'Grief is just so f**ked.' When her mum died, Toni Lodge had absolutely no idea what to do.

The following is an excerpt from I Don't Need Therapy (and other lies I've told myself) by Toni Lodge, a hilarious memoir of home truths and whatever the opposite of 'that girl energy' is, from one half of the hit podcast Toni and Ryan.

After a long early morning turned into the sun rising for another day to begin—a day where people could snooze their alarm instead of going to the gym, or wake up and make a smoothie and live better than the rest of us—I was lying in bed watching The Mindy Project and feeling heavy with emotion. It was as though I was falling in and out of consciousness. I was fully aware of what was happening on-screen, but my inner monologue was turned up to eleven.

My mum just died.

I feel relieved she’s not in pain anymore, but I feel sad because my mum just died. But she’s safe and free now, but I’m stuck here. Why did she do that? Why did she leave me? She’s supposed to be the only person in the world who I can trust to never abandon me and now she’s fucking gone! Haha, I love this episode. Why am I laughing? Am I allowed to laugh? EVER AGAIN? How do I make lasagne? Why didn’t I take the chance to learn that from her while she was here? So much wasted time! But finally, she’s safe somewhere, wherever she is...

Where is she? Am I religious now?

These hyperactive, incessant thoughts were interrupted by hearing the TV and the kettle switch on outside my bedroom. People were waking up and my dad was making a cup of tea and putting the news on.


Are we really watching the news? Is that normal? Is me walking out into the kitchen and having some toast or having a shower allowed? Are we supposed to never eat or consume information or shower or do our skincare again?

Or is it normal to keep on going? Is it too soon to keep going?

Are we supposed to stop too?

I decided toast, and the news felt normal, and we started our morning with regular idle chit-chat and ignored the elephant in the room: the fact that we needed to make arrangements and plan my mum’s funeral.


We went to plan the funeral, and said lovely things like, "Those flowers are gorgeous!" and, "Oh, Mum would love that," even though, on the inside, it felt like the fabric of the universe had been torn into a million pieces. Millions and millions of tiny pieces of my soul were floating around, and I was talking about how lovely flowers could be.

The funny thing about planning a funeral is that every single person is feeling like that while also being polite to the lady facilitating the chat.

"Hello, how are you?" I mean for f**k’s sake, what do you reckon, darl?

But we responded with, "I’m good, thanks! How lovely is the weather today?"

Grief is just so f**ked.

We picked the nicest flowers for the occasion (???) and headed home to... organise? Clean? Drink? Eat? Who knows what to do. I hope one day someone writes a book of things to do after planning a funeral.


But we went home and picked songs for the service and I edited a bunch of music so we had long versions of everything and didn’t hear the music loop. It’s a funeral—no one needs that. It’s fucking depressing enough.

The next day was filled with a Lodge family working bee. Some family friends came and lent their time and hands to clean the house for the party wake. We had people dropping off food and swinging past with flowers and saying nice things like, "I’m so sorry about your mum."

Saying sorry about death is, in my humble opinion, just the worst f**king thing you can say. You’re not sorry. You didn’t kill her; you didn’t do anything, so why should you be sorry? Say it like it is. Tell me you’re sorry for how I must be feeling, but acknowledge her being dead is sh**. Because IT IS SH**. It’s awful.

I was in a cesspool of emotion, worrying if I’d ever recover, but also fussing over flowers and trying to find the time to call people who needed to know that Mum’s funeral was that week and then also politely responding to someone saying, "I’m so sorry," with something along the lines of, "Thank you, that’s okay!"

It wasn’t okay. I needed to get my f**king eyebrows done, and did I need to bring a date? To my mum’s funeral? I’d probably want someone to hold my hand. Should I bring a boy? Imagine that incredibly honest phone call.


"Hey, it’s Toni!"

"Hey Toni! How are you?"

"I’m good, thanks! Hey, listen, I have this thing on tomorrow, if you wanna come?"

"Oh yeah, what’s on?"

"My mum’s died."

"Oh wow, I’m so sorry about your mum."

"Aw, thank you, that’s okay! So anyway, her funeral’s tomorrow. I think I’m going to be feeling really emotionally vulnerable and would love to have someone there to drunkenly make out with afterwards when I’ve had too many wines."

"Oh... sorry, I have something on tomorrow."

"Oh okay, no worries, all good! See you soon!"

