My father died a couple of months ago. He'd been ill for some time and had many health scares and heart troubles over the years but always managed to keep on going. Then one time he didn't.
I'm glad I got to know him again and spend some more time with him after so many years missed because of the WTS but those years will always be lost forever. But I'm grateful we got to spend some together.
One thing our family can never be accused of though is having good ...
It was after getting back in touch with him and then coming over to Canada for visits with our young kids that we decided to move out here and that also coincided with my own waking up from the JW religion and finally leaving a few years before we emigrated. During that time we had some contact with my mother, we just didn't talk about the religion and it was fine. My self-righteous brother-in-law elder-wannabe was always stirring the pot though - I don't think he liked that there was someone who saw through his BS. Incidentally, I wonder if Louis Lynch ever confessed the pre-marital sex he had with my sister as part of his "me so righteous, me should be Elder" routine? Who knows, hypocrisy doesn't bother some people ...
So anyway, we move over to Canada and then one day, about 6-12 months later, I got a phone call from my mother. It wasn't a long discussion.
"Simon, do you accept that the Governing Body are god's representatives on earth?"
Funny way to start a conversation, and a strange question for someone to come up with on their own, straight out of the elders manual and the exact same question that brother-in-law make-me-an-elder asked one day when he'd shown up on our doorstep.
"erm, no", I said
"Well I can't talk to you anymore then"
And that was that. I haven't spoken with her since.
Just before my fathers funeral I got an email from my half-brother (same mother) in the UK to tell me he was getting married and that we were invited to his wedding. He's much younger than me and I was waking up to things about the religion at the same time as he was still in school so I was telling him things to hopefully prevent him getting too involved with it, especially getting baptized which he didn't. Instead, he had a life and I was happy that I may have helped with that. I suspect my mother was not.
But now my baby brother was grown up and getting married and I had a just-expired passport and it was only a few months away. Fortunately, the UK passport renewal system was all online and a new passport arrived just in time to book flights. I took my youngest son with me because he could take time off work and my eldest had university exams to do so Angharad stayed home with him.
It was great visiting the UK again, the first time back in about 11 years, and we got to hang out with my brother and his fiancee and also my in-laws in North Wales. God, the roads are so narrow! We did some tourist stuff visiting the Castle and had Chippy dinners at every opportunity because ... oh my god, Pies, Chips, Mushy Peas and Gravy - how I missed you!!
The wedding itself was in a venue that used to be a golf course in Cheshire, very rural and quite beautiful. It was bad weather most of the time we were over there but the sun came out and it was a loverly day. My brother joked that he'd put me on what he was calling "the interesting and entertaining table" which was a mix of the guy he lived with while they were at Uni (a real socialist), some other friend he has a business partnership with (very conservative) and another friend who was, well, a conspiracy theorist it turns out plus a few others. It. Was. Brilliant! Political and social debates - a dream!
The whole wedding went great ... and of course, my mum was there.
Now as a parent I can't imagine ever not talking to my kids. Unless they did something unimaginably bad and unforgivable, my job is to love them and do whatever I can for them, always. What did my mother do? She hadn't seen or spoken to me in 10+ years, my dad had just died and we were at a family wedding ...
She blanked me.
Not just didn't talk to me, but made it obvious that she wasn't talking to me. I was having a conversation with my brother's new father-in-law for instance and she came up, talked to him, kept her back to me and then walked off.
I'm sorry, but what a pathetic, ignorant, stupid fucking bitch. Yeah, real Christlike behaviour.
Many of the people there knew about the religion and commented on how fucked up it was - I had some good conversations about it (in between our fun debates).
I'm glad I went. I'm really glad I got to attend my brothers wedding. I'm really glad and thankful that we left that shitty little cult because it really does make people sick to behave in such an unnatural way, especially when I know she wouldn't even be able to defend or explain why beyond a lame "the governing body said so" reason. Pathetic.
So, with the WTS you're sometimes only allowed one parent at a time and now I have none as far as I'm concerned because shunning works both ways - I won't be bothering to attend the next funeral.