Monday, March 16, 2009

Fight with Grandma Anne

Grandma Anne had already planned to leave town with my aunt and uncle before my Grandma Eveline's (my uncle's mother's) funeral. We know her well enough not to expect big changes of plans once she's made up her mind. Still, they had to try.

My brother and Doug were over at my parents' place unwinding from all that was going on, with my Grandma's sudden death, all the arrangements that were taking place, and the brewing conflict with my aunt and uncle. My Grandma Anne came upstairs to talk to them, and was completely lambasted by my brother.

There was no justification for my Grandma's decision not to attend the funeral. My Grandmas had become friendly with each other during the time they lived in the same town. Even if they weren't friends, my Grandma Anne should feel inclined to attend to support my mom, who is, after all, Grandma's daughter-in-law and hostess.

In addition to that, there were no financial or scheduling reasons why my Grandma couldn't stay with us. She had missed her flight back home, but gotten a credit for that ticket, and driven back with my aunt and uncle. She had planned to be back within a couple of days of my Grandma Eveline's death anyway

My dad did his best to hold his tongue - no mean feat, if you know my dad. Dwayne was the calm, level-headed one. The message was that Grandma still had time to change her mind and stay for the funeral. I don't know why my Grandma resisted this idea - what reason she had in her own mind that she wasn't saying - but she didn't budge. Dwayne said that my Grandma was doing the wrong thing, and that he was "disappointed" in her. Grandma Anne said something in response to this, and my brother told her, "you should leave now. Go!" meaning that she should leave the room and go back to her Granny suite downstairs. She did.

She called my dad shortly after that incident saying that she was in a very upsetting situation. She had a heavy heart about leaving, but she had "already promised" that she would accompany my aunt and uncle back to their home, and could therefore not break that obligation.

What about her obligation to honor the life of Grandma Eveline, who had become a friend? Or the obligation to honor the passing of a family member? Or to offer sympathy and support to the people who had committed their love and life's energy to help the deceased? Or to express solidarity with my parents, her hosts, and particularly my mom, who is the most affected by Eveline's death?

None of these trumped Grandma Anne's decision and "promise" to go back home with my aunt and uncle, support their poor behavior, and extend her holiday in a more temperate climate.

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