I'm sorry about my recent hiatus, both here and in mail — it wasn't planned, and it certainly wasn't intended to continue for so long, but it really was necessary. Thank you all for sticking by me and not assuming that I didn't care about you all any more: which couldn't be further from the truth, as last weekend's WGW get-together brought home to me forcefully.
You really are a wonderful bunch, and you need to know that your kindnesses have meant so very much to me. I can't think of a way in which you, severally and jointly, haven't helped at one time or another during this sad time. Flowers, cards, cookies, hugs, company when I could handle it and understanding when I couldn't, lovely birthday gifts, sharing others' experience of similar times — as baratron wished for me, I truly have been comforted.
The funeral service at York Crematorium was, to the extent to which such things can be, a really positive experience. Dad wasn't religious, except perhaps in his private thoughts, so it was a secular occasion as he had wished, and it was conducted with great and moving simplicity and kindness by Clive Jackson, a friend of my aunt and a lay preacher at St Lawrence's church where my parents were married. So many people turned up whom I'd not expected to see! Former neighbours, some of Dad's colleagues from the time that he taught at the Technical College, members of the Model Engineering Club, and – a wonderful surprise – Dad's youngest brother, my Oom Jaap, accompanied by Claes (the husband of one of Jaap's daughters, but *blush* I can't remember whether he's married to Cora or to Sandra: I have far too much Dutch family to keep track of them all :>) Jaap had brought his accordion with him, and played a beautiful tune during the service, which I didn't know, but I've been told that it's this.
Since then I've been doing what I can for Mum. I'd been really worried that, because she'd grown to rely on Dad to do so much for her, she'd go completely to pieces and not cope at all. Actually, she's doing very well, to the point where she's even been out in the garden doing a little weeding, which is something I thought I'd never see! Of course she is finding it lonely now that she's on her own, but she has friends and family who visit her pretty much daily, so she's not lacking for company. And, thank goodness, I eventually managed to persuade her to ask for an Occupational Therapy assessment, so, all being well, she should soon be getting some aids and adaptations installed at home to make life more manageable now that she doesn't have Dad to fetch and carry and cook and wash for her.
As for me, I'm a mix of OK and not OK. I'll do fine for days at a time, and then something will remind me of him, and I'll get a bit teary. Jus has been an absolute tower of strength for me, more than I could ever adequately express. I am doing generally OK, and steadily better, so please don't worry about me!
And Whitby was good. I was sinful and bought 4 CDs :) I think it was actually the first time that I've felt positively glad to be alive since Dad died. Thank you all who were there and were wonderful, and I'm just going to mention purplebenji, boxcat, jezebel_z, valkyriekaren, dwagon and metzkass for being Extra-Special Lovely at various times over the weekend. Don't ever think you're not wonderful, guys, because you truly are.
As Benji so wisely and inebriatedly observed on the beach, "It's so good to have a face." Couldn't agree more.
Anyway, before this gets over-long and maudlin, I'll go and do something sensible, like lunch. *huge appreciative hugs*