It wasn't exactly a sad day as Kate was well in to her eighties and had suffered from Alzheimer's for many years so this was more of a natural ending than a sad departure. Obviously and understandably there were tears from those who were far closer to her than us. The funeral was as pleasant as they can be and, once again, I was quite taken with the design of the Redditch Crematorium and the view given by the full height windows looking out over the cemetery and the Abbey Park. It was perhaps fitting that the grey drizzle was replaced by a bright December sun as the service progressed.
There would not be a lot more to say about the Funeral if it hadn't been for the fact that both of my Sisters were also present. It is fair to say that we have a strained relationship.* The reality is probably that we have all just grown up and grown apart but there also some unspoken niggles that have festered, particularly with Sara and Emma. As a result we did little more than exchange nods of acknowledgement and terse Hello's before attending the service.
After the service we attempted some small talk and I asked Emma how her new job was going. She returned the question and then 30% offered a metaphorical Olive Branch by saying that perhaps we should consider getting together at some point. I saw Emma's expression grow harder than her normal stern visage and recognised the warning signs … I gave 30%'s sleeve a gentle tug to indicate that this had not been well received.
There then followed a few choice comments where Emma attempted to induce feelings of guilt in me for not attending the funeral of her ex-husband. The fact that she had neither informed me of his death nor invited me to the funeral didn't seem to present any obstacle to her twisted logic. I didn't rise to the bait and simply informed her that this was neither the time nor the place and that I was going outside.
As I said earlier in this entry, it is apparent that there are some family issues that have festered over time and I think 30% managed to knock the scab off one of those metaphorical sores today. As for me, I definitely don't feel guilty and I definitely will not be attempting to build any bridges with my younger sister. She grows more like my Auntie Joan with every passing day from the stern face to the spoilt child demeanour and the expectation that the world should revolve around her. She still has a lot of growing up to do but in her late forties I don't think that is going to happen.
It is quite sad that someone who was so gregarious and personable as a young woman has such a dependency on my elder sister for her social needs and has upped sticks and relocated to Herefordshire after taking a job vacated by one of Sara's friends … talk about living in each other's pockets!**
---* Actually we don't have a relationship. I last spoke to Emma in 2008 and apart from a couple of brief encounters with Sara at Dad's house and at Jeff Wilson's Funeral it has probably been a good five years since I had any contact with her either. I get regular updates on their lives from Dad but that is about it.
** Apparently Emma's company is already loosing it's shine as she has started to critique Sara's parenting of Beatrice***
*** David's four year old niece, who has recently moved in after many suicide attempts and mental breakdowns suffered by her natural mother.