My beloved granny sadly passed away last month. Granny brought me up practically since birth and we were extremely close. Even though Granny died at the grand old age of 94, her death still shocks me because she was always so energetic and full of life. I suppose I always had the naïve view that she would become immortal.
Apparently, the only reason why I exist on planet Earth is because my deadbeat deceased mother aka “birth giver” missed the deadline to have me legally aborted. Yep she got totally wasted the night before the scheduled abortion and then the following day, she missed her appointment because lying in bed for 24 hours while recovering seemed more appealing. She totally refused to use the backstreet pre-World War 1 coat hanger wire abortion method because she was too squeamish! And to be honest with you, Mother did not have enough motivation to use the “accidental” throw yourself down the stairs miscarriage technique either! But I am eternally grateful that my mother was such a lazy cow and strangely enough, I am also grateful to the guys who brought my mum endless amounts of alcopops the night before my judgement day! So I suppose you can say that I am the lucky one that got away because I did not end up in an abortion clinic’s waste bin with all the other unwanted sexual slip-ups.
Now if anyone has any difficulty with defining the term: “dysfunctional family?” You are more than welcome to spend a day with my entire family, take notes and then you will definitely get the general idea of what a dysfunctional family really is. For example, they never invite each other to normal family celebratory stuff such as weddings, birthday parties, or christenings, mainly because the majority of my family are at war with each other. It seems to be within the Ackerson’s genes to hold grudges for an extensive long period of time which consequently puts an end to any possible reconciliation. Unfortunately my family take all historical disputes to the grave. But when it comes to any Ackerson’s family funeral, especially when the person who died is definitely on a one way ticket to hell, a cloud of pretentious smoke suddenly appears and then all is forgotten, well at least for one day.
With Granny’s funeral, I knew it would be a big turnout because she was hated, and to be brutally honest, most of the family took pleasure that Granny’s heart will never ever beat again. But you know what? Granny was not a bad woman. She just had the habit of being a bit too blunt when it came to expressing herself on any topic. Looking back on it now, I suppose it is fair to say that Granny was totally insensitive towards other people’s feelings. She absolutely refused to bitch behind someone’s back. No way! To her, that was the worse thing you could ever do. So if your body constantly produced a foul odour or your hair weave did not suit your actual skin complexion, Granny would not humour you. No way! She would have had to let you know. Straight up in your face, nose to nose, bang! So knowing what people actually thought about Granny actually made me feel very anxious when it came to the day of her funeral.
So the day finally arrived and as expected, the tears and sad facial expressions were executed perfectly with absolute confidence. Some of the family members actually forgot to stop smiling when Granny’s body was being lowered into the ground. It was as if their euphoric levels were reaching sky high while watching.
Anyway so after Granny’s funeral, everyone ventured back to Granny’s old house for round 2 of the spectacle. I came to the conclusion that the worse thing about death is definitely the tiresome process that one has to go through when having to endure certain family members who are unfortunately left behind. But I suppose I had no choice but to make an appearance, or at the very least just quickly say “hello” and then walk towards the nearest exit I could find. I took a deep breath and then was about to open the front room door so I could socialise with the rest of the clan, but I could not face them. All I could hear was the loud vulgar cheering and laughter. The noise which came from the front room sounded more like a rowdy betting shop on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. No one would have believed that such a lovely great inspirational person had just been buried.
Unfortunately I know exactly what my family are like which is why I knew the type of unpleasant scenario which was taking place in that front room. Yes my family see funerals as a great opportunity to constantly rant and rave about their own personal achievements. Oh, and of course, with a huge generous dollop of over the top exaggerations thrown into the mix as well! It is so inappropriate, but can also be very amusing. For example, I bet somebody said something like:
“Oh Simon is absolutely gutted that he missed the funeral. He’s on another luxurious business trip abroad you see. He’s doing ever so well”
A.K.A he’s doing a long stretch at one of Her Majesty’s Prisons while studying for a City & Guilds Level 1 certificate in wood work, and hoping the parole board will release him soon on tag when they feel he is no longer a danger to the public.
When I realised what I would definitely have to endure, I wanted the floor to suck me up right there and then. I walked over to the stairs, sat down and desperately tried to not let the situation over take me. Deep breaths! Deep breaths! Fuck me! If I had a teleportation machine right there and then, I would have dived straight into it without hesitation, and diverted into a situation where I would be lounging on the beach with some good friends while holding onto a cold bottle of St Lucia’s official Piton beer. But unfortunately, at that precise moment in time, I had to get a grip and deal with reality: The disgusting, vile Ackerson family.
Just like an experienced field marshal, I also had an effective strategic plan which would save me from experiencing any emotional or psychological distress. The main objective was to enter the front room without being dragged into any conceited or pointless conversations. Ok so the plan was to enter the front room and quickly find a comfy seat with large cushions (just so I could suffer in comfort) and preferably a single sofa chair so I did not feel obliged to indulge in any conversations or have any close contact with the others.
Right. Now that I had worked out an efficient plan which would get me safely from A to B while having minimal contact with most of the other family members, I stood up with confidence and then walked towards the front room with an overpowering ego. When I got to the front room door, an old woman opened the door and stood right in front of me. I smiled at her, but she just stared right back at me with a blank facial expression. She looked like one of the close family members because she had the noticeable Ackerson’s high cheek bone features.
To overcome the awkwardness, I tried to execute a familiar pleasantry such as saying “hello” to this peculiar person stood in front of me, but I felt as if there was a mechanical contraption on my mouth which prevented me from actually speaking. And rather than say anything to me, she gave me an original cold, evil stare which made her come across even more mysterious and then she walked off. Charming hey?
I don’t know, but maybe during the 1950s when Skiffle music was at its peak, Granny did one of her famous “cruel to be kind” remarks towards this peculiar lady and now the hate which she had in store for Granny had now unfortunately transferred onto me. Oh great! But at that moment in time and with all the confidence fully installed within me, I could not resist, so I tapped her arm to gain her attention. She slowly turned around. As I was just about to start a sentence, when my stomach made a loud rumble and then I vomited straight over this woman’s face. I could see parts of my half digested vegetable omelette dripping off her nostrils and eyelids. She started to scream while shaking. I had to do a runner for obvious reasons.
My therapist recommended that I should never go to another Ackerson’s funeral.
Image courtesy of Jostijn Ligtvoet via Flickr
Read more about death and dying here
I have to say that i loved this piece and would love to share my dysfunctional family and the funeral that almost turned into a title fight.