Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not going...

Thanks for all your well wishes.

I've decided not to go to the funeral. I was never particularly close with this grandfather, since my whole life he lived in Florida and I saw him at most maybe once a year for a few days. He also has had no idea who I was for at least the last 3 years (he had severe dementia), and we never talked on the phone since I was a young child, and even then, I mostly talked to my grandmother and he would say hello at the very end of the conversation, and that's about it. I did attend her funeral because I felt like I had a personal connection with her. While I'm sad about my grandfather's death, I don't feel that I need to attend his funeral in order to get a sense of closure.

If anything, I know if I attend his funeral I will be angry about it, because my parents are not giving him a eulogy because it's Erev Sukkot, and because every single time I see my parents I end up feeling resentful and hurt by the end of the meeting. I would rather attend his unveiling in a year, and hopefully there will be some kind of eulogy at that point.

And all you people telling me to go to support my father...are you new to this blog? I've barely spoken to my father in years, by his choice (not mine) so why should I go for his sake? You can't stop talking to your children and then expect them to support you through difficult times. You can't tell someone they are no longer part of your family and then expect them to act like your family when times get tough.

My grandfather had been living with my parents for the last 3 years, and not once did I see him at their house. You know why? Cause my parents haven't invited me to their house in over 3 years. I'm not welcome there.

As for "he must really want me to be there if he offered to pay for B", well I moved the date of my wedding to a Sunday (rather than a Saturday which was more convenient for me and most of my guests) because I really wanted my parents to be there. They didn't show up to that either.

And yes, they did come to my PhD graduation- because my dad's parents (including my grandfather who just died) didn't come to his PhD graduation and he decided that he would come to mine even though we were barely talking. I think that was more about him not wanting to be like his parents than anything about me. Even then, they scheduled a flight that afternoon (which they didn't have to do at all- they could have taken a later flight or gone the next day, and it was a vacation, not even a business trip) so that they would only be there for the ceremony and about 20 minutes afterward, and then they high tailed it out of there.

But this is not about revenge on my dad, although I still am angry at him for many things. This is about my lack of connection with my grandfather. I don't feel like I would get anything out of attending his funeral other than a lot of stress, and having to work all weekend because of all the work I would miss. My job isn't the type of job you can just take a few days off from-if I don't work this week, I don't have lesson plans prepared for next week.

I went to my grandmother's funeral, in the same place, and I pretty much know what to expect. I'm glad I went to my grandmother's funeral, because my grandfather was very upset and I was able to help him out and hold his hand during the funeral. But now he is gone, and funerals are not for the dead- they are for the living. And in between my grandmother's funeral and my grandfather's funeral, all the living people I know who will be there have told me I'm no longer part of their family (my non-religious brother isn't going either), and have stopped talking to me or contacting me, except when people die (and my once yearly phone call from my dad on erev rosh hashana). So I don't feel particularly inclined to help make them feel better. Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so. I think it makes me someone who has been hurt on so many occasions of trying to get along with certain people, that I just can't show up and get hurt again.


  1. I don't think it makes you a bad person, but they might use it as a justification to think that. People see what they want to see, unfortunately.

  2. I think you made the right decision. It sounded like it would have been extremely difficult to go, from a logistical standpoint, and if emotionally, you yourself didn't feel the need to go, then you're doing the right thing.

    I would, however, call/email your dad with a nice message and expressing "sincere" regrets that you can't go, but that you're thinking of your grandfather and of your dad. Also, I'd call him during his very brief shiva tomorrow.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

  3. I hope you didn't take my comment as judgment -- I very much understand your decision and recognize that I have a much different relationship with my father, who has been much more open-minded and compassionate than yours (albeit far from perfect.) I tend to err on the side of maintaining and building what family ties I can, but if my father treated me the way yours treated you, it'd be a whole different ballgame.

  4. AE, first I want to tell you that I am very sorry for your loss and for all the pain this brings up for you.
    I agree with your decision and I think your family will understand that it is hard for you to get away right now, as you have just started your position.
    I like what Philo wrote, that perhaps you can try to call during his brief shiva, or e-mail. you can also mail a card to him (I kept all the cards people sent me when my father died).
    If your family does do some sort of memorial service for your grandfather at a later point perhaps you could attend that.
    I also want to tell you that your parents love you very much and they miss you. They have made many mistakes with you that I am sure they are sorry for and I hope one day you will be on speaking terms with them. Perhaps the loss of your grandfather can bring about a change in your relationship with your family for the good! all the best!

