Stop Looking Over…He’s Dead

Melissa A. Matthews
6 min readApr 11, 2019

how to forgive a parent who never parented and had the unmitigated gall to die before you made amends

The scene

It was a scorching hot day in mid- December. If I’m honest almost every damn day is a scorching hot day because I live in the Caribbean. So, that did not make this day at all remarkable but scurrying in late to my father’s funeral did, I suppose. I often wonder if he would have wanted us there. It was a shit show of epic proportions in some ways, a breath of fresh air (for me at least) in others, and quite an experience overall.

I’ll admit though, it was very Mikey. In life — mine at least — he had been this charismatic whirlwind of instability and fuckshit, why would his funeral be any different?

The context

I don’t know what I expected as I slid into the fourth row next to my sister , brother-in-law, and maternal aunt. My partner was right behind me. I could feel eyes paring at me from both the front and back of the room. I don’t think many people there expected us as they had carefully opted not to inform us of his murder.

All but one of our cousins, aunts — family in name only — had reached out to our mom who lives in another country to let us know before the story broke on local news. However, I digress, on that day, in that room at the funeral parlor I saw things that I couldn’t reconcile.

My sister sat there sobbing with rage and anger not at our father’s murderer but at the man himself.

We sat there for what felt like days watching stranger after stranger eulogize this man whose blood courses through our veins and yet we had no recollection of the person they described.

My sister seethed, leaping up from her seat periodically to look into the casket and affirm that we were indeed at the correct funeral. A fact that was indisputable as all of his sisters lined the stage and his wife was two rows ahead of us.

As my sister shook in disbelief at the tales of this benevolent man who raised all of these people who were not his children. Who even in death did not have the courtesy to put us first, I was at peace.