20.3.12

death and guilt


I just found out that my grandmother passed away today. The past couple of weeks haven't been so good as far as death and hospitals go. My grandma was a great lady, when I knew her.  I can't say that we've been close the past decade or so... in fact, far from it.  I hadn't talked to her or seen her in many many years, since our families disconnected when my parents split up.

I should be sad, but I don't feel anything and it's making me feel badly. Maybe it's because I haven't been a part of that family for half of my life now. As if she was already gone... because in reality, she was.

I've been asked to the funeral. I've been made to feel guilty if I don't go.

Guilt.  It doesn't make much sense to me. The necessity of funerals don't make much sense to me to be honest.  Especially if you haven't been a part of that person's life for so long. Yes, she was family, but family in my opinion goes deeper than a last name. I'm not bitter, but this wouldn't accomplish anything. We found out about her passing through a posting on Facebook.

Does that make me a bad person?  I don't think it does.

Funerals in general. I can't do them. I am not someone who can sit in a room full of people and let my emotions out. I prefer to do that in my own privacy, and deal with things in my own way. Pressuring someone into feeling guilty for making the choice not to attend is not right. Looking down on someone for not publicly grieving is absurd.  I believe that everybody should find peace in their own way, whether that be in a church or in their bedroom, alone. I'd already found mine.  Who are you to decide what's right for someone else?

I didn't go to my other grandma's funeral last year. I couldn't. I loved her a lot and I still think about her every day, but the thought of going didn't sit well with me. I had already made my peace with her as she was fading away, alive and in person. And that was good enough for me. I've been looked down on since then for not going. I've been asked if I regretted it. If I thought I would regret it, I would have been there. I don't regret it for one second. I dealt with her death in my own way. I cried my own tears.

Why should seeing my face and my emotions in an unhappy setting be something that proves to others that I cared? Why should I even have to prove this at all?

I won't feel guilty, because guilt has no meaning. It is just a feeling placed upon you to make you feel like less than you are.

RIP Grandma. I wish you could have been a bigger part of my life.

Am I wrong?


By Dana Fox Updated at: 11:20 PM

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25 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear this! No, you aren't wrong. I think you need to do what you feel is best. also, it doesn't matter if you go to the funeral....she is gone. The funeral part is just for the living . You can make your peace with this anywhere you are.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear this :(. I really had to say that I know at least very close to how you feel and I am so glad that I am not alone in feeling the way you do about funerals in general. My godmother recently passed and though I was sad that her long life was over, I had a hard time connecting to her death because I had not spoken to her in many years. I was not even invited to the funeral which did not bother me much. However, when everyone else returned from said funeral, they constantly reminded me that I was her goddaughter. They seemed disappointed that I was not sorry enough or giving them all enough condolences. It confused me. Now, it has been a couple weeks and I realize that I have every right to feel the way I feel and I should not as you SHOULD NOT feel guilty about the way you feel. We all grieve or say "good bye" in our own ways whether it is to a person we deeply cared about or someone who was in our life just barely.

    Thank you for writing this post :).

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  3. first off, i am very sorry for your loss. i understand where you are coming from because when my parents divorced i no longer really kept in close contact with my dad's parents. when both of them passed away i felt sadness for my father and for my older siblings who really got a chance to know them, but I did not feel much emotion. i think as long as you try to remember those good qualities / memories and hold on to them, that's what's most important. i'm sure your grandmother was a wonderful woman. and hopefully in heaven you will be able to reconnect.
    either way, i know you are an incredible person and i just don't want you to feel any guilt. like you said, a very unnecessary thing.
    xo TJ

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  4. no i don't think you are wrong at all. funerals are man-made ceremonies and for SOME people, it helps with closure. we all have to do what helps us close the doors "the easiest" during that painful time of saying goodbye. and if there are no memories to say goodbye to, as in the case of this gma of yours that wasn't part of your life, then why go to the expense, travel, etc of participating in her funeral? i missed shawns gma's funeral because i was VERY SICK after giving birth to my daughter. in a way i feel like it was a blessing in disguise so i didn't have to see dorothy dead in her casket. all my memories are of her alive and beautiful.
    have you watched 6 feet under? i've watched every episode (years ago) and it opened my eyes/i got hooked. peace on you and i really hope family doesn't make you feel bad about your decision. this is LONG. sorry!

