Families and friends

It’s been a family week. On Monday I spent over two hours on the phone to The Brother, now back from his long holiday, updating him on everything that had been done for the funeral and probate, and all that still needed to be done. I answered loads of emails, and sorted out insurance for my new car, and finished the outstanding bit of work for Artlift. Hooray!

On Tuesday I emailed all the poets included in the forthcoming Ledbury Poetry Festival anthology. Of course, this has meant hundreds of replies, which have all had to be dealt with. I went to the final Artlift session in Tewkesbury – this is a mosaics course, and the quality of the work they do always astounds me. But then the quality of the work produced by my own Artlift group in Cirencester is amazing, too; they were really good again this week. I handled the snail mail and answered still more of the torrent of emails that flows through my computer. No film this week! Too much to do.

I had to wrap presents for The Son and The Brother on Wednesday (birthdays coming up soon), and clear my car out, and answer lots of emails. I had a good session at the hospital with a man who said he was a private person and didn’t say much – hah! He said enough for a poem that moved him deeply. And I had a swim, and did a lot of Artlift work, and wrote up the hospital stuff.

By Thursday morning I was getting a bit anxious, but there was still a lot to do – my accounts, and LPF emails, and packing. I tried to copy my iTunes onto my phone, but it wouldn’t work – disappointing, because The Son gave me a new iPhone for my birthday with lots of space, specifically so that I could do this. He tried to help me over the phone, but we didn’t get anywhere.

And then I drove to Cheshire, to stay at a hotel (well, pub with rooms) near my mum’s house. The Bloke was there, and The Brother and his wife and The Nephew; and later on The Son and The Daughter arrived. We failed miserably to win the pub quiz – but The Son did something to my phyone, and today I have copied all the tunes across. Well done, The Son.

And the next day it was the funeral. It all went well. Everything turned up as it should have done (except for a glitch with the food from M&S, but they came and delivered the missing parts of our order). The service was good; I remembered all the eulogy and it seemed to strike the right note; and everyone seemed to feel that the gathering afterwards was good too. I met members of my family whom I haven’t seen for many years, and didn’t recognise (which they understood), and a lot of my mother’s friends, equally unrecognised (but they seemed to think that that was odd).
In the evening we started clearing things, and had a surreal experience on Saturday morning digging my father’s ashes out from where my mum had buried them in the garden. I expect the neighbours thought we were digging for treasure, but no – just a plastic urn, which, by the time we finally found it, had holes in from the garden spade The Brother was using. Cling film is wonderful stuff, although I doubt whether I will ever again use it for wrapping an urn full of ashes.

Yesterday I just rested, really. I have a lovely family, and my mother’s friends were very good to her and helpful at the funeral, but sometimes it’s nice to be alone.

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