Jamaica Funerals, Foreigners And Family Feuds


Feuds And Funerals

Jamaica Funerals! I hate them. And I hate the family feuds that tend to erupt at funerals. The bitter contentions escalate even more with the presence of any foreigners with a claim to the ‘legacy’.

We Jamaicans do not have a patent on such funeral related feuds. However, it appears that we have made a whole cultural practice out of it. Every funeral must have a good bit of warring.  Its almost a given that old hostilities and festering wounds will pop wide open again. The bigger the size of any possible legacy, the greater the hostilities.

Threats of blows echo, and the elders hang their head in shame at the scandal in the family. I am yet to hear or see bitter disagreements because someone was being denied the opportunity to foot the expensive funeral bill or “set up/nine-night entertainment package”. It’s almost always about what has been left behind and who deserves it, or not.

So its been pretty much that kind of feud that’s been dominating my life for the past 3 weeks. This is the third funeral in our family in 6 months. Two of the deceased could be considered very young and not well off. The third was a returned resident from England. Need I say more?

It could have been a far less aggravating experience for me had I been involved in the fighting. At least I’d have something to gain from my involvement. I’m caught in the whole lunacy because I’m the one with no claim on the ‘legacy’ and who they claim has the ability to remain objective and level headed. Hhmmm hmmm…yaaah.

As I listened to all the parties involved, I confess I was writing and updated version to ‘101 ways to murder your relatives’. These people would try the patience of a saint. How did I end up beign related to them is beyond me. Oohh. I forgot. You don’t get to choose who your blood relatives are. Shoot!

Its still not entirely resolved. However, some of the shouters backed down when as soon as they hear the cost involved in attending to the “estate of the deceased”. Yes man! The loudest now started backpedalling and soon the picture took on a whole different shade.

But seriously though, how do we avert this kind of behaviour? I believe a Will makes a world of difference. Its how to change the mentality of our elders who live in perpetual denial about the wonderful cooperative kids they have. If they ever see how ‘legacy’ turn these same angels into jealous, greedy and grabbing monsters – they’d get up and box them for real. Well the latter is my wish, for solving the problem of feuding at funerals.

Well until then…