With a final flourish, my stepdad popped his clogs last week. We put our weekend of #adulting on hold and hot-footed it to Armpit to verify that it was actually true. After 27 years of not really getting on with the fellow, this has provoked some complicated feelings, mostly, I’m afraid, on the not-sad spectrum. People keep expressing sympathy, and I keep thinking they mean because we missed out on our lovely weekend in Brighton.
I pulled down my mask, supported my mum, tidied up the house a bit for her, tried to police the bulldozing of her funeral decisions by the extended stepfamily, and answered the phone a lot. Unfortunately we could only stay until Sunday because Bernard, who was living it up at his other grandmother’s house in France, was due to be collected from an airport on Monday afternoon, and I really did want to get him back.
The funeral falls bang in the middle of our canal holiday next week. Oh the logistical puzzling we have done, and finally with the help of Uborka’s sous-chef Lyle, we’ve worked out a thing where we leave the car half way up the canal, go back and pick up the boat, reach the place where we left the car two days later, drive up and do the deathstuff, return same day to the boat, leave the car there again, and carry on up the canal. Like getting a fox across the river without it eating the rabbit.
I know I am callous in dwelling on the impact all this has on us, but the man had lung disease and severe osteoporosis. He was in pain all the time. I didn’t like him but I didn’t wish such misery on him. He closed his eyes and went to sleep, and now my mum can come and visit us whenever she wants.
Complicated stuff, family, ain’t they. And I don’t think it’s callous of you at all, it’s an honest acknowledgement of your emotions. That, in my book, is very different.
Mostly I feel fraudulent when people sympathise or assume I am sad, but I can’t say so because that really does seem callous.
What Gordon said.
I’ve been to so many funerals, on both sides of the receiving line.
This is a bit of a dance. Your step is the quiet “Thank You”.
A fews days of feeling fraudulent ( which you aren’t but we feel what we feel) will save you months of aggravation later.
Even when you don’t have the additional complication of a complex relationship the death of someone old and sick always brings a mixed bag of emotions. I think honesty in that sort of situation is pretty much unnecessary. Fall back on social convention, say what’s expected.
I’m very pleased to hear that your holiday is only going to be interrupted briefly and not ruined.
I hope your mum is doing ok, that you get to have more adult fun soon and that Bernard had fun in France.