Funnily enough, I actually did text a boy after my mum’s funeral while drunk on emotions and finger food, and he was out doing something (or so he said) and was a real gentleman about it and never brought it up again or made me feel embarrassed for BOOTY CALLING HIM AFTER MY MUM’S FUNERAL.

(Sorry, Ian.)

Like I said, grief is so f**ked.


The day before my mum’s funeral I realised I didn’t have anything to wear that wasn’t built for grinding on some dude in a nightclub or seeing a band. Incredibly, the 'Mum’s funeral' part of my wardrobe was fresh out of outfits. So, Libby, Hayley, my sister-in-law, Chelsea, and I tackled the problem. Fresh from planning a funeral and cleaning the house, we headed to the shopping centre to look for something for me to wear.


Just like my wardrobe was fresh out of 'Mum’s funeral' outfits, Myer didn’t have a section for that either. We walked through a few shops and everything was just not very me. I was only nineteen years old, and I barely had a sense of style yet, which made it particularly tricky to find an outfit while my brain was split in two.

We walked down to one of those young people shops, where the music is loud and the clothes haven’t been steamed before they’re put out on the floor, so you have to do it when you get home. Everyone working there was a young woman, each one of them more gorgeous than the next. They wouldn’t find it difficult to get dates for their mums' funerals.

We walked into a reception of smiles and "Hi, how are you?!" Before I had a chance to reply with "I’m good, thanks!", I was interrupted with the spiel of "We have a sale on today, if you buy 65 pieces of clothing you can buy a tote bag for $2!" or whatever they say.

I grabbed three dresses off different racks and my shopping supporters waited patiently outside my fitting room for the fashion show. I slid the curtain across and prayed to f**king God that the dresses fit, because a breakdown about not liking my body was not going to help me get this done any faster.

I slipped on the first dress. It fit, it looked okay, but it wasn’t quite right. I walked outside and my sisters read my face and said, "That looks okay... but it’s not quite right, is it?" I shook my head, and the girl in charge of the changing rooms, who was holding discarded clothes, walked over, BEAMING, and said, "Oh my God, babe, love that one!"


I mumbled out a small 'thank you' and jumped back into the changing room.

The second dress didn’t fit—and of course it was my favourite of the three. Babe Girl banged on the wall next to me and asked if I need any more sizes or any help zipping up, to which I replied, "No thanks, all good!"

By this point, I’m getting a bit tense and overwhelmed. Mostly because the dress doesn’t fit, but also because I’ve got people with me to go and get me another size, should I need it, so please just stop banging on my wall and calling me 'babe'.

And the dress didn’t fit.

And my mum is f**king dead.

I knew it wasn’t Babe Girl’s fault, but I was starting to get a bit hot. I abandoned ship and tried on the third dress. It fit me perfectly and actually looked really nice. Conservative and 'funeral-ly', but still me. I walked out of the change room and my sisters all smiled sweetly and told me how nice I looked.

Babe Girl walked over again, still holding the mass of discarded clothes and said, "Babe! That is THE. ONE. Love that!" I mumbled out another 'thank you', all the while getting hotter and more uncomfortable with the conversation, and I attempted to smile at this girl who I was trying to convince myself wasn’t mean.


She followed up by saying, "Like, honestly, I’ve seen so many girls try that one on and you look gorgeous in it! And so versatile too, you’ll get so much wear out of that one! What’s the occasion?"

I was standing in the middle of a shop with music pumping overhead in a dress I hadn’t purchased yet with no shoes on. Everything slowed down, like a replay during a sports match on TV. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even do Babe Girl a favour and lie.

"It’s for my mum’s funeral tomorrow."

The girl’s face dropped. She clocked my sisters’ glum faces then looked back at me. She straightened up, threw the discarded clothes over her shoulder and said, "I’ll just leave you guys to it, shall I?!"

I bought the dress and wore it to my mum’s funeral.


A few years later, I lived in a share house and was away for the weekend. My housemates had a party and a girlfriend of mine from work went through my closet to find something to wear out to the club afterwards. Digging into the depths of my closet, she chose the dress I wore to Mum’s funeral.

It was a really weird feeling. My mum would be happy it was getting worn again, but I couldn’t believe the dress was out on a body that wasn’t mine, being worn for reasons other than those intended. Maybe the dress enjoyed being taken out for a night on the town.


But Babe Girl was right—it was so versatile!

Image: Supplied.

I Don't Need Therapy (and other lies I've told myself) by Toni Lodge is now available. You can purchase either the physical or digital copy, here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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