matter how fast time continues to pass, love will always exist.

    Sending you my deepest condolences and wishes for peace and comfort ❤️❤️

  46. Adriana
    March 19, 2018 / 10:49 pm

    Wishing you & your family lots of strength, celebrate his life & even after death he is always with you in your heart ❤️

  47. Mansi
    March 20, 2018 / 5:33 am

    Sorry to not comment earlier; I have been ignoring my readings. So sorry to hear about your loss Ruth; although we didn’t know him, I’m sure he was great considering he raised you. Sending you lots of love. xx

  48. Alice
    March 20, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. My Dad passed away last August, I am 32 and he was 59 – it all happened out of the blue, he was healthy and all seemed fine and then this happened.
    I had been living in London for 5 years but after this I moved back to Italy, therefore it still feels as if I’m away from home and I’ll just meet him again at some point :(
    I wrote a little eulogy and reading it was so damn hard without breaking into tears, I still cannot believe it.
    I have nothing smart to say, I just wanted to leave a hug xxx

  49. Cynthia
    March 21, 2018 / 1:32 pm

    Dear Ruth,

    I am deeply sorry about the loss of your father. My father passed in February 2017, and it was profoundly life changing for my mother (married for 55+ years), my brothers, my sister and I. My entire extended family had looked up to him as the head of our family and he had served as the “father figure” for his 3 younger sisters. What I find comforting is that I had such a good role model – he was exceptionally intelligent, kind, respectful, gbrave, generous, fair, funny, and protective and in love with mother my entire life. My siblings and I could not have been blessed with a better dad. I never wanted to think about life without my dad…. But, the intense pain that comes with losing a great Love in your life is the price of such Love. So I am very grateful for having had such a wonderful dad. Your emptiness will slowly subside, but I don’t think that it ever goes away. I wish you and your family peace and love during this time of reflection.

  50. March 22, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    I absolutely love it!
    Keep up, beauty.

    -Daria

  51. NIN
    March 24, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    afterlife is a “thing” for some of us, not so sure about supernatural matters..
    i was deeply touched when i watched “interstellar”, though, have you? :)

  52. Monika Thornton
    March 27, 2018 / 11:23 pm

    Lots of love and gentle hugs Ruth! I have recently lost my Dad too. His cancer came back in November and everything had changed that day…It all happened so fast. I travelled to Poland to say goodbye as soon as we realised we had very little time left…He passed away after one hour of my arrival… I miss him so much!
    I’m thinking of you my lovely xxx

  53. CN
    March 30, 2018 / 5:39 pm

    I am so sorry to hear your news, Ruth. My own dad died a year and half ago, and my mother a little over a month ago. Grief is such a complicated emotion–and both achingly intimate (so specific and personal to the one experiencing it) and universal (if we haven’t gone through it, we will). I hope this short note helps you feel a little less alone with your sadness.

  54. April
    April 2, 2018 / 11:38 pm

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad, Ruth. My dad died two years ago in October. It gets easier but I don’t think you every get over it. My thoughts are with your and your family. <3

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