The Funeral

Sarah was unsure as to whether she should go to the funeral or not. It had been nearly a year since she had stopped talking to him. To them. Just the thought of that family angered her. How could they behave the way they did? Sarah wished some long forgotten family secret would reveal itself relieving her of the constant dread in knowing that she shared, even in part, their genetic code.

Maybe the distance could make a viable excuse. It was a seven-hour drive across the province. He was her grandfather. Some grandfather, she thought, treating her father the way he did.

And yet Sarah felt badly. Were there no good times hidden somewhere in the nether reaches of her childhood? It hadn’t all been bad with them. Had it? Sarah struggled to recall. She had enjoyed listening to his stories, but what drove her to ask in the first place? If she really searched, a need to be accepted by them lurked underneath, as if she had always been aware that her family was somehow undesirable. Sarah thought about her grandmother. Sure, she had had patience with an inquisitive young Sarah, but wasn’t there something cold in her grandmother’s instructions, a teacher’s grammatical criticisms as opposed to the warmth and concern of a loving relative. Sarah couldn’t say. Every memory she had of them would forever be tainted by the realisation that nothing had been, as it seemed.

In the end, the clearest and most prevalent memory of her paternal grandparents would be of falling asleep on the back couch to the sounds of Hockey Night in Canada, as they watched into the evening. Maybe that was why Sarah didn’t like hockey, unlike every other normal Canadian. That sport just served as a reminder of how distractions and entertainment could so easily be made more important than those around us. Thinking oneself a part of something greater, cheering for a team with countless others, it was empowering, all of the daily concerns just fall away as you concentrate on the goalie’s efforts to keep those shots out, you are no longer some matron of a family in disarray, a result of your own concerted efforts, but part of something more meaningful supporting a team that hasn’t won the championship in over four decades. Whatever.

Sarah thought again of the funeral. Should she go? She felt she must out of some misplaced sense of duty. On the other hand, if Sarah went she would undoubtedly have to speak to her estranged grandmother, not to mention seeing her father’s siblings who most certainly would just pretend she didn’t exist. What would she say? What could she say? It was a funeral, no place for airing the family laundry, so to speak, but could she muster the fortitude to remain quiet? That being the very reason she simply stopped talking to her grandparents in the first place. Sarah wasn’t so sure. Her fiery temper was unquestionably a mark of her heritage via these people. Yet the question bothered her so much, Sarah felt she had not choice. She must go.

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