Do I try to fly home just for a funeral?
October 26, 2009 9:58 PM Subscribe
Should I try to overcome a series of practical obstacles so I can fly to the funeral of a longtime friend? Or just send regrets?
posted by vickyverky to human relations (37 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found out today that a dear longtime friend (a substitute grandfather/mentor figure, really) died late last week. His daughter, who is also a good friend, offered to reimburse me for the plane ticket if I come to the funeral, which is about two weeks from today. (I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area; they are in London.)
My immediate thought was that I wanted to be there (I've known him since I was very small, and he has always been a kind, wise influence in my life). However, there are several obstacles. It will be hard to get more than a week off work; I'm at a particularly brutal point at grad school; I'm a nervous flier; and (the capper) my passport has expired.
Realistically, it's probably a no. But I'm still considering it -- for now. Could I even get my passport renewed that fast? (I've looked at the British Consulate's website, but it seems to be pretty vague about the expedited fee process. I'm planning to visit the S.F. consulate in person if I can get through on the helpline tomorrow.) Has anyone else had to do this in a hurry for a family emergency?
I know that funerals are for the living, and that my friend won't be there, except in spirit. But I think I'd get great comfort out of being part of the ceremony to send him off. (The family is hiring a Routemaster bus to drive around his favourite parts of London before the service!) I can do the flight on Xanax and gin. I could hit the ground running, and see as many people as I could fit into a week's visit around the funeral. It would be mad, and sad, and busy. But it would also be unforgettable.
If I don't go, his daughter says she'll read out a letter, reminiscences, or whatever I want to send her at the service. She won't be offended or upset if I don't go -- she just knows how much her dad meant to me.
I'd appreciate any practical answers, as well as hearing stories of whether you've decided to do something similar.