The short story is the paternal grandfather of my cousins Lily and Tara passed away a few days ago. I have only seen the man a handful of times during my teen years when I would stay over with my cousins at their house in NJ and sometimes we would stop by their grandparents‘ house along the way. I must have not seen him for more than 5 years now. The issue now is I feel some sense of obligation to attend the funeral services tomorrow even though I don’t really want to go. I feel an invisible pressure since my dad is going and then my own brother announced he was taking off from work to drive there. And now I’m finding out my mom is tagging along as well. My dad directly asked me this morning if I would like to attend. Once again, I’m too scared to outright say no out of fear that my declination will make him or other people perceive me as cold-hearted for not going and paying my respects. To clarify about the title of this post, I added “sorta” because while there indeed was a death, I was not even a little emotionally close to my cousins‘ grandfather and I don’t consider him part of my family while he is most certainly part of their family.
On the flipside, how I see the situation is I can’t understand why either my brother or mom feel compelled to go. I get why my dad might go since he at least spoke to my cousin‘s grandfather on the phone infrequently, like when he’d call him to wish him a Happy Father’s Day every year. I suppose they are going to show support but the cynical side of me wants to scoff in annoyance. If this was my grandfather who died, I wouldn’t want people there who barely knew him. But that’s my opinion.
It’s not that I don’t care for how my cousins are feeling now. They were both very close to their grandfather. And hearing from my dad about the news of his passing was a shock to me. My anxiety-ridden brain is going into overdrive. I would like to give my condolences to them by text message but I can’t help but think every sentence I attempt to come up with sounds fake or cheesy. And I don’t mean to sound cruel, but other than the few times I saw their grandfather years ago, I didn’t know him at all. It would almost be like attending a stranger’s funeral if I did go. I hate the feeling of obligation that compels me to attend just because my immediate family will be there. I hate the guilt settling in me and the perception I’ll somehow be perceived as awful if I’m the only one out of my parents and brother to not be there.
Also, I have plans for tomorrow that I already scheduled last week. So there’s that. No matter what decision I eventually make: to go or not to go to the funeral; I will be uncomfortable.
My dad told me that I could decide if I want to go but that I don’t have to force it if I don’t want to. You’d think that these words would’ve given me reassurance, to be honest about my intentions of not going to the funeral but no. Now I’m worried if I say no that my brother might give me a hard time about my decision. I know I have no proof that my brother will get upset at me but I can’t stop picturing in my head what he’ll say to me.
What do you think? Am I selfish for not wanting to attend the funeral?