Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time To Say Goodbye

Funerals are a time for leave taking, and so on the morning of February 23, 2010, we formally said goodbye to my father. I have long thought that these rituals around the death of a person were an important psychological and social way of helping the living to move forward, whatever the religious beliefs might be about the soul or the body, or the hereafter. This is hardly a novel idea, as any observant member of a society will acknowledge, and as any anthropologist would agree. However, putting theory into personal, rather than professional practice is quite different.

Our tasks in both preparing the funeral and grieving were greatly facilitated by 3 things: my father and mother both decided long ago that they wanted a small service with only very close friends and family, to be cremated, and buried in my father's family's plot; my father when he was feeling very ill reiterated the same wishes, and that there be no notification in the newspaper or at any of the social groups he belonged to, specified the funeral home, and no visitation (viewing the body in the casket for days or hours before the funeral service); and, his Roman Catholic faith, and being a member of a parish.

In the mind numbing shock and grief, all we had to do was speak to the priest who is the head of his parish, who told us to contact the funeral home. A wonderful funeral director took us under wing. I must say that the experience was far more dignified, far more adhering to my father's or our wishes, and far less commercial than I had expected, but with some wonderful suggestions.  There are things one doesn't know of, unless one has been in this situation, like who does the death certificate for the government, who calls whom about cremation, burial, city permission to be put in the ground, etc., and it definitely helps to have someone calmly, competently, and professionally guide one through it.

By chance, the priest my father knew best was the one to perform the Catholic liturgy of death. This too was surprisingly more relevant than I thought it might be. It included some elements of a mass, but was obviously designed to emphasize that my father was now with Jesus, not alone, not suffering, but welcomed by his Saviour, and now, more than ever, in his care. It also emphasized that we must accept this death, with sadness but understanding; and the priest's words included a reminder that after the shock, and the bustle of preparation, and the funeral, internment, and gathering of family and friends, there would be more grieving to do, and more life to live--as my father would have wanted us to.

The priest had asked us for information about my father's earlier life, and included it all appropriately, capturing him extremely well. He included a quote, "as one daughter asked [me] to", from an email that I had received from Abu Abdullah, and which I, my mother, and my sister thought captured well the essence of a father, and of my father: "A father is a guide and a mentor; a man who loves you more than himself."

My sister remarked later on how different this service was than the Protestant one she attended for a friend's father--more ritualistic, and structured. Also, we realized mid-funeral that all of us had trouble with the Lord's Prayer (the Our Father...). My mother, sister, and I went to public schools where the Lord's Prayer is the Protestant version. We had to consciously stop at "...deliver us from evil", and add the Amen there. Since the Lord's Prayer is no longer part of the public school morning ritual, my nephew (baptized but does not attend religious instruction) has never heard it. Fortunately, it was repeated with time delay by the group and he has a good ear, so by the last time we prayed that same prayer he had it down--the Catholic version. Wait until he finds out there is potentially more!

When the service concluded we drove behind the lead car to the cemetery. We stood beside the family head stone, with my father's ashes in a small wooden casket-shaped container, covered with red velvet, and a gold crucifix on top. The crucifix was a surprise but a beautiful one. More prayers were said as snow fell lightly on the tree tops, the bushes, and the headstones of the cemetery. At the end, the priest handed the crucifix to my nephew, and the funeral director handed each of us a long stemmed red rose from our funeral arrangement, and then each of those in attendance placed their rose on the wooden box which would be lowered into the ground after we left.

Close friends and family gathered at my parents' home (it will always be "their" home to me), for a luncheon and to share remembrances, and condolences. Among those who attended were lifelong colleagues and friends of my father's. One of them, whom neither my sister nor I recognized, was the first to arrive at the funeral home. My mother did recognize and greet him, and then between the first name and the Scot brogue we knew exactly whom we were greeting. He had come, he thought , uninvited, because he wasn't checking his phone messages often while his wife was in rehab after breaking her femur in a fall on the ice. He apologized for coming, saying "I'm sorry, but I heard about his death, and I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't attend the funeral". He just guessed at the time and place, and was right. He was of course welcomed, and reassured he had been invited all along.

