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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

Death and Christmas

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Now thereís a title that seems like a deliberate cry for attention. Sorry couldnít come up with anything better at the moment.
Iím grappling with something and I figured rather than work it out on my own Iíd see if people Iíve never met in my life might want to chip in, or just skim through to get the jist of it and say nothing. Thatís fine too. I donít mind.

So. Thereís a funeral in a few days and Iím trying to work out if I should go or not.
Itís for my dadís aunt who Iíve probably only met twice in my life and only one of those I can remember.

It was in my early to mid-teens and it was for her early to mid-70ís I canít really get any clearer than that. I met her briefly and was told afterwards that that was her, she was eating jellied eels. She seemed happy.
Since it was during my god-awful teens with my excessive shyness (didnít know it was actually social anxiety then) and my general discomfort at new situations (regular anxiety) I only have the vaguest memories of it and even then I only really remember the idea of it and only the smallest snippets of actual events.
My dad didnít go. Which was the first layer of anxiety for us because without him with us we have to explain who we are and why heís not there.
There are other children/teenagers there which brings up my next layer of anxiety. At that time I had a specific fear of people my own age due to bullying and general mocking from the *****es at school.
And the biggest aspect to my anxiety overall is a strange place (never been to the venue before) with complete strangers some of whom I could be related to but have never met.
Imagine this teenager walking up to a group of other teenagers who actually know each other and telling them ďIím your cousinĒ even though youíve never met me and probably think you know all your cousins.
Enough about me on that subject but an additional note from that time. My mum is also shy. She just doesnít have anxiety like me so for her the idea of a social gathering with people she probably hasnít seen since her wedding made for some anxiety too.
If I have to make a vague stab at my age around this time Iíll say 14ish.

Iím 30 now.

I havenít seen any of these people or the deceased for about 15 years and even then I would have been pretty forgettable.


So whatís the problem then? Whyíd you go on and on about it? Either go or donít shut the hell up already with your whining.

Well. My dad and his brother are planning to go. And last time there was a funeral he got mad at me for not going. I wrote about it at the time Iím sure. Basically it was for a family friend I didnít personally know very well and it was around my early 20ís, I think, when I was lazing around the house (still am by the way but weíre all more used to it now, back then there was more drive to try and push me into doing something. What my dad doesnít know is that telling me off and nagging me wonít work, it just makes me feel even more like a pile of crap so I get more depressed and do even less).
Now. Why did he get mad at me for not going?
My argument that I didnít know the deceased very well and that, I personally felt, it would be wrong to go to a funeral for someone you barely know so feel no grief for at all while those around you, who were closer to the deceased, are deep in grief did not go down well. He seemed unable or unwilling to grasp my moral objection. If I had been invited or just expected by the family to have gone then I would have.
His argument.
Itís a good opportunity to get out and meet people.
Öat a FUNERAL.
Now at the time he was generally pissed off with me anyway and he was probably just using this situation to vent and/or make a point. I doubt he even remembers it.

But. Does he still feel the same way about the situation?
Yes I didnít know his aunt at all. So I can safely make the same objection to going. But she was a relative and that changes things.
I feel itís wrong for a stranger to be intruding on peopleís grief but then again these are family members and not just random people.

And my mum is planning to go too. So if both of my parents go am I expected to go? Will my dad be mad at me if I donít? Will he be mad at me if I do? Will he even care? I honestly donít know.

To top it all off itís nearly Christmas (as if you need reminding) and if I donít go Iím likely to have my dad going on at me about it all through Christmas day.
Additionally it would be a good opportunity to meet family members Iíve never met before and/or donít remember and hear their stories. But is that a good enough reason to go to the funeral. Especially when you add into the mix that Iím an atheist and church services bore the crap out of me and I feel so hypocritical taking part in hymns and prayers for a thing I donít believe in but to actually point this out at the time would be even more disrespectful so I generally keep my head down and donít say anything.

But, being so close to Christmas, I still have a crap ton of stuff to do. Iím wasting time writing this instead of making my last 2 Christmas cards (which have to be posted by the 20th because thatís the last day for the Christmas post), we have no decorations up, the tree is drying out in the kitchen because I canít put away my card stuff yet and the house is a tip. I still have wrapping to do and Iím not sleeping. Well I am but I sleep during the day. This morning I went to bed a 1pm. I had to drag myself out of bed before 10:30pm and the funeral is in the daytime, before noon. So my options in the next few days are get to bed earlier but not actually sleep because Iím not tired at that time because Iíve only been up for something stupid like 3 hours or just stay up and go to the funeral then come home and go to bed.
Neither is a good plan at all. But I do need to start getting into a better sleeping schedule for Christmas Day.
The thing is itís not like Iíve been super busy lately. I couldíve done all this by now if I werenít so lazy so thatís all on me.

If it helps Iíve already decided on what Iíd wear for the funeral. Like that matters at all. ďSheís intruding on my grandmotherís funeral but at least she didnít have any trouble planning what to wear for it Iím so pleased for herĒ.

Which will be the lesser of two evils?
To go?
Or not go?
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Comments

  1. qimissung's Avatar
    I think you could safely not attend and you would not be ruffling any feathers! Sending some flowers would be a thoughtful gesture. If, however, your father is going to go on about it and you just don't have the wherewithal to ignore him (and that would not be an easy task, I don't think), then steel yourself, put on your outfit and go. It's only for a few hours. You can leave immediately after and you don't really need to say anything beyond "I'm so sorry for your loss."

    There is no really wrong decision, Bluebiird, you just have to decide what is right for you at this moment in time. Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.
  2. Bluebiird's Avatar
    I did go. You’re right. Everything was fine. I got worked up for no reason. We were actually early (a first for us and funerals). While my mum socialized a little I had a wander round the graves. It’s a pretty big cemetery and the earliest graves I saw were from the 1800’s. When the procession came I finally spotted my dad and uncle at the back. It seems I misjudge my dad too much (he’s hard for me to read) he was surprised but pleased that I came. The chapel was very small so I couldn’t sit next to my mum but I was able to sit at the back next to my dad so I wasn’t anxious (I’m very uncomfortable around strangers unless I’m with someone I know). The service was nice and light-hearted (my great aunt was quite a character) with no hymns and only one prayer where joining in was not implied to be mandatory. Then we followed the coffin to the grave. A new experience for me because I’ve only been to cremations before. We did send flowers but I don’t know if they made it in time. Mum thinks she saw them. Then we came home and I went back to bed (I’d only had 1-2 hours sleep before).
    So overall there was nothing to be worried about. Thankyou for your input. I am grateful