Mixed Emotions When Traveling To See Family For A Funeral

The Mixed Emotions Of Funerals And Traveling

The reality of emotional loss and the mixed emotions that come with traveling to see family for a funeral.


Traveling has become a normal part of funerals as families spread out by moving and growing. Our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, etc. live longer as each generation grows older and expands their own branch of the family. My great-grandmother passed away Saturday, February 2, 2019, and I found myself traveling to Texas from Tennessee (a 10+ hour drive) for her funeral. There was a mixed sense of emotions as I was faced with this emotional loss, but also the opportunity to visit with family which I do not have the ability to see or spend time with often due to time and location.

As we piled in the car to begin the trip from East Tennessee to Maud, TX, I found that I was filled with conflicting emotions about the next few days. Being in a car with family for that extended amount of time gave me a chance to visit with part of my family I do not spend as much time with as I would like. As much as we don't like to admit it, our chaotic schedules of running children to and from school, running errands, even our own homework (if you're in graduate school like me) fills up your daily schedules. Our lives are fast-paced, we schedule the day to fit in as much as possible and this trip provided us with a chance to slow down and take a moment for ourselves. This perspective gave me a moment of happiness and enjoyment, but I also found myself feeling unsure because of the mixed emotions I was feeling. While traveling for a funeral you would expect to feel saddened and upset, and while I felt those things, I was also excited and enjoying my time.

Once we had arrived in Texas, I found myself with expected emotions of sadness for the loss of my great-grandmother and the pain I know her loss caused my grandmother. However, as I do not have the chance to see my grandmother often due to the distance between us, I was happy to see her. It had been over a year since the last visit to Texas which was for my grandfather's funeral the previous year. All of the family had traveled from various places across the U.S. (from Baltimore to California) to be there for the funeral and as everyone arrived, we packed the house full. While there were tears of sadness, there were screams of excitement as children that hadn't seen each other in over a year chased after each other, loud voices floating from the kitchen as everyone talked all at once, and roaring laughter that was a mixture of joy and relief of everyone being together again.

While I had thought the mixed emotions I was facing of the bittersweet trip were perplexing to only myself, this was also a reality for others as well. Our families are complex creations of people we love and share emotions with because of this, traveling to celebrate the life of someone that has passed with family can leave you facing mixed emotions of your own. Losing a loved one brings a family together in sadness, but also in love, and provides an opportunity to share time with one another that wouldn't normally be possible otherwise.

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To The Girl Who Always Feels Left Out

Maybe next time...

To the girl who always feels left out,

Girl, let me just tell you, I know the feeling. It feels as though my whole life, I have been that girl. You know that feeling when you are standing in a group of people and someone comes up and asks everyone to go to lunch in that group... But you?

Or they make it even worse by saying "Oh, I guess you can come too." You guess I can come to?

No, thank you.

At that point, you feel like the only reason you are being invited is that they feel like they have to. Which more than likely is actually the case. What about when you ask your friend to hang out and she can't because she will be doing homework all night? However, an hour later, you see her with your other best friend. Oh okay cool, sorry for bothering you with my friendship.

You know you are the girl who is always left out when you are the designated "photographer" or you have to specifically ask if you can take a picture with them because they are obviously done taking pictures and did not want one with you.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who 'Float' Between Friend Groups

We all know "Hey, will you take this picture of us?" all too well. Am I right, ladies? Oh yeah, it is fine. I hate being in pictures. I definitely hate taking pictures to remember this wonderful time I'm having.

What about when you and your friends discuss doing something later during the week and you ask about it but "It's probably not happening anymore." Then you check and would you look at that, your "friends" are having fun without you.


Oh but don't worry about it, I had things to do anyway. You know, clean the house, work on homework that is due next week, binge-watch The Office for the third time this week. Fun stuff. Oh and better yet when you see your friends are hanging out without you. The next time they see you, they talk about how much fun they had.

Oh yes, please tell me about how much fun you had without me. I totally enjoy hearing about how "I totally missed out" and "I should have come." Well, an invite would have been well appreciated. But maybe next time, right? Wrong.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, "Wow this girl is being so petty." Well if you are thinking that, then you obviously do not know the feeling. And to think about it, you probably are not the one in the friend group who is being left out. So think about who that person is and make them feel included next time. It would be greatly appreciated. You do not know how much of a difference it could make.

Yes, I know everyone feels left out sometimes, but time after time, it starts to get really old. Then after you have to start inviting yourself to hang out with people, you realize well since they are not inviting me themselves, maybe they don't want me here. And then surprisingly, you stop hanging out with them. Hmmm, I wonder what could've possibly happened.

Yes, I know, most people do not do this on purpose. I am sure I have even done it once or twice without realizing it, and I am truly sorry.

From one left out girl to another,

Good Luck

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Shape Of The Monster: Depression

The second piece in a series about mental illness.


The last thing I want to do is glorify mental illness, give it a platform, give it a name. But I need to talk about it, to work through it, to show that it's something many people experience.

It goes like this.

Hey! Sorry I haven't called you back. Everything has been so busy.

Every time I think about even picking up the phone and calling you, something heavy but familiar sets in my stomach like a weight.

You know how things get.

You know how easy it is to want to slip into absolute nothingness, right?

I've been trying to write, but my writer's block has been limiting me a lot.

Everything I write is so bad. The flow is off. It doesn't sound like me. It feels so crooked and wrong. I can't do anything right.

How are things? Has work been alright?

I hope you feel successful. I hope things are easier for you. I hope you are as happy as you seem.

I'm okay.

I don't want to be here. I don't want to be anywhere. I feel crooked and wrong like I just want to scream and cry and dissolve.

I've just been so tired!

I have been tired for at least a decade. Tired of never sleeping. Tired of never feeling anything more than either absolute devastation and absolute nothingness. Tired. Tired. Tired.

I hope I can see you soon.

I hope I can bring myself to get out of bed and out into the world. I hope I can force myself to shower, and get dressed, and be a contributor to society, to social obligations.

I miss you.

I miss you.

I love you.

I love you.

I promise to call as soon as things lighten up a bit.

As long as the chemical imbalance doesn't destroy me altogether, hopefully, I can feign vague interest for a short phone call.


Goodbye for now, maybe goodbye forever, maybe I'll work up the courage to call you in another 2, 5, 7 weeks or so. My life is made of "maybes." Maybe one-day things will be better. Maybe one day I'll be happy. Maybe one day I won't be anything. Maybe.

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