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<My Diary Archive 2003 My Diary Archive>

1 - Woken by insistant Sally around 8:30am . . . walked and found 7p. Warmer and muddy. . . did some washing chores . . . PCd this . . .ended up sat in front of the TV watching the news for several hours!! . . . walked. Seemed appropriate to sit for a while on the seat smoking cigarettes and watching the stars. . . Sis1 called . . . touched base with M/D/Sis2. Dad had spent the whole day in bed. Highlight of the conversation seemed to be that he had managed a successfull 'poop' in the daipers Sis2 had bought, without leaving the bed!!! So successful was it that M/Sis2 seemed to be almost on a high. A 'relief' for everyone. :o) . . .to bed around midnight . . . the US space shuttle Columbia and her crew of seven died this day. (3/10)
2 - Woken around 6:30am by Sally climbing on the bed, laying down next to me, and then noisily licking the pillow right next to my ear!? . . . touched base with BB . . . walked . . . all loaded up and out of the house around 10:30am . . . stopped for petrol (17.36 ltr - 13). . . fast run down with a little sun between heavy showers - quite busy roads. Arrived after 12:30. Quite shocked how much Dad appeared to have deteriorated! Amazing how Mum seemed to have changed and lightened up a bit with Sis2 having MUCH more of a hand in Dads care - doing much of the difficult toilet duty on her own. Both appeared in better spirits and were managing to joke and laugh at the situation. . . chats and coffee with Mum/Sis2 in the living room listening in to Dad snoring etc. on the brilliant baby alarm (shame it doesn’t have a squelch for the constant irritating background noise!) . . .Sis2 persuaded Mum to have a look at Battery Gardens following the tree/scrub clearance so took Sally and drove with Mum for a brief walk. Brief chats to a couple of locals who were very upset by the clearance. Asked what they knew of the commemorative seats - apparently a couple of years ago it was a fee of 2000 to the council to have a plaque on one! Sally, Ted and Hilda!Mum agreed it was definitely ashes on the ground where someone had screwed their own plaque to someone else’s seat!! The ashes (Ted and Hilda apparently!) weren’t even scattered – more sort of ‘poured’ in a heap! Just HAD to take a photo at some point cause I just couldn't believe someone would do that!! . . . Stopped off at a local store on the way home. Sat in the car for a while having a decent conversation with Mum. She’ll be SO glad when it’s all over. The man she’s known for so many years has been gone for over a year now - certainly since the radiotherapy. She admitted to having reached a stage after over a year of full time 24 hour care, that she has moments of actually hating the burden that Dad has become. Perfectly understandable! Ended up talking about how it was for my grandfather when he died! Some laughing as Mum recounted how he’d lost his wife through cancer, lost a female friend and then lost his second wife!! He’d said to her at one point after all this devastating loss (perhaps when he was on his way to becoming senile) “It’s a blooming nuisance all this dyeing” . . . shopped and back to M/Ds . . . after some discussion about what was best, Mum cooked Dad a meal and then left Sis2 and I to feed it to Dad whilst she carried on cooking food for the rest of us. That way Dad was all sorted and we could relax and eat in peace. VERY difficult to support Dads dead weight in an almost upright sitting position on the edge of the bed!! Wont be able to do that for much longer! Managed to hold on whilst Sis2 spoon fed Dad his small two course meal and a cup of tea through a straw. By the time he’d finished he seemed to be absolutely exhausted and ready for falling straight back asleep! . . . ate . . . Sis1 called to touch base . . . walked in the dark blowing drizzle . . . left poor sally in the garage again and inside for chats and coffee and all ended up watching that (“I see dead people!”) Bruce Willis film, whatever it’s called, till late . . . Sis2 did ALL the bottle duties today and gave Mum a break. I WOULD have had a go if needed but was happy to leave them to their practiced routine . . . retired to the garage around 11:30pm. Blowing an absolute gale!! Difficulty sleeping with a freezing cold breeze blowing irritatingly across my face!! (_/10)
3 - Up around 7:30 after around 7 hours sleep . . . big rain stopped just as I set off to walk to Battery Gardens and back. . . helped support Dad as Mum spoon fed him some cornflakes for breakfast . . . started having a look at Mums finances. Convinced Mum to move a little money around and she actually went straight up the post office and took care of some of it almost without ANY resistance! Not sure it is the right thing to do but it was what I would do. . . . Sis2 called various nurses etc. to inform them of Dads decline and move to becoming bed bound. One called back and confirmed more or less that the decision about continuing medication and doses and such was pretty much up to us! . . . left Sis2 with Dad, Sally in the garage and drove with Mum in search of pillows, etc. etc. Small list of things to buy/things to do jotted down by Sis2. Stopped off in Paignton and visited a couple of stores but all the pillows seemed to be REAL expensive!! Ended up driving to Torquay heading for Argos and parking up for nothing miles from the shops!! typical!! Long walk down stopping in all stores that sold pillows -all VERY pricey!! Eventually to Argos and bought two ‘Dunlopillo’ pillows and one curved one for Dads head after first viewing them. Mum admitted to feeling all panicky whilst waiting in the crowd at the counter for the stuff to be brought out - guess we are more alike than I wish to admit!! I was feeling that feeling too!!. . drove back and called Sis2 on the mobile just to check all was OK and to tell her we were on our way. The district nurse was with her. She asked as many questions as she could and was promised this sheet and that mattress cover, etc. Seemed to confirm that Mum/Sis2 were doing all that could be done. Sis2 made sure she wrote on the notes that a return to Rowcroft would not be refused in the future if Dad became too much to handle at home - seemed best since all the notes said that Mum/Sis2 were coping fine and all other assistance had been marked as refused! . . . helped Sis2 prop Dad up for a cup of tea. He’s hardly had much all day! . . . All sat in Dads room for a bit having a bit of a chat but I soon headed out to spend a little time with poor Sally. Feel SO guilty about her being on her own so much. Should be sitting with Dad I guess but doesn’t seem like much point in trying too much of a conversation! . . . called back in by Sis2 ringing the mobile. Helped prop Dad up so he could have his food. Helping Dad get spoonfedVERY difficult - no amount of pillows seems to help when a person can’t support themselves at all and every touch of his skin when trying to drag him into a sitting position hurts him and brings out childlike complaints of pain! Ended up in a real weird position actually sat behind Dad holding him up JUST enough to be spoon fed by Sis2. Still all managed to see the funny side and even joked about taking a photo - managed to get Mum to pull out my digital and work out how to take a pic or two! Got Dad laying back down only for Mum to observe that the pillow under his head was the wrong way round!!??? The pillowcase had a pattern on one side which apparently HAD to be face up, so we had to lift Dad up again just to turn the bloody pillow round!!!!!!! . . . Dad all fed Mum/Sis2 and I ate in peace . . . walked as Mum/Sis2 had a cup of tea and then started the washing up. Clear starry moonless sky - very dark! . Stumbled on a dead rabbit laying on the path! Persuaded Sally to leave it before instinct drew her to tear it apart! . . . left Sally in the garage and joined M/Sis2 for coffee and a bit of TV. Long documentary about/interview with Michael Jackson. Sad crazy guy! . . . retired to the freezing cold garage (colder tonight) and then to ‘bed’ around midnight.(_/10)
4 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am . . . a hint of icy frost and VERY windy! . . . walked . . . back by 8:30am. Apparently Dad’d had a disturbed night with lots of tossing and turning and waking up, not in pain or needing anything but ‘feeling not right’!! Seems like he is ‘on the slope’. He’s only gonna get one steroid pill today. :o( . . . snow!!? Drove into Brixham around 9:30 on my own and photocopied some stuff in the library for Sis2. Popped in the Co-Op funeral home and confirmed we could pre-pay for a funeral there - picked up the latest form. Given a two for the price of one deal on a couple of chewy things for Sally in the town hall ‘Market Today’. Checked out a couple of charity shops. Scored a couple of free lamb bones from a butcher for Sally. Bought a bottle of mouth wash for Dad . . . Blue sky and sunny again. Gave Sally one of the bones out in the garden - all eaten and gone in no time! . . grabbed a couple of bowls of cornflakes for breakfast. Helped get Dad propped up on some pillows for his ‘breakfast’ around 11am! District nurse arrived and confirmed she’d try and get a single hospital bed delivered! Mum seemed to accept the idea OK until the nurse had gone and then got all weird about her house being ruined and disruption etc. etc! Dad seemed exhausted by being awake for breakfast and fell asleep again as soon as he was laying back down. . . bit of an ‘argument’ with Mum about me having a bath!! Seemed SO much easier just not to have one and retired to the garage to type this!! . . . fell asleep for a few hours (once Sally decided to let me have my bed to myself!!)! . . . missed a visit from the ‘nice’ McMillan nurse. Mum had popped out for a little shopping - soon returned. She seemed back ‘out’ of her ‘mood’. . .got the hot air blower heater from Mum and set it up in the garage. MUCH more effective than the electric oil filled towel rail thing, but daren’t leave it on for long. A quick 15 minute blast when I go into the garage seems to definitely take the edge off the cold and make things much more acceptable - can still see my breath when I breath out though! Brrrrr. . . helped prop Dad up for his Sis2 spoon-fed tea of beans on toast . . . settled Dad back down and all ate . . . Mum/Sis2 rushed in to Dad to do ‘poop’ duty - they suggested I leave them to it so I walked Sally down to Battery Gardens to do my own poop scooping duties a little after 7pm. Felt warmer than earlier (maybe just because of my full stomach) and certainly slightly less windy. . . .back to the garage and fed Sally. Messed around for a bit soldering a new ring onto the necklace I wear that Sis2 gave me years ago. It’s been held together by an old rusted miniature key ring for at least the last ten years! Sis2 had spotted it and somewhere down in Brixham the other day paid 50p for a new silver ring. . . left Sally in the cold unheated garage lying on my bed and went back inside for coffee with Mum/Sis2 and to watch a little TV . . . touched base with Sis1. Ended up talking to her on my own with Mum/Sis2 sat listening nearby on the sofa. Difficult to have the sort of conversation I would normally have - especially when Sis1 admitted she’d recently been crying and was still pretty down and feeling guilty about not doing as much as Sis2 in the situation etc., etc. Some ‘my sense of humor’ comment (‘golden child’ - referring to how Sis2 is the only one of us allowed by Mum to actually help with the washing up) upset Sis2!! Oops. I can’t win! . . .(-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . retired to the garage with the chordless phone and a coffee for cigarettes around 10pm. Tried touching base with BB but got a stupid ansaphone that cut me off in the middle of leaving a message!!? Grrrr/Brrrrrr!!! . . . ended up popping back in and messing around on the laptop a little looking at M/Ds accounts for a while. Seems as though they have a paper based version of pretty much what I do for myself on the PC -cool. . . ended up getting back to the garage around 11:30pm . . . to bed around midnight. . . couldn’t get to sleep and saw 1:30am on the clock radio!!!(_/10)
5 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am!!! . . . walked around 7:15am. Cold clear sky. Headed off on the long walk down towards ‘Pooh Lane’. Black ice all over the road - very dodgey! A new field has been laid out and fenced off next to Pooh Lane - uh oh - full of sheep!! Had to keep devil wolf dog on her lead more than usual. Down through the woods and stopped at my favorite fallen tree sitting place for a cigarette before out onto the beach at Churston Cove. Never walked on a pebbly beach before where all the pebbles were stuck together with ice! Weird. Several stops for cigarettes in Battery Gardens as the sun rose. Eventually back to M/Ds. . Got a bee in my bonnet about branches overhanging the garden path and always making me wet when I have to force my way by so spent half an hour or so trimming back some of the branches. . . joined Mum/Sis2 for coffee and a debate about maybe looking at some local nursing homes, now that they were reaching the end of their tether. Sis2 had apparently rung one up and it was around 400 a week which actually sounded pretty cheap! . . . The district nurse called and confirmed a bed would be available - she’d call back some time when she could say when it would be delivered. . Mum wanted to try lifting Dad in the way Sis2 and I had been doing so left them to it and had a bath and then a bite of ‘breakfast’ around 11am . . . Dad had woken a couple of times in the night but only because he was restless and unhappy and confused. He’d only eaten half his breakfast and cup of tea and had been rather aggressive when replying to Mum which is SO unlike the usual him! Seems yet more sleepy!. . . another couple of Social worker persons called in to assess what help they could offer. Explained that Mum wasn’t very able to cope with the prospect of having people in the home to help. Declined the offer of some hydraulic or electric crane type device to lift Dad out of bed - seems to be huge and of no use but to transfer him to the new bed when it arrives. Gonna be difficult because of lack of space in the bedroom (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)but figured we’d be able to do the transfer OK without it if we all helped. Not sure!!? So - basically they weren’t much help although DID say that if we hold our hand up and say we’ve had enough and can’t cope any more they WOULD endeavor to see what sort of hospital/care home place may be available. Seemed to me like ‘we’ (Mum/Sis2 mostly!) may as well carry on for the time being cause Dad seemed to be changing for the worse on a daily basis and if that decline continues at that rate it may not be as long as has been suggested. . . left Mum/Sis2 about to try and wash Dad and retired to the garage for a coffee, pasty, cigarettes and to PC this Touched base with BB. She has had experience of much of this stuff after looking after her gran and unprompted started saying how tough