Family included my paternal uncle's son who looks most like my father, and has a very similar emotional structure and accepting personality. The likeness was confirmed by all, including my cousin himself; and by his sister who pointed out the family portrait of my father at 12ish, with his brother 18ish, and his parents, and said--"My brother looked exactly like him at that age". He had flown in on short notice, and was a great comfort to us all. I don't know about the others, but for me, his stature and general likeness to my Dad were a pleasure. Perhaps that is why we spent so long talking to one another.

Like most of these gatherings it turned into a celebration of my father's life, a catching up, promises of future get togethers, and genuine offers of help. One of my paternal cousins said in a phone message "Now the 2 brothers are united in heaven"; another that he had "the biggest heart of all the family". My mother's family were there to support her, and also loved him. We ended up having a big laugh about the first time I met one of my older maternal cousin's daughters: she flipped over in the wading pool I was life guarding and her mother and I reached for her at the same time--and then recognized each other. In short, the conversations wandered away from the deceased, then back again, and they should in the grieving process.

Now I get to experience first hand the stages of grief that I have learned, analyzed for patients, and taught...a less comfortable position to be in, for sure. I am getting faster at remembering when I wake up and listen for him in the next room, that no, it's okay, he is in hospital,, he no longer is; and not crying at every reminder. Those do sneak up on one though: like going for a long walk with my mother, and saying to each other, "By now he would have come looking for us in the car, to make sure we still wanted to walk the rest of the way home in the snow and cold"; or walking past the Italian bistro near the supermarket; or playing football (badly) with my nephew. So I know I have a hard six months ahead, then an easier six, and don't have to diagnose myself with a psychiatric disorder unless the grief is abnormally severe after 2 years. Of course, for my mother, all of this is far worse, and for my nephew remains to be seen. My sister is more overt with her emotions than I, but coping...sort of.

We all are coping, sort of. My nephew's worst moment was when he discovered that a neighbour and his 9 year old son, as a kindness on learning of my father's death, shoveled our driveway and walkways after a major snow storm. My nephew was inconsolable. He had wanted to do it himself, as his job now, for the family, and the way Grampa taught him. He read a version of the tribute I did to my father in the previous post, and said "I have the tool room now, it's mine, and the garage and the shed". He needs the legacy and the role for which he was enjoying being the helper. He is a bit more clingy about us coming and going, or my sister driving on the highway to the school where she teaches.

The dog, Whisper, is just discombobulated. She used to watch for him to come in when the rest of us entered, but stopped after a while; and made a point of ignoring the clothes we brought home from the hospital after he died. She used to guard him when he was ill, which is not her breed type. When we had the family gathering she welcome people with silent grace, but barked when they wanted to leave. Her breed (Coton de Tulear) does have separation anxiety, and she was crying and looking at his empty chair at dinnertime this evening. She is just generally not herself.

Nonetheless, with the funeral over, and as the priest emphasized, it is time to say goodbye to the expectation of a physical presence, and embrace the memories, the souvenirs, and the legacy of attitudes, values, and ways that my father has left behind. For that reason, along with his favourite aria, Nessun Dorma, the other musical piece at his funeral was "Time to Say Goodbye".

A concert version, "Time to Say Goodbye/Con te partirò", Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

Since it is time to get back to normal, some questions for your reflection and comments:

How do the events described compare to your own ways, or religious/cultural ways, of observing the passing of a loved one?
Does anything directly contradict your own experience?
If you have lost someone close, what helped you the most in the immediate time after the death? In the later stages of grieving?
If you have lost a good friend, how did you mark that passing? How does it affect you now?
Do you think family pets have grief reactions too?

Please feel free to share your own experiences of religious rituals of death and mourning, your own grieving, or any other thoughts, experiences, or comments.


Anthrogeek10 said...

My my Chiara--I did nto know your father was terminal. Please accept my deep condolences with you and your family being in my thoughts. I must be difficult for you to be the psychiatist of the family--where you were the comforter and now it needs to be reversed.
My frined recently lost his dad (my friend is 52 or so) and he (my friend) is so angry and snaps at me alot. I try and have patience and let him be. I do not know what else to do.

I am reminded by some of the research our group has done on early 20th century African American cemeteries by our dig sites and the death rituals they left behind were broken pottery, Model-T driveshfts (to to take their soul to heaven) not to meantion the shell marked graves. They still kept some of their African roots. Sounds like your family has simple but important rituals. I too grew up Catholic and dread the day my own Father passes. I am not close to my mom,as you know but I am to my Father. He is a strong Catholic. I bet that will be the next time I enter a Catholic Church.

