Just over a week ago my very elderly (paternal) grandfather died – just 4 months shy of his 100th.
Grandfather had lived on his own up until about 3ish months ago, but was becoming a little forgetful and not quite taking as good care of himself as was desirable and so was compelled to move into a retirement village.
News was that he was initially coping well with the changes but a few weeks ago MaidenAunt advised that he was in decline. Unfortunately I was still very much in the midst of recovering from Ute removal and travelling to visit would have been less than optimal. Also, I was convinced Grandfather would live to … well … forever.
I’d planned to get there as soon as I could wrangle, but alas, he selfishly decided not to live forever.
And so it came to pass that I was obliged to visit BoganHellTown to attend the funeral.
Long time readers will know that I have not visited that ghastly place for over 12 years. They will also know that I am estranged from much of my immediate family and that I have extremely bad associations with same (both town and family).
As one might imagine, my life has been filled with not inconsiderable angst since that phone call. Fortunately the wonderful Joan agreed to accompany me (such a superior daughter!) and then Don, despite my insistence otherwise, announced he’d come to support me. Noooooo … I don’t want you to see these people, this place … Gah!. But, in his husbandly excellence, he could not be deterred.
BoganHellTown is amazingly, impossibly gorgeous, but like all amazingly, impossibly gorgeous things is utter evil at its core. Upon arrival we relaxed, drank wine, swam in the pool, Don worked (yucky crunch time for many projects) and we generally enjoyed our excellently appointed apartment and admired the amazing, impossible gorgeousness and I pretended we we situated in some other amazingly, impossibly gorgeous locale.
MaidenAunt phoned late that evening (I should have called her, but I was Avoidant) and I was perplexed by her insistence that I contact BabySister and visit her haus pre-funeral. BabySister, when I called the next day (again, Avoidant), was likewise insistent. In my incredible angstness, I failed to see The Signs.
And so it was with immense horror that we arrived at BabySister’s to discover my Mother (who is Dead To Me and has been for some time), ex-daughter-in-law of Grandfather.
I am not sure what MaidenAunt and BabySister thought would happen, but I am pretty sure what did eventuate was not what they had planned. There was a brief greeting and a much forced cheek kiss, then I and my coterie escaped to BabySister’s fabulous deck and admired the incomprehensibly spectacular views (do wish we’d taken pix) and BabySister debriefed re: the horror which is MiddleSister.
Then … funeral.
Really, I think 1.5 hours for a funeral service is a little excessive. There were some really very, very touching moments, but I could have done without the 7 incredibly lengthy Victorian hymns.
My take homes?
It was immensely gratifying to discover that I look at least ten years younger than my (younger) sisters. Also that I have by far the most excellent, attractive, accomplished children. There is a good deal to be said for escaping that idyllic, horrific environment as soon as one is able.
It was also gratifying to see how very, very far I have come through extremely hard graft and desperation and all-round motivation. My life is astoundingly good and I am extremely fortunate, but it was shocking to realise that it could be because of me and not some magical pixie godfairy and alignment of stars.
And now, well, I never, ever need go back to BoganHellTown.
And once I have recovered from the journey and that realisation actually hits, it will be GLORIOUS.