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My next door neighbour died over 2 weeks ago and because he took ill abroad the coroner is delaying allowing his family to register the death and arrange a funeral. My problem is that I know the backlog on funerals and I was not just his neighbour but also his GP for a few years.

I said to my wife on learning about the situation that I hoped his funeral didn't clash with my plans. I have wanted to do a coast to coast and invented my own route and have it all planned for when I suspect the funeral will be. This has been planned for at least 2 months including trains , places to stay , to eat and sendind a package at the halfway point to minimise weight in my panniers. Emotionally I can't call off my trip as I have an MPN and don't know if next year I will be capable with other committments this year or at least when weather is reliable. How do I deal with this appart from the honesy that I have other committments when my neighbours husband died and I still have the health to try a C2C on a bike.

Any sensitive comments gratefully recieved

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We all have committments that clash and its no different to having a plane ticket booked that you could not miss.

They must know your situation re MF and should understand that you want to do this stuff while you can.

Please send a nice letter of condlences explaining they are in your thoughts and that you have very many fond memorys.

I am sure that they will be in your thoughts on the day.

best of luck have a great road trip.xx


Hi, I'm sure if you write a lovely sincere letter to his wife expressing your sadness at his passing and explaining you have a trip booked so unfortunately cannot attend the funeral, the family will totally understand. Perhaps plan to go and visit her when you are back from your trip. If you are honest and sincere I'm sure the family will totally understand. Have a wonderful trip! Best wishes, Frances.



Its a tough one, and i think it depends a lot how close you were to them too. For example, last year one of our closest friends died and there was a danger that the funeral would clash with our holiday in cornwall.

We had decided that if it did we would travel from cornwall to nottinghamshire for the funeral and return because of how close we were to him and his wife. It was 2 days before we went in the end.

If we hadnt been that close we would have offered our apologies, sympathies and sent flowers etc.

If you really feel like you are part of the support unit for your neighbour, then you could look into what might be involved in returning just for the funeral and then going back even if it means hiring a car, that way you may make her day a little easier, and also feel better in yourself that you have been able to be there for her but also continuing with your plans, maybe just disrupting a little.

It does sound impressive what you are doing, are you doing it for any charity?



Skodaguy, you were as you say a friend but also this persons GP. Truly in life you will have meant a lot to this person and now this person would only want the very best for you. How thrilled he would have been to know you have attempted such an amazing trip. I believe that this friend will be with you all the way in your thoughts and memories. A wonderful contemplative time for you. Go and succeed with your dream, tell us all about it when you return safely - and plan ahead for another challenge next year. I also have MF by the way and really appreciate what has gone in to your quest both mentally and physically. All the very best.



Keeping in touch after a funeral is, in many ways, more important than on the day itself. Your neighbour will need even more support when all the busy-ness is over and life returns to normal. It will never be 'normal' again for her. Your presence and sympathetic support then will be even more needed and much appreciated in those long days and months that follow. Don't feel guilty about looking after yourself first. You will be in a better position to help her later.

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Hi Skodaguy

You stated that "emotionally I cannot call off the trip". To me, that statement is loaded with your awareness and precious emotions should be trusted and nurtured. You also asked about dealing with the situation apart from "honesty". Maybe honesty is the only way and I feel reading between the lines that you really know this and maybe by writing on here you are not just telling us but also telling yourself. You were close to your neighbour in may ways. I feel it is important to maybe process whether attendance on the day of the funeral is for yourself and your need or because of your perception of what may be expected. In the meantime you could visit, offer your sympathy and make it known that you will not be available on the day of the funeral. On your C to C you could stop and make a point of remembering your neighbour at a particular time or place in whatever way feels best for you. When you have completed your C to C there will be plenty of time to visit and offer support, perhaps when needed more. You mentioned your wife. Perhaps she could attend the funeral representing both of you. You have put a lot of emotional and physical effort into your trip and deserve to see it through. I wish you the best of luck, pleasure, fun and good health on your trip. Go on, get on your bike and enjoy.