Yes, I believe family pets, save the snakes (lol) can feel grief. There have been many studies on it. My cat had an opposite reaction when I left my abusive husband--she became more relaxed and happy (as I did).

My professor has stage 4 cancer and damn I cried when she told me. She is a wonderful anthropologist who is brilliant.

Enough with the ramblings.....
Virtual hugs to you.

coolred38 said...

I was in Bahrain when my grandfather passed away and he and I had shared a close relationship. I was forced to grieve alone simply because my (ex) husbands family could not be bothered to grieve with me, even just on the surface. In fact, it took many years for me to completely understand that my grandfather was actually didnt really settle into my heart until I traveled to his home town and visited his grave...some 13 years later.

Susanne said...

The events you described seemed mostly familiar though I've never been to a Catholic funeral to compare. Likely as your sister observed, our funerals are more casual. I've been to some funerals that were more like celebrations of life and really somehow joyful. Oddly enough, I don't recall ever saying the Lord's Prayer though I've seen it printed on many funeral bulletins. Actually I think Psalm 23 is more common now that I think of it.

Most people have visitations (or wakes) the night before the funeral, sometimes just an hour or two prior to the funeral and sometimes not at all (this is more rare). I've been to funerals in churches, funeral home chapels and one at my uncle's house. He chose to be cremated so the service was just held there and his ashes were present. It was actually quite fitting and sweet in its own way.

I've lost some dear people (e.g. great-grandmothers), but no one super-close. I know those days are coming and just thinking of them causes me to cry sometimes. Seriously. I really struggle at funerals because I'm "good" at putting myself in the family's position and think how sad I'd be when my mom or dad or other loved one dies. I really hate thinking this way, but I can't seem to help it. I think this is partly why I cried while reading this post and the previous one. I can imagine how I'd feel so I am so sad for you, your sister, your mom and nephew. And even Whisper. I've heard of many accounts of animals grieving for their owners.

This was a sweet post. I felt so bad for your nephew wanting to clear the walk and not being able to do so. I'm glad you could help him out by sharing that he inherited the workshop. My thoughts and prayers are with your family!

Qusay said...

This is a beautifully written post. I would probably struggle to find words to describe an event like this, but you have the upper hand in diagnosing yourself  and what u r going through.

It is never easy, to lose a loved one, I went through a hard time when my grandfather pastaway when I was around 16-17, I lost so much weight then, that I was told I looked like a refugee. My eyes still tear up when I remember my grandparents, which is why I found it very hard to write anything in your previous post, so please accept my apology.

In the end, we are all going to leave this earth, no doubt about it, and we should be grateful that we had such wonderful times and unforgettable memories with the people we miss.

So let us all hope to live and leave good memories as good as your father left in your family and friends… because to me, that is all that is worth leaving behind.

My condolences and best wishes to you and your family.

Chiara said...

Anthrogeek--thank you for your words and hugs! Indeed my father was in fact doing well, his acute and chronic conditions under control, and heading to rehab to rebuild his strength and mobility to return home. His death came as a shock to us, and to his nurses and doctors.

Irritability can be an emotional feature of grief, and is compounded by disrupted sleep. You seem to be doing the right thing with your friend, but you may need to set limits if he indulges his mood at your expense.

Thanks for sharing about the ritual practices you learned from your research on African American cemeteries. These are truly imports from outside mainstream Christianity, and white nordic culture. They are perhaps closer to Caribbean practices and many slaves were bought and sold between the US and the Caribbean.

Despite whatever issues you might have with the Catholic church, I hope you will find, like I have, that the church structure and the funeral mass bring you comfort, and a sense of greater closeness with your father (while hoping he lives decades more!). Right after my father died I was still in professional and supportive daughter mode, until about 4-5 hours later. Then I decided to do 2 things to make myself feel better: retrieve the cards we had given him on Family Day from the recycle already at the curb as soon as it was light enough and before they were picked up; and go to the Friday 9am mass at his church.

I was "unhappy" about having to sort through all the papers at 7am curbside, gloves off, in the below freezing temperatures, with the wind scattering the newspapers, and threatening to blow the cards away too, as I chased after fliers flying down the street. However, I did get them.

