Saturday, July 19, 2014

Funereal

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.

29 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Well, you must have done something during her life to convince her you were deserving. It's a pity she had to starve herself rather than taking a pill, but I'm glad her suffering is over.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: I do wonder if, at the end, she just wanted a sense of peace. I hope she found it.

John Gray said...

So sorry...a real rollercoaster ride eh?

the fly in the web said...

Not an easy woman, by the sound of things, but not easy for your wife to come to terms with her death either.
i hope you have better luck than my husband who is still waiting for his brother to pay out on the mother's will five years down the line...

Steve said...

John: crossed with a log flume.

The fly in the web: thankfully no one else is involved other than a charity so in terms of pecking order it's as good as it could be. Still an immense emotional drain.

English Rider said...

I'm sorry for your loss, even though inevitable and expected. There is no defense against the feelings that come at a time like this.
I firmly believe that the funeral arrangements and gatherings are important steps in working your way back to some acceptance and peace.
The stupidest pragmatic decision of my life was to agree to return to my living family, on another continent, and not stay for my own Mother's funeral.
You can't go back....

Steve said...

English Rider: closure is important. A funeral isn't closure, of course, but it is the first step to hopefully achieving it.

Wanderlust said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Death is always hard, regardless of the quality of the relationship. I wish you all peace and healing. I am glad you will find some measure of relief, as well. xx

K Ville said...

I'm sorry for your loss but also thankful it was not drawn out and you have managed so far to sort out all you need to. Good luck in the next steps. xxx

Steve said...

Wanderlust: thank you. The emotional fallout is only just beginning to hit.

K Ville: thank you. All seems an uphill struggle!

libby said...

Sorry for your loss - what a difficult time you have had...but her mother is I hope at peace now and you can all move forward.

Steve said...

Libby: I hope so too. Just all the legal stuff to tie up which could take about 6 months.

London City (Mum) said...

Wishing you strength and peace of mind - never easy to deal with such matters and, as ever, the mind plays games on us all with regard to memories, hopes, decisions and the like.
Be relieved that she is - at her behest, it would appear - in a better place, as hopefully you all will be too.

LCM x

Steve said...

LCM: cheers, chuck. x

Barry Coidan said...

I find it remarkable that she wanted to die on her own.

I am so pleased for you: what a gift she's left.

Steve said...

Barry: she was, if nothing else, a fiercely determined lady who knew her mind in all things.

Trish Burgess said...

A strange time for you both with very mixed emotions, I imagine. Thinking of you both x

Steve said...

Trish: cheers. x

Fredulous Yo said...

This was more difficult for me to read than it should have been. My experience with death is limited to one close family member. I hope things get easier.

Steve said...

Fredulous Yo: one of the saddest facts if life is that the older you get, the more acquainted with death you get. But you get better at dealing with it too.

The Sagittarian said...

If it's any comfort at all I do know exactly how you are...altho' we had no time to know of my mum's death, I don't know that it makes anything easier losing a parent. Take each day as it comes, love and support each other. That is all. xx

Steve said...

Amanda: know exactly where you are coming from. Thank you. x

John Gray said...

Yes thinking of you both xx

Nota Bene said...

Losing a parent is difficult, but I found that the need to make all the arrangements keeps everyone focused, and eases the grief to start with. I admire her for being in control of her own death...I hope that I have the courage when the time comes too. Best wishes and sympathy to you all, and apologies for not reading this before

Steve said...

Thanks, John.

Nota Bene: hey, your comments are always worth waiting for. Thank you. Funeral is today, so your comment is extremely timely.

Suburbia said...

Hey, only just caught up with you.

That's a whole lot of stuff going on for you right now, I hope the positive outstrips the sad, for you all.

Steve said...

Suburbia: that is about all anyone can ever wish for, thank you.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Oh heck Steve - it seems to be the season for it. You will have had the funeral by now so hope that layer of tension has subsided. Very nice to have the bequest to look forward to - does that mean you might emigrate?! Strength to you all at this time.

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: yes, funeral was yesterday and went as well as these things can go. Not sure whether any of it has sunk in anymore but, as you know, you just have to take each day as it comes. Not sure whether we'll find ourselves with the financial capacity to up-sticks but anything is better than nothing in my book.