6 Things I Didn’t Expect At My Dad’s Funeral

And how it helped me grieve and heal later on.

Ana Garcia LdeC
7 min readJun 15, 2021


Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

I thought I’d die the moment it happened, but I didn’t. On January 18th of 2018, at 12:30 pm, my dad, one of the funnest, most caring and wonderful people to walk on earth, passed away after battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 50 years old.

My mom, my sister and I got to spend the night before in his room to talk, sing to him, make sure he was as comfortable as possible, and say our goodbyes. Though you can never truly be prepared for those final moments, I believe we were mostly blessed to have the time to verbalize our love for him, and convey the sense of peace he was looking for.

When the doctors determined his time of death and the people from the mortuary service took him away, we were in charge of the funeral arrangements. But even that was pretty easy to organize: knowing what was coming, my father had already hired a mortuary service and even chosen his own casket (and he was macabrely excited about it: a metallic greyish-blue one, in case you’re curious). That solved much of the big issues, so our main job became pretty much just calling everyone to let them know the plans… and face the dreaded funeral.

I think I pictured that funeral the same way everybody does: all white and black and grey, roses and lilies, all tears, the priest, the paralyzing anger and sadness, tissues, awkward friends who genuinely don’t know how to make you feel better, rosaries, the pain. And although there was all that, there were a few things I never expected, some of which later paved the way for the grieving and healing process we would have to go through…

1. I was so hungry — and felt ridiculously guilty about it

Again, I thought I’d be too numb with pain to feel something as mundane as hunger. And though it was partially true, there was some kind of adrenaline going on that helped me pull through the night that demaded a lot of energy, hence the hunger. I never realized the level of actual physical energy that goes into funerals.

However, I didn’t rationalize it that way then. I could only think how I could possible be hungry in moments like that, how terribly it would look if I just took…