I am no good with death. My father died when I was very young. In high school I went to 4 funerals. One was for my best friend's dad, one for a school friend who died of cancer, one for another school friend who died in a bike accident and one for my granddad. I accept death, but I hate funerals. I hate seeing relatives or friends, talking about the dead person, I even fucking hate the word 'deceased'. I hate the crying, the sad faces and what I hate the most is seeing the coffin and being at the cemetery.
Since my high school days I have avoided death and funerals. This has mainly been at the expense of one person who I feel very sorry for, but to whom I have never apologised, my brother. It's only two of us and we are not that close, but we love each other. We are opposite characters and personalities. I am the oldest and the strong one. I did all the things that he would have wanted to do, but he never did. He still lives at home.
When it comes to funerals, he has had to pick up the pieces on my behalf. When it comes to funerals he is the strong one. My mother has lost her husband at 33 and does not cope with death very well. When her father died, she was a nightmare leading up to the funeral, during and for weeks after. I thought it was the fact that my granddad died in two weeks and nobody really knew the cause. I thought that it was the shock of it all, but it was not. She just gets terribly sad and even more emotional than her usual very emotional self.
Her mother died after six months of fighting an incurable cancer. We all knew it was going to happen, no shock element, but my mum was just as bad as the time before. I was studying in Germany at the time and when the funeral happened my family chose not to tell me as I was in the middle of my exams. I avoided it all. My brother picked up the pieces and was there with my mum through it all. When my father's mother died, I was living in England, but I was in Barcelona for work. A combination of no flight connections and a need for an immediate funeral - it was 40 degrees hot that summer - made me skip the process all over again.
This morning my last remaining granddad was buried and I wasn't there. This time, I could have possibly made it if I decided to book a last minute flight when his condition deteriorated, but I didn't. My mum has been stressed and emotional for days. My brother has been there through it all again. He had to go with her to pick a suit for my granddad to wear in the coffin, he has had to talk to the funeral people, he has had to be there today amongst all the relatives and family friends. He was there to represent me and possibly even make excuses on my behalf. I escaped death three times and my brother has had to deal with my mum and the horrible practicalities of it. I am a coward.