Monday, March 30, 2009

Guilt and the Funeral

When someone dies emotions that you never thought you had rise to the surface. Compassion for others you may not like seem to come as second nature. Old habits and familiar traditions, though tossed to the wayside and forgotten in times of steady, suddenly freshen in your mind. And if you're like me, a bit of that old Jewish guilt creeps in when you least expect it.

My Grandfather died. And when, at the funeral, the Rabbi asked us if anyone would like to say anything about him, neither my two older brothers, nor I had anything to say. No anecdotes, no funny stories, or fond memories. And even though my uncle made a beautiful speech, I can't help but feel like I did the man a disservice.

My grandparents, my Bubbie & Pop-Pop as I called them, were never very prominent figures in my life. Ditto for my brothers. As their only grandchildren, we always felt a bit neglected and unappreciated. That's not to say we didn't love them or that they didn't love us. But it is what it is and it was what it was.

The past few days I've been trying to be strong for my mother and grandmother. They needed me and I was there. Holding their hands. Saying goodbye at my Pop-Pop's bedside when they were turning off the machines. And it's been hard. Partly because it was such a shock. He was fine and healthy two months ago. And partly because I grieve not getting a chance to know the man better.

I know he loved me. He was happy I was there in the hospital to say goodbye. Bubbie and my uncle live maybe two miles away, and though while typing this I doubt we'll become and closer to one another, I probably should try.

When the child is never made to feel like they matter by a loved one, are they exempt from feeling sorrow when they die? Don't get me wrong, I'm sad he died, and I'm sad for my mom to lose the father that she loved so much. But shouldn't I feel worse? Talk about Jewish Guilt.

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via FoxyTunes

9 comments:

bloodthirsty~girl said...

i know what you mean. i've felt more sadness at certain celebritys' deaths than i have at certain family memebers' deaths. the amount of grieving you do is right for you. and perhaps you're just not ready yet-sometimes grief comes later, when you're more equipped to deal. i'm sorry that you're going through a rough time, sweetie.

Songbird1083 said...

Thanks. I agree everyone does grieves differently. And it's not like I don't care. Thanks for your imput.

Gaia said...

Hi sweetie. Absolutely not. You have every right to feel whatever sadness and grief you feel, to whatever degree you feel them. It feels strange when you must grieve for what could have been rather than what was with a departed loved one. But, like you said, it is what it is, and it was what it was. There's no fault for you there. I'm going to tell you to try not to feel guilty, but I know how impossible that can sometimes be, particularly in the finality of death. Love you, honey. I'm here if you need me.

Songbird1083 said...

Thanks Gaia girl, Love you immensely!

Tatybear said...

I understand BeccaBoo. When someone dies in our family I go through the same kind of guilt, and feel as if I could have did something to impact their life, or be closer. The truth is, whenever you walk into someone's life, you make a huge impact, and closeness isn't always shown through the actual distance and affection. Sometimes you can be close to someone who is so far away and affection doesn't has to be shown all the time. I might not be making complete sense, but I'm sure you get me. Death does cruel things to people, and it makes them think weird, but everyone can relate and goes through it, just sometimes differently. I'm here if you ever need me. And I'm sorry for your loss.

<3

Songbird1083 said...

Thanks Tatlyn, and I get you perfectly.

WickedCourtni said...

I think that, given the circumstances, you are doing everything that you need to be doing.

You cannot control the relationship that you have with someone... if that makes sense. Feeling grief is a natural process, but if they were not active in your life in a way that grandparents are supposed to be... it may be that your hurting is more because you know that your family is hurting.

Does that make sense?

Songbird1083 said...

Courtni, That makes alot of sense. I think that's exactly what's going on here. My brothers and I loved him, but barely knew him.

Buddhist In The West said...

I have had a mixed bag myself. I cried for my grandmother when I was 4, wanted to laugh at my grandpas funeral aged 13 because everyone was so stuffy and he was always so unstuffy, didn't cry at all for my mom or aunts death, wept over Vince Welnick and a couple of pigeons...

One thing I have found is that a death is more shock than misery (if you believe in reincarnation). I used to react by losing all negativity - such as anger, impatience, frustration, etc. I guess my beliefs help me handle the actuality, so it is down to how it changes my life to have lost someone.

I think to feel what you naturally feel is most important. don't worry if you are not feeling what you expect you should, or what others say you should, but feel how you truly DO feel...