I (28F) live about a 3 hour drive away from my hometown. My brother (I'll call him George - 25M) was disabled, mentally and physically challenged. My parents prioritized him and ignored me for my entire life.
For instance, in addition to the fact that they were never there for me emotionally, they also missed countless softball games, parent-teacher meetings, concerts where I'd be playing my cello with an orchestra, and even my high school graduation. Almost all of it was because George had a complication and needed to be taken to the hospital.
I left home for college and never came back. They would only ask me to return on special occasions like Christmas or my birthday; but I never came back. So we have an almost nonexistent relationship. They know almost nothing about my life.
George passed away 3 days ago. My parents have been calling me, asking me to come to his funeral and be there for my brother and family. They also asked me to visit when they learned he was critically ill. Then and now, I said I won't make it and I told them to go on without me. My mother told me she was disappointed in me and said I was making a huge mistake and being disrespectful to my brother's memory.
My girlfriend(27F) also said I may be acting too emotionally and that I may feel better after the funeral and having closure. WIBAH if I skip this funeral altogether?
You WNBTA if you don't go to the funeral. But I agree with your girlfriend: you may feel better if you do. And you should be able to schedule it so that you arrive for the funeral, go to the ceremony, and have a plan to leave - not with any drama, but just "Sorry, got work tomorrow, goodbye" departure.
In fact, if you can, make a plan so that if you have to, you can leave at any time. This isn't about your parents, this is about you.
This is such a perfectly balanced response.
Nah, the relationship with the parents is burnt, this ship has sailed ages ago. No need to get yourself guilt tripped by the parents who neglected you for years. Don't go. These people are strangers. It's going to be a waste of time.
I completely agree! This notion that one needs to go to funerals for “closure “ is utter bullsh00t.
For some people, sure. Maybe even for most. But there have certainly been times when people have regretted not going to the service for someone they had a complicated relationship with. She only lives an hour away.
Worst case scenario? She gets there and her parents/extended family immediately start in on her about not being around more, etc. and she turns and walks back out. She can make contingency plans with her GF for that situation and go grab lunch somewhere together. Best case scenario? She has no regrets or what ifs down the road about whether or not she should have attended.
Meh. NTA, but I think you should go. Your parents f0<%ed up. They should have figured out how to divide their attentions appropriately. You had a terrible childhood and it was not your fault, on any level.
But, it also was not George’s fault. He could not help that he was mentally and physically disabled and required frequent hospitalizations. What a shitty hand to be dealt in life, right? Not his fault either, on any level. He didn’t want that for himself. Given the choice between your circumstances and his, I think you (and all of us) would choose yours.
You were just two blameless innocents in this story. So, yeah, fuck your parents. But honoring George, and separating him from the actual bad actors in your mind, isn’t a bad idea.
NAH, but funerals are for the living. Your parents no doubt made heart-wrenching decisions when George needed care and they couldn't be there for you. They may regret it almost as much as you.
This could be both an ending/closure and a beginning with your parents if you can see it that way. Not saying you'll ever be all warm and fuzzy, but after a mourning period for them, you may find they are thrilled to be able to travel, visit your city, and take an interest in your life.
I agree with another poster who suggested therapy if you haven't already started. Maybe you can view them more as an aunt and uncle. IDK. Good luck, OP, whatever you decide.