Thursday, 4 September 2008

Page 89

. I thought it was worth a try. If he didn’t like the idea then we wouldn’t use it. The mourners had all been requested not to bring flowers but to make a donation to either Cancer Research or the Marie Curie foundation who had been very good to us with both money and home nursing.

I decided I was going to buy a new outfit for the funeral so off I went and I got a really nice pair of black trousers and a lilac coloured jumper. I already had a black jacket which would go perfectly. Although I had got some dark clothes I felt better having a new outfit for my Mum.

That was everything so off I went home. The children were home and the first thing they asked was how is nanny. I said shall we sit down and I will tell you. This was what I had dreaded. I explained as best as I could and said that although we would all miss her so much she would be in a nice place and free from pain. I said I was sure she would be looking down on them and keeping them safe. I also asked them if they would like to go to the funeral and they all said no. The tears came then it was almost as if me mentioning the funeral made them realise the enormity of it. Lesley said Mum do you think Nan would mind if we don’t go. I said I was absolutely positive she would understand and would not want you to remember her in that scenario but to remember her having fun with them. There other concern was their Grandad how was he going to manage without Nan. I told them I had asked him to come and stay with us but he thought he would see how he got on on his own. They understood my Dads health problems.

I then told them I had to go back tomorrow to stay with Grandad until the funeral on Monday and should be back home on Tuesday, all being well. We all had a big cuddle and I went to get some dinner ready. Lesley lightened the mood by saying at last they would be having a decent meal, Mike hadn’t done so well by all accounts.

I had just started getting the dinner ready when Mike walked in. I told him the situation and to my surprise he didn’t put up an argument about me going back to Rotherham. He said he was really sorry about my mum but also it was for the best. He also said another few days would`nt be a problem just that the kids would be unhappy about the food. He also said my Dad would need me with him. This is not what I expected I thought he would put up an argument about the length of time I had been away. The usual tack in a situation where I had left the kids with him was to accuse me of neglecting them. This was a massive improvement.

I wouldn’t let the kids in the kitchen as dinner was going to be a surprise. They set the table and waited patiently each of them having guesses as to what they were having, so far they were miles out.

I walked in the dining room and put the dinners on the table. Their eyes lit up it was their favourite Steak and Chips with mushrooms and fried onion for Lesley.Mike and myself and Heinz beans for Stephen just steak and chips for Sheila.

They ate like they hadn’t been fed for weeks. I had also called into M&S for a lovely dessert. They said I could go away more often if they could have dinners like this. Then suddenly Sheila started crying and said Nan wouldn’t be able to have this kind of dinner ever again. This had a knock on effect and they all felt guilty. I tried to explain that Nan would be pleased they were enjoying the meal and that she wouldn’t want them to be sad.

I felt really guilty leaving them again. I would see them off to school in the morning then go and collect the wreath. The car should be able to find its own way to Rotherham, I hoped it could get me there ok. I had a bath, washed my hair, packed my bag all ready for tomorrow,

I got up really early and tidied the house, got the kids breakfast ready then called them several times. I could hear them arguing about who was going to get into the bathroom first. It was soon sorted and down they came for breakfast.

We had another chat about my Mum. Sleeping on it appeared to help them come to terms with it. We all had a hug and off they went. Mike had already gone to work he still worked in Edgware so he had to leave about an hour to get there on time.
I was all ready now so checked the oil and water filled up with petrol and went to collect the wreath.

The florist brought the wreath it was about 3 feet long and was perfect, I hoped my Dad would approve. It was just like the wreaths the F1 winners used to be presented with all laurel leaves intertwined. I put it on the back seat and off I went. It was about 9.30am so I expected to be at my Dads at about 12noon. My little mini would be working hard.

I stopped at Watford Gap had a roll and cup of tea as I realised I had got the kids breakfast but had nothing myself. I pulled up outside my Dads bungalow at exactly 12noon. I was scared to go in , I had no idea how he would be. I got my bag and went to the door I decided to leave the wreath and explain to him first.