I had been planning to walk the 50 minute route to the church but changed plans given that chilly experience. That meant I needed a ride, so when my mother got up at 7:30 I tried to communicate my plan and need. Oops--my first crying, and in the form of incoherent sobbing. All I could do was start "I wan..." over and over, and point ineffectually in the direction of what must have looked to my mother like a kitchen cupboard.

This sound and fury signifying nothing drew my sister who hugged me and told me it was okay and said "I'll drive you, I'll drive you" until I eventually could say where.
I am very thankful our family has been together at such a time, for just this type of reason, among others.

Needless to say I have attended mass more often in the last week than in lo these many years.

I am so sorry about your professor. I hope she has many more years of relatively good health, and mentoring great students like yourself.

Thanks again for your comment.

Chiara said...

Coolred--thank you for sharing what I am sure is still a very painful experience, both the loss of your grandfather, and the failure of your Bahraini family to help you grieve. I have been struck throughout this process by the kindness and sympathy from the closest people to the casual acquaintances and the people in the service industries. Small gestures and a few words can do so much to ease someone's grief, as do more elaborate and prolonged ones. Both types of expression are much appreciated.

I was struck when the 2 cleaning ladies came the day before the funeral to help prepare my parents' home for receiving guests afterward, that they each in turn went straight to my mother to comfort her. The one with the most English said "I strong" and the other one who knew my father longer said nothing and just hugged my mother for a long while. I think they both needed the hug.
They both shook hands with my sister and I as well.

Once I was at a conference with a group I collaborate with in the US. One of the women was distracted and not so chipper. It was only at the end that I learned she had just lost a very dear friend. I sent condolences by email, saying that I was sorry I hadn't known earlier to express them in person. She wrote back that she had learned in her grief that all expressions of sympathy were good. Even the ones where people just said, "I don't even know what to say". It showed they cared, and gave her comfort.

Thank you again for your words of comfort in comments, and on chat. You were a big help when I first arrived home from the hospital.

I hope your heart is more settled with your grandfather's passing, and that his spirit is always with you.

Chiara said...

Susanne-thanks for sharing your experience of Protestant funerals. The Lord's Prayer is built into the Catholic service multiple times including once at the graveside.

Psalm 23 is often included at the request of the family as we did. However, we had the Catholic version (based on the Latin Vulgate) not the wonderful King James Bible version. Rather jarring, like a good student who botches a translation, I was sorely tempted to correct for "style" despite accuracy. LOL :)

I am glad you have been spared the loss of someone very close, but I hope you will retain your compassion while protecting yourself from your imagination.

My nephew is perking up with getting back to school and to hockey. He had his first practice this AM and first game tomorrow. Hopefully the game will go well and he won't have added sadness.

Thanks gain for your kind comment.

Chiara said...

Qusay--thank you for sharing here and your kind words for myself and my family. No apologies are necessary. I am sure that your family must have worried about you when your grandfather died. I am glad you are better but retain such love for your grandparents. That pays great tribute to them, and the rest of your family. I agree that the memories one leaves are the most precious, and fortunately my Dad left so many beautiful ones with so many people. Thanks again for your sympathy and wishes.

Anonymous said...

I haven't witnessed much funerals in my family and those i did, i was kid so i vaguely remember anything.

But I have said my wife that i want a simple and quick burial. No tomb stones or marked graves as per the hadeeth. And I want get buried ASAP not more than 24 hours after my death. And i don't want to trouble my wife to end up feeding many visitors either. Well i may look weird and strange but when i die i don't want my wife and kids to be troubled. Also i don't want any post mortem done on me, I better go down with no cuts and abuses with my organs, LOL

BTW I was kinda debating with myself and i guess i must ask mufti or some learned religious scholar this. I was actually thinking about Life support, I was wondering should i mention to my doctors and others that i should not be put on Life Support. I don't wanna be a trouble to my family and a burden on their finances. Personally i would be happy to be off the machines which end up keeping me artificially alive. And what if i end being brain dead? well i don't know i may ask some scholar about this. But personally for me I would not like any Life support machines, etc. but may be i would like some pain management perhaps.

Chiara said...

Abu Abdullah--thank you for your comment and for raising the issues of planning an Islamic funeral and burial. As you point out Muslims bury their dead within 24 hours of the death, in cemeteries but with no headstones and footstones, and no casket, but a white linen shroud instead.

Islamic bioethics follows closely the Muslim valorization of knowledge and science, and respect for the law, so if an autopsy is medico-legally necessary it is permissible, but not otherwise required. Organ donation is also permissible.

