Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.
During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.
I did not want to go.
It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.
In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.
I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.
“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.
“What is it?”
“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”
It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.
I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.
The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.
At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.
She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.
I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.
I sat back.
I was only there to show face.
My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.
I was right to be worried.