In which a dysfuntional family funeral has a silver lining.

It’s been a busy few months. Granny passed away, my Great Aunt became ill, our oldest son is in a serious relationship, and as you all know, the world has kind of exploded with this COVID-19 epidemic.

I’m now working from home, along with helping six kids with their schoolwork. There are days when I stand in the middle of the chaos and repeat “There’s one of me and six of you! One at a time or so help me you can get onto google classroom yourselves! And for the last time, I don’t understand grade 12 math, ask your father!”

It’s going well…

I’m actually enjoying the slower schedule, taking time to hang out with the kids and just relax. We are privileged to live in a part of the world where we have the resources to stay home and not worry about where our next meal is coming from.

But there have been some rough days.

G’s granny passed away and it hit him hard. Not so much that his granny died, but because his parents didn’t bother to let him know. His kids knew, his ex-wife knew, but we found out from family friends offering their condolences. We wondered if we should even bother going to her funeral, as we knew we weren’t going to be welcomed by his immediate family.

G’s wonderful uncle and aunt came over and informed us that whether we liked it or not, we were attending! So we went.

G’s mother turned her back on us the minute we walked up to the gravesite. His brother and his wife ignored us. His ex-wife said hello to a family member beside me but completely ignored my existence. This wasn’t really a surprise, but I must say, it did make me shake my head.

But there were good things.

Cousins came over to visit with us and show support. G’s sister asked me to FaceTime them so they could attend the funeral, and it was an honour to do that for her and her husband. G’s sister-in- law sent us a text out of the blue apologizing for not coming over and saying hello. I have to say that one totally floored us after her behaviour last summer. It was completely unexpected and such a lovely surprise.

And most importantly, G’s dad came over to where we were standing. When that happened I stepped up to G, took his arm, and planted myself beside him like a mighty 5’6″ oak tree who would not be moved. I was there to suppport my husband, and come hell or high water, I was gonna do it. His dad started talking about tractors or some such thing, I wasn’t really listening as I was busy being strong and also highly conflicted. He looked at me a few times while talking to G. I haven’t been that close to either one of G’s parents for over four years now. It was surreal to stand there and assess this man who holds such power over the heart of his son. I didn’t converse of course, and I had my sunglasses on because the funeral was outside and I wasn’t ready for straight up eye-contact.

It was an interesting funeral. Not only because the COVID restrictions meant there could only be fifteen people in attendance, but also because I’ve never been to a funeral where there were so many people not talking to other people. I always wonder what it would be like to be a funeral director or a graveside attendee. What do they pick up on? Do they sense the family dynamics? Do they see the little groupings and notice who doesn’t talk to whom? Do they pick favourites or sides?

But I digress.

We left the funeral feeling encouraged. And this week, when G’s dad called to talk about autobody shops, G invited him over for coffee. He declined, but the offer is still open.

We are still hoping that one day there will be restitution and healing. May this be a start.


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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