My Father's Funeral

My Father's Funeral

A Story by mae23

As I stand watching them, a breeze ruffles the black cotton of my borrowed dress. The dress is Mary’s and where it clings to her figure, it hangs baggy on mine. Since I hadn’t had time to buy a new dress I just came in this.  

I told Mary not to come with me today. I wanted her here of course, but I knew my family didn’t and even though they have made most of my life living hell, I still felt as though I owed them this day. A day when we could all mourn together. But they don’t feel the same way. They still want nothing to do with me and have neglected to speak to me all day. I was a fool to think that they could get over their petty, narrow-minded opinions for one day. Even the day of my father’s funeral.

I watch from afar as my father’s body is lowered into the dug up earth. I hear my mother whimpering and I want so badly to wrap my arms around her and whisper soft sweet nothings in her ear. But my brother takes on that role and I stay where I am; a lone figure separated from the crowd, shunned by her family.

Finally the mourners clear my father’s gravesite and head to their cars, presumably to drive to my childhood home where my mother has prepared a feast for a reception I was not invited to. I make my way between graves to the freshly turned ground that lies before my father’s name. His headstone reads: GEORGE PATRICK O'BRIEN   1935-2017   BELOVED HUSBAND AND FATHER

“Hi Dad,” I say timidly. I gently pat the top of the stone in the way my father used to pat my head when I was young. “I don’t know if you’d want me to be here, I didn’t even know if I was going to come. But then Mary convinced me that if I didn’t go to your funeral I would forever regret it. Of course, she was right. She’s always right. Just don’t tell her I said that.” I let out a soft chuckle and drum my fingers on my father’s grave. I feel incredibly nervous standing here even though in reality I am only talking to a corpse. With a deep breath, I say “Dad I know that when you were alive you wanted nothing to do with me, just like the rest of our family. But you were once one of the most important people in my life, my hero, my best friend. And so even though I wasn’t exactly welcome here, I am allowed to mourn the death of my father, even if I am mourning a version of him I had to let go of many years ago.” A heavy sigh escapes my lips and my shoulders sag down. I bend to the ground and sit cross-legged next to my father’s grave and allow myself to cry.

© 2017 mae23

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This is brilliant & one of the best pieces I've read in awhile. There's both a rawness & an artful crafting that blend amazingly together to tug at anyone's heartstrings, as well as harkening to whatever family estrangements your readers may know. This is such a typical family situation, yet expressed with such clarity & simplified shyness, it carries an impact that far exceeds the way such stories are usually told. You make a sad situation sound beautiful here (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 10 Months Ago


10 Months Ago

Thank you so much for these amazingly kind words!!
You capture the sadness not just of the occasion, but particularly that families can pay too much attention to differences instead of taking strength in the shared bonds that should engender togetherness.

Posted 11 Months Ago


10 Months Ago

Thank you for the review.
Night Fury

10 Months Ago

its beautiful. simple, yet elegant. :)

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2 Reviews
Added on August 24, 2017
Last Updated on August 24, 2017




"My memories are the only places I'll ever see any of it again, and I wonder if this is what writers are supposed to do, rebuild places it in there minds - places long gone, places that disappear, and.. more..

Towards You. Towards You.

A Poem by mae23