My Uncle’s funeral took place on December 29th, on a very rainy afternoon. We attended the last mass and listened to my Aunt’s final eulogy. Aside from thanking everyone who’s there, she basically repeated what she said the other night: To forgive my Uncle in all his shortcomings and give him his needed peace.
Before the trip to the cemetery, I went over to his coffin and said the same words again: I forgive you. Rest in peace, Uncle.
Have you noticed that when on the brink of goodbyes, we tend to just repeat what we say over and over?
Turning around, I saw my cousins (his daughters), and did the next normal thing. I came over to them and gave them each a hug. There were no words exchanged. The hugs were enough.
Over the years my relationship with my Aunt and my cousins has been tainted because of my Uncle’s nuclear temper when drunk. I really can’t blame them. They are his family and they will always choose his side. I think it also didn’t help when I chose to stand my ground and distance myself from them. Not inviting them to my wedding was clear evidence of a broken relationship.
But on that day, I chose to set that aside. And they did, too. After all, we are but collateral damages to my Uncle’s drunken mess.
I was comforted by the fact that they acknowledged my Uncle’s errs. I used to always wonder why they never said sorry to our family. That they always act as if nothing’s wrong. It used to piss me off a lot.
But that day was not the day to get pissed off.
I found myself fighting back tears as we were going out of the funeral home. The past years of harbouring ill feelings came back to me all of a sudden. But it was gone as quickly as it came and I was left with nothing but a relief. It’s as if a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders.
On that day, I bid my goodbye not just to the dead but also to the past.