Thursday, 18 April 2013

The waiting game...

It's been a hard week for us, following Dad's death.

Life was practically on hold for all of us; I was able to get a couple of days off work (Bereavement Leave), but really and truly, they aren't enough. There just isn't enough time to figure out solutions to all the problems, when your mind is travelling at a million miles an hour in all directions at once, you're in shock and grief, and trying to figure out something becomes a gazillion times more difficult. How the hell do they expect people to cope with it all in a few short days?

The family has, of course, rallied round to support Mum (we're a fairly close family, thankfully), and try to figure out how to proceed; the guide that the A&E department gave us was helpful as far as it went, but it's become horribly apparent that it's woefully out of date in several key places; likewise, the list the funeral directors gave us for venues was unfortunately slightly misleading - not their fault - as one venue that I will not name at this time flat-out refused to accept bookings unless you worked in a specific profession, despite that fact that it was advertising itself as a conference and event venue.

Things like that really don't help when you're experiencing severe grief, and I'm glad it was my sister to discover this on the phone to them, rather than me, as I suspect - hell, I know - that my temper would have snapped. I strongly suspect we'll be following this up with certain people after the funeral, when calmer heads will be in place, but it's still got me - and many family members - extremely incensed.

The meeting with the parish priest went well, at any rate, and we've got the order of service for Dad's cremation organised, with a couple of small details to finalise (music, in the main). The job I dreaded, but feel I need to do, delivering the Eulogy, has been split in two, thankfully; there'll be two, the first from a member of one of his main pastime groups, which will take that pressure off me to do those justice, given that I was never involved in those - my pastimes are substantially different than Dad's were.

This will leave me free to deliver the second eulogy, which will be the family side of things; it wasn't easy to write, and anyone who tells you writing their father's eulogy is easy didn't do him justice at all. It took more rewrites than I care to number, but I came up with one that both my Mum and Sister, and I, come to that, are all agreed on; you obviously can't be happy with a eulogy, but it does the job of expressing what we want to express, while giving Dad a fitting tribute that everyone else can understand and follow.

A couple of hints to others reading this, who will eventually write a family eulogy for their loved one - give yourself a lot of places to pause and breath; you'll need them. And practice reading it aloud as you write it. You'll need the time and practice, trust me.

Anyhow, we've got the first available slot at the crematorium booked, and now it's a waiting game, and that's going to wind up being more wearing as the days march on - it's not for a fortnight.

Dad had more friends than you could shake a stick at, and the funeral is likely to be a ten-ring circus, standing in the isles in scale. Not withstanding the disgusting response from that venue mentioned above that we approached, finding a venue for the wake was a trial, but has also finally been accomplished, and booked.

The paperwork search goes on apace; my brother-in-law - he's rather good at this sort of thing - managed to find a lot of the required paperwork, insurance, assurance, utilities, and so on, but several things still elude us, and it's a nightmarish lesson for me; for all the organisation that Dad had, his filing system is really testing us, it's so totally counter-intuitive that it almost beggars belief. Still, it worked for Dad, so we have to dig in and try to get to the bottom of it. I'm reorganising my paperwork so that anyone picking up the pieces after my own passing won't have quite so trying a time in putting it all together.

My sister has an appointment with the Registry Office people today, and she'll collect the Death Certificates - ten of them - to pass to the various agencies and companies that'll need them; it seems the Registry Office can deal with a lot of these for us - it's a service that they offer, which take a large weight off the family's shoulders, but there are some, such as the bank, funeral directors, insurance and assurance companies, and so on, that we still have to notify and provide with a certificate; my sister, a book keeper by trade, is dealing with those - she speaks the language they understand.

And then there's me. I'm on hold until the funeral.

I find that I'm going to work, coming home, and brooding; I'm remembering times we had together, things we enjoyed, holidays, and. brutally, realising that there was so damned much that I should have said, that I thought we had oceans of time for, that I can never now say or discuss with him, both serious and light; it's a hell of a kick in the guts when such realisation sinks in. I know it's a process of grief, but that doesn't make it any easier to suffer.

Writing about it all, as I'm doing now, helps, but there's still that gaping void in all our lives where he once stood, that we have to get used to, and that's not going to be easy.

But then, it's not supposed to be easy, is it?

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