Need help processing social/familial obligations for funeral
June 16, 2013 6:14 PM Subscribe
My mother is 75 now, has Parkinson's, and is likely not going to be around in another year or two. I will feel no personal need to go to the funeral, when that time comes, and would like help processing that. The following information may or may not be pertinent and may be a summer blizzard.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total)
I have a distaste for ceremony in general. I feel nebulous familial/social obligations to attend.
I am not close to either of my parents or to any of my siblings. I am one of 6 children. We grew up in a provincial midwestern town (US). Four of the children and mother and father still live there. I live 1000 miles away in the west in a town known for being left of center and I fit in well. I am an atheist and in a number of ways an unconventional thinker, but not freakishly radical. I guess its all relative though, to my family being an atheist is radical. The other sibling lives in the east and nobody has heard from him in years.
The family is a semi-dysfunctional, midwestern, suburban, catholic, white, conservative. Parents are divorced, my father having left my mother (about 10 years ago) after 30 years of marriage. His leaving did not surprise me. By age 16, I was wondering why they were together as they were so different (my father adventurous, my mother afraid of her own shadow). All the other siblings were shocked due to the family practice of sweeping problems under the rug. I had no preference in what he did. At least 2 of the children refuse to speak to our father. I speak with my father once every few months and we are on cordial terms, but hardly close. He was a workaholic, not around a lot, but a good provider. I talk to my mother on the phone once every month or 2. I talk with 2 of the other siblings maybe once a year. I go back to visit about once every 5 years. I exchange emails with one brother every so often. When I get the news, it will likely be through him and he will have difficulty understanding why I wouldn't attend. Despite the conservative/provincial thing, he's a good guy. He married basically a clone of my mother, has 4 kids. I think he and one other brother are closer to our mother than the other offspring.
Is it unreasonable that I would not attend the funeral?
What would be the best way to phrase it to whomever I say this to?