Kathleen is a good friend from Pathways who does what a stage manager would do for us during our training events. Her mother died - after 17 long, arduous, painful days of semi-lucidity - last Monday, nearly exactly one month after Mom's passing.
She asked me to deliver the eulogy, after confirming with Kay that I could be up to it.
I was glad to do it, because it was a really tough situation for a funeral, and that's become kind of my specialty over the years. I do the services for murdered college students, suicides, crazy people, and - as of yesterday - really bitchy mothers.
Kathleen and her daughter told me that her mother had been completely self-centered, harshly critical, emotionally unavailable, and just a total bitch for most of the last fifty years.
And the funeral would be the first time that Kathleen and her brother had been together since she confronted him a couple years ago about molesting her during her adolescence.
It would be the first time the other family members would be in the mother's presence for about 10 years.
This is not what you would call a close family.
To make it even more ... interesting ... Kathleen and Carey asked that I not sugar-coat things. Kathleen had worked on the staff of a church for some years, and Carey's father had been a preacher, once upon a time, so they had heard the pastoral platitudes that turn confirmed sinners into supposed saints. And they really, really didn't want that. So they asked me to not whitewash things. They asked that I say something truthful, and still be positive, somehow.
(I put my notes in the first comment, if you want to know how I wriggled through that particular briar patch.)
It made me very grateful for the mother I had and for the family I've got.
Kathleen told Kay, she fully expected that this ceremony would be the last time that her family would be together. Afterwards, there were no hugs, they didn't get together to eat or tell stories or play games, or anything. There was more affection given between the Pathways folks who were there, and between Kathleen and her co-workers, than between the members of the family.
I was sad for them, and the echo from a month ago was sweeter than I can say. Sad, too, but sweet.
V&K's 2014 in Review
2 years ago