Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In which Primo gets stressed thinking he will have to attend the funerals of his two aunts someday

Me: My great-uncle Fritz died on Saturday.

Primo: We are reaching that age where people are going to start dying.

Me: Yep. I have four uncles in their 80s.

Primo: What am I going to do when my dad's [two] sisters die?

Me: What do you mean?

Primo: I will have to go to the funerals. What if I am back working by then?

Me: Why do you think you have to go to the funerals?

Primo: Um. Because.

Me: Because your family is so close?

Primo: Yeah, that's it.

Me: Right. You saw your aunts and cousins for the first time in 20 years at your uncle's funeral a few years ago. You don't email with them and you are not even facebook friends with them. You have spent way more time with my family than you ever have with yours.

Primo: But my dad said your family was "not close."

Me: Yeah. Right. Even so, the only funerals I will attend will be the ones I can drive to. I won't be able to drop everything to fly to an uncle's funeral.

Primo: Oh.

Me: I don't think anyone expects people to take three days of flying and hotel to attend an aunt's funeral unless they were really close.

Primo: What about your dad's funeral? Who went to that?

Me: I hardly remember. I wasn't keeping score. I know some people couldn't come because they had to work. I don't think less of them. I know for sure my cousin Kim was there but only because she sang an capella Ave Maria and she was amazing. But my dad knew who loved him and who was a part of his life. That's the important part - what you do with the living. If you really want to see your aunts, visit them while they are alive. They don't care if you go to their funerals.

Primo: I guess.

Me: Besides, not a single one of your cousins or aunts went to your dad's funeral. So really - I don't think you have any obligation.


  1. Funerals are not command performances and don't get you dispensations in heaven. I have attended exactly 2 funerals and 2 memorials and I am 10 years older than Primo. And remember funerals are for the living, the dead don't keep score. You go to remember the dead but to support the living.

  2. Neither funerals nor weddings are command performances, and anyone who tries to say they are, or guilt-trip you into attending, is being ridiculous. It's nice to go if you can, but it's certainly not mandatory.

  3. Ditto and ditto. If Primo is particularly close to the children of either aunt (his cousins) then he should go, but otherwise just send a card (or flowers if he really feels guilty). It is lovely when a cousin you love shows up unexpectedly, but absolutely not required. Driving distance is a good measure. Poor Primo, he has a big pile of guilt on his shoulders.


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