My aunt and I never got along. Never.
She disliked me as much as I despised her. I was able to witness as she, along with her family stole from us. Heard the rumors spread behind our backs, was told about the times she used to hit my older sisters every chance she got, and manipulated my fragile grandmother for personal gain. What was supposed to be a happy event every time one sees a family member was never the case when she was around. Her mere presence changes things quicker than a heartbeat, we become guarded, weary and exasperated beyond measure. The lies between her teeth became too unbearable after years of hearing various versions of a sad, poor life that she was living.
Last night however, was a different story. When her daughter called, we were told that my aunt was in the hospital. It was an emergency and was asking for help.
A shadow of doubt. A nagging uneasiness.
We have been duped countless times in the past for far worse stories.
This time though, it was true after all. She was indeed in the hospital in a coma.
A few hours later, she died.
Things never changed between us and her family while she was alive. I had reservations about what I knew was about to happen. The pessimist in me just would not be shushed. Knowing my family, I knew they would soften up as they always did.
That same night, our family arranged everything for her and for her family. Hospital, funeral parlor, services, food, even the clothes she would wear...
Less than 24 hours later, we were told that her family does not need nor want our help. Wasn't it just timely that they declared such after everything has been paid for?
The pessimist in me is still triumphant. The family member in me however was crushed, for I knew that they needed all the help they could get. If they truly did not need any assistance, they never would have called. A little appreciation and not a spat of misguided pride would have sufficed. Now I am being asked by my immediate family to go to the funeral parlor to pay my last respects. How am I supposed to go there and do as they asked me to, if I do not feel even the littlest inclination of respect?
Does death mean that all misgivings of the departed are forgotten? That all wrong actions are granted forgiveness? Am I so evil not to feel remorse over her passing? Sad, yes. Remorse, not at all. I am more worried about my grandmother finding out that she has lost a daughter.
I am not a saint nor will I ever pretend to be one. I am not the most forgiving of soul. I'd rather stay home and be called heartless rather than pretend that I am grieving. I would never offer a shoulder to cry on, when the first thing I want to do is to whack them in the head for being a bunch of parasites in our lives.