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  5. I agree with you, it's your decision whether or not to attend the funeral.

    In my past experience, funerals can be an incredible bonding experience for the families that attend them. Maybe that side of the family is feeling regret over not having seen you for so long, but if that's the case they should just say that they would like to see you and not pressure you into attending a funeral.

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear this:( I don't think you should be forced to go to anything, if you don't feel like you want or need to go then don't. :)

    whatrebeccasaid.blogspot.com xxx

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  7. don't go if you don't want to, especially because she wasn't even a part of your life.

    and all those people making you feel guilty? That says a whole lot more about them than about you as a person.

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  8. I'm so so so sorry to hear this :/ I'll be thinking about you Dana!!! <3

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  9. I agree with everything you said and I also thank you so much for sharing your story. You have every right to own your feelings and I appreciate your bravery and honesty.

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  10. It is you pain, you are the one feeling this. If you dont want to go dont. I feel that people who need to see your tears are not concerned for the loss of your grandmother, but their own selfish need to see someone feeling the pain with them. And like you said there will be plenty of people there to do that with them. Hold to your guns girl. You have made the right decision for you and no one else.

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  11. mmmm yeah thats tough. i think you absolutely have every right to feel this way. but at the same time, i think it is important to be there for your family members as well. it doesnt HAVE to be anything for yourself. it can be to support your family who is also going through this hard time with you.

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  12. So sorry for your loss. Death is a strange thing to deal with. Any time I've dealt with it, I wasn't even really sure how to react.

    I think that funerals are more for the living than for the dead.

    Even though they're hard to go to, sometimes being around other people who care about you and who cared about the person who has passed away can help to heal the pain. Bring a type of closure.

    But ultimately, it's your decision to go or not to go... maybe instead of making you feel guilty, those people in your life should really be asking how you feel.

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  13. I've been to many funerals and none of them have been any sort of pleasant or given me a peaceful feeling. Peace usually comes to me in its own time. I understand why there might be bitter feelings from others, if you don't attend the funeral, but I definitely think it's your call. It's your life. Like Gina said, a funeral is only for the living. Your grandmother knows how you feel. Someday you may have to face funerals in a different way because it will be your place to handle the details, but today is not necessarily that day. Don't let others make you feel guilty. I am sorry for your loss.

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  14. Another word for guilt that I like is "condemnation". It seems heavier and seems to better describe the feeling. For goodness sake, none of us even get to take our bodies with us when we go. I agree with you. What is the point of all the pomp and circumstance? Do what is in your heart, I say.

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  15. I'm sorry for your loss. I've always found funerals to be a sort of closure for me but I think grief is different for everyone and you should do what makes you comfortable and no one else. The last thing you want in your life are regrets.

    ♥ sécia
    http://www.petiteinsanities.com/

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  16. I'm very sorry to hear about the passing of your grandma. I went to a funeral once, it was my husband's uncle. It was devastating, I had only met him once but the environment was very gloomy. Not sure I want to experience that again. The important thing is that you feel at peace, some people are just more private with their emotions and I respect that.

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  17. There is no need to feel guilty. Funerals can be very personal and if it's not something you're comfortable with, you shouldn't have to go. If you feel like you can find the same peace without going, shouldn't that be what it's about? You especially shouldn't feel like you need to go to support others who don't support you. I'm sorry you for your loss, no matter when it happened, and that you found your way into such a lousy spot.

