As I posted last week, I was due to say farewell to a grandfather that I barely knew this weekend, and to say I was anxious about it would have been an understatement. We drove over there with my mum’s cousin who is hilarious. He had me in stitches for the whole journey which completely alleviated the anxiety I was feeling. We met up with other members of my mum’s family (from her mum’s side) for lunch and listened to them telling old stories from way back when, a perfect start to the day before heading over to the funeral to be met with her dad’s side of the family.
We weren’t sure what to expect when it came to meeting up with distant relatives due to the rocky relationship between my mum and her dad, but we went anticipating a frosty reception.
Well! Wasn’t that an understatement! Firstly, they love a drink, so most of them were half pissed when we got there which only fuelled the evil looks we were getting. This brought out the defiance in me so I basically walked around there with my held help up, not letting them bring me down. My mum was the same, and having had no one acknowledge she was even there, locked arms with her cousin’s wife and we all rocked straight into the church.
Due to anxiety, I sat near the back minding my own business, legs allover the place wanting to leg it while at the same time perched. The funeral itself, quite expectedly, was the most sombre I’ve ever been to. The music was very sad, the speech very monotone and the crematorium did the whole “curtain close” which felt almost traumatic. I find funerals very difficult to attend, partly because I’m not remotely religious, so find the whole thing difficult to relate to, so spend the whole time thinking through memories, laughs we had, fun times etc. The sad thing is, there weren’t really any to think about because I rarely saw him.
The family made some speeches, which felt partly aimed towards us as if to say “we’re his family” etc which again we just dealt with, and we moved from the church to the crematorium for the final goodbye. Again, we weren’t welcomed, instead left at the side until everyone had gone in. I felt sorry for my mum, who felt unable to say goodbye to her own father, in her own way. She had tried over the years to build a relationship, but when you get to 43 and they’re still not bothered, sometimes you have to let go. That doesn’t mean they aren’t part of your life in some way or another, and to say goodbye to him wasn’t too much to ask.
Due to our VERY frosty reception and the fact that the wake had a free bar (which to a room of scousers is like a moth to a flame), we decided to leave and drove home.
I felt very sorry for my mum. She’s very traditional, and wanted to have a traditional goodbye. The family, driven by money, had planned the funeral around their needs and not my grandad’s and that for me is sad. My mum was made to feel unwelcome, as was I, (but I didn’t care, they can think what they like), to the point where she couldn’t say goodbye to her own dad and today explained her one regret – not touching his coffin as one last ta’ra.
We came home, where we went out for dinner with my uncle and his family, and had the best night raising a glass to their dad and enjoying old stories not only from my grandad but from all of us as we grew up.
The day started with a high, with a huge low thrown in, before ending on another high and it allowed us to take something away from the day:
- Life is too short to make people feel so unwelcome. You don’t have to agree with someone’s opinion, actions or situation, but everyone deserves the last goodbye.
- Don’t care what people think. I’m grounded enough to come away from there not caring what they think of me – and I genuinely don’t. We went with good intentions and to keep the peace, they made life difficult for us. I know I’ll never see them again, so what they think of me is completely irrelevant to me.
- stick with the one’s that actually deserve your time. The one’s that love you and are there for you. It’s so hard to “turn your back” on family – so don’t. Instead, just redirect your focus and attention to to somewhere that deserves it.