The last week has been a blur. Karen and I are still only just starting to make sense of it all. To cut a long story short Karen's mum died last week, late on the night of the 11th. We knew it was going to happen but the speed of it took us all by surprise. However, she had stayed fiercely determined to exercise her will to the very end and had refused all water as well as food. Hence, the speed of her decline. She also requested that nobody visit her in her final hours, preferring instead to be left in peace. As with so many elements of her life her control over her own death was absolute.
For the last 6 days Karen and I, accompanied by our boys, have made numerous forays into Berkshire to meet with doctors, solicitors, registrars and the like to ensure all the paperwork is tickety-boo and that the myriad hoops of death administration have been leapt through at the right speed and the precise angle. Hopefully the gods of bureaucracy are satisfied with our efforts.
We now have the funeral and the wake to arrange, people to contact, an empty house to sort out - not to mention the small matter of dealing with quite a big family death and all its attendant emotional strains. Karen's mother was not an easy woman. Even those who considered her a friend describe her as being "difficult". The grief will not be easy too.
There is, however, good news. The solicitor spoke to us on Friday and, despite being convinced otherwise due to previous wills, it seems Karen and the boys have been made beneficiaries. It would be distasteful to go into detail here and besides which we only know the theory for sure rather than the exact practicalities - the solicitors need to do their thing and press buttons on their calculators, remembering to deduct their own fees naturally - but on the face of it (though I am afraid to say it out loud in case I curse it) it looks like things might get a lot easier for us in the future. Bizarrely we are more shocked and disbelieving of the good news than we were previously instantly believing of the (potential) bad.
But on some level despite the all pervading glumness that abounds in such matters there is light and, dare I say it, relief. We are all numb. But also hopeful.