Your chance to meet all those members of your family you haven’t met or talked to for twenty years, and after a few hours in their company, realise why you probably won’t make any effort to meet or talk to them for another twenty years.
Entering the Chapel of Rest. On one side mum’s friends – those people that liked her and the she liked. On the other side, “The family” – those members of a distant tribe who look vaguely like you. The aunts, uncles and cousins here more out of duty than sentiment.
And as you sit in the pews, the family start to hold hands.
And as the vicar, hired for the occasion talks in warm and endearing terms about someone he never knew, there are tears and words of comfort.
And After the funeral we all go for lunch and exchange our fond memories of mum. We seem almost to be getting along. We seem almost to like each other. After years of icy relations, the family cold war seems to be coming to an end.
And in the days and weeks that follow, there are phone calls, letters, shows of family solidarity.
And in the months that follow the old grievances re-emerge. Arguments about money and possessions. Accusations that “your mum stole this” or “your mum said could have that” Your new found best friends became you new worst enemies and I begin to understand why mum cut the family link. It’s not quite the Cold War it once was, but there is a definite cooling in family relations.
I’m not actually sure that I’ll ever see any of you again.