She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.
Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.
The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.
It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.
The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.