"And the days go by, like a strand in the wind, in the web that is my own, I begin again.
Said to my friend..., Baby, nothing else mattered..."
Thank you for continuing to listen to me.
For, you know, I have really no-one else I can share this with...
My best friend in the world is often in fragile mental health, and is losing her children by inches and miles.
My husband knows this history, herstory, and sometimes he sees things differently.
...My best friends at work are otherwise engaged with their own daily traumas, impending operations, empassioned and impatient job-searches and University deadlines...
My fabulous cousin is coping with his own bete noir...
I stepped in to do the necessary things that one does when a loved one has died -- To intersperse with the mourning.
I wrote his obituary, to celebrate his life, and I researched what I wanted to be read at the service. I arranged the logistics, the ceremonies, the pomp funebre... I consulted with her on everything, anxious not to put her beakish nose out of joint... I ordered flowers. I informed family and friends. As did she.
Visiting her was fraught. She wanted to blame someone for his death.
And I know this is natural, that she had reason to resent me, who loved him so much, whose family was so beloved by him, but some of her fragility transmogrified into a verbal haranguing of me, and what she came to call my unreasonable demands on her.
When I asked her for his briefcase, for example, which I knew contained the necessary papers I would need to see the registrar, to begin the process that has to be gone through... He'd told me what to do... He'd drummed it into me, where everything was, you see... My mum and dad were like that. Everything 'above board...' Nothing left to chance...
When my dad's mum died, he was her only child, and was stationed away from his home town in the fifties and sixties with the RAF... In the months just before I was born he experienced something terrible.
He was called home, to find her house full of distant relatives he hadn't seen in years, pawing over all of her, all of his, rightfully, possessions... A working class family, they had little enough of any value... But sentimental things that had belonged to his grand-father were missing -- Books, musical instruments -- His violin, a viola, a stringed instrument with a brass loud-speaker, a mandolin, a flat-iron that his mother used which we once saw on TV's Antiques Roadshow programme...
All were gone.
Sometimes history, herstory, repeats itself, non...
Meanwhile, his partner said my dad's appointed solicitor would handle everything, and that by asking for his briefcase where the papers lay, I was, "Trying to take him away from me".
I'm not into that kind of game-playing; Politics with a small 'p'.
I tried several times to ask for his papers. By the day of his funeral, I was no further forward about his last wishes...
She advised me that there was 'plenty of money, with the insurance policy that she (my mother) had left'.
She needed a car. ...They were just going to buy a car, in fact, the day before he went into hospital.
I needed to give her the money for a car... I had nothing to give this woman.
At that time, I had no savings. Nothing I could offer her. I couldn't comply.
This wasn't enough for her.
The funeral was as decent as funerals can be. I reached for her hand and patted her knee.
He'd asked for Sinatra. That we had:
"It's very nice to go trav'ling
To London, Paris and Rome
It's oh, so nice to go trav'ling
But it's so much nicer
Yes it's so much nicer to come home"
...Afterwards, my much-loved cousin-brother held my neck in his bear-like paw and placed his forehead against mine...
GJ stood in the wings like an ancient pit-prop, building his strength to support me physically and mentally through this time, the weeks, the months, the years that came...
On GJ's advice, we toddled off to see our own solicitor, sensing "there may be troubles ahead", given my dad's final wishes, and where those wishes placed her...