  5. I always try to err on the side of building bridges. My mother was one of the first in the family to invite her cousin (who lived with and then subsequently married a non-Jewish Dominican man) to my sisters Bat Mitzvah.

    I think family ties are important and situations like this have the opportunity to recreate bonds. Your father may have taken this opportunity to say "Life is short, my daughter is really important to me even if she made choices in life that I don't agree with."

    I understand your decision and I think you need to make choices that you feel will best suit your needs. Especially since you weren't close with your grandfather.

  6. I'm glad you reached a decision that you are comfortable with. As far as going to be there for your father, I know about your history with him, but it seemed to me like he may have been extending a tiny little olive branch by offering to pay for both of you instead of just you. He acknowledged that you and B are married and come together as a pair (and that it might be important for you to have B at a difficult moment - a family funeral.) I hope you don't take my two cents as criticism, I'm just trying to explain why I and others thought you should be there for your father, if possible.

  7. Whoa, honey. I didn't mean that you should go. I just meant that your dad does still love you in his own bizarre way, even if he's been a supreme jerk, which I personally think he has been. I don't blame you a bit for not going. I should have expanded on that one. Plus, I think I was being a bit sarcastic knowing as I did that he has been so completely unaccepting of your husband. Which is another good reason not to go in my opinion. I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. I would never want to say anything to make you angry. I promise.

  8. oh ms moon you didn't make me angry. :) It was more "anonymous" people who don't seem to understand the complex relationship with my parents.

  9. I was one of the anonymous ones. I said you should go as there won't be a eulogy, but thought you were cutting it too close with the flights.

    I got the sense from your earlier post that it was more logistical issues and fear of what could go wrong that prevented you from going.

    Re your father, I understood you have a better relationship with him than your mother. Also, while I'm not justifying his behaviour, you also understand that it's tough for him with kids who have gone OTD (please don't bite my head off - I'm not defending him, I'm just trying to understand him).

    In any event, I can't see why you would go to the unvieling. Aren't you asking for trouble with the eulogy and all that.

    Good luck with your decision and your new position and sorry for your loss.

  10. whoa!!! I missed this part. That's a huge step. If you fail to pick it up by coming to funeral you should really do SOMETHING instead, I don't know what.

    (I'm thinking of my mom who still will have nothing to do with her sister's husband AFTER 40 YEARS OF MARRIAGE!!!!)

    In fact it's such a huge step taht it may be too big to handle- for the both of you.

    "it seemed to me like he may have been extending a tiny little olive branch by offering to pay for both of you instead of just you. He acknowledged that you and B are married and come together as a pair"

  11. It's totally OK to miss a funeral, even of a person you feel close to, if you just can't make it.

    That's my view...

  12. I am a bit startled to read that one of the reasons you did not go was because you "would not get anything out of it" I can't imagine that is why any of us attend a funeral- it really has absolutely nothing to do with you. It is your father's father and like it or not he gets to call the shots here. Also the no eulogy at this particular time of the year is what is done in the orthodox circles- again - nothing to do with you and perhaps at this time a little more respect for the people involved would be in order. Sorry if this is unpopular but even in light of past history, I think your father did nothing wrong here.

  13. yeah, and my dad said he totally understands that I couldn't make it. And why does he get to "call the shots" exactly?

  14. Because it is his father who died.

  15. ahh, so even if he has alienated members of his family, doesn't talk to them ever, they should drop everything because his father died?

    Sorry, in real life it doesn't work that way. If you want your kids to drop everything to come to your side, you have to actually have a relationship with them.

  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. I really don't understand why a (presumably?) religious person would be - for lack of a better word - screwed out of a eulogy because he died at the wrong time of the year!, but perhaps he would understand, it if he didn't have dementia, and found it ironic.
    I do not think that telling one's daughter via text message that her grandfather is seriously ill is appropriate, even though it was a fairly long text message, your dad should have called you about that. Even if he had 6 dozen other people to notify - he should have called his children, not texted you.
    I completely sympathize with your decision to not attend the funeral: with or without B, it would have been very awkward for you.
    I hope you and B can make some friends in your new city - maybe take some dance lessons together or join a sports league, yoga classes, etc. (I caught up on a lot of your posts in one reading.)

  17. Right on AE...why walk into a situation that will only take you 10 steps backwards emotionally..sometimes you have to do what is right for you..so Right on!

  18. He wasn't even orthodox..he was more "traditional", like would go to the holidays, he attended a conservative shul when he lived in florida, they didn't keep strict kosher...my dad was a ba'al tshuva (guy who became more religious) and was way more religious than my grandparents ever were..part of the reason the whole thing is so angering...


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