it was when the patient reaches the stage where they need turning in bed EVERY two hours (night and day) to prevent bed sores. I really don’t see how it is possible to keep up that sort of a regime with Dad at home! It’ll destroy us all! . . . left Mum at home and drove with Sis2 (first time out of the house in three days or more?!!!)and went to have a look at the care homes she’d rung up, just ‘to see’. The first one we visited, ‘Three Corners’ by Churston was bad timing. The woman we really should have seen had just left for the day, two people had died that day and they were in the middle of having an official inspection!! Said we’d maybe return another day. On the way out Sis2 said that she felt that place wouldn’t do. She is very much Mum’s daughter - apparently the feel of the entrance lobby, which was admittedly a little dated, dark and drab, was too depressing and not acceptable! Seemed to me like a room to die in was a room to die in and the entrance lobby had nothing much to do with that especially since Dad wouldn’t be going through it, but I guess for Mums benefit she was right. The second place we looked at had a better feel and the woman who showed us around was definitely a special sort. Been doing the job for about twenty eight years and seemed to exude genuine caring and ‘goodness’, ‘hocus-pocus’ like. She just seemed nice. Very depressing to wander around looking in rooms seeing all the old, sad, ‘waiting for god’ people sat and laying around. Spotted a hoist in one of the rooms. Thank god we’d agreed not to have one when the Occupational therapist recommended we should have one - it was HUGE!! Had a bit of a conversation with the woman about Dad’s condition and her experienced response suggested that he ‘may’ be nearing the end. She immediately launched into a strong warning about bed sores and how we should make sure we get the special mattress cover/sheets, soon! She had no room available at the moment but took our details and promised to get in touch if things changed. We left feeling good about her/the place but even more convinced that we should just keep going with Dad at home for the time being to see how things develop. If it was at all possible - a return of Dad to Rowcroft to end his days seemed the absolutely preferable course. . . stopped briefly for a little shopping - bought a small microwavable plated meal in the hope that would maybe do for Dad some time although it was later agreed that the tiny portion would be too much for Dad to manage! . . back at home Mum was in the bathroom and with her deaf ear didn’t hear us return (even though Dad in his state HAD and was calling out!!!). Seemed pretty obvious that Mum absolutely couldn’t deal with him on her own because she couldn’t even hear him call using the baby monitor!! . . . drove with Mum to get fish and chips . . . ate . . . walked. Felt a bit warmer (maybe because of a full stomach) and decided to walk on down to the harbor and up to Uncle Tjs. Stayed for only a little while briefing them on the current state of play and suggesting that since they were soon going out of the country for a few weeks a visit to see Dad before they go ‘may’ be for the best. They confirmed (as I’d suspected that if a funeral occurs in their absence that Coz1 would likely be their representative. . .headed straight home at a brisk pace around 8:45pm. Saw a shooting star. Whole town seemed to be deserted and I hardly saw another human being all the way home - felt nice. Lots of serious rabbit chasing by Sally around Battery Gardens. Back at M/Ds, door to door in only half an hour. . . fed Sally and joined Mum/Sis2 inside for chats . . .Sis1 called to touch base. I picked up on the portable but really wasn’t in the mood for YET more talking and going over of things and wanted Mum/Sis2 to talk. Sis2 insisted I should talk but keep the earpiece away from my ear so they could hear the conversation and join in too! Wasn’t in the mood to be messing around like that at all and insisted on giving the phone to Mum/Sis2. Sis2 got all ‘funny’ about me not having done what she suggested and said ”Why do you have to make everything so difficult” as she walked off!! Wow! That was pretty hurtful! I don’t think I do - I’m trying my utmost to just be here and put up with all the dysfunctional nonsense and just be useful! Just because I didn’t want to do exactly as I was told - again!! GrrrRRRR! Actively suppressed the desire to get in the car and head straight home! . . .Dad seemed to be restless and ‘disturbed’! . . . brief chats before retiring to the garage with a coffee around 11:30pm. Very soon to bed absolutely tired out. Felt a ‘bit’ warmer.(_/10)
6 - Woken by Sally before 7am again!!!! Grrrrr! . . . walked in the misty drizzle down to Battery Gardens and back. Sally has an upset stomach! Too many treats and rich human food of late! Found another hat!? . . . messed around tweaking the M/D finances information on the laptop, making a nice easily understood concise spread sheet. . . joined M/Sis2 for a bite of breakfast. Attempts to give Dad some breakfast had failed! He hardly even drank any of his coffee and didn’t even manage to swallow his medication!!! Seemed in a pretty poor way. More rollercoaster - once again seemed like at this rate he wont be lasting very long. . . the guy turned up to take away the wheelchair that has outlived its usefulness. In fact it was only ever used just once! . . . the Social services lady turned up to do the financial assessment. Sat down with Mum and went through stuff. She accepted the info on the spreadsheet I’d done which seemed to do the business nicely. Sis2 talked to the district nurse when she arrived for a brief visit. She said she’d get the McMillan nurse to call in again to see how Dad was now doing, now that he seemed to be worse. Mum seemed to be OK with how the morning had gone . . . retired to the garage to PC this. BIG headache!! Weird 10 missed calls on my mobile!!!? That’ll teach me to leave it out in the garage when I’m inside! Turned out to be Uncle TJ mistakenly calling the wrong number and trying to leave messages for someone else! Left an ansaphone message for him pointing out his error. . Touched base with BB. . . Lay down next to Sally on my bed and was allowed to cuddle her for while before she moved off. Fell asleep for a few hours and woken by Sally licks and waggy tailed pawing around 5pm!! . . . Sis2 had managed to persuade Dad to drink just a little milk with one of his steroid tablets dissolved in it. He was restless and distressed again. Heart wrenching to hear him so distressed and tearful with Mum trying to reassure him that he was safe and comfortable with everyone around him. First hint of any ‘emotion’ from me about all this for a while. seem to have all emotions on hold - just taking care of business. . . McMillan nurse called to confirm she’ll call in early tomorrow . . . BB called . . . ate . . . walked. Cloudy - lighter and warmer than of late. Found a penny. . . back at M/Ds to find Sis2 trying to mash up some paracetamol tablets with a spoon and dissolve them in a little warm milk! Mum was in the bathroom with a bad stomach!! Dad was groaning and moaning and quite distressed and it was hard to listen to. Sis2’d called the district nurse and Rowcroft (who’d sent him home with some paracetamol) asking if we could give him something to quieten him and make things easier for him. District nurse wasn’t much help but Rowcroft said OK to the paracetamol. Dad couldn’t be swallowing tablets and it seemed pretty vital to have something soluble. Seemed like any such headache/pain relief tablet would do (after all under the circumstances we have nothing to loose) so I popped up the local store and bought some soluble ‘Disprin’. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)For goodness sake! Helped straighten Dad up in bed after which he seemed to settle down again a little. . . retired to the garage and touched base with Sis1 feeling I needed to give her advanced warning of how VERY much Dad had declined since her last visit and to prepare her for when she comes down on the weekend. Popped the phone back in and Sis2 had just succeeded in persuading Mum to let Dad have some disprin, and she’d managed to get him to drink most of the solution she had mixed. Today Dad has eaten nothing and has drank at most, about four fingers depth of liquid! Surely he can’t go on for long like that!!!! Please! . . . PCd this . . . .back in to join Sis2/Mum for a coffee and chats. Sis2 ended up going to bed (with the baby monitor again for night monitoring/duties!) exhausted pretty early. Sat and chatted to Mum for a while before back out to the garage to bed a little after midnight. Forecast said minimum temperature of 6 degrees C tonight. Felt MUCH warmer - actually felt a little too hot in my super warm sleeping bag under a duvet! Got to sleep pretty quick.(_/10)
7 - Woken by Sally licks around 7:20am. Didn’t want to be out and miss the McMillan nurse calling (she said she’d be early around 9am) so skipped my normal sitting with coffee and cigarettes for an hour, and headed straight out at around 7:30 to get Sally’s walk done . . . fixed up the old mains intercom so I could listen for the doorbell and any activity in the hallway and sat PCing this in the garage with coffee and cigarettes. Damned intercom is all mains noise and pretty damned useless! . . . joined Mum/Sis2 inside for coffee. McMillan nurse turned up. Quick chat and briefed her about how Dad was and then she went in on her own to assess him for herself. We listened in discretely on the baby monitor and thankfully Dad didn’t do his usual act of seeming better than he actually is. He hardly responded to her questions and just groaned a little here and there. She confirmed that it looked like he may be on his way. She suggested it ‘may’ be only a week or so. She’d get in touch with the district nurse and organise a ‘syringe driver’ - a means of administering a constant supply of pain killer and some other meds to keep him comfortable. She’d be in touch. Felt like a relief to have someone confirm this may be it. I’ll be SO much happier when he has that driver thing in him! . . . grabbed a quick bath and managed to persuade Mum to let me put some stuff in the washing machine. I hadn’t planned on staying down this long and don’t have enough clothes! . . . Dad seemed very distressed, calling out Mums name, crying and moaning! Left Sis1 an ansaphone message telling her what the McMillan nurse had said . . .a special mattress was delivered. Amazingly soft weird thing, not unlike the dunlopillow pillows. I lay on it in the hallway to try it. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)It is apparantly a temporary one until another type can be obtained “as soon as one becomes available”!!! Trouble with it is that it is for a single bed!! What possible use is that in M/Ds double bed? And all that distress to Dad to try and get it under him - only to maybe have to go through it all again when the other one arrives (if it does in time!) - and of course he’d end up rolling off it!!! Absolute nonsense!! Should have had Dad in a single bed long ago!!! SO obvious! (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)I’ve GOT to just hold on and let this thing play itself out, without losing it and creating a scene and further upsetting everyone. :o( . . . Mum put my washing out on the line for me and then made me some ham sandwhiches for dinner . . . touched base with BB but ended the call real quick when I heard the doorbell go on the intercom. The District Nurse had arrived. All helped out setting up the new single mattress (she recommended we use it to help prevent bedsores-together with two hourly turning!) and then she fitted the 24hr syringe driver full of Diamorphine (10mg-30mg), Midazolum (10mg-30mg) and Nozinan (6.25 - 12.5mg) to Dad’s right shoulder. A small machine type thing popped under his pillow connected via a miniature tube to the dispenser tube inserted (almost painlessly) under his skin. To be refilled and attended to by district nurse staff every 24 hours! Whilst the nurse was there the doctor phoned and said she’d be calling in later. . . the doctor (locum?) popped in very briefly. She didn’t manage to get a word out of Dad. . . left a couple of ansaphone messages for Sis1. Sis1 called back to talk to everyone and get the latest. She’ll be down tomorrow. Excused myself from the long conversation and went and sat quietly with Dad for a while. Funny whine every now and then from the syringe driver motor as it delivered it’s dose – JUST like one of those noises you get on Star Trek when the Borg have motorised implants whirring away!! Guess I’ll always think of that now every time I watch Star Trek – maybe I wont watch it any more!? . . .weird how Uncle TJ hasn’t visited. I did my best. He’s missed his chance to have a last conversation with his brother! Guess I’ll only be making one more phone call to him – when it's over. . . . Can’t make up my mind what to do. Need more clothes and to make sure the house is all secure and maybe ask a neighbour to keep an eye on things and such. Decided to return home after something to eat and a Sally walk . . . ate beans and cheese on toast made by Mum then headed straight out with Sally to Battery Gardens to walk . . . fed Sally in the garage and then popped in to say goodbye to Mum/Sis2. They’d decided it was time to roll Dad over so I gave a hand. Turned out he’d soiled his diaper (I actually thought that was cool – an indication that he was kinda letting go) so helped roll him this way and that as Sis2 changed his diaper, and then everyone helped try and change his damp pyjama top and the special absorbent sheet he was laying on for the purpose. Difficult but all managed in the end. Sis2 really has been quite amazing throughout all of this ((-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) brings out the same childish aggravated responses in me!!! I need to grow up!!). Dad hardly stirred as we pulled him this way and that – it MUST have hurt and only a day or so ago would have been impossible with him shouting out in pain at EVERY touch! Mum at one point seemed extraordinarily rough as she pulled him out of the way so that she could straighten a crumpled sheet!!! Typical weird priorities even now! It seemed a painfully sad example of how her feelings towards him have changed. :o( Dad hadn’t hardly moved from when he was hooked up to the syringe driver by the district nurse (the drugs immediately doing their job) and his left ankle bone had been resting on the calf of his right leg, despite the pillow placed between his legs. A horrible red pressure mark was evident. THAT is what this moving him every few hours is all about then!!!!! Should I stay to do a night shift of moving him?!! . . . said my goodbyes to Mum/Sis2 (didn’t think to say goodbye to Dad – but then - HE’S been gone a while now!!) Loaded up the car around 8pm, waved goodbye and was on the road. Stopped for petrol (20.8 ltr - 16) and then a fast clear drive home with a little drizzle here and there. Wasn’t particularly tired but really wasn’t able to fully concentrate and seemed to miss long stretches of the drive!? Stopped for a pint of milk and then home around 10:15pm. Everything was secure and ok. Touched base with Mum/Sis2 who were about to turn Dad again and were planning on another turn around midnight! Wished them both good luck – and really felt I should be there! . . . PCd this, feeling I really probably shouldn't!. . uh oh!!? All the clocks were flashing - been a power cut sometime? Tried calling LB to ask but ended up having to leave an ansaphone message. Eventually to bed around 1am.(_/10)