Futile or extreme measures are not recommended, but pain relief in keeping with modern science is advocated as it is for all patients.

You are very kind to think of sparing your family pain, burdens, and expense. In US bioethics patient's individual rights are considered first, but there is a growing movement to remember families. Canada is not quite so individualistic, nor is European medical ethics. Where patients have a strong religious belief that religion's ethical consideration of medical issues takes precedence.

Thanks for contributing your perspective and the Islamic one on this.

Anonymous said...

Chiara, as usual your comments and posts are filled with knowledge and information... :)

For my shroud i have my Ihram cloth which i used in my first hajj. Yeah kinda preparing for my own funeral, atleast i am not building Pyramids, LOL :)

I have no qualms about Organ Donation, but i may have some issues with a Medico Legal autopsy i may have to check it out.

And about Artificial Life Support, thats one thing my wife doesn't agree with me. She would try to keep me artificially alive, lol. Shes a loving wife after all.

BTW Chiara if you would allow i got a question for you and the readers.
What do you think is the best material asset we can leave behind for our family? do you think it is gonna be real estate, gold, cash, bonds or what?

Also some Muslims don't go for life insurance because of the Interest component, however there is Shariah Insurance though not easily accessible.

Puça said...

Oh Chiara...I'm so sorry...
Shall pray for him.
Anything you need count with me!

Suroor said...

I just broke down reading this post. I didn't finish reading. I will return to finish it.

I'm so sorry, Chiara :(

Chiara said...

Abu Abdullah--thank you for your kind words, and for your further comment.

It is lovely that you will use your Ihram cloth from your first hajj for your shroud. No pyramids required! LOL :)

Legalities about an autopsy vary, but in general it is required in North America only if a person dies under mysterious circumstances or if they were not expected to die and there is no obvious cause of death. Otherwise the autopsy is not required. The doctor didn't require one for my father and basically advised against it. He and I had a little "We don't need one unless you do" conversation; and he was relieved we didn't want one. None was necessary, since the cause of death was clear enough, and we trusted the quality of the hospital's care.

I'm sure if it ever became necessary your wife would love you enough to keep you from any further suffering, and would learn about and understand the medical recommendations offered.

I have to leave the estate planning to readers with more knowledge about investments than I have.

Now take care of your health and live a long and happy life! :)

Chiara said...

Puça--gracias, amiga. Thank you for your kind words and offer.

Suroor--thank you for your comment. I realize that this post may be hard for some and in different ways. Please feel free to comment again, if you wish.
I had a very good relationship with my father in that we trusted each other's love and support, even during those times when we had a misunderstanding, or when he would walk away from a "conversation" muttering "We should have sent you to Catholic schools" LOL :)

I am happy to say that we all seem to be grieving well, and healing bit by bit. My nephew was taken under wing the Sunday between my father's death and funeral, by men he considers family, one a teacher who has a good way with children, another his 16 year old son who plays competitive hockey. They spent the morning together at their rural home that he loves, and then went to the son's hockey game. Other of his classmate friends have called to go to the cinema, to an older brother's birthday, or on a sleepover. He spent a really fun "23 hours" as he put it with a former neighbour, at a sleepover at his home in the country, which was part of his friend's sister's birthday party and involved a snowball fight between the girls and the boys, well supervised by a father who is excellent with children.

My mother is having a harder time, but getting back in routines, including duplicate bridge which keeps her sharp mentally and socializing.

My sister and I are each grieving in our own way--and being remarkably civil for 2 girls 17 months apart in age! LOL : )

NidalM said...

I apologize for getting to read this so late, and I would again like to reiterate my condolences to you and your family. Regardless of how expected it is, the actual shock of losing a loved one is never expected.

As you know, my grandfather passed away in late february as well. I was lucky enough to be in Pakistan when it happened, though I do regret not being able to see him in a conscious state.

I agree that funerals are, regardless of religion, our way of moving on. The funeral and burial we held was the same day as he passed away due to the Islamic tradition of not waiting long before sending the body back to the earth. Close family and friends as well, which meant close to a hundred people showed up within the space of two hours.

