We were going to give the bungalow a good clean today ready for the visitors on Monday. It only needed a little polish and hoover. We had just got started when there was a knock at the door it was my brother Dennis. Thank goodness he seemed drug free which was a good thing. I said I would make a cup of tea, then my Dad and I would tell him about our Mum. This was going to be really hard on all of us even though my Dad and I had had time to come to terms with it somewhat.
I heard Dennis ask how my Mum was and my Dad started to tell him she had died but broke, down, I went in and told Dennis what had happened he sobbed, he was hurt that we hadn’t told him sooner but we were unable to because we didn’t know his address or telephone number. He said in future we would know how to contact him. We told him the funeral was on Monday at 12noon . My Dad said he had some clothes Dennis could wear, as he hadn’t got any formal wear only jeans, his lifestyle didn’t call for formal clothes he travelled very light. My Dad begged him to come to the funeral drug free he said he hoped he could rely on him to do that for my Mums sake and ours. We needed him to help us cope. He promised that he would.
My Dad asked him if he wanted to stay over but he said no. He needed to mourn on his own. He didn’t fool us, what he really wanted was drugs, don’t get me wrong he was in shock, in spite of everything, he really loved my Mum and I was pretty sure he would be drug free at least for Monday.
He tried on a dark grey suit of my Dads it fit perfectly, there was also a shirt but no black tie still he would look smart. He only stayed a couple of hours I gave him a couple of pounds for his fares on Monday but I knew it would be gone before then. It was horrible watching him go he should have stayed with us but the pull of drugs outweighed anything else.
I said to my Dad did he fancy going out for a drive he said he wouldn’t mind going to Auntie Betty`s to ask her about the clothes because if she was interested he would like me to be there with her and if not to sort them for charity. Being as I was going home on Tuesday morning Sunday would be ideal. It did seem as if we couldn’t wait to get rid of the clothes but if it wasn’t done before I went home it would be left to my Dad to sort it and this he didn’t think he could do.
We drove to Brinsworth , they were in thank goodness. She made us a cup of tea and I asked her about the clothes and she said she would love to have some. I explained that we wanted to do it before I went home and she said she would come over tomorrow Sunday. She said Uncle George would bring her and take my Dad out for a drink while we sorted things out so he wouldn’t have to witness it.
We ended up staying for tea which was nice. My cousins Tony and Brenda came round they were coming to the funeral. We stayed about three hours and then went home. We watched TV a bit but neither of us could concentrate. So we talked instead about my Mum and also about how my Dad thought he would cope on his own. He seemed quite optimistic but I wasn’t sure if that was for my benefit. I told him that at anytime he got down and needed to come to us he only had to ring anytime day or night. His welfare was very important to all of us. If an emergency arose we could be there in 2hours with a fair wind less than that.
Morning came it was a lovely day weather-wise . I had a shower and started getting breakfast ready. The smell of the bacon must have woken my Dad as I could hear him in the bathroom. We both tucked in my Dad said I was spoiling him.
I was going to make my Dad some Cheese and Potato pies and cottage pies to freeze so that he could have them when I had gone back home. I knew he would eat but maybe not very healthy food. I could imagine him living on fish and chips and fry-ups.
I would be visiting him as often as I could and hopefully he would come and stay with us but I wouldn’t hold my breath. He really didn’t like Mike very much because of things that had occurred in the past the violence etc……
We did a bit of housework and then waited for Auntie Betty to arrive to sort out mums clothes. We were also expecting Dennis to pop in and hopefully stay overnight ready for the funeral on Monday. We could then make sure he was drug free and decently dressed. If he went home we would have no control of him and god knows how he would turn up if at all. You would think that at 27 yrs old he would be a bit more reliable but there was only one person in his life at the moment and that was him and his drugs.
I was dreading sorting through my Mums clothes and I know my Dad was but if we didn’t do it now it would mean my Dad would have to do it and that was not an option. Auntie Betty arrived and my Uncle George which was good because my Dad and him could chat away and leave us to it or go for a drink.