8 -Woken by Sally around 8am . . . PCd. . . walked and found 2p. Seemed like amazing mountains of litter all over the place after having spent the week at M/Ds, where there was pretty much none at all!. . . LB had called back on the ansaphone confirming there HAD been a power cut about midweek. Typical - I leave the house for a few days and for the first time in years there is a power cut! At least it wasn’t anything to do with my dodgy electrics in the house. Popped up LBs and picked up the tobacco she’d managed to get for me from some guy at work - 10x50g packs for 42.50. At least half the normal shop price. . . dashed back home and scribbled a couple of cards and rushed around the post office and posted them. Touched base with Mum/Sis2 - status quo. Called in next door and told them what was going on and asked if they’d keep an eye on the house. Jumped in the car and drove to D&SH to push a birthday card for DH through the letter box for tomorrow. . . started sorting out clothes and stuff I’d need for a (maybe?) two week stay at M/Ds. Dug deep into the wardrobe and after a little bit of trying on in front of the mirror, settled on what I thought would make a suitable outfit for a funeral! Black tie, white shirt, black trousers, charity shop/car boot sale black waistcoat, suit jacket and tidy shoes I’ve never yet worn! I looked weird - and felt it! Called DS to sing happy birthday but ended up leaving a message on his ansaphone. Touched base with BB . . .showered and rushed down a quick bite to eat. Finished off my snack with a toffee from my Christmas Roses tin. Tried to rush the toffee by chewing it and got it stuck to a tooth!! Crack!!! Oh NOOOoo!!!!!! The worst, most heavily filled tooth in my mouth had somehow broken and the toffee (which had to be spat out) was all full of bits of filling! Turned out I’d split the tooth lengthways right in two!!!! Damn! Dunno how long I can go on with it like that. Already been root filled so not ‘too’ painful - but painful nonetheless! Can’t face the prospect of trying to get some emergency treatment until all this dying business is over with! :o( . . . messed around with the laptop and the external modem and succeeded in getting things up and running so that I could ‘maybe’ go on line down at M/Ds. Trouble is the damn laptop is SO flakey it hangs every time I try and edit my journal, so I certainly wont be able to update that whilst down there. Hmph. Probably just as well - undoubtedly would have been a big scene with Mum if I asked to plug things in to her phone sockets and such! . . . eventually loaded the car up. The nasty noisy neighbour was out opposite helping load stuff into a hired removal van!! Walking to and fro loading the car up it must have been obvious I was going away for a bit - ended up absolutely convinced that I would return home to find the house had been burgled!! Nothing I could do about it . . Been rushing around all morning trying to get everything done and make sure I get back down to M/Ds before Dad dies!!! On the road around 2pm. Clear run down. Felt weird. Strange image popped into my mind - of rushing down the motorway in the middle lane, racing against an open top car in the fast lane with the grim reaper driving, huge black robes blowing in the wind, scythe stuck up over his shoulder with the pointy bit stuck in the back seat! Racing to reach Dad first. Crazy nut! Drove pretty quick. . Not far from M/Ds the mobile rang. Answered expecting the worst - it was DS! Hey. :o) Impossible to drive and chat so promised to call back later. Arrived at M/Ds in the usual two hours or thereabouts. Sis1s car was filling the drive so jumped out to ask her to budge it up, just as she was coming out to do so. She drove out and let me park nearest the garage before pulling back in infront. The excuse was so I would be nearer the garage for unloading Sally etc. but I suspected it was so she could escape and get out for a drive if the ‘pressure’ got too much. She’d been crying. Unloaded all my stuff and settled Sally back into the garage. Turned on the radio (as I do when I leave her out there on her own) and ‘that’ song was playing - “Dont Fear The Reaper”! Hocus Pocusy! . . . Dad seemed much the same - only a little worse! His unconscious breathing had turned into a horrible gurgly throated noise, definitely exacerbated by him lying on his back at the time. Uncle TJ had apparently visited for a final one way chat in the early afternoon. Mum and Sis2 had changed Dads wet diaper again at some point and had decided not to bother putting a clean pyjama top back on, such was the difficulty - good! Seems little point in pulling him this way and that just to put that on when he seems warm enough. In fact he seems to be heating up rather! I think one of the nurses a day or so ago warned that he probably would - something to do with the dying process. Two McMillan nurses had visited around 3pm to reload Dads syringe driver and to move him around a bit. Mum/Sis2 didn’t like one of them who didn’t seem to know what she was doing and they couldn’t get her out of the house quick enough! The other one was the complete opposite and they took to her immediately with her kind caring attitude . . . all helped as Sis2 changed Dads diaper again and then rolled him over onto his side. . .retired to the garage with the chordless and gave DS a quick call to say Happy Birthday and to touch base. SO hard not to just go on talking about all these dying stuff experiences - I don’t think I’m very much good for a conversation with anyone right now. Cut the conversation short when Sis1 came out to tell me food was ready (earlier than usual cause Mum hadn’t eaten all day with her stress induced bad stomach, and the smell of Sis1s meals on wheels offering had made her hungry). . . Ate Sis1s pasta/veg meals on wheels deal . . . Walked to Battery Gardens. Found 2p. Not bad considering it was dark and all the roads around here seem to be made of weird stuff that all looks like shiny coins under the street lights! Quite breezy and cloudy, the clouds reflecting all the street lights and making the walk mostly possible without a torch. . . back to sit in the garage with coffee and cigarettes to PC a bit of this - feeling like being alone a bit (lot!). . . eventually joined everyone inside for coffee and chats and occasional sits with Dad. Sis2 ended up going to bed early with the baby monitor. . checked with Mum/Sis1 that Dad was comfy and dry and then retired early to the garage around 11pm. Soon to sleep.(_/10)
9 - Woken by Sally licking my face and hassling me at some ridiculously early hour. Pushed her away and tried to sleep some more. A while later Sally heard something and started barking - I shouted to her to ‘shut the **** up!’ Just then Sis2 was knocking on the garage door. Leaped up - she said she thought it was over. Grabbed some clothes and rushed inside to join Mum, Sis2 and Sis1 in Dads room. He was peaceful and quiet. He’d gone. Sis2 said she’d heard some different breathing on the baby monitor and had gone in to check and was there when he went at around 5:20am. She’d thought he’d gone around ten minutes earlier but he then started breathing again so she’d decided not to wake anyone because she wasn’t sure and didn’t want to wake us all unecessarily!(-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) . . Sat for a while with him before heading back out to the garage for a bit of a cry and to call Uncle TJ and then to leave an ansaphone message for BB. . . Everyone needed some time so it was agreed we’d not call the doctor in until later. . . walked Sally down to Battery Gardens to get that done and out of the way. Ignored as best I could the stolen dumped car half on the pavement near the entrance to the gardens. Breezy and still dark except for the bright orange sea gulls all flying around reflecting the street lights! Back near M/Ds spotted a couple of frogs in the road, one on top of the other all mating. Relocated them to the pond which was already full of lots of others, all ‘at it’! Life goes on. . . sat in with Dad for a while with Mum. She seemed OK. Took the opportunity to touch Dad for the last time and gently stroked his cooling head. She said something about me being the head of the family now!!! Absolute nonsense of course but ended up getting all tearful. Mum figured I needed some time alone with Dad and left me to cry for a while. Lots of thoughts. Wished I’d been able to be more - to have been able to make Dad proud of me, rather than end up some unemployed reclusive weirdo for whom life is nothing more than something to be endured and which seems ultimately absolutely pointless. At around 8 o’clock it was agreed that we’d had long enough and I should call the doctor. Went through the appropriate reception service and was then called back to confirm a doctor would be with us soon. The lady doctor was very matter of fact and just taking care of business. She quickly checked his heart and then joined us in the living room to fill out her release consent form. She’d fax it and we’d have to pick up the appropriate certificate from the doctors surgery some time tomorrow. Sis1 had already disconnected the syringe driver that was still whirring away, and put it out in the kitchen on a plate to collect any medication spillage - the doctor said to just remove the battery, so I did. She breezed through which funeral director we were going to use and then took it upon herself to call them on our behalf before handing the phone over to Mum. Apparently they’d be here in 45 minutes to collect the deceased and would then be in touch tomorrow to actually discuss the arrangements. Uncle TJ called in the middle of all this so I said we’d call him back. The doctor was just leaving and then returned to suggest we call the McMillan nurses and let them know, in case someone else needed the syringe driver! Called the nurse and it turned out to be the really nice one that had been there yesterday - she said she’d be right here. Within minutes she arrived and really did have a marvellously supportive and calming manner. She took all the bits and pieces away except for all Dads medication, which we’ll have to return to the chemist/doctor (?) tomorrow for appropriate disposal. Sought Mums approval (she was phoning a very few friends and relatives) and then popped round to three of the neighbours to let them know Dad had gone, before it became obvious by funeral people arriving in the street. Mum took some time to sort out a set of Dads clothes and shoes for him to be dressed in, and wrapped them in a carrier with his false teeth, for the funeral guys to take. All sat with Dad. In no time at all a smart white van with blacked out rear windows pulled up outside with two appropriately smartly dressed men. They were very considerate and respectful. They recommended we wait in the other room and leave them to take care of Dad. We all said our last tearful goodbyes. I waited in the hallway with Sis1 as they wheeled in a stretcher and then closed the bedroom door. Lots of rustling as Dad was obviously being placed in the large black body bag. After only a short time the bedroom door opened and they were bringing him out. Bit of a shock at first as we saw the stretcher on it’s bottom set of wheels in an upright position at the doorway! Of course it was the only practical way to get a heavy stretcher through the door. Seemed funny to have Dad strapped inside that bag , kinda stood up with us! He was soon through the door, back horizontal and out along the garden path. I rushed down and pushed the gate to and fro to make their exit easier, and then lifted up the tailgate of the van for them. Dad was slipped into the back of the van - next to someone else’s body bag!! “Busy morning?” I ‘joked’. “It’s been a busy weekend!” they said. One of the men returned to the door to tell us where Dad was going and to confirm that they’d be in touch tomorrow. Dad was driven away. . touched base with Uncle TJ and left an ansaphone message saying what was occurring and that there was little to tell until tomorrow. . . a strange calm descended on us all. Not an unhappy calm. It was OK. It was all over. Nothing much could be done until tomorrow. . Mum started sorting stuff out, airing the room, cleaning all the bottles and commode and bits and pieces that would have to go back, and putting things through the washing machine. Business as usual! . . . windy and cold but turned out real sunny. Mum seemed ‘happy’ enough and content to ‘do her things’. Sis1/2 and I decided to go get a breath of fresh air and go for a walk. said I’d maybe meet them at Battery Gardens and headed off with Sally on the long ‘Pooh Lane’ walk. VERY busy - everyone and their dogs seemed to be out walking through the woods. Not so nice. Met up with Sis1/2 and sat in one of the World War 2 pill boxes out of the wind for a while. Walked along and spotted a seal looking back up at us from the water. Sat here and there chatting a little before heading back. . . all grabbed a small bite to eat. Difficulty with my two tooth parts wobbling around in my gum!!!! Very tired. . . retired to the garage to PC this. Loads and loads of hassle with the bloody useless laptop. Not enough memory to do all that I need to do to edit and attempt to upload my journal, which strangely I REALLY wanted to do!!!???? Ended up having a crash course in HTML editing using wordpad! Ugh! Got there in the end. Popped back inside and confirmed with Mum it was OK (well - reluctantly - ish!) if I disconnected the phone and plugged the laptop in, “just to check my e-mails”!! Walked on eggshells with Mum supervising the unplugging and plugging back in!! Made her pick up the phone to hear the dial tone, just to prove to her I HADN’T broken the phone line as she suspected I may. She then went on to tell me how Dad had once temporarily disconnected the phone only for it to then dial out OK but not ring for incoming calls!! That was the time the police had called at their door wondering if they were OK. Sis2 had been trying to call and had repeatedly got no answer for ages - right around the time that the nutcase she’d split up with who’d threatened to kill her had also threatened to fly over and kill Mum and Dad!! She’d got SO worried that she eventually somehow managed to get the police to check they were OK. Thankfully right then a relative called enquiring about funeral dates which proved I hadn’t brought down the entire UK phone system! . . .Mum had a bit of a crisis at some point during the day when she discovered the cold water bath tap had started to drip quite badly, and suggested that ‘someone’ had turned it off