Being involved in the actual Islamic ritual of cleaning my grandfather and carrying his body for burial actually had a strange effect. Grief turned to duty and then to comradery. Heading back from the burial with old friends and relatives, many of us were actually smiling. Sitting around with close family that night, remembering my grandfather, we laughed. If that wasn't a great testament to his memory, I don't know what was :)

And in other news, a couple of aunts tried hooking me up at the funeral. That was uncool.

Chiara said...

NidalM/Abdullah--no apologies are necessary. Thank you again for your condolences, and I offer mine to you and your family. I hadn't realized it was your grandfather (you had written grandparent) who passed so recently. In some ways that can be more difficult than a grandmother, though not always.

I am very glad you were in Pakistan, and able to participate in the Muslim preparation and burial rites. Rapid time frame makes eminent sense for a religion that grew out of a nomadic desert culture (either from the time of Ibrahim, or Mohamed, depending on how one defines origins)l It is also much less difficult, it seems to me, than the previous Christian (?Catholic only) tradition of having the body on view either at home or in a funeral home for 2-3 days. This "visitation" required immediate family to be available for long hours daily to receive visitors and condolences, as well as to give support to others and share their grief. It was something of an ordeal as one might imagine, and now is rare.

It is marvellous, and a wonderful tribute to your grandfather that so many were able to come in the short space of 2 hours. Grieving together as you describe is of the most support, especially initially. It is a time to share the shock, and the memories that are inevitable, with others for whom they are particularly meaningful.

The only challenge for Muslims grieving far from family and their homelands, is that it can be difficult or impossible to return for the the preparations and burial, and for those first few days when family support is paramount. My husband's grandfather died, and it was impossible with time zones in particular, and no available flights in general, for him to return in time to participate as you did.

He spent the time instead on the phone as each of the family members at the home for the preparations came to the phone in turn and shared condolences and tears. It was very difficult and in hindsight he should have got on a plane and been there during the first month of grieving. He didn't fully mourn until we returned about 9 months later and he visited the cemetery.

Your grandfather was indeed a wonderful man to have inspired such comfort and ease at his funeral, and to have helped to create you as the wonderful man you are.

Ah, the aunties...well I guess they were helping to return life to normal... and move you right along in the life cycle. As I told you, at my own grandfather's funeral I got rather broody, thinking that he was the last grandparent and I should be populating the world with the next generation, but fortunately it passed. Stay strong! :)

Anonymous said...

I've lost both grandfathers already, and since one was a Catholic and the other a Muslim, I was able to experience both funerary traditions. My Catholic grandpa had a 3-day wake and funeral similar to your father's. He was a much loved man, and we didn't expect a multitude of friends and acquaintances to come and pay their last respects. It was heartwarming. After his funeral most of us grandchildren did something special-- we trekked up our late grandfather's favorite hill in silence. He died during the summer vacation, and we cousins were able to console ourselves because we were all there together.

Last year when my grandfather died, of course it was different. He died at night and we buried him before noon. I'm sorry if I'm not that warm about him, but I'd be kind enough to tell you why, if you want to know.

Chiara said...

Coralbead--welcome to my blog and thank you for sharing your cross-cultural and interfaith experiences. It is wonderful that your one grandfather was so loved, and you were able to share your grief in the way you did.
With your other grandfather it is equally sad that your grief was curtained by a lack of positive closeness.

Please do share with us the issues that prevented you from having warm feelings about him.

Thanks for your comment, and I look forward to the follow-up.

Anonymous said...

@ Chiara: Here's a post in my blog that that could explain:

Chiara said...

Coralbead--thank you for following up. I certainly do understand better. I'm sure you have read that where the relationship is poor ie negative and/or insufficiently strong it can actually be harder to go through appropriate grieving feelings, or else feel that you have. In some ways the expectations of grieving, as you described in your post, are complicating. Perhaps that was all the grieving you need to do for that relationship; or perhaps it is harder to let go of a person who actively disrespected you and your family, especially your father.

In either case, I hope that a year on things are becoming clearer for you. It is not uncommon that parents favour a child or even as my ex-brother-in-law used to say, someone else's child (he felt with good reason that his father preferred his cousin to him, and would say about his cousin "the son my father never had"). Favouritism usually carries through to the grandchildren, though few go so far in their rejection as your grandfather did. This is hurtful, and now that he is gone there is no chance for any form of repair with him.

On the other hand, there is also no further opportunities for him to actively hurt you.

I hope you are feeling more at ease, if not good about this.

Thanks again.


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