The funeral was very much a replay of what had happened at the hospital. Sharon and I didn’t say a word to each other and she wouldn’t even look at me. When Sandy came in, she did reach out and give me a hug but that was it, no words and nothing more the entire time. Honestly, I felt like she wanted to but just couldn’t let her guard down in front of Sharon. Sharon’s fiance came separately. Apparently he had come directly from a karate class because he showed up to my father’s funeral in a white karate outfit and bare feet. Seriously? I felt it was so disrespectful – at least puts some friggen’ shoes on!
Two of Sharon and Sandy’s ex-husbands came – they had both been close to my father. When I saw them, my heart filled with some warmth; they were like family to me. These two were genuine, nice and caring – nothing like my sisters’ current men. I hugged them both and was very conscious of how sad it was that they felt more like true family to me than anyone else.
It was time and we all stood around the marble square my dad’s ashes were interned behind at the columbarium in the outdoor gardens of the mortuary, my father’s final resting place. I looked over at my sisters but they avoided all eye contact with me. My brother said a few words and a prayer and that was it – it was over just like that. I felt my father deserved so much more. Afterwards, my mother asked me to take her to where her mother had been laid to rest inside. I took her arm and walked her down the corridor. Well, my sisters apparently couldn’t let that happen and quickly followed us. They couldn’t give me that one damn moment. I swear they were joined at the hip. I wanted to slap them both and tell them to grow up already!
My husband and I stuck around for a little bit for my mother’s sake. Matt caught up with me just before we left to ask for help packing up our parent’s house. My mom was going to move and live near him and his family. I told him we would help and with that we left. I remember feeling such sadness as we drove home, for my dad, for my mom, for myself, and for the childish display of my sisters during our father’s funeral. This was a time that would have brought most families together; instead it ripped ours further apart.
The next day, my husband and I went out to my parent’s house to help with the packing and cleaning. I was still anxious, knowing I would once again have to face my sisters and their games. I will say that the more I saw of them, the better I felt about myself. It turns out that while they were acting like children and trying to hurt me, I was building strength and character and trying to move forward with my own life. Funny thing was, when I got out to the house, Matt and his kids were there, all my sisters’ kids were there, but Sharon and Sandy themselves were nowhere to be found. They weren’t there. They didn’t show up to help at all, instead they just sent their kids to help. So, wait a minute, how am I the terrible and uncaring person in this family? Explain this to me again because I am just not seeing it.
We pitched in were we could, packed up boxes, moved furniture into the moving truck, cleaned from room to room. Just when I didn’t think my heart could be broken any further, I came upon a bunch of gifts I had given my parents over the last few years, all still in their original boxes and all shoved in a corner. I stood there feeling so hurt. I had always put a lot of thought into what I gave my parents, and there was everything, tossed into a corner. As I picked them all up and put them in my car, I felt like a little girl who had just realized that maybe her parents never really cared about her. It’s a type of pain you feel not as the adult you are, but as the child you once were.
As I walked back from my car, I heard my brother’s voice and it was getting louder. I noticed he was in the back of the moving truck on his cell phone and he was getting increasingly irritated with someone. “I don’t care if you want that gun! We have to sell some of dad’s possessions so mom has money to pay for her living and medical expenses!”
Uh oh! This wasn’t good. Who was he speaking to? It could only be Sharon or Sandy. By this time, everyone was standing around the moving truck, me and all my teenage and 20-something nephews. My brother had expressed to me his concern with our sisters wanting dad’s possessions after he died. He had told me that we would need to sell a lot of things so our mom would have some money. I agreed with him because I knew all too well how my sisters were and I also realized that mom was still alive and needed support – it was kind of a no-brainer. But, there Mark was on the phone with one of my sisters in a yelling match. My nephews where trying to figure out whose mother it was on the other end of the phone. I knew without a doubt – it was Sharon. Only Sharon would squabble over wanting the most expensive items. Sandy wouldn’t have fought like that. I actually felt a little vindication – finally someone else was seeing what I had seen for the last few years.
Whoever was on the other side of that phone call finally hung up on Matt. Sure enough, it was Sharon. Her kids rolled their eyes and said that wasn’t going to be good. So let me get this straight – my dad dies and not only does my sister not show up to help but then she also fights over his material goods? Surely my mother will see her for who she is now, right? Maybe now everyone will realize that maybe Sharon does have some issues and maybe told some lies about me, right? Wrong – the whole incident didn’t open anyone’s eyes at all. And I just know she ended up with that gun.
We continued helping. Honestly, I didn’t want anything of my dad’s except some things I had made for him, things that meant something, at least to me even if they never did to him. When my brother loaded my dad’s old, ratty crossbow into the garage sale pile, I did ask what he thought they would get for it and he said just a few dollars. He then offered it to me if I wanted it and I did take that. My father had taught me how to shoot a bow and arrow and it was one of the few good memories I had. As the day went on, I found pictures in the trash pile of Sandy and her family so I dug them out and sent them home with her kids. I found some other important family mementos in the trash and took them home with me, one of which was my father’s high school graduation announcement and football letterman’s “letter”. It had no monetary value whatsoever but it meant more to me than anything in the world in that moment. I still wonder to this day what may have been thrown out that shouldn’t have been.
As we drove away from my parent’s house for the last time, I felt a overwhelming sadness set in. I felt separated from reality. It didn’t feel like my dad was gone – it felt like I was in a dream that I was going to wake up from any second! But it wasn’t a dream – it was a nightmare, just not one I would never wake up from. I knew in that moment that I never wanted to see my sisters ever again, not after the events of the last week, not after their actions. They were no longer my sisters, no longer my family. It was time to move passed everything, free from their games and cruelty. Yes, blood is thicker than water, but you can still drown in it if you are held under.