On February 5th my mom passed away, somewhat peacefully, after suffering for longer than any human should with Alzheimers. It’s been a long 15 years of watching her go from an amazing woman to a vegetable. We have been waiting for this day for ages.
I struggled with the decision on whether or not I should return to Canada for her funeral. A big part of me said ‘No iva, you said goodbye a long time ago and besides, it’s winter there right now’ and another part of me said ‘Oh just go. If you don’t you may regret it”.
The latter won and I ended up regretting it anyway.
I arrived Friday, a day late. Freezing rain in Northern Ontario grounded me in Toronto. We flew out the next day. I was soon to discover that I had to take a taxi from the airport to my sister’s house, about 30 minutes away. The weather was just shit.
Though I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to drive in this weather I can’t deny that I was a little hurt by this.
I didn’t see any family really until the day of the funeral which was Wednesday of the following week. I was looking forward to seeing them.
Little did I know, the feeling wasn’t mutual.
I found Aunt #1 and was happy to see her. She snubbed her nose at me and didn’t return my simple greeting of hello.
That’s odd. What’s the matter with her?
I found my eldest sister in the church lobby and she walked swiftly past me, turned to look at me and muttered a quick “oh hello” and kept walking.
Um…did I miss a memo?
I’m realizing there is a problem and I have no clue what it is. I’m speechless, frustrated, hurt and sad. Why isn’t my family talking to me? Why is everyone ignoring me?
Seated in church, my eldest sister and her family are in the front row. Not one greeted me except for her eldest daughter. I’m sitting in the pew now, just behind them, listening to the priest talk about my mom and perform the service and all I can think about is how these members of my family are completely ignoring me.
Why? Why are you mad at me? Especially during this time when family is supposed to come together and grieve together? Why am I left to grieve alone, as an outcast? Why are you doing this to me?
After the service that I don’t even remember listening to, we all assemble downstairs in the church hall for tea, treats and fellowship. Or something like that.
I find some family friends to chat with a bit. A couple of uncles and their beautiful ‘non judgmental’ families are happy to see me and chat as well. I’m also happy about this. Phew. At least they don’t all hate me for whatever unbeknownst to me reason.
I then spot another Aunt and am happy to see her. I’ve always been close to her. I rush over to say hi and she turns her head in disgust.
I’m done. I’m so fucking done.
You all have the balls to ignore me and shun me but not enough to tell me why? You couldn’t have confronted me sooner so we could talk about this like, you know, fucking adults?
I’m so done.
Two days later I finally get the memo via my closest sister. One who actually talks to me and I think may even like me. The ‘this is why we hate iva’ memo.
Last year I wrote a mother’s day blog. I talked of the abuse I endured at her and my father’s hands. One of my cousins read it and couldn’t wait to show it to everyone in the family.
Boom. There it is.
Apparently they think I tarnished the family name. Apparently I have no right to speak of my abusive childhood. Apparently I’m not allowed to share my stories in order for others to heal.
Apparently, I’m an asshole.
Apparently family secrets are meant to be kept, well, a secret.
Apparently they didn’t read the whole blog post. Nor did they read any other material where I praised my mom. Nope. Let’s just read the bad stuff, jump to conclusions and banish the witch.
Well thank you. Thank you for making my entire trip, where I was to grieve my mom’s death, a fucking nightmare and hate fest. Thank you for making me feel like such a bad person. Thank you for shunning me at a time when I truly needed you.
Thank you for ruining not only my mom’s funeral for me but my entire trip. I’ll be sure to never return.
xo iva xo