The last few days have been about grieving and healing. A lot of crying, hugging, talking. Sharing memories, sharing photos, of Dad, of other occasions. Making decisions. Yesterday was hard. my brain felt like it was … well, i described it to Michiel in computer terms as the processor in my brain overworking and overclocked and the hard drive making a horrible noise. And that’s quite a good analogy. I couldn’t think straight all day, everything was such an effort. It really felt like i’d gone back to the darkest days of depression, and i was very afraid that it wasn’t going to lift.

Thankfully, this morning I felt much better after about 10 hours sleep, and I suppose that’s natural, the sleep after a deep shock like this will help a great deal.

The other thing that has helped is the visit of an old schoolfriend of Mom’s. Now a Professor in the States, he and Mum have kept in touch over the years (as she has with several of her old school friends) and a visit was scheduled for tonight way before Dad’s death, as he was visiting the UK for family matters, he’d arranged to drop in on Mum and Dad and catch up a little. Unfortunately, with him travelling, she wasn’t able to reach him in time for him to change his itinerary, and although he would have been okay to have cancelled, Mum said she wanted him to come anyway, and I’m glad she did, because its done her the world of good – she’s giggling and laughing and seems to have … well, not forgotten, because i’m quite sure its still very present in the back of her mind, just as it is in mine, but she seems to have put the worries of the funeral and everything around dad’s death to the back of her mind and is just enjoying tonight. And that’s been an absolute joy to see, to see her happy for a while again.

As i said before, decisions have been made, regarding the funeral. Next Wednesday at midday. The service is being held in church, the local village church, which i went to look around the other day. Its a lovely small church, very old, but the kind with lots of soul. I might go back before we leave to take some photographs. After the service, a … Mum calls it a bun fight but i guess its a wake – is being held at someone’s house, one of the villagers who so kindly offered us the use of her house, which is a lovely old cottage. about 3pm Dad will go to the crematorium. I’m not sure yet if I will go with him. I know one of my uncles is going with him, although I would like to go, if i do, i will miss out on talking with many family members who have made the trip to be here, so i am torn at the moment. But i don’t have to decide either way. No flowers, except a wreath from the family, and a single flower from me, which will go either in his coffin, or on top. Again, i haven’t decided what kind of flower: the florist is visiting tomorrow and we’ll make that decision then. A lot of it depends on what’s available. The hymns for the service have been chosen (“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind“, “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Crimmond) and “Immortal, Invisible“), the poems have been chosen (“Stop all the Clocks“, by W H Auden and an Indian Prayer, sent to Mum by a relative, which I have posted below), and a reading, which we have yet to choose. Mum’s written an Euology, to be read out on her behalf by the Vicar, and I’m in the process of writing one too, also to be read out by the Vicar. Mum’s chosen some clothes, and Dad is currently at the Funeral Home, being looked after by the Funeral Directors.

There’s still a lot to do, but for now, we’re grieving, but healing too. My college tutor said its always darkest before the dawn, and he’s very right: although there’s no way Dad can come back from this, and i will almost certainly have dark moments where the grief becomes overwhelming, each day that passes sees the saddness recede, and i remember him not wiih sadness, but with joy, with laughter, with fond memories: and that’s the way that Dad would absolutely want to be remembered.

An Indian Prayer

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much

Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At moments its pleasant to recall
But not for too long

Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living

(Traditional Anonymous)