too harshly! She’d have to get a plumber in! I explained it was just one of those things - “Shi -um-er- stuff happens!” and it was probably just a real simple matter of replacing the washer, which I’m sure Dad had a supply of in the garage. It would have to wait cause Mum couldn’t possibly stop washing things to turn the water off!. . . everyone still seemed to be in that strange relieved, ‘a weight has been lifted’ mood with considerable joking and laughter as Sis1 told amusing tales from where she works. Could still hear the laughter through the walls as I lay down in the garage for some sleep. . .woken by Sally around 6:15pm . . . A couple of extraordinarily nicely worded cards from neighbours had already been popped through the door. . Mum prepared a meal of salad and the rest of Sis1’s meals on wheels. All sat and ate and chatted. . . walked. The stolen dumped car had been removed. Cold starry moonlit night. Sat on seats with cigarettes for quite a while as Sally chased around. Even chased what must have been a low swooping owl!!! . . . discovered the washing machine stopped in mid program showing an error code - again! The second time in a couple of days - Mum had begun to obsess that it was going wrong. When I read through the manual the other day I suspected it was because Mum had actually forgotten to turn the water supply tap ON, but I wasn’t sure because she’d ignored my pleas to let me have a look and had insisted on resetting everything and starting again! Immediately confirmed in her absence (she was in the other room on the phone chatting to her invaluable supportive lifelong friend ML) that she HAD forgotten to turn on the water supply to the machine. Thank goodness. Persuaded her into the kitchen and showed her the evidence I’d found in the hope it would put her mind at ease about the reliability of the machine!. . .found an ansaphone message on my mobile! Must have slept through it ringing!! I’d have been NO good at all at monitoring baby alarms in my sleep like Sis2 has done for days! Nice message from Coz1 (let Mum listen to it) - looks like he WILL be representing Uncle TJ at the funeral. Will call him once there is news of a date. . . after much persuading and debating, Mum (having washed everything all day and found no signs of ANY soiling, so thorough was her and Sis2’s care of Dad) decided that she WOULD sleep in her bed in her bedroom tonight thus allowing Sis1 to sleep comfortably on the sofa rather than on the floor of Sis2’s room. Mum had been adamant that she would throw away the old double bed Dad had died in and would continue to sleep on the sofa for the next few weeks, until she could buy a new one! Completely unnecessary from a purely practical point of view I thought . . . Sis2 was asleep quite early. I vacated the living room around 10:15pm and left Sis1 making ready for sleep on the sofa. Mum was still in good humour, in the kitchen with the washing machine running, and washing up all the dishes from tea. I offered, knowing that she would absolutely insist that I did NOT help with anything! Left her to it and headed for the garage . . . PCd till late. Dunno what is REALLY going on in Mums mind. Is she REALLY ok or just in denial - with some huge ‘crash’ waiting in the wings the minute she is left here alone when we all head home after the funeral? Sis2 seems to be having the hardest time with it all at the moment. I seem to be OK - I’ll have my moments - just up tight about having to go through all the funeral stuff right now. Who can tell? “It’s a blooming nuisance all this dyeing!” . . My father died this day.
10 -Up around 7:15am to a white garden! Brrr . . . walked in the frost. Quick chat with mums next door neighbour who was out walking her dogs. . Very nearly came a cropper slipping on the ice on the steepest slope in Battery Gardens and only just managed to stay on my feet by breaking into a run and veering off into the scrub! . . . fielded various phone calls from the Co-Op funeral services guy and eventually agreed that he should call in at 10:30am. Weird - felt like asking him if Dad’d had a comfortable night, but of course I didn’t. Started making phone calls trying to sort out pensions and accounts and changing the name on all the bills to Mums. Nightmare! Took hours! Must have spent hours more on hold on various numbers. A very few just did the business over the phone without any hassle but several demanded I write to notify them and a few even demanded a CERTIFIED copy of the death certificate!!! The worst of the lot was British Telecom. They insisted a whole new contract would have to be set up in Mums name - then there was difficulty with their computer not accepting the information and the woman started trying to tell me I’d have to wait seven days for some changes to be implemented after which I’d have to phone up and set up anew all the ‘friends and family’ numbers from scratch!! Nightmare. Ridiculous!!!!! Got really annoyed and had visions of Mum being unable to make the normal cheap calls she makes so told them to just pretend I hadn’t called and leave it all untouched! What absolute nonsense! Will have to return to try that one again in the near future when I have done all the necessary homework on all the numbers and such. Idiotic bureaucratic stupidity! Grrrr . . . Sis1/2 took a call from the funeral director confirming the funeral would be at midday on Monday 17th February. . . Co-Op guy turned up and filled out the necessary forms after going through what we all finally decided we wanted. Basic cremation coffin, a car for the family from home to the crematorium, meet Dad at the gates, non religious service, ashes scattered in the garden of remembrance, etc. Around 1752!! Ouch - but not a time to penny pinch! Given details of a minister who did non religious services who would be in touch. He told us the next thing to be done was to get the death registration form from the doctor which would then have to be taken to the Registrars. We didn’t ‘gel’ with the funeral guy. He just somehow didn’t seem to have the sort of professional attitude that one would expect - started telling us about himself and his life - as if we cared! Glad when he was gone . . . the doctors surgery told me the fax had arrived from the bay doctor who had examined Dad to confirm death yesterday, and they told me to ring back around 2:30pm to see if the actual certificate was ready . . . more phoning. Booked an appointment at the registrars for 4:00pm . . . the funeral guy phoned to say the doctor had dropped off the death registration form at the funeral home and I could pop down and pick it up! Finished some more phone calls and then drove with Sis1 to pick it up. Funeral guy phoned the registrars on my behalf to put my mind at ease and confirm that I could register the death even though it was noted as Sis2 being the one present at death! Dashed into the library to make photo copies only to find the machine was out of order! Thankfully a nearby shop also offered a service so managed to grab a few copies for whatever use they may be. Read the small print and figured I should have brought some pension details as well as Dads medical card so quickly drove back to Mums to pick it up. Set straight off for the Registrars office at Oldway Mansion in Paignton looking for the ‘big milk bottle’ landmark the co-op guy had mentioned!?? Amazingly stopped at a set of traffic lights, I spotted the milk bottle. Weird three foot high addition to someone’s garden wall!!!?????? Just on up the road we found the turning to the mansion house grounds. Oldway MansionFound a parking spot on the main road a short walk away and walked back and through the coffee shop and into the enormous imposing and frankly breathtaking main hall, with incredible classical paintings on the ceiling. Amazing place! Must go back and have another look some time. Way too early for our 4 o’clock appointment but figured we’d go and find where to go when we came back later. Some guy kinda welcomed us into the office and asked what we were there for. He said to sit and he’d see if they could fit us in right away. They did. The registrar woman asked us all the appropriate questions in her polished sensitive business like way. When she looked at the doctors certificate she became concerned and explained that the doctor should have referred it to the coroners office because she hadn’t actually attended Dad within the last two weeks!!!! Held our breath as she had to phone the doctor and point out the error. Didn’t seem right we had to sit there and listen to that bureaucratic ‘argument’ all worried! After her call she said it wouldn’t hold anything up and after filling out all the forms we were soon paying the 21 for six (plenty of spares for banks and solicitors and who knows what) certified copies of the death certificate. Had a brief watery eyed moment as I wrote the cheque. Felt weird to have to pay for Dads death like that - like his lifetime of experiences was worth 3.50!!!! . . . drove back to the library in Brixham for photocopies (funeral place was shut!) before returning to Mums . . .everyone still seemed to be in relatively good humour so it was decided we’d all go out for a meal to the pub Mum and Sis2 had been to a couple of times of late. All drove down in Sis1’s car. Felt really weird passing the funeral home knowing Dad was in there somewhere and we were all going out for a meal without him. Weirder still when I realised the pub more or less backed on to the funeral place! Dropped Mum/Sis2 off and accompanied Sis1 trying to find a place to park. Nowhere anywhere near so ended up paying in the multi storey car park and walking all the way back. . ate and ‘discussed’ the eulogy that Mum/Sis1/2 had started typing on my laptop. I’d made it clear that I’d thought long and hard over it for months and had concluded I just couldn’t do it. Seemed like all the words in the world could be written, some good, some bad, but at the end of the day it was sufficient for me to say little more than ‘he was my father’! I attempted to explain that I felt what had already been done, was not what was appropriate for such a ‘ritualised public recital’. Seemed to me that what they’d come up with were personal letters to Dad which were more appropriate to be either kept to oneself or maybe even slipped into his pocket in the casket! We each had our own very different view of who Dad was and what his qualities and legacies and such were. I felt very strongly that the eulogy should attempt to say something for everyone who may be there in a somewhat formal, ‘do the right thing’ way, even though we were intent on making it as personal to him as we could. Sis1/2 didn’t agree and with my style of persuasion (argument!), I seemed to end up being the bad guy!!??? . . . walked in rubber in the wind and rain. Fed Sally and then sat quietly in the garage on my own for quite a while. . . joined everyone inside for chats and more ‘arguments’ about Dads eulogy! Sis1’s face looked particularly anguished and upset. . . eventually retired to the garage. Ended up PCing and trying to modify the eulogy Sis1/2/Mum had done into something I felt was more appropriate! Ended up PCing till around 2am and then had difficulty getting to sleep. (_/10)
11 -Woken by Sally around 7:15am . . . walked to Battery Gardens. Found some guys photo ID card!? Ended up crying half the way home and had to stand outside Mums for a few minutes trying to compose myself before going back into the garage, rather than be seen by anyone in such a mess. Tried phoning the number on the ID card to attempt to find out where to return it to but was told to post it back to the parent company cause they didn’t know who the card may have been issued to!!?? Dodgey! . . Mum hadn’t slept well, worrying about getting the funeral over and done with! The prospect of having to undergo such a ‘public function’ is making me feel SO uptight!! . . quickly bathed . . .All had yet another play with the Dad words and yet again we all wanted to modify what everyone else had written!! (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)Grrrr. Figured it was far better to speak to the minister doing the service first, to get a feel for what on earth we are aiming at. . . Made yet more phone calls. Set up a viewing of Dads body for midday. Set up a meeting with the minister for 6:30pm at home. Sis1/Sis2 composed an appropriate entry for the newspaper in Bristol - phoned it in and paid the 38.34 fee by credit card. Tried getting a number for someone at the Post Office in Bristol so I could attempt to let all Dads old colleagues know, as he’d asked me to. Ridiculous that the Post Office help line wouldn’t give me the phone number of anyone there. Eventually persuaded them to put me through to ML I used to work with but it was an ansaphone. Remembered another name from when I worked there and managed to get them to put me through on her mobile. She let me have the mobile number of one of the managers who she thought ‘may’ help. Ended up leaving a real awkward long winded message on his voicemail - neither of us liked the other! . . . Left Sally in the garage and all drove down into Brixham in Sis1’s car. parked in the pay and display car park and headed for the funeral home. Handed over the required registrars form. Ordered the flowers Mum/Sis1/Sis2 had chosen from the funeral directors book. Absolutely AWFUL the way the funeral guy then pulled out a pile of randomly mixed (departed brother, mother, etc.) cards to go with the flowers, which we had to sort through trying to find one that was appropriate. Couldn’t find one so agreed we‘d get one elsewhere and return it to him. Very poor. Have little confidence in that mans ability and really don’t like his manner at all! Viewed Dad’s body. Very emotional moments. We took our time. Dad looked fantastic. Incredible job they’d managed to do. He looked healthier than he had done since his surgery! Almost as though he would open his eyes and stand up at any moment! Smartly dressed in his clothes, combed hair and beard, hands neatly crossed resting on his stomach, natural colour, etc. Even a hint of tears in the corner of his closed eyes, although seemed pretty obvious that was probably condensation (his hand was as warm as a half thawed frozen chicken!!) He looked absolutely amazing. Very worthwhile experience. All agreed despite our distress that it was very comforting to see him looking his best. Cried quite a bit. . . composed ourselves and headed over to the shops. I dashed off and sorted out some more credit on my pay you go mobile as Mum/Sis1/Sis2 went in a flower shop and bought a suitable card for the coffin. All went for a coffee. Mum/Sis1/Sis2 all went into Boots chemist to return Dads unused medication for disposal. Figured I’d grab a cigarette so stayed outside and sat on the bench that was only about thirty feet away from the shop. Watched the world go by. Finished my cigarette. Sat. Waited. Wondered what the hell they were up to so eventually walked up and down peering through the shop window. Very soon became obvious they weren’t in there!! Huh? No sign of them up or down the street so quickly rushed back towards the