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I really believe you should go ahead with your dream and I am sure your neighbours family will give you their blessing. Your neighbours life was taken unexpectedly so he probably had lots left undone, don't do that to yourself even though there is nothing to indicate this illness will take anybody much sooner than reasonable. Talk to your neighbours. When the funeral is planned stop along your journey and just take a moment tonreflect on his life. You don't have to be in the church to say your goodbyes. Do it while you have the opportunity. Your neighbour is an example that nobody knows what's around the corner. I am very jealous of you by the way.



I think you know you must follow your dream so get it off your chest and sensitively tell your neighbour's wife that you are likely to be away on your carefully planned dream trip at the time of the funeral and so unlikely to be there. Perhaps you could write a short tribute, and ask if she will agree for it to be read by your wife or a mutual friend at the service on your behalf highlighting some happy times you've shared. Maybe take an hour or two to remember him quietly on the day of the service and supportive message to his wife during your travels.

I agree with others here about the overriding value of support during weeks and months following the funeral.

In the meantime live your dream to the full. I am sure goodwill will be your companion.


I've joined this after some very good comments. I do think it is important to write something expressing condolences, talking about memories and offering something to be read at the funeral, and saying that you will be away from … to .. and if the funeral occurs during that time span you will be thinking of them. I think because of emotions, spoken words can be forgotten, but words on paper give the neighbour's family time to reflect and appreciate your caring and concern and what you are expressing.

Offering ongoing support in the weeks and months after will be appreciated as the others have said.

You definitely need to do the trip.


I believe you should go someone once said to me it is the people who were in your life when your alive that are valued the most not the people that come to your funeral. You were in that person life when he was alive and now you need to take this trip. So like other say send condolences and do not feel guilty.

I will give you an example not quite the same but you will see what I mean: When my father died on New Years Eve, my youngest son who was very close to him was in US Marine Boot Camp, now we all know it is the toughest thing a Marine has to get through, he had already been there for 6 weeks, got bronchitis, injured his back but refused to stop (he is very strong headed). My whole entire family wanted me to call and get them to let him come home for the funeral, I knew that he would be put back and have to start all over again and the 12 weeks of grueling boot camp in the Marine Corp most do not make it through and I was not going to have him have to start over again. My husband and I agreed that my father was gone and he would have never wanted us to call him home for his funeral. On the day of graduation my son looked all over for his grandfather. We had to tell him and he was sad but he knew what we did was for the best and at his grandfather funeral I had a tape of me speaking (he was a very loved man so the church was packed) I said your grandfather will be watching as you proudly walk across that parade field as a United States Marine.

Your friend would tell you take that trip, he is gone and you were in his life when he was alive.


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Thanks, my intention was to talk to my immediate neighbour who knows my health problems. As it happens they are being put through awful complications but the funeral is before my planned trip. I think he would have said life is for living , get on with it. Actually I am relieved I don't have to explain that to his wife. Today his 2 sons were sorting out their garage which rang bells when my dad died and my mum wanted to put the house into her terms.

All your comments have been gratefully received.

I now look forward to saying how i coped with trying to cycle from liverpool to the Humber Bridge.

We all will have to deal with death or have already done so. I am tired of it also intrudueing into my retirement but that is inevitable including my own problems.

I really value all your view points. I also hate the situations the human perspective can put us in as it has a way of making fools of us all through no fault of our own. We have an absolute entitlement to make deciscions in our own interests

Wish me luck in the first week of June. This is for me


All the best, hope it goes well.

You will deserve a pint or two once you have done it.



Glad to hear that your dilemma has dissolved . May good luck and good weather make this adventure a happy one.


Thanks .I'll post about my adventure when it has finished. Did my final training today, now got to do logistics and maintainance.


Hi Skodaguy-I wondered if your plans are still on track for your coast to coast?


Funeral was held a few days before I was leaving so in the end no problem. Did coast to coast first 7 days in June from Liverpool finishing under the Humber bridge.

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