During this visit back home, I noticed that a lot of photos that were in my bedroom were missing… actually, there are no more photos at all in my bedroom other than the big framed photo of Ed from his funeral service. I was wondering where they went, and then when I opened the drawers to my bedside table, I noticed the pictures and frames of my brother and me that I used to have displayed on the shelves. I pulled one of them out and put it on the bedside table, the photo that’s been up pretty much forever of me and my brother, posing in our backyard and smiling and laughing. I was probably around 2 or 3, which means Ed was 9 or 10. I was annoyed to see these mementos taken down; all the photos are all we have of Ed. So why are they taking all these things down? If anything, I know my dad did it because he thinks of photos as clutter, yet the irony is that there’s all kinds of real clutter literally all over the house, yet he’s fine to keep all of that all over the place and creating hazardous walking areas by default.
Yesterday, while at the Columbarium to visit Ed’s niche, I also ran into the new funeral director who I befriended my last couple of visits. We noticed that in Ed’s niche, the little smurf figurine had fallen over, so she kindly (and out of usual protocol) opened up his niche for me to fix it and dust it out (how does dust get into a fully sealed niche….?!). We had some small talk, and she lowered her voice to me. “You know, your parents never come visit Ed unless you are here now,” she said. “Do you know why that is?”
It’s strange to think about this. When Ed first passed away, my mom would force my dad to take her to visit him almost every single week, if not multiple times a week. I felt terrible for her because she was grieving, but I really thought it was excessive. So I told her that she needed time to grieve, but going that frequently would probably not help her and only make things worse. She’d likely relive his death every single time she visited, so I suggested that she not visit so often. Yet, I didn’t realize she’d take that advice and just never visit at all unless I came…?
I don’t really know what to think or say about any of this. It has always bothered me that they don’t really talk much about him or acknowledge his birthday or death anniversary. When I’ve brought Ed up in conversation with my mom, she comments and then quickly asks me not to say anymore, otherwise she will cry. My dad just avoids talking about Ed at all costs. I just hate the idea that they might be trying to pretend he never existed. It’s almost like a permanent insult to my brother.