I think I made it. The finishing line. It’s right in front of me.
Funeral is done, with an incredibly lovely cremation service. Friends of his from far and wide, including people from the taxi rank he used to be a part of, so many years ago. People I haven’t seen in donkey’s years. I was one of the coffin bearers…I’m honoured that the rest of the family were happy to let me do that under the circumstances. My brother has taken the ashes, and will look after them until we are all together again to scatter or bury.
My brother has been amazing. He has had to learn an incredible amount about me and my past in an almost painfully short space of time. And he’s handled it brilliantly. I have a big brother again. I told him today that I was sorry for his loss. I felt so sad for him. But even at the lowest, he’s been brilliant. We have similar histories, similar growing-up stories. We weren’t under the protective wing of our parents, so we made our own way through life. In different and similar ways, we learned the same lessons. Can tell the same stories, can relate to the same things.
Shouldn’t be that way, shouldn’t have to live that life…but we’re much richer for it.
The fact that he took the time to begin to understand the non-existent relationship with my dad, is the biggest breakthrough of my entire family. No one else did that.
He’s learned more about me in the last 3 months than anyone else has in the last 20 years. He’s learned stuff only The Mr knows. He’s piecing together a lot of pieces. Anyone else would run scared, not listen. Many have done. More will do. He didn’t run. He pushed me away once or twice, but he was in his own pain. But he didn’t run. That’s amazing. I love my brother.
Never did I ever think I could say that and mean it.
All paper work is done. Today was dealing with the building society to close the account, and pay the rest of the funeral expenses. We will be having stern words with unprofessional behaviour of Co-op Funeral Services. A “courtesy call” to check that everything went ok yesterday, shouldn’t immediately be followed by (in the very same breath) “yeah so you still owe £1200, are you going to pay that now, or..?”
I broke down. Maintained the pleasantries, told her “thank you, please speak to my husband and it will be sorted, because I’m pretty certain there’s a mistake…” hung up the phone…and the sobbing started before I even knew what was happening.
That’s happened an awful lot over the last few weeks.
More times than I can remember.
My brother was there. I think, just having another human being there, made those vomit inducing moments slightly easier to bear. A sympathetic, yet very practical voice of reason. I can relate to that kind of voice. I don’t know what would have happened if he wasn’t there. He was brilliant.
I love my brother.
I have a big brother again. That feels good.
The Smalls broke up for half term today. Right now they’re eating their favourite Chinese food. Me? I have my bottle of prosecco, and the possibility of a straight night of sleep. First time in very nearly 3 months. I’ve averaged 3.5 hours a night. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I’d be proud.
But for 1.5 weeks, I don’t have to do anything. I’m shutting down. I don’t have a choice; my body will shut down anyway.
This whole episode, this chapter, this…this whole thing has been one of the sharpest, steepest learning curves I have ever endured. The emotional investment, the mental capacity for expenses and figures, the stability to manage the paperwork…I’ve never known anything like it.
I think I made it. And I think I did ok.