car park trying to call Sis1 on her mobile. No answer!!!! Then my mobile rang - they were all sat back in the car waiting for me! What?!!! I couldn’t believe they’d just wandered off like without a thought for me! Felt really rejected and hurt!!! I could never do such a thing. How inconsequential I must be to them all. . .all drove to the crematorium to check it out before Monday and remove some of the anxiety. Luckily there was no funeral actually going on at the time so we were at liberty to wander around and have a look at the garden of remembrance. Soon became clear it wasn’t very nice at all! Just a piece of grass sloping away behind the crematorium building with it’s great brick chimney, with peoples flowers and traces of sprinkled ash here and there!! It didn’t feel good - especially if one could imagine maybe wanting to visit some time in the future. It wasn’t long before Mum expressed a desire to maybe have Dads remains back so that she could put him somewhere else. A brief discussion and she soon arrived at the decision to sprinkle him in her garden - amongst the fir trees he’d planted - so he’d be with her when she worked or sat in the garden. Seemed like a good idea. . . drove out of the crematorium just as a hearse and people were arriving. Good timing. . . decided to stop at a pub near the Paignton sea front for a meal. Called the funeral place and confirmed we’d changed our minds and wanted Dads remains back. Was told we’d need to complete another form and then we’d probably be able to pick them up on the following Tuesday from the funeral home in Brixham - they’d call when we could pick dad up. . Wasn’t a nice place to eat. Ended up sat waiting for ages for the food to arrive with loud music blaring from speakers all round the room, competing with the noise from the television which was on near the bar! Somewhere in the back they were getting ready for a children’s party and some guy wearing a fluffy bear suit was wandering around!! I started feeling a bit weird and unwell and even worse when all of a sudden I realised I was unable to read the menu!!!!!?? That weird sort of visual disturbance that occurs in the brain during or immediately prior to having a migraine type headache! Haven’t had that for years! Actually quite frightened me. Impossible not to imagine that maybe I too was developing a brain tumour! Conversation all about a strange cluster of maybe six brain tumours all local to where we used to live didn’t help! (That REALLY IS too much of a coincidence surely!) Kept how I was feeling to myself, not wanting to worry or upset Mum. managed to make out something to eat on the menu and was then given Mums money to go to the bar to order it all. Asked Sis1 to accompany me, the excuse being to help remember what everyone wanted. In reality I needed her to do the ordering and actually hand over the money and take the change and such because I just couldn’t see!!!! Scary! Once we were on our own I told her why and she handled everything. Eventually as I ate I started feeling a little better and my eyesight returned to normal. Just then my fractured tooth gave up the fight and half of it fell out!!!!! Big jaggedy mess left in my gum! Uh oh. Carefully finished the (rather small and cold!!) meal and all headed back. Mum suggested we stop at her dentist and see if they could fit me in as an emergency. I agreed we may as well - couldn’t take long for a quick extraction! Mum explained the sob story and they said yes so I was left there to wait for a slot. Amazing place. The receptionist was just full of joy and seemed able to joke and have a laugh with everyone and cheer them up, whether they felt like it or not. Eventually in to see the lady dentist, feeling very embarrassed that my mouth was probably still full of my dinner! She was brilliant!! Very calming and business like. Even kept up instructions about taking relaxing deep breaths as she prodded away in my mouth. Incredibly she suggested that she should fill my tooth rather than just pull it out. Should be good for quite a while yet she suggested. Readily agreed she should have a go. In what seemed like no time at all and without any anaesthetic (because it had already been root filled) she was done with her drilling and had reconstructed a good representation of a whole-ish tooth! Brilliant. Paid the VERY reasonable 40 and was soon out and walking back to Mums. What a fantastic dentist. How totally different to the miserable ordeal I always have to go through with mine, even just for a normal check up! . . Thankfully poor old Sally had been let out of the garage by Sis2 who was all cold and keeping her company in the garden :o) . . . touched base with BB . . . at 6:30pm the minister turned up to talk about the service. We showed him what we’d put together on the laptop and he seemed quite keen on the idea. But then of course he could hardly say ‘how awful ,what a load of rubbish’ could he?! As he talked and gave us some of his background, it was possible to feel very good about him conducting the service. He was a ‘good’ man. He’d been doing such stuff for years and it showed. More expert councillor than minister. Hardly a word was out of place in the responses he gave to any concerns or questions, not only about the service but also about Dad, death and life in general! if he couldn’t do a good job with this no one could. He really did put all our minds a little more at ease. With a little more of an idea of what we were aiming for it was agreed we would e-mail him the finished eulogy as soon as we could. . . walked . . . to bed around 11pm. (_/10)
12 -Woken by Sally around 7am again . . . walked . . . back to start PCing a bit more with the eulogy which seems to have become some HUGE nightmare with an immovable deadline for completion rapidly approaching!! Eventually took it back in for Sis1/2 to have a go at, because I just can’t remember all that childhood stuff that would make it perfect . . . got a reply to my Red Cross ansaphone message the other day, to confirm they would pop up later to pick up the commode, mattress and cushion equipment . . .dashed down to the Co-Op funeral directors and picked up the form which they said Mum had to sign! Rushed straight back and got her signature. Rushed straight back down and dropped off the form. . .back up to find the equipment guy taking the stuff away. Such a relief to see it gone. . . got really REALLY frustrated as Sis1/2/Mum messed around seeming to do ANYTHING but tackle the eulogy!! Seemed to me that it was absolutely VITAL to get that done ASAP - and I just couldn’t do it on my own! Couldn’t stand the pressure and got a bit crazy. Seemed like SO much could go wrong now everything relied on my Laptop, a floppy disk, e-mail to the minister for approval and amendments, plans to try and print out copies for everyone on another PC at the library, software compatibility issues etc. etc. etc. - and all before Monday!!!!! The pitfalls seemed endless!!! And then of course there was the music which we’d have to tape onto a cassette and get to the crematorium on time etc.!! Arrrrrggggghhhhh!! . . .called the solicitor about Dads will. Gotta write in with a certified death certificate but no probate cause nothing solely in his name. Good! . . . Dashed down town with a floppy disk to the library only to find it was half day closing and too late to do a test! Booked up a time slot for an hour from 9:45 tomorrow morning. More pressure! No PC shops in Brixham for backup floppies. Managed at least to buy a few blank cassettes. Rushed into the building society and confirmed the procedure for taking dads name off their joint account - need to get Mum down there with a death certificate! . . Returned to Mums only to find what I thought was a really neat piece of the eulogy that I’d laboured over for an hour or so that morning had been completely destroyed and turned into something - um - well - frankly AWFUL!! Tactlessly I showed my complete disapproval and despair and got more and more wound up and miserable . . too many cooks . . .lost it big time and tried desperately to withdraw and say I’d accept whatever anyone did. Ended up kinda having a row and doing some REALLY childish sulking type behaviours! The final straw was when Sis2 said she was going out for a walk! I said to hell with it and I was going out to the garage!! Ended up having a cry!!!!!! I don’t know what to do - and I can’t ask Dad what I’m supposed to do about anything anymore. . . Mum said she wanted me to try and do it some more. Sis2 came out trying to play peacemaker and ended up seeing me in a blubbering state! Embarrassing. . . eventually went back in and copied off one of the pieces of music from record to cassette to at least get that done and out of the way. Returned to the garage for quiet solitude (and necessary chain smoking) and typed some more. Terribly unhappy with what it had turned in to but figured it just needed to be tied up and finished. Too much of a ridiculous burden. Plenty of slash and burn and ended up with a very much shorter version than would have been far more appropriate. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . the guy from the post office thankfully called me back and confirmed he would try and do some appropriate notification to tell former colleagues that Dad’d passed away. A weight off my mind. . . more grinding away in a bad atmosphere on the eulogy with everyone . . . stopped nearing some sort of end for some beans on toast tea. Quickly called PS to ask him to buy an evening post so I could get my hands on a copy. His wife said they had one and they’d keep it for me . . . said goodbye to Sis1 who was about to leave for home for a day or so and set off to walk . . . finished off the eulogy with Mum/Sis2 and finally - FINALLY at around 10 o’clock actually managed to e-mail it (I hope!!!) to the minister. Terribly disappointed with the finished combined result. Seemed to me that all the editing and grammar spell checking that was finally applied kinda turned a rose into a pruned thorny stem! How incredible that people are actually taught to write that way! Ended up like a business memo! What the hell. I guess it’s still pretty good as eulogies go. Bound to draw plenty tears. . . . Sis2 called Sis1 to check she was home OK. Sis1 had managed to get an evening post with the notice of Dads death in it. . . retired to the garage with a pile of paperwork all requiring letters writing. Didn’t get round to it. PCd this (just memory jogger notes) instead whilst I can still remember at least some of the running around and nightmarish madness of the last couple of days!! . . . ended up staying up until around 2am in the freezing cold typing letters to here and there changing stuff into Mums name so tomorrow’s visit to the library wont be a total waste of time!. . . touched base with BB. (_/10)
13 -Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . walked at speed . . . back to PC just a little more and rushed at polishing off a couple of the letters . . . drove with Sis2 down to the multi storey car park. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) Slowly went into the library and started messing with printing out the eulogy. Messed around some more, typing and printing out letters. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) Typed up another one there and then to ‘Benedon’ trying to claim some of the bills that Dads illness incurred prior to his realising they could help. Their policy is no retrospective claims! Not fair. They got off real lightly with Dad and have paid up very little. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)Eventually finished but then Sis2 wanted to stroll around looking for nice paper to copy the eulogy onto and go for a coffee and such, so we would keep out of Mums way because she was vacuuming, dusting and tidying the living room!! . . dashed back to the car to pay for the parking which I’d forgotten!! Luckily no tickets or clamps. . . searched and found Sis2 waiting for me in the high street after having been off buying a new scarf or some such . . . went into a restaurant for a coffee to keep Sis2 happy. Figured I may as well get a decent bite to eat and ordered a cooked breakfast. Think I’ve lost weight since I’ve been down here - seem to be on a starvation diet, having to fit in with Mums usual no lunch routine, although I have managed to ‘force’ her to do some sandwiches on several occasions. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . Sis2 said she was gonna give Mum her space and was gonna go for a walk. I still felt we were under pressure with all the arrangements etc. and wasn’t going to be forced to waste valuable time so I said I’d see her later. . . stopped off in the butchers and scored some bones for Sally . . . filled up with petrol (31.21 ltrs - 24) and then returned to Mums . . . figured time was running out so rang the minister and left an ansaphone message asking if he’d got the eulogy e-mail. Not long after he called back and said no. Oh no!!!!!!! Eventually figured out that the leaflet with the e-mail address we’d be given by the funeral home was out of date and his e-mail address had changed. Rushed to get the laptop and unplugged the phone and set it all up in the hallway and managed to re-send the mail to the correct address. . left another ansaphone message with the minister asking him to confirm receipt . . . interrupted Mums day long vacuuming and got her to read and sign the letters I’d had printed and got them in the post . . . took the chordless and mobile phones in with me and had a bath! The minister called to confirm he’d got my e-mail and was quite happy with the eulogy (how could he not be?!), the timing of which just so happened to be only eight seconds short of what he normally allows. Cool. He was happy with it. (I didn’t say I was in the bath as we spoke but he must have heard the water I’m sure!) Excellent - so now we could go ahead and work on getting all the copies done for handing out at the funeral. Trouble was Sis2 was still out and about walking and hadn’t taken Mums mobile!!! Grrrr. . . sat around all up tight wasting valuable time waiting for Sis2 to appear! . . . Uncle TJ called to confirm he’d been in to see Dad and say last farewells. I suspected he may not - glad he did. . . Sis1 called to confirm she’d managed to get a copy of the Johnny Mathis CD we wanted. Fair enough but that now meant that we couldn’t deliver the music instructions to the funeral parlour until Sis1 got back down here!!! Arrrrgggghhh!! More stress. . .called the funeral home and asked what the deadline was tomorrow for getting the music and printed eulogy copies to them. The woman on the phone said she couldn’t tell me!! Huh? Weird, weird conversation where I tried to impress upon her all I needed was a time. She said she’d have to call me back!! She did a while later still unclear about when things had to be there so I kinda backed her into a corner and got her to say midday! For goodness sake! . . . at last Sis2 turned up late afternoon. I explained we were good to go and get the copies done but she wanted a cup of tea so I had to wait while she had one. . drove in the busy traffic to the ‘Staples’ store she’d spotted near the crematorium. Drove as quick as I could. There was some conversation about how I suspected that, just because we were in a hurry and it was ‘vital’, Staples wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . Wandered up and down rather aimlessly as Sis2 browsed all the different types of paper looking for just the right colour, pattern and weight!! Eventually settled on a pack and then headed for the copying counter. The first test print looked fine to me. Apparently the ghostly impact line of one of the photocopier rollers meant that it was unacceptable to Sis2. The poor copy assistant had another go and another, trying different ways to get around it and finally had to give up when the machine gave up and broke down! I went out for the occasional cigarette as this was going on. Seemed to me like we’d lost sight of what this whole thing was about and I was near breaking point with all the stress of the approaching deadline. We ended up trying copies in both of the different self service machines but each had a trace of dirt or something on the internal rollers and the slightest hint of copy toner appeared on the copies where it shouldn’t. Unacceptable. Other customers were kept waiting for at least half an hour as this fiasco proceeded. To cut a long story short, we ended up getting acceptable copies by using the colour photocopier and we were given a discount for all the hassle. We got the paper, some staples, 60 copies and it only cost 14.83. That and maybe a year or two off my life expectancy. I ended up in a terrible bad mood. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . returned to Mums. decided we’d do a chip run so back out to pick up some chips. Apparently the last time we did a chip run when Dad was still alive, for some reason he’d got the idea I was having chicken and had gone on and on about it in one of his weird repetitive loops. Figured I’d better have chicken and chips. Returned to Mums and ate . . . walked . . . fixed up the laptop in the hallway again and had a slow surf to check the internet entry from the evening post newspaper announcing dads death. Bloody laptops memory could hardly cope with loading the page but got there in the end. It was there. . . retired to the garage around 9:30 absolutely exhausted intending to go to bed real early. Nice idea - didn’t work. A helicopter (presumably the police) ended up hovering almost overhead the garage for ages!!! Grrrrr! . . . PCd this . . . BB called to touch base. Mum brought the chordless out to me in the garage so I could call her back. Ended up venting lots - poor BB! . . . eventually the helicopter moved off and, too cold and tired to stay up, went to bed around 11pm. (_/10)
14 -Woken by Sally climbing onto my mattress and squeezing in to lie down alongside me around 6am!! . . . walked. Breezy and felt REALLY cold. Played with the tennis ball I found the other day. Called on the mobile and left ansaphone messages for Sis1 to say don’t bother stopping in my house looking for the dictation cassette recorder. I didn’t fancy having another thing to have to be uptight about on Monday and figured she’d likely get here quicker if she didn’t have to bother! Stopped off at the local store to see if they had dog food, to save me having to drive to the shops later. Not yet open so waited in the cold for ten minutes before buying eight tins of PAL and Winalot to keep me going for another week, although I rather suspect I’ll be going home before then! Sis1 called to touch base. . .PCd this in the garage with my freezing fingers going blue and my nose threatening to drip on the keyboard!! Did a couple more ‘sorting stuff out’ phone calls. One about the house insurance (due for renewal) and the other to the Inland revenue. . .one of the younger guys from the funeral home who’d actually picked Dad up the day he died called to say he would be the director on the day and to confirm some details and to ask about the music. He sounded OK and more professional than the other guy and put my mind at ease that things were all in hand and if I had any other worries to talk to HIM. Promised to get all the stuff to him by midday. Where is Sis1 with that damned CD?!!! . . . Sis1 arrived. Finalised jotting down the play list for the crematorium as best we could to make absolutely sure they knew what was planned and drove with Sis1 to the funeral place to drop it all off. Sis1 waited in the car and I dashed in. Ended up getting chatting to the woman who was there. She seemed to want a conversation! I guess spending your working day surrounded by stiffs - you end up needing a chat! Only earlier had we all realised that the funeral parlour was until relatively recently, Brixham Post Office. After a lifetime working for the post office, Dad ends his earthly days laying in the old post office!! That seemed pretty funny. Turned out the woman I was talking to was a twenty year veteran of the post office as well and had worked there until the post office had closed! Blimey - can’t get away from it! . . . tore myself away and dashed over the library and photocopied some Benedon claim forms for Sis2. She was sorting out the final claim to accompany the letter we printed yesterday. . . back to Mums with everything done. All out of our hands now. Felt exhausted. Ate a sandwich and then ended up falling asleep for several hours in the freezing garage. . . woke after 5pm feeling not very good!! Oh no!!! Feels as though I’ve caught a chill!!!! I don’t believe it! . . . walked early to get it over and done with. Felt SO cold out in the wind! . . . BB called . . .joined Mum/Sis1/2 inside in the warm to eat the cottage pie meal Sis1 had brought down with her. Ate loads. TVd a little . . . back out to the garage for cigarettes and to PC this a little. Only around 4 degrees Celsius in there!!!! Wearing most of what I have! . . . tried going to sleep early but had to get back up and go get a cup of coffee - seem to be a bit dehydrated . . . eventually to sleep after 11pm. (_/10)
15 -Woken by something making a noise around 4am! Managed to get back to sleep after a cigarette . . . woken by Sally around 7:30. Tried to lie on for a bit but Sally insisted I get up and started pawing my face!! Only 3 degrees Celsius in the garage! . . . walked. Very cold and breezy but a hint of sun. Sally spent a lot of time with her head down rabbit holes and even did a bit of digging!! :o) Couldn’t get my mind of Mums accounts and papers which I’d really like to have free reign to get sorted in an organised manner, all in one place! Stopped off in a newsagents and bought a bunch of cheap plastic pockets for organising paperwork stuff . . . Sis1 still not awake in the living room where all the paperwork is so gave Sally the last of the bones I got the other day and PCd this with coffee and cigarettes in the cold garage. Very sniffley . . . eventually everyone was up so grabbed a quick bowl of muesli to keep me going and started on the paperwork. . . Mum/Sis1/2 headed out to the shops leaving me to it. Seemed like extra hard work without a PC and printer!! Haven’t actually ‘written’ anything like that for years! Ended up bashing away at it all until around 4:45pm, only stopping once or twice for a cigarette and a cup of coffee out in the cold. Ended up with half a dozen or so letters to mail and one which I figured I’d deliver by hand because the map seemed to suggest it was close enough for a Sally walk. Popped up the post box and then headed off with Sally to drop in the other one. Turned out it wasn’t ‘that’ close at all. Maybe it would have been closer if I’d known where it was. Ended up walking all over the place before I found it, in the freezing wind feeling terrible with an awfully runny nose. Detoured back via Battery Gardens. Bit early but figured I could get Sally’s walk over and done with so I could spend the rest of the evening sat feeling cold and achey and runny nosed in the garage. . . Mum/Sis1/2 were back. Fed Sally and headed in for a desperately needed cup of coffee. Sis2 announced I didn’t have time for a coffee because we were all about to head out for a meal to the pub down in town, because Mum needed to get back early to clean the toilet room. Uggh! Just what I need - all drippy with a cold, hungry, headachy, freezing and exhausted from walking all around town after having spent hours doing paperwork without any lunch - and now I have to go and sit in a pub (in a no smoking area of course) - on a busy SATURDAY night!!!! Shit! I really didn’t want to go but said OK to avoid the inevitable arguments and bad atmosphere if I’d said no. Dashed out to the garage for a quick cigarette at least. . . all drove off in Sis1’s car debating which pub to go in and no one making a decision as usual. Hard to make a decision when you are all just walking on eggshells trying to do what everyone else wants to keep the peace. We drove past two pubs without a decision so I forcefully expressed my desire to just get some chips rather than go in a pub on a busy Saturday night which is something approaching my worst nightmare. Sis1 piped up and agreed that we should just buy some chips and eat them in the car down in the harbour car park because that would mean no washing up for Mum to do (which of course none of us are allowed to do). Mum didn’t seem too keen but didn’t argue and got out and went in to order. I joined her at the counter. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)There was a wait so I suggested Mum should go outside and wait in the warm car. I made a joke of the awkward situation (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)I was soon back in the car with four separate carrier bags! Sis1 drove us straight down to the harbour with her amazing air conditioning burning my cheeks and the red hot chips burning my legs!! Dressed for the arctic garage temperatures I was real hot and uncomfy! . . parked up overlooking the harbour and started eating the chips. Very soon after we’d started, Mum started crying in the back seat! She said she couldn’t eat her chips. Sis2 of course joined in and said she couldn’t eat hers either. Uhugh! Sis1 figured we’d better get home so she stuffed her half eaten meal down into the footwell and off we went apace, as I tried to eat mine spread out all over my lap before I had to start leaping out to let Mum get out of the back! Managed to finish my chips as we pulled up so leapt out clutching my jumbo sausage and let Mum and Sis2 get out and rush inside. Sat in the car with Sis1 and finished my sausage. We both SO wanted to get away and just go home! (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)I gathered up bags of uneaten chips and headed straight for the freezing garage and gave a bunch to Sally and then sat and fumed for ages . . .Sis2 was reluctantly sent out to make sure I did not want to use the bathroom or the toilet before it was off limits as Mum started cleaning it. My answer was simply ‘No!’ and ‘No!’. The usual politeness of ‘thankyou’ stuck in my throat. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . .Sis1/2 drove off in Sis1’s car . . . I sat and stewed and felt like a prisoner with no where to turn and no escape . . . sat and sat and eventually reluctantly decided to brave the freezing winds and take Sally for another walk. What else was there to do?!! . . . headed back down to Battery Gardens in the dark. Walking along one of the paths a rabbit darted out from the shadows right in front of me. ‘Rabbits’ I hissed to Sally as I have done a thousand times. She charged past in pursuit. Uh oh!!!! There was an ‘Eeeeeek!’ followed by a sickening crunch! Oh no!!!!! Sally had caught it! I fumbled with my torch and called her and she came sloping back in my direction with the rabbit in her mouth!!!!!! I didn’t know what to do. I told her to drop it. She did. It was still showing signs of just a little movement from an eye or an ear but it was pretty much broken. Nothing survives a crunching of bones like I’d heard! Seemed little point in dragging Sally off so I kinda froze and watched as she sniffed around it and then picked it up in her mouth and gave it another sickening ‘crunch’ or two. Seemed best to let her and put the poor thing out of it’s misery! With a few more sniffs and nudges Sally was surprisingly happy to leave it behind lifeless on the path and carry on with the walk. Eventually back to the garage. Passed the pub on the way. Felt weird looking in at all the warm happy people with lives. . . (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . sat in the garage analysing, angry, cold and drippy. I so, SO want all this nonsense over and done with. Difficult to be objective under the circumstances but much ‘seemed’ to be very much brought in to focus. Visiting Mum and Dad has always been an unpleasant business. An obligation by accident of birth to be periodically endured. Always on edge. Never able to speak my mind. Always trying to suppress for their benefit the (unacceptable) person I have become. Having to submit to their total control (and inevitably always failing). Always made to feel I am ‘getting in the way’ and a burden. Never feeling ‘loved’ - no matter how much petrol money they insist on giving me! Etc., etc. Sis2’s behaviour, (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). seem able to elicit the same responses in me! In short - I find it unpleasant to be in the company of these people (and obviously the same can be said by them about me!). Unfortunately under the circumstances (not wishing to cause any greater distress to anyone) there is little I can do but endure this hell for the time being and just get this funeral over and done with. How hollow some of the ‘appropriate’ words of that eulogy are going to sound to me! Once done - if none of us were to speak until ‘the next funeral’ - that would suit me just fine! And yes - I REALLY do mean that! I AM a schizoid avoidant after all - and how clear to me why! Oh god, I want to be back home. Myself. Smoking and warm!!!. . . At some point Sis1’s car returned outside. A while later someone turned the knob and attempted to open the small back garage door. I let Sally decide. Amazingly she didn’t bark. Neither did I. We both sat in silence. Whoever it was went away. That aggravated me too. A knock on the door (of what has become my dressing room, bedroom -and some time bathroom!!) before trying to walk straight in, seemed appropriate to me! Why am I worthy of less? . . . fumed and raged some more. I feel I have made considerable sacrifices to be here, to just be available, to help out with all I could, to take care of ‘business’ and enable things to go as smoothly for everyone as possible and yet, to suppress myself and try and be as out of the way and as little burden to Mums (Sis2’s!) ways as possible. God knows how I haven’t ended up with pneumonia living and sleeping for weeks in temperatures little above freezing. I have lost my father - I think my needs, thoughts and feelings (personality disorder or not) are due some little consideration too!! Eventually to sleep around 11pm. (_/10)
