Funeral Not For A Friend

I have known Ann for over 27 years. Our fathers were business associates when we were growing up and our families spent time together, especially during the holidays. I can't think of a single time throughout my childhood that Ann and her family wasn't around. As far as our family was concerned, they were family and the feelings were mutual.

Ann and I became very tight during our early 20's. Where there was one, there was the other. This bond continued until she married, then her focus changed from me to her family. Just the natural progression of adulthood. Our families remained close none the less.
we were always present for all of the holidays as well as life changing events. After all, they were family.

In 2001, after a long battle with cancer, my father passed away. My father had raised my sister and I after my mother left us when we were kids. Dad stood by us and devoted his life to us. He was truly an amazing man with a heart as big as the universe. When he died, I died too. The last week of his life, he was in a coma in the hospital. I kept vigil by his bedside every second. One of the only visitors to show were Ann's parents. They were of my few means of support during this crisis. To my surprise, Ann never showed or even called. At that time, I didn't think too much of it. I figured she was trying to not overwhelm me with phone calls or visitors while I was on my father's death watch, plus she did have an infant and toddler at home. I was sure I would see her over the next couple of days or at the funeral.

Ann's father agreed to give my father's eulogy at his memorial service. I was deeply touched. The night of the funeral, Ann's parents walked through the door of the funeral home alone. No Ann. I thought to myself perhaps she was coming separate from her parents, probably with the kids, if she couldn't find a sitter. As time went on, Ann was still not there. Her father was just about to give the eulogy when I finally asked Ann's mother "Where is Ann?" Her mother replied "She's at home". It was then I realized Ann was not coming.

For 10 years I played out scenarios in my head as to why Ann didn't show up that night. What reason or explanation could she have that would be acceptable? Maybe she has a hard time dealing with death? Maybe she was deathly ill or the kids were sick? No, that wasn't it, I would have known if she or the kids were sick. Car broke down? No, she would have rode with her parents. No baby sitter for the kids? No, she could have brought the kids with her. So what was the reason she didn't feel it was necessary to go to the funeral of her best friend's  father, a man she had known all of her life, who for all intent and purpose was a member of her family? She never offered an explanation for her absence and I never asked. I wanted to ask many times but never did. For 10 years I stewed over this and kept it to myself.

Recently, our relationship reached a point where I found myself repeatedly questioning her friendship. I decided to confront her by pouring out my feelings in a five page letter, in which I mentioned her absence at my father's funeral and the profound effect it had on me that she was not there when I needed her the most. To me this could only mean one thing; she didn't love me.

When she addressed my letter, she said she couldn't give me a reason as to why she didn't go to the funeral. She said she didn't have a reason. She did apologize for "not being there for me". To me, the apology is meaningless.Our friendship is basically over, not because of the funeral, but because of countless other issues that have made me realize how one sided the friendship has been for a number of years.

My question is; how offensive is it not to attend the funeral of a loved one? Is this an unforgivable offense for you? Now, I understand that somethings just cannot be helped. I was in the hospital for my uncle's funeral. I think I had a pretty good reason for not being there. But I am talking about people who just don't want to make the effort, spend the money, travel the distance. Would it be fair to say this would be a pretty good indication that someone doesn't care about either you or the deceased? Or do you see this is no big deal? Have you missed a funeral for someone and you should have been there? Was there any fall out from that? I am curious to know how important funerals are to people. Obviously in my case, it depends on the person, the person who passed and the person who didn't come to the funeral and what their role is in your life. I would love to hear some feedback PLEASE!
LabRat70 LabRat70
41-45, F
May 8, 2012