He came to the door and was so pleased to see me, he had`nt heard the car pull up. He had`nt expected me until later. I asked him how he was and he said not to bad. My Auntie Betty and Uncle George had stayed until late last night and they all had fish and chips. They had been so good to us.

My Dad made us a cup of tea and we sat and talked. I told him how the children had taken it also that I had decided not to bring them. I told him I had bought a wreath and that it was not flowers just laurel leaves and that if he didn’t want to use it then so be it. I said it was in the car and I went to get it. When he saw it he said it would be perfect, he had been worrying about the coffin looking bare. I said I thought the same and asked the florist for any ideas she might have and this is what she came up with. My Dad gave me a big hug and said he felt much better now.

I asked him if he had sorted his clothes out for the funeral. He said he had ,except for a black tie, he had every colour but black. I said we could go into Rotherham if he wanted to get out of the house for a break. He agreed and off we went.

We got him a black tie and then went to a café and had a cup of coffee and a toasted teacake each. It was really nice but we both felt my Mums absence. I looked at my Dad and could see tears I said come on lets go home .
I was shattered it seemed as though I had been on my feet for weeks at least we had finished with all the arrangements for the funeral. Everyone had been informed of the date and time of the funeral.

I asked my Dad what he fancied for dinner just as there was a knock at the door. I answered it and there stood Auntie Betty and Uncle George. They didn’t know that I was back, they thought I wouldn’t be back until Saturday. I said I was just going to do dinner would they like to stay and eat with us . My Auntie Betty said I must be tired why didn’t we have fish and chips she said me and her could get the table set while Uncle George and my Dad went to the fish shop.

The dinner was lovely cod ,chips and mushy peas. Yorkshire fish and chips are the very best. In spite of our sadness we managed to have a good laugh. Then reality kicks in and you feel guilty for laughing. I knew if my Mum was looking down on us she would be really happy at the way we were all handling things.

The funeral was at 12 noon on Monday Auntie Betty said she would come early and check that the wardens room was set out properly and just give us a bit of moral support. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to react, I had never been to a funeral before, let alone this being my Mums. My Dad and I said driving behind the hearse would be horrific. My Dad asked auntie Betty and Uncle George if they would like to travel with us in the first car. They said they would be honoured and thank you.

They went home about 10.30pm . As much as we were pleased to see them it was nice to just be my Dad and I. We sat and talked about my Mum and what she had done for him over the years. He was also worried about Dennis so far we hadn’t been able to tell him my Mum had died, we just hoped he would come here over the weekend.

My Dad had loads of sympathy cards if everyone who sent cards arrived for the funeral then we would be in trouble as far as transport and food was concerned. Still there was nothing we could do. My Dad said would I mind if he offered Auntie Betty her pick of my Mums clothes as she had really been amazing with all her help and support. I said of course not there were some beautiful clothes and I would want them looked after not just given for jumble. Although my auntie Betty was shorter than my mum by about 3” she could get them shortened. Other than the length they were pretty much the same size.

I said, after the funeral I would ask her. I was so tired I said to my Dad I would have a bath and then go to bed he said to give him a shout when I got out of the bath and he would make a cup of tea . He was the best Dad in the world I loved him so much he had always been my best friend.

By the time I had had my bath and drunk my tea it was 12.30am. So off we went to bed. I was sure I would be asleep as soon as my head it the pillow. Before I knew it it was morning I had slept like a log. I could hear my Dad rattling the cups in the kitchen I was sure he was trying to wake me up .

We both had a good nights sleep and felt quite rested. Yesterday I had, unbeknown to my Dad brought with me some bacon, eggs and tinned tomatoes. The smell of our breakfast was wafting through the bungalow and my Dad said he couldn’t remember when he last had a fry up because my Mum couldn’t stand the smell. We both tucked into it as if we hadn’t eaten for days, even though I say it myself it was scrumptious.

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