16 - Up around 7:15 . . . walked. Freezing and breezy again. Found a refillable lighter which seemed to work OK once it had been warmed up. The rabbit had gone leaving just a few traces of fur behind. Guess maybe a fox, an owl or some other dog had it in the night? Watching ‘cuddly’, ‘fluffy’, puppy like Sally chase around, I couldn’t help thinking of that song - “Killer on the loose” - by Thin Lizzy I think it was. . . still in a foul mood and dangerously absolutely not in the mood to be pandering to anyone about anything at all! Ate a half bowl of my muesli which was all that was left, and locked myself in the garage. Put the hot air blower on (to hell with the expense) and sat right in front of it wearing everything. Five degrees above freezing this morning. . . PCd this . . . Sis2 came out and tried to get in through the locked door. I waited until eventually she knocked. They were all gonna sit down and have some breakfast. No thanks. (I daren’t - I’ve too much to say and need to be all childish, sulking and alone for a while longer to enable it to have a chance of remaining suppressed) . . . left Sally in the garage and headed off without a word (childishly exercising my right to self determination!) at around 12:30 and walked to the local pub. Paid a little under 5 and had a half a pint of lager and a Sunday lunch type meal. A bowl of beef and tomato soup followed by roast lamb, stuffing, potatoes and trimmings. Not a huge meal but not bad. Just felt good to be warm and away on my own!! . . . returned to Mums. Reported that the meal was fine by me - no menus, no choice, a straightforward pub meal - but it wouldn’t have been any good for them, which was absolutely the case without doubt. SUCH a shame - a neat little friendly, dogs welcome pub like that right on the doorstep - but ‘unacceptable’. . . lay down to sleep but woken within an hour by what sounded like someone trying the door! Damn - I was SO warm. No one there (?) so PCd this some more, popping yet more Annadins trying to shift my day long headache. Sis2 was out walking and Mum/Sis1 were doing sandwiches and such for the ‘party’ tomorrow! . . .stayed out in the garage out of the firing line for pretty much the rest of the day. . . fitted up the laptop, checked for mail (mostly viruses and junk mail!!) and managed to upload this. . . excused myself from joining them all for tea and said I’d have one of the microwave meals after I’d walked Sally . . . walked before 7pm in the freezy breeze . . . had a bath . . . microwaved up one of the meals intending to take it back out to eat in the garage. Mum insisted I eat inside so whilst she carried on washing and cleaning in the kitchen sat at the table in the living room where Sis1/2 were sat. I had nothing to say and simply ate waiting for whatever seemingly inevitable thinly veiled criticism would come next. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) I said nothing. I finished eating as quickly as possible and returned to the freezing garage . . . BB called to touch base . . .Mum offered, so I handed over my shirt for tomorrow to be ironed. . . sat around feeling cold and sniffing, blowing and sneezing lots. . . bedded down after 11pm but couldn’t sleep and ended up sitting around some more. Managed to find a jar of Vaseline amongst the stuff in the garage and wiped some on my poor chapped and sore lips. . . eventually to sleep, long after midnight. (_/10)
17 - Woken by Sally noisily rummaging in her stainless steel food bowl around 6:30am!! Three degrees Celsius! Wrapped up and set off on the long walk down Pooh lane around 7pm . . . back to the garage to get some money and popped up the local store to get some more Alpen muesli for breakfast. Poured myself a bowl and joined everyone in the living room. Said good morning, set my bowl down to eat and was immediately warned by Mum not to make a mess of the table cloth!! Seemed easiest to just take my breakfast back out into the garage and eat it there!! . . . sat around in the garage smoking, pre-rolling some cigarettes for later and just waiting for time to pass. Seems like I’m so strung out now that all someone has to do is sneeze and I’ll take offence! . . .Eventually around 10:45 I went in to change into my funeral suit. I felt I looked the part, and there was no criticism except about the covering of dog hairs, which Sis2 removed by patting me down with Mum’s sticky glove thing. We were all dressed up and sat waiting to go before 11:10am. At around 11:20 the huge stretched funeral car pulled up outside. Sis1/2 ended up in the back, Mum and I in the next two seats, and the driver behind a glass screen up front. Mum should have been in the back - it DID feel wrong. Thank goodness I’d already foreseen us being indecisive and arguing about who sits where in the crematorium, and had already sorted out who would be sitting next to whom. We drove with a little forced conversation all through Paignton and on to the crematorium at Torquay. The car was freezing but none of us felt brave enough to knock on the glass of the screen and ask the driver to put the heating on. Eventually we pulled slowly up the driveway of the crematorium and there waiting for us in the lay by was the hearse – and Dad. We pulled in behind it and stopped. Tearful moment – Dad waiting for us like that. Obviously running to a precise schedule, we waited for our ‘slot’, spotting the odd familiar face or two walking from the car park into the crematorium building. There was just the lightest dusting of snow in the air as we sat there. Eventually we agonisingly slowly followed the hearse around and pulled up behind it immediately outside the crematorium entrance. We all got out and were greeted with a handshake from the minister who was there waiting at the door. We were escorted into a waiting room and waited for the bearers to pull Dad’s coffin out of the hearse and then walk in with it on their shoulders. As it passed we were ushered to follow in behind it. I can’t really remember much about it all. There were enough people in there to make it seem worthwhile. The coffin was positioned at the front on its plinth and then we all sat in the front row and then waited until the music stopped. Felt like too long a wait – they should have faded the music out a little earlier maybe. I was all shaky. Very shaky! Very stressful to have all those people sat looking on. The minister started his eulogy delivery. The music played without a hitch at the appropriate times. I ended up blubbering a bit in the first half. Sounded like a few people were crying somewhere behind me but I didn’t dare look around. Mum didn’t cry. The minister closed the ceremonial gates in front of Dads coffin and we were pretty much done. Seemed like there was an awkward moment that stretched on for too long when we didn’t know what we should be doing and whether or not we should be getting up and going! I figured enough was enough so kinda whispered to Mum ‘lets get outta here!’. As we started to stand to leave the minister now at the back of the room behind us announced that everyone should stand. As is the modern way, we left Dads coffin sat there and all filed out of the exit door (so as not to all get mixed up with the next group of mourners coming in the front!). Not long ago the coffin would have descended on a lift or disappeared through curtains on a conveyor belt, but these days it stays in situ and we have to actually walk away. Apparently it gives us more ‘control’. There was a bizarre brief period of time where we all gathered around near a bay with dads name on it into which were placed the single display of flowers from the coffin. People I mostly didn’t recognise started saying hello to Mum. A few came up and spoke to me and I felt obliged to try and make appropriate small talk, but I didn’t do too well, and really didn’t want to have to bother. Shook hands and said hello to Coz1 and his lady at one point and mumbled something about them being welcome to come back for tea and a bite to eat, but he declined. Considering what he may have read on my journal these last few years, I couldn’t blame him. Felt guilty. . The funeral guy very soon handed me all the donations they’d received in lieu of flowers, the Johnny Mathis CD and the pile of left over eulogy papers. I checked with Mum and then confirmed to him that we were happy that the flowers should go directly to Rowcroft, as was their practice. . . felt absolutely freezing. Easily persuaded Mum to get into the back seat of the car out of the cold and soon we were all off being driven home, thankfully with the heater on. Felt something of a relief to have that all over and done with although I was still up tight about the prospect of having to be present during the after ceremony gathering of whoever turned up back at Mums. . the driver got lost on the way back and we ended up having to drive around the block. He lowered his glass screen and I started to give directions on where to turn up ahead. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) eventually the poor confused driver turned as I’d said and we were soon pulled up in front of the house. . .several old neighbours and cousins and such arrived for chats and tea and nibbles. Sadly Mum’s lifelong friend ML who had been at the funeral, must have been confused about her invite back and didn’t turn up. Mum was very worried and upset by her absence and hardly spoke of much else for the rest of the day!! Sad . . I headed straight out to the garage to let Sally out into the garden and to have a quick cigarette before feeling obliged to go back in and try to make conversations. Half a dozen or more smokers followed me and we all ended up stood in the garage with Sally having a worried growl but handling it pretty well! . . . people chatted. Old neighbours seemed to delight in telling long forgotten tales of what a nasty little boy I’d been!! Thanks for the ego boost!!! I could remember absolutely none of it (most of my life is a blank!?) which made conversations even more difficult. Ended up stooging around in the kitchen for ages trying to keep out of everyone’s way and helping myself to selfish quantities of the food. . after what seemed like an agonisingly long period of time, when I hardly spoke to anyone, everyone left – thank goodness! Changed out of my silly clothes and put on lots much warmer . . . Exhausted by the day, fell asleep in the garage for the rest of the afternoon until early evening . . walked and really not in the mood for it at all. Spent quite a while sat smoking a cigarette in one of the WW2 pill boxes sheltering with Sally out of the bitter freezing wind. Crossed my mind that if I were to strip off and leap into the waves below, I’d be dead in only minutes in those temperatures! Easy. . Spotted a black cat in the dark leap up over a nearby chain link fence – managed to grab Sally and get her on the lead before she turned killer dog, but she didn’t even see it. Walking back to Mum’s the mobile went. Sis1 informing me they were all sat down and just about to start eating the left-overs! I told her I was out walking Sally so they may as well carry on and I’d get something else myself later. . . returned to the garage. Some sandwiches and such had been left for me so I took them out into the garage to eat in peace . . .touched base with BB . . . relatively early to bed before 11pm with a stomach ache!! (_/10)
18 - Another cold day in hell. . .Walked the long Pooh Lane walk and ended up trying to waste as much time as possible by carrying on around the harbour and along the breakwater and back. A good couple of cold, windy, painful hours as my recently acquired second hand shoes started to rub the skin from one ankle! . . . returned to the garage still feeling really wound up about everyone. Yesterdays stale sandwiches (that Mum had meant for Sally) for breakfast! . . Unfortunately Mum ended up coming out at some point and asked me if I was OK!! Ended up telling her most of how I was feeling and why!! Not the first time I’ve made Mum cry!!! Eeeeek! I didn’t say it but it suddenly seemed SO weird that I was spending so much time out in the garage – like Dad had!!!! :o( . . ended up going in to have some coffee and to file a little of the paperwork that had returned in the post that morning. Ended up having a conversation with Mum about some of her finances and how I recommended that she reduce the amount of money in her building society account and put the majority in her other more appropriate and accessible, higher interest account. Sis2 expressed her opinion and suggested Mum should do something different!!! (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . I returned to the garage to fume! Tried to sleep but couldn’t and eventually figured I’d had enough. What on earth was I doing there? What difference did it make if I was there or not when Dad’s ashes were disposed of? I decided to go home. . phoned the funeral home just to check when the ashes may be ready. It was eventually confirmed they’d be ready for picking up after 2pm so I figured I'd stay until at least he was home. . Mum/Sis1/2 decided to go into town to do some shopping, have a coffee and to visit the building society to get Dad’s name off the account, so I agreed to go and get Dad when he was ready . . . sat around, drank cold coffee, smoked cigarettes and packed up all my stuff for a quick getaway later. . .Uncle TJ called to touch base from foreign climes. I think my ‘bad mood’ may have shown! . . . a little after 2:15pm I drove down to the funeral home. I was shown into the office where Dad (in a plush green cardboard box) was sat waiting like a paperweight on top of his official identification and release consent forms. Felt weird – but just taking care of business. Asked the questions I had. Sis1 had wanted me to ask if the remains REALLY were likely to be Dad’s. I’d assumed that they would inevitably contain bits of maybe many other people. After all, there were funerals every 30 minutes throughout the day and there were only so many ovens, and it must take time for each one to cool before the remains can be brushed out and pulverised etc.!! Apparently there are four ovens and they are loaded and emptied in rotation to keep up with demand. The ‘brass work’ on the coffin is all artificial and combustible. After cremation the remains are ‘graded’ to remove the fine ash which is considered to be the remains of the wood of the coffin. What is then left is ground and returned as the deceased. The funeral guy said he was 99.99% sure it was only Dad in that box and he’d be happy if it was his parents said to be in there! I offered appropriate thanks for all they’d done and walked out with Dad held securely in one arm against my stomach. Got back in the car, .put ‘Dad’ on the passenger seat and drove back to Mum’s. It crossed my mind to take him for a final tour down past Battery Gardens and such but I thought better of it. I even had a brief fantasy about grabbing his fishing rods and taking him fishing for a while – (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . back at Mum’s I carefully took him inside and toyed with the idea of putting the box on the sofa, kinda like he was just sitting there! Dad's cremated