I thought watching my Dad die would be the hardest thing about this whole trip, but it turns out that it's the whole family feuding and nastiness that happens after a loved one dies that is the really shitty bit.
The day he died all the Menzies clan arrived at Dad's home, bringing our rowdy laughter, tears and noise together. It soon became apparent that Dad's wife and Dad's family have two different styles of mourning. Dad's wife preferred quiet and solitude, so rather than tiptoe around her grief we decamped to my aunt Christine's place. In classic Menzies fashion we have gathered every evening around the table with food and booze, and talked and laughed and cried together until the early hours of the morning. It's been wonderful - aside from what appears to be the degenerating relationship between us and the 'other camp'.
With shock and anger I have watched as the wishes of my Dad's daughter and sister have been disregarded and coopted. From being the only one who wanted to follow my Dad's hearse to the crematorium I was left behind, when the funeral director changed the time of departure the day before and nobody thought to tell me (we had already decamped by the time that happened). No blood relations accompanied Dad on this last journey.
There is such jealousy - probably on both sides, I'll admit that - over our relationship with him. I found out that my Dad's wife often complained about me to my family. I say, kudos to Dad for never letting on. I also feel proud that I never burdened him with similar emotions at my end. For my part I accepted her because Dad cared for her. That's what you do when someone you care about loves someone - you accept them. But from what has emerged it appears there was acrimony from her about both me and my mother. I have to say that at a time like this it's pretty hard not to just write her off as a total bitch.
But I know that Dad would be horrified at these goings on, so for his sake I'm trying to keep it together. Emotions are running high of course, which is natural at this time. But geez, I wish it didn't have to be this bloody hard. It seems like my Dad's death has been eclipsed by family politics and bullshit, and we have lost focus on what's really important, which is the love we all had for Dad.