Auntie Betty said she didn’t feel right about doing this but she realised it was for the best to save my Dad doing it. There were two ward-robes full of dresses, coats and skirts, blouses. We didn’t know where to start.
It seemed that every item reminded us of a specific time she wore it. Like a suit she wore at Muriels wedding, one she wore at Tony` wedding and so on. I looked across at Auntie Betty and she had tears rolling down her face that started me off and we ended up crying our eyes out. We just couldn’t sort them it was too hard. I went to talk to my Dad and suggested that Auntie Betty took it all and sorted it at her house with her agreement of course, which she did and Dad agreed also. We packed everything in suitcases and Uncle George took them straight to the car.
Auntie Betty said she thought we should stop now and have a sandwich and cup of tea and try to relax as tomorrow was going to be a harrowing day. We sat and chatted about anything and everything. Auntie Betty also said that she would bring my Dad some meals after I had gone and that he could go to them for Sunday dinner or anytime he wished.
She was amazing she had been the only one offering help to my Dad the others were conspicuous by their absence. I just hoped they turned up tomorrow. It was 11.30pm and Dennis hadn’t turned up so we could only hope he would arrive clean and drug free in the morning.
I woke up about 7am after a very restless night my Dad was already up and had the kettle on. What would we do without a cup of tea? We were sat talking drinking our tea when there was a knock at the door it was only 7.30am. It was Dennis looking great and as sober as a judge. He apologised for not coming yesterday. We all had a big hug none of us knew how to cope with today the funeral and everything. I would have preferred not to have tea and sandwiches after but this is how it is done.
I made Dennis some breakfast and we sat and chatted about things. He said he had arranged to go into rehab. in Sheffield on the 24th May about 3 weeks away. It was in Middle Wood Hospital , evidently they had a building they had turned into a drug rehab residential clinic. It was a condition of the court he had been caught shoplifting again, he was really hopeless at it on his own admission.
So this time he couldn’t just walk out as he usually did or he would go to prison. My Dad and I hoped it would help him; he was such a nice person without drugs. With drugs he was dreadful, he would steal off myself and my Mum and Dad even her medicine which was a cocktail of morphine and other drugs. My Dad had had to hide it before he let him in but sometimes he still found it. He stole anything that was not nailed down, clothes, jewellery all-sorts .
Talking about Dennis took our minds off the funeral. Time was passing quickly and we decided we had better get ready. Dennis was first he, looked really smart the suit my Dad had lent him fitted perfectly, my Mum would be proud. My Dad looked amazing too and I didn’t look too bad myself according to the other two.
I showed Dennis the wreath and he agreed it was ideal. It was 11am we were all ready for what , we didn’t quite know. There was a knock at the front door and it was Auntie Betty and family soon after all the other relatives and some friends came. Then the dreaded hearse came. I fought to keep back the tears as did my Dad and Dennis this brought home the finality of it all.
I gave the wreath to the funeral director or whoever he was and he went and put it on the coffin it did look good if that’s possible but without it, it would have looked bare. Getting in the car behind the hearse was the most heartrending thing I had ever done, I felt sick and faint my poor Mum…..why her….. There were two other cars and the rest of the mourners went in their own cars . It was horrendous something I was sure I would never get over.
The next horrific thing was the crematorium to see that coffin with my Mum inside slide away just ripped my heart out .My Dad , Dennis and myself just clung to one another the tears falling down our faces. It was all over in about 20mins and we went back to the cars and back to the tea and sandwiches it seemed obscene. My Auntie Betty tried to say that we should look on it as saying goodbye and celebrate her life and talk about her.
I must admit the get- together of all our relatives was really nice and we soon all got chatting, mainly about my Mum but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I looked across the room at my Dad and he seemed to be ok. I was pleased to see that his sister my Auntie Bessie and Uncle Albert were there, we had asked them but hadn’t really expected them. They lived in Wakefield. I could see my Dad was enjoying talking to them and Dennis was talking to our cousin Tom. I began to realise that this wake as it is called, served a valuable service by getting everyone together and by talking, it took you away from dwelling on the loss of that person you were saying goodbye too.