Tuesday, 25 April 2017


We had the funeral yesterday.  It went really well (for the type of event it was).

I designed and printed the Orders of Service,  and was really pleased with them.  I had a high quality card cover, with printing and photos on the front and the back. The front had a recent photo, one that my Aunt actually liked.

 The back had a photo from when she was about 21.

 The middle was 120gsm paper, and contained the last photo taken of my Aunt, when she was smiking and happy and healthy, taken just a few days before she died. 
 Thank goodness for having a long-arm stapler.  The end result looked professional, and better than many I'd seen.

My Darling Aunt's surviving brothers and their wives came, and many of the cousins came too.  Lots of My Darling Aunt's friends were there.

We had Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, possibly my Aunt's all-time favourite song,  as the "going in" music.

My brother did the introduction;   we all sang Abide With Me (which seems to be our family's choice of funeral hymn), and then he handed over to me.

I'd practiced the Eulogy, out loud, many times.  Deep breath. 

It was a long Eulogy, about 15 minutes. Lots of stories and snippets about my Aunt, lots of quotes from people, lots about what she thought about others as well as what they thought about her.   It went well, got a couple of chuckles and some smiles,  as well as many tears. 

I think she would have liked it, and I'm sure she would have appreciated it being delivered by someone who knew her so well.

Those who contributed appreciated that I'd included their words.

We had two minutes quiet time for people to privately remember my Aunt,  and then a Goodbye from my brother - no curtain around the coffin, so people could go and say goodby to my Aunt if they wanted to.

We had Elvis singing The Wonder of You as people said their goodbyes to her.

Afterwards,  a lovely wake.

Just the inquest to go now.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Treading water

I'm treading water, waiting for the funeral I guess. 
I can't believe its only been a week since my last blog entry, it feels like...well...months  actually.   This week has passed in slow motion.

We looked after my cousin's daughter for a couple of days last week. Full on days,  she was lovely.  She's at the age where we can have proper conversations with her, and where she wants to do things.

Then I went to help my cousin pick out some clothes for my Aunt to be cremated in. My Aunt was very particular, and we wanted her to look her best, even though it's not an open coffin.    After a bit of hesitancy, we found the perfect ensemble, and we were both instantly agreed on it.

We deided to take the opportunity to clear most of her clothes out of the wardrobe, and I packed them in to my car to take them to a charity shop or a jumble sale.  It took me a while to decide where to take them and, in the meantime,  the car smells lovely - of her washing powder.

I started to write the Eulogy.  I started by making some notes of my own thoughts, and then grouping them.  Then I made a flow,   and I fleshed out the words.   I spoke to people to say that we were writing the Eulogy, and to give them some time to think.

I fleshed out my words, and eventually read it out loud (in my living room, on my own).    The first time I tried to read my draft, I couldn't get through it.    Several times later, and I could.

Talking to people was lovely, and very draining.  Each time I added in a new story or snippet,  I had to read it out loud over and over to be able to get through it without crying.

It took several days to get through it all.

We had dinner with my cousin and his family on Easter Sunday.  A tough time for them, as their normal Easter tradition revolved around them walking over to my Aunt's house. This was the first big occasion that she wasn't going to be there.   It was a lovely evening.     The kids went out briefly,  asn we took the opportunity for me to read the Eulogy to my cousin and his wife,  and we made the final tweaks.

It's ready now.  I just need to keep reading it out loud, so that I can get through it.  If I can't get through it when I'm on my own, I'll never be able to get through it on the day.

We had my DCD (darling cousin's daughter) again for 2 days this week,  so the clothes are still in my car.  I'll take them to the charity today.

I'm looking forward to the funeral, to seeing my extended family,  to  celebrating my lovely Aunt.  It's like this thing, looming, waiting. It feels like everythign has stopped until this thing is out of the way. 

It feels like we can't get on with the business of learning how to carry on, until the funeral is done.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

And following on...

My lovely MIL is now in hospital, and DH has travelled to see her and his sister.  MIL has Dementia, and this means that the two children may have to invoke their Power of Attorney.  I may write more about this when it's over. 

On the bright side,  the Avian Flu restrictions are being lifted today: the hens can finally go out.  DH mowed thegrass at home before left,  and he also cut the grass outside the allotment.  

The Garden Girls won't be let out until this afternoon.  They haven't felt grass under their feet or tasted grass in their beaks since December last year,   and they will probably try and gorge on it.  

Last night, once the Girls had gone to bed, I started to peg out netting.  I didn't wamt to do it during the day because the Girls would see, and they would know that Something was Going On.  They would get overexcited, and trouble would ensue.

Pegging out netting in the dark isn't that difficult, even without a torch. .   What is difficult, is unrolling netting. SOmething happens with the spikes.  They get caught. It's hard to undo, even when it's daylight.    There was a lot of muttering and a bit of swearing going on in the garden at night.   I managed to put one roll up,  but the second and third rolls are currently abandoned on the ground.    I've decided I'm going to print labels and number each post, as that  would help a bit.  Not in the dark, really,  but at least I'd know what the order of the poles should be when trying to unravel them.

Roll on this afternoon!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Where to start?

It's been a horrible few weeks.

My Darling Aunt was admitted to hospital, for stents and then a pacemaker.  During her spell in hospital, I visited every day. She was her usual happy self, eating well,  making us all laugh.

 After the pacemaker, she was a bit quiet. Not surprising. She'd been through a lot for the previous week or so.  She was discharged the day after the pacemekaer was fitted.

The day after that, she had deteriorated, and we took her to A&E.  She was readmitted to hospital.

It's too soon (it's too painful) to relay what happened over the course of the next 3 days.

She died, unexpectedly, on the Sunday.  Her son and I got to the hospital in time to see her.  The hole she has left in my life, and the life of many others in our family,  is huge.  She was the glue that held our straggly and disparate family together, she was the only person who kept in touch with everyone.   She was such a vibrant, vivacious woman, full of life, full of joy.  She should not have died, and there will be an inquest.

In the meantime, my FIL died.  His death was, in contrast, a relief.  He'd been very ill for a very long time,  and the dying process was long and horribly drawn out.  We'd been waiting (and wishing) for his death for several weeks.   DH had to make several overnight trips in the space of a couple of weeks before the final death and then in the week that followed.

The last couple of weeks has all been about daily hospital visits, dying, deaths, and funerals.  FIL's funeral is now out of the way,   and DA's will be in a couple of weeks.

I've done nothing productive. I have missed acknowledging birthdays (sorry especially to my friend Sandra), I have failed to organise some friend things that I was meant to arrange.

Normal service will be resumed when possible.