remains.Thought that may not go down too well so I moved some stuff from the dining table and placed the box in front of the display of flowers that Sis1 had brought down. Had a look inside the box to get a feel for what we were dealing with - A couple of official papers and a sealed plastic bag containing the ashes. It was actually more like small granules rather than ‘ashes’, equivalent to about three one kilogram bags of sugar, and not unlike that in texture. Not much to show for a life! Put the top back on the box and then put Dad’s photo on top – figured that would be the best for Mum/Sis1/2 to walk in and find. It WOULD be emotional. Toyed with the idea of calling Sis1 on her mobile to let them know that ‘Dad’ was home but figured they’d be there soon enough . . Called BB to touch base. Cut the call short cause I heard Mum/Sis1/2 return and wanted to watch through the living room window as they entered the room to find ‘Dad’ there. Joined them all inside. Sis1/2 were tearful. Very soon decided that despite the strong wind outside, because Sis1 and I were intending to leave today, we should set about trying to put the remains in the garden. Got a couple of Dad’s trowels from the garage and had an exploratory dig in the garden borders under the fir trees. Surprisingly soft so reported back that we were good to do it if we wanted to – but it was up to Mum. Couldn’t help YET again labouring the point that I wanted Mum to be sure about it – not to ‘get all weird’ about doing any work or digging in the garden at a future date. She was sure, so we all went out into the garden – me carrying the box of Dad’s ashes half hidden inside my coat to make sure the neighbours didn’t see what we were doing. There was some bizarre discussion about the best way to actually get the ashes from the awkward plastic bag and into the soil. Mum went to get a cup! I figured something that could ‘pour’ would be better and that suggestion ended up with Mum getting the small long slender spouted, green plastic watering can she uses for watering the house plants. The prospect of dispensing Dad from a watering can seemed to horrify poor Sis1 and she made it clear enough for me to suggest to Mum we just pour from the bag. Ended up with me and Sis2 frantically digging away with our trowels as Mum wandered up and down grabbing bare handfuls of Dad’s ashes from the bag and dropping them in to our excavations prior to a good mix and digging in! The matter of fact way we just got on with the job seemed to upset Sis1 who just sat and watched from the back step with a look of distress, shock and absolute horror on her face. I guess it WOULD have been worse just watching. Soon enough the bag was empty, and small white particles visible on the earth here and there were the only sign of what had just been done. I unreeled the garden hose and watered everything in, because – well – it just seemed the right thing to do. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . all back in for a coffee. Mum/Sis1/2 told me how the building society had told them they’d have to write in to remove Dad’s name from the account! Really annoyed me since they’d confirmed on the phone AND in person when I popped in there the other day, that if the widow attended in person with a death certificate they could do it there and then. Poor ‘grieving’ Mum had been dragged down there on false pretences!! Grrrrr. Phoned the building society and let off some steam. . avoided getting involved in the conversation between Mum/Sis2 about her sending more money to Sis2 to cover her gas bills and such. . . Read some of the small print in the account rules and had an idea that maybe Mum could transfer some of the money in that account into somewhere better simply by a phoned transfer. All worked out nicely. . . ate, without any conversations, the few sandwiches Mum made for me, before heading back out to the garage and quickly loading up the car with all my stuff that I’d packed up ready, earlier. Popped back in for the ritual (more uncomfortable than usual) hugs, NO ‘love you’s’, and goodbyes! (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-):o( Mum insisted on franticly rushing through some of Dads clothes and giving me some of his T shirts and his beard trimmer. A quick wave and I was free – at speed. . .Ended up in tears before I'd even got out of Brixham. clear drive back on busyish roads. Stopped to buy some milk near home. Unloaded everything and then looked through the pile of mail. The parcel BB had warned me she'd sent had apparantly been left next door! Makes a change for them to receive MY parcel when I'm not there, rather than the more frequent other way around. Popped next door and picked it up with the minimum of courteous chatting. Sat with coffee feeling kinda shell shocked, but SO glad to be away from all the madness! Very sad and emotional!! Sis2 called to check I'd arrived safely and then insisted on handing the phone to Mum and Sis1 for me to talk!? I said very little and got off as quickly as I could - a noticeable abscence of the 'love you' we have all ended our calls with these last few months. I for one felt 'loving' not at all! :o| . . . walked in the hard freeze. The low moon seemed real big in the sky tonight . . . BB called . . . Turned the phones off. TVd and cried here and there. Great pity for Mum. Great anger/pity for Sis2. Great loathing of myself. Great despair at the overwhelming pointlessness of my life.(2/10)as
19 - Woken late by Sally climbing on the bed . . . freezing out with loads of condensation running down all the windows. Got a bank statement in the mail and reading the small print suddenly realised there 'may' be a problem with Mum keeping the account she has because of her reduced income. Rang the bank and confirmed it all should be ok. Walked and found 9p . . . PCd this and messed around for hours with Dad's page . . . slept . . . TVd . . . walked . . . PCd this. Not in the mood for anything. (2/10)as
20 - Woken by Sally barking as mail was delivered around 8am . . . still got the phones turned off. Not in any mood to be in touch with anyone at all about anything! . . . walked and found a penny/sat around/TVd/PCd/did chores/listened to some music - got tearful/walked in drizzle/TVd/to bed early.(3/10)as
21 - Disturbed sleep - up around 7am . . . walked and found a penny/TVd . . . slept the day away . . . TVd/touched base with BB/walked/TVd/to bed after midnight. (3/10)s
22 - More disturbed sleep!? . . . saw 5am and 6am and eventually got up around 7am . . .weird high number of hits on the site-and daily spam, viruses and feedback from people mistaking me for the Monty Python Terry Jones!!! Amazing to me how many people submit feedback without actually looking at any of the site!!? Modified the feedback form with "Please Note: I am NOT the Terry Jones of Monty Python fame!!!" to try and stop em. . . sunny morning. Drove to the River Avon at Hanham for walks . . . TVd/PCd looking at French property! . . . slept . . . TVd . . . walked . . . LB popped in briefly with tales of attempted thefts of her car from right outside her house!!. . . TVd/PCd till around 3:30am . . . touched base with BB. My mood seems to be in freefall! (2/10)as
23 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . walked and found 15p . . .PCd/TVd . . . slept . . . walked . . . TVd/PCd till early. (2/10)
24 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . . walked . . .did chores and tried to tidy up a little from where I just dumped everything when I returned fom Mums. Balanced my accounts. . .in the middle of cooking some lunch when Sis1 popped in for coffee and chats. Yet again her PC doesn't seem to be working and she wanted to ask advice and use mine to look up her latest medication side effects. Celaxa this time. Apparantly Sis2 flew home today. . . fell asleep for a couple of hours . . .Chewed a bit of bubble gum left by BB when she was here – ended up getting crunchy!!? Oh no!!!! A piece of the old filling from my split tooth has come out! Feels dodgy! . . . touched base with BB . . . walked . . . TVd/PCd till early. Turned the phones back on. (3/10)as
25 - Woken by Sally around 8am barking from downstairs as some junk mail was delivered. I should never have taught her that she could open doors that are ajar with her nose. She now makes a habit of leaving the bedroom at some point in the night. . .walked. Kinda mild out. . .Touched base with Sis1 intending to talk her through checking settings on her PC but she was too busy and just going out - as usual!. . . Mum called to touch base. She seems ok - washing and cleaning and sorting stuff out - happy to be on her own at last, to cry here and there as the mood takes her. Long chat - I felt better for it. Finished the chat and then ended up touching base with her solicitor (who’d sent me a letter when I contacted them on her behalf about Dads will) just to try and get a feel for what it means for them to be the executor of her will. Apparently they have to handle all the estate when she goes (sale of the house etc.) and they get a commission of around 1% (easy money!). Other than that it’ll be much the same as it has been for Dads . . . Nasty headache all day! . . . Not much point dreaming of moving until this place is habitable/sellable so managed to persuade myself to do a little cementing of one of the living room walls. Haven’t touched the ‘building site’ for months and am getting kinda used to sitting looking at bare brick walls and extension leads across the floor! Need more sand! . . . ML called mid afternoon to touch base. I asked if he’d e-mail me a copy of whatever was sent round at work telling people about Dads death . . . ate and fell asleep . . . woken by BB leaving an ansaphone message. Wow – really nasty headache still!! BB called back to touch base . . .walked . . . Headache eased at last - fixed myself a pizza. Half way through eating it and my 40 filling fell out of my mouth!!! Bugger! Not such a good idea trying to save that tooth after all – works out around 10 a week and now I’m surely gonna end up having it pulled anyway!! Wont be much left in my mouth to chew with on that side!!!!!!! . . . TVd/PCd till early looking at property again. (3/10)aaa
26 - Woken by Sally pawing my face around 7:30am . . .walked . . . weird thing in the post this morning – a copy of FHM magazine!!? Incorrectly addressed but with my name on it as though I’ve subscribed to receive it! Weird. Guess it’s maybe a freebie trying to get me to order it? I’m certainly not the sort of person it’s marketed for. Weird. . . got serious with a bit more of the destruction of the living room. Hacked back to the brickwork in one of the alcoves and started exploratory hacking of the fire breast and removal of the existing fireplace. BIG dusty mess! Stopped work when it became pretty clear there wasn’t much holding the chimney stack up!! Ended up sitting for ages just trying to think through how I’m gonna be able to get a new concrete lintel in there to hold it all up. A new nightmarish piece of the puzzle! Ugh. . drove a car load of rubble to the tip . . cleaned up (I looked like a coal miner!) and ate . . . BB called -//- . . . walked but didn’t really notice, involuntarily going through thoughts and feelings and stuff about my past, present, and possible futures, round and round in my mind. So much for my earlier 'feeling better' mood! . . . TVd . . .early to bed around 10:30pm and TVd some more. The silver ring I’ve worn for years on my left hand, that had turned a real funny shape, has somehow split in two – probably when I threw that big piece of fireplace into the skip at the tip. One less thing . . . exhausted to sleep around 11:30pm (3/10)a
27 - Woken early by Sally pawing my face again! Grrrrr . . . walked . . . feel pretty low again and haven't yesterdays energy. Just sitting looking at all the building work I've got to do and not doing it! Why am I doing all this? What for? Where am I going? What is the point? What IS the point in it all? Arrrgh!! . . . managed to force myself to start chiselling away again and ended up stripping the ‘dust-plaster’ from right round the fire breast and exposing all the brickwork, without having the whole thing collapse down on me! Sis1 called and wanted to talk about her computer. Stopped work and rushed up to my PC, and managed to tell her to change a setting over the phone and got her immediately back up on line. Nice one. . Drove with a car load of rubble to the council tip. Grabbed a handful of old bricks (and a useful blue glass ashtray!?) from OUT of the skip without being noticed! :o) Those old bricks are a certain size that you can’t seem to get any more, and my plans to have the bricks on the fireplace exposed and painted, makes it critical I get my hands on some more. Left and then ended up having to drive back cause I’d missed the large bag of rubble still sat in my passenger seat!! Idiot! . . . BB called to touch base. I don’t think she will again! That's all I have to say about that . . . walked feeling tearful. Found a hard plastic, toy dog bone . . . PS popped round for chats till early but I felt distant and apart. (3/10)as
28 - Disturbed sleep and up around 7am . . . walked . . . SO hard to do anything. . .Mum called to touch base and ask my opinion about her continuing with a Benedon subscription in her own right. Seemed easiest to say she may as well for the time being. She’d been in touch with tearful Sis2 who was apparently having a real hard time with emotions, life review, plans for a future and such following Dads death . . I don’t know why but the loss of a parent really does seem to stir up all sorts of stuff and end up being a real pivotal moment in ones life!!!! . . . sat, unable to move, mulling a lifetime of stuff over for ages! . . . managed to force myself to go shopping – I HAD to – almost out of life’s necessities of coffee and potatoes! Stopped off and bought three sacks of building sand and one of dog food . . . slept the rest of the day away . . . woke at the ‘usual’ early evening time, but now for no reason. . .called the cable company and had all the ‘extra’ channels taken off, to save the couple of s . . . walked late in a break in the rain. Encouraged a frog to safety out of the road. Watched as some young idiot drove his moped at speed along the cycle path across the field. A guy with a couple of young kids walking along had to leap out of his way. He must have said something – the idiot on the moped hurled abuse!!!? God how I’d like to have seen that idiot hurt! . Saw another frog in the road, close enough to home to make a grab and a dash to relocate it in my pond reasonable. Didn’t have enough hands to open my front door so the frog ended up popped in my coat pocket for a few minutes. In the back garden in the light of my ‘night sun’ and pulled back out of my pocket, it actually turned out to be a pair of frogs, all holding tightly together in the middle of mating! Popped them in my pond. . .TVd/PCd till early. Couldn't sleep and was then kept awake by some idiot taxi driver blowing his horn in the street around 4am, too lazy to get out of his car to knock on somones door! Grrrr. (2/10)as