Friday, 13 November 2009

I tell myself I really don't care...

[This is a re-post from one of my other blogs. -Larro]

...about some of my family on my mom's side of late but I feel I have to get some thing's off my chest. It's quite likely some of them will be reading this post (and that's the part I really don't care about).

My grandmother recently passed away at a ripe, long-lived age of 85. She was a pillar of our family and had experienced many a trial and tribulation along the way. She was a victim of domestic abuse and buried one of her sons. In her later years one of my aunts moved in with her. Initially my grandmother was in fair health at that time and one could describe their ongoing relationship as doting from my grandmother and needy from my aunt (you'd think it would be the other way around). But as my grandmother's health waned one would think that these roles would have shifted...fat chance. I'll describe an incident that happened at the hospital as my grandmother was in critical care. My aunt, while in the waiting room, was relating that my grandmother had left some tidbits of food lying at her computer desk in small bowls and was getting disgusted at the smell emanating from my grandmother's room in the few days my grandmother had been in hospital. Guess what? Clean the fucking shit up!

To add to this story; my grandmother signed off her house to my aunt at some point after her moving in. And my grandmother was paying $100 in rent IN HER OWN HOUSE! I can't blame her for wanting to help with living expenses and not wanting to be a free-loader but if I were in that position (as my aunt) that money would have gone to pay for her funeral arrangements (which none were made). Maybe I could fault my grandmother for leaving the family with the responsibility of taking care of everything after her dying but I wasn't the one charged with taking care of her wishes after her death. Who was? I haven't a clue.

I loved my grandmother and the only thing that kept me from visiting her on a regular basis was the presence of my aunt at that house. Harsh? Selfish? Maybe. Maybe I could have just totally overlooked that living arrangement with my grandmother confined largely to her own bedroom and my aunt a permanent fixture in her easy-chair. Do I feel derision? Sure. Was I concerned and unhappy with that arrangement? You bet. Yet, I am one among many of my grandmothers grandchildren (thirty plus).

What place have I to intervene? My grandmother was not senile nor having dementia. She was in her right mind right up until the end of her life and in everyway leading up to it. So I can't help but assume that her living arrangement with my aunt (and her husband; I forgot to mention that part) was acceptable.

Mentioning my aunt's husband...

To be honest I initially didn't want to go to her funeral but my respects were due. Why didn't I want to go? It was largely to do with any number of circumstances but the primary reason was her particular church that the ENTIRETY of the service was being held (with no remains present). I know this is not unusual in the least; to have your funeral service held at the church you attended but as I came to realize I probably should have just stayed home or better yet celebrated my grandmother's life with my own mother and immediate family. The service turned out largely to do with sermonizing and least to do about my grandmother. To be honest I didn't expect anything less. Sure, there were tidbits thrown in here and there mentioning my grandmother and her life experiences and some quips about certain comical circumstances that occurred in her life (that everybody there had a heartfelt chuckle at) but it seemed to me that the vast majority of the service was spent extolling the church. It's quite likely that she may have (or did) envision her funeral service in this way (which is very likely). Can I fault that? No.

Back to mentioning my aunt's the end of the service there was a luncheon arranged there at the church but my immediate family didn't want to stick around for that (I didn't). We had decided that we might go out for our own lunch at a restaurant. After we'd left, my aunt's husband, apparently, walked up to my other aunt and stated: "'They' are gone...laughed through the whole service". Uh...who are "they"? Those "black sheep"? Quite likely "they" are them atheists (which we are with some agnostics). Maybe he just meant "they" as being my mom and her family. But I have a hard time agreeing with that.

Laughing? Laughing at my own grandmothers funeral!?!? What!?!? As if my own grandmothers death was a complete joke?


Beyond the pale! Beyond any kind of respect I want to show to that kind of person.

Lying. Bald-face lies. We did NOT show any sort of disrespect that that lie connotated. Would any deserving Christian bring themselves to lie in this way? Apparently HE did. And would any deserving Christian BELIEVE it? If they do then I can not call them family nor friend.

The vast majority of my family know that "we" are atheist (and agnostic) largely knowing that my mother is a semi-out atheist. I may be looking too deeply into the motivations behind this lie but I must say that there were certain instances that got me wondering. During one particular segment of the service the pastor asked that everybody bow their head in prayer and that once the prayer was finished had asked that everybody (without raising their head) raise their hand if this was the first time they had uttered this prayer; to which he could look around and see who had raised their hand. Guess who hadn't had their head bowed? Atheists don't pray (that's a given). So what! If this was indeed a way to see who wasn't praying (and I'm not saying that it was) then who cares? "We" were there at that church service honoring my grandmother's funeral like every other family member.

But I must get back to this lie. Under any other circumstance I could really care less. But this was my grandmother's funeral and I was accused of laughing throughout as if the whole thing was a joke. I'm taking this quite personal and philosophical. During the service there was quite a bit about "evangelizing" and getting a new member to join the church in my grandmother's take her place in the church. Yet, how on earth did my aunt's husband (and by extension my extended family and their church) seem inviting by lying (and possibly accepting this lie) about such an occurence? What a way to win over converts!?!

It is absolutely, ABSOLUTELY, no wonder I am an atheist.