I wrote in my last post that this week has brought new life into our lives, with ten incredibly cute chicks. They are noticeably growing larger every day.
In addition to life, this week has also brought us death.
EJ’s Mom suffered from dementia for several years. Her health has been declining, faster and faster as time passed until it worsened to the point that the family finally called in Hospice a few weeks ago. She died on Tuesday morning.
The funeral service will be in a town about five hours away. Even though EJ plans to attend only the service and then head back, that’s at least 12+ hours away from home. Hannah Joy tends to get into trouble if she is left alone too long; we think she gets separation anxiety. Plus, 12+ hours is a long time for her to go without a “potty” break. So we decided that I would stay home and EJ would go alone. We both hated the idea of EJ going without me. But then Hannah’s Favorite Uncle offered to dog-sit her, so we decided that I would go too. JJ is also riding with us.
Our vehicles are old and we didn’t want to risk them breaking down on the long trip there and back again so we rented a vehicle. Yikes! Rentals are expensive. By the time the rental agency gets done adding on fees and insurance, the cost is three times higher than we anticipated. It’s totally not in our budget. But breaking down hundreds of miles from home is even more expensive. We will just have to tighten our belts another notch and cut expenses elsewhere. We are packing food to take with us rather than stop at restaurants to save money.
I think the purpose of a funeral is to gather with others who also grieve and comfort and be comforted. As the saying goes: Shared joy is doubled joy and shared sorrow is halved sorrow.
However, our grief is kind of being overshadowed by stress. The thought of attending the funeral tomorrow fills us with anxiety. Both EJ and my families are dysfunctional. We are “black sheep” in our families. As Vocabulary.com defines the term, “black sheep is the odd one out, whether he’s a disgrace to the family or just doesn’t seem to belong. The origin of the phrase comes from the rare presence in a flock of white sheep of a sheep with black fleece. Rather than being a delightful surprise, these black sheep were a disappointment, since their wool couldn’t be dyed.”
EJ and I strongly believe that each adult has the right to make decisions for himself (or herself) and his own household. He does not have the right to make decisions for others outside his immediate household. Boundaries, even among adult siblings, must be respected–and in healthy families they ARE respected. However, dysfunctional families do not respect boundaries. Instead, a form of “groupthink” exists. Groupthink means “the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.” Instead of allowing each other the freedom to make their own choices and decisions, dysfunctional family members believe they have the right to tell others in the family what to think, believe, do. Whoever doesn’t go along with the group is not accepted, and is often bullied. When I didn’t let my Mom take control of my marriage, she turned the whole family against me. EJ’s siblings as a group tried to bully us into having contact with a brother who is a scoundrel and acted in a way toward our son when he was younger that abuse experts have told us is very typical of molesters. We stood our ground. We will not let anyone take control of the decisions that are ours to make, including who we let/don’t let into our lives. And that was that.
We have not had contact with most of the family, except for the very few who have supported us, since we stood our ground about their brother. So going to the funeral tomorrow is going to be extremely stressful for us, with a lot of undercurrents. We will get through the day by supporting and comforting each other.
But we wouldn’t mind a bit of prayer support.