Doesn't the death of a loved one concentrate your mind? You have regrets, of course - circumstances meant I hadn't been able to see my aunt for a couple of years, and I feel really bad about that now. I did speak to her on the phone a few times, but not nearly as often as I could have.
It also makes you realise what's important in life - our loved ones are important, of course, and we should do our utmost to keep in contact as much as possible, and forget silly little niggles that just don't matter.
And then there's the funeral itself, which cousin is currently arranging. There are a few family members who none of us has been in contact with for years, for various reasons - and they're not trivial ones either. Sylvia herself had fallen out of contact with these particular people and I know she wouldn't want them at her funeral, as does cousin. However, they've been in contact with cousin to express their condolences (we don't know how they found out), and cousin is now worrying that they might turn up to the funeral. She says she'll have them ejected if they do.
It's difficult isn't it - on the one hand, they're family, they might want to bury the hatchet, they could well be wanting to say their goodbyes. On the other, things happened in the past that were so serious that they can never be water under the bridge. I for one have no desire to have contact with them ever again, but if they do turn up at the funeral I shan't be rude to them, if only out of respect for my aunt, cousins and the occasion itself. But nor will I speak to them.
I know there are certain members of the extended family who think the 'black sheep' should be welcomed back into the fold - either they don't know the whole story or they have short memories.
Don't you just hate funerals?! Big family occasions, especially if drink is available, often seem to bring out the worst in people.
We seem to have experienced quite a lot of deaths in our family/close circle over the past few years (naturally comes with advancing age, of course). It's made me more determined to embrace our remaining loved ones, keep in contact more, tell (and show) them we love them. And don't mess about in life - identify what you want and just go for it!