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  18. I am so sorry to hear about your gramma, and you are so wises b.c guilt really has no meaning, it just serves that something is going on in your spirit, and that is for you to figure out, not for others to put on you or force you into going to the funeral if it's not in your cards. that is up to you, it is your life and you have to do what is right for you, not anyone else. people will disagree with us our whole lives, so you have to focus on what healing means to YOU, not them.
    I feel for the situation you are in, let us know if you do end up going, I just read this post so I haven't quite caught up yet from being back from vacation...so I don't know if you changed your mind.
    hang in there..

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  19. My grandmother from my father's side passed last August. I was sad because she had a huge part in raising me and I was very upset that I literally was going to see her the day after (I bought my plane tickets a month in advance). That being said, I mourned her in my own way and although I still get upset I have a certain understanding when it domes to death and the circle of life. Also, I believe in reincarnation. I know she had a tough battle and she was lucky to be with us the past 6 years anyway (cancer).

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  20. This kind of goes along with your wedding issues too... pleasing yourself or pleasing others. The fact that you didn't go to the funeral of the woman you were closer to makes your choice to not go to the funeral of the relative who wasn't a part of your life at all, less of a "big deal" Again, if it's a big deal to someone else, then that's their problem. They should love and care about you enough to respect your desire to handle her passing in whichever way you see fit. My grandma had Alzheimer's and I had stopped visiting her for the last few months and chose not to join my immediate family at her bedside the day she finally (thankfully) did die, and am fortunate no one took the time to comment on my own personal choice.

    Try not to get bullied into participating in something you don't want to and I wouldn't feel guilty about the feelings you are or aren't having because they are yours and you're allowed to have whichever ones you naturally feel. Good luck.

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  21. NO you are not wrong. Unfortunately I am a grandmother and also a great grandmother and I am in your grandmother's shoes. I am the last of my line and I have a granddaughter whom I raised and a great granddaughter whom I have seen 3 times. I am pretty sure that when I pass there will be no one there at my funeral, I am so sure of this I am thinking about setting it up so I have no funeral at all. Just fire me up or slip me into the sea like they did Osama Bin Ladin would be fine with me and save the two people left in my family any further grief if they would even have any at all. No, sugar, you are not wrong, live your life as you see fit, that is all any of us can do anyway. Aloha and peace be with you. Pamela aka z13thstar

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  22. sweetheart, i guess i'm feeling like this was a symbolic sort of comment progression because i began at the top and worked my way down to find this deep, moving and so very sorrowful share. like life, the deepest parts reside past the surface. i am very sorry for yours and your families loss Dana.

    however you live your life is the right way for you. shame and guilt are hard edged swords that slice through us to the most crucial points but how amazing is it that you know yourself this well...and being as young as you are now i believe the fineness of your settling spot in life is well worked in. i do understand these mixed emotions, i had 1 nana that i loved with all my heart and 1 that i didn't care for much. totally associated with your experience - our most private moments with our own feelings and God are the ones that really matter anyways. at least it's my belief. whatever you are feeling is okay to feel, allow the permissions and turn off the shame. you are not wrong. xo ♥

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  23. I know this is an older post, but I stumbled across it and it really touched my heart. I too have lost touch with one set of my grandparents because of my parent's divorce, and I feel constantly guilty for not missing them at all. It's hard. I feel like I should be torn up inside, but I'm actually at peace with this loss. They chose to leave my life, and so I've chosen to move on. I would not feel comfortable at their funerals, should the occasion arise, and I think I'm ok with that. They are my family, but they were not family to me. I'm glad someone can understand how that feels.

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  24. I too have stopped attending funerals out of respect for MYSELF!!! There's no right or wrong. It's a personal choice. I'm learning that what's good for me is also good for everyone else...by giving myself permission, it gives them permission to be true to their own needs...and unfortunately, especially in my family, most attend to other's needs over their own. Lots of guilt (Greek)

    As I become a more aware consciousness, I no longer view death and a 'tragedy' or an end to life, but as a new beginning...thus, I don't really feel much sadness like I did before...in fact the more joy we allow ourselves to feel, the easier it is to stay connected to our 'dearly departed."

    Maria

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