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March 15th, 2005


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01:49 pm - Doing OK
Sorry for being silent for so long at an awkward time, but I hope you know by now that when Meg is with me, no news is firmly good news :-) Haven't checked LJ over the last five days, so I dearly hope I haven't missed some misfortune of yours where I might have been of help.

Many thanks for all your kind comments, e-mails and even cards of condolence after the passing away of my mother eight days ago. They are all strongly appreciated.

Last time I made rather an alarmed post about the prospect of getting Meg into the country. Virgin Atlantic gave service rather less helpful than would've been desired, but American Airlines were able to save the day. AA do offer very good bereavement fares when they're needed, so a considerable tip of the hat to them for that. The previous night's airport closure and associated cancellations meant that many aeroplanes were delayed on Wednesday morning, but Meg's flight got into the UK only slightly too late to be of much use. Nick Parish, a very good off-LJ friend who may nevertheless be lurking here, was extremely kindly able to help out with a late-night collection from the airport and a bed for the night. (LJ friends who might have helped out instead, I thank you, but Nick has a car and lives as close to the airport as any of you do - plus he's a really, really close friend.) On Thursday, transport went to plan; Meg took a very nice hire cab (pre-booked taxi) to King's Cross, bought the ticket she needed, caught the train which travelled about to time and got to Durham station where another local hire cab was waiting for her.

We often hear about the masses of traffic on the roads in the mornings due to school runs, but one consequence I hadn't realised was that it's almost impossible to get a hire cab at around 8am-9am simply because they're all booked up on long-term contracts to ferry kids to school. Makes sense, but I didn't know it beforehand. In any case, another considerable tip of the hat to Dylan's Taxis of Stanley for rearranging their contracts to get Meg to the crematorium in good time. Indeed, she got there with about half an hour to spare as one of the first to arrive.

Mum's cremation was everything you'd hope for; one of her friends from childhood - a tremendously kind, fun-loving, loving person with whom I am sad we had virtually lost contact except for these circumstances - gave a tender ten-minute tribute, and Dad spoke for another minute or two as well. Dad held the coffin and wished Mum requiescat in pace, which made me cry, and I was set off again by the sight of the curtain being drawn around the coffin at the end. Not looking forward to spreading the ashes according to Mum's wish, which is yet to happen. Back to an inn for sandwiches for an hour and then to an aunt's house to talk with the other mourners; Meg and I both were collapsing on a sofa from a lack of sleep and retired to crash on top of a bed for 90 minutes. All things considered, it went about as well as it could have done.

Meg's luggage was lost in the world's baggage handling systems at large, so we had to do some emergency clothes-shopping before grabbing fish and chips with mushy peas (as unavailable in the United States!), making baggage enquiries and settling in overnight at the unexpectedly beautiful Grey House Hotel here in Middlesbrough while the house was overloaded. Since then, Meg has kept me extremely busy giving my room a thorough cleaning; 80% of each of two book-cases remain to be sorted, then I need to deal with a large number of collections that I have removed from my room. I have also been indoctrinated into the cult of storage bins. If this is the legacy of this visit, then it is a very fine one.

We also unexpectedly managed to get to spend our anniversary together - we date our relationship as starting on the 12/3/4, which is easy to remember, though we didn't get to tell you about it until the 13th. I took Meg on a (short) mystery tour to the seaside town of Whitby, a dark 90-minute train ride over the picturesque-though-we-couldn't-see-much-towards-the-end North Yorkshire Moors, staying in a gorgeous room at the Bagdale Hall Restaurant & Hotel with a four-poster bed and eating at a Spanish bistro on the seafront called Garrida's which unexpectedly turned out to be fantastic. Wandered around the town the next day, though we didn't go up the 199 steps to the Abbey so famous from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and took a roller-coaster of a bus back. More cleaning and tidying ensued, then farewell. They never stop being sad, but this one was happy as well as sad. I return to work at 6:30am on Thursday and return to the shift pattern; our next meeting, barring another horrible unpredictable, will be the previously-booked one in late April and early May.

Meg has been absolutely brilliant throughout this trip - everything you would want from your companion and your love. I am not sure how the future will work out, not in general terms but in terms of coming to terms with Mum's death; this is something that isn't going to happen overnight - it may take weeks or decades to fully sink in. As Meg says, the hard bits come at the points when you realise that you desperately want to tell Mum something but she's never going to be there to hear them again.

This unplanned trip was mostly about family; not just family past and family present, but also about Meg gaining acceptance as family future. Roll on the rest of our lives.
Current Mood: okayokay

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:jumbach
Date:March 15th, 2005 07:47 am (UTC)
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Wow. Sounds like a rough, tight few days, but I'm glad everything more or less was able to come together.

Real sorry about Mum, though. :-(
From:2ndavemusic
Date:March 15th, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)
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Re: "the hard bits": Did your Mum get to meet Meg? I have faith that she knows how important Meg is to you, but I wonder if she got to acknowledge their meeting in any way.

Re: the scattering of ashes (Dark humor alert): My wife's granddad died some years ago. Per his request, his ashes were to be scattered off the dock into Puget Sound, on which shore the family household sits. Everyone gathered for the solemn occasion. Grandma Ruby opened the package and began to pour her husband's remains into the water he loved so dearly--and, of course, a good stiff breeze came in and, well, let's just say that everyone carried a bit of Walt around with them for the rest of the day.

Wishing you continued peace and favorable winds.
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From:huskyteer
Date:March 15th, 2005 08:05 am (UTC)
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I love the optimism of your last para. It brought a lump to my throat.
(Deleted comment)
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From:sophie10
Date:March 15th, 2005 08:16 am (UTC)
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*huggles*

I'm glad the funeral went okay. And I'm glad you are bearing up okay.

*huggles again*
[User Picture]
From:hugsnkisses_
Date:March 15th, 2005 08:28 am (UTC)
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Another: glad you're doing ok.

However, this is ridiculously cute.
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From:sheryll
Date:March 15th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
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I'm glad things managed to work out somehow with the travel plans and that the service was, from your description, a loving tribute.

My sincere condolences on your loss.
From:daweaver
Date:March 15th, 2005 10:13 am (UTC)

"Out of darkness, hope is born"

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Very glad to hear that not only are you going for the Coping Cup, you're in a position to enjoy life.

Hugs of shared joie de vivre, I hope, will not be too inappropriate.
[User Picture]
From:wordplay
Date:March 15th, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC)
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I haven't offered my condolences yet because I was away when your mother passed, but please know that I've been thinking of you and will continue to do so. I'm glad that Meg's travel and the service worked out well.

And also, happy anniversary. Onward, then, and the hopes for many more.
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From:fruufoo
Date:March 16th, 2005 08:10 am (UTC)
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My belated condolences; I'm never sure what to say when these things happen, but I'm glad that the cremation went well, and that Meg managed to be with you. *hugs*

Happy belated anniversary, too; your mystery tour sounds like it was wonderfully romantic, and I hope that you and Meg continue to be as happy together as you have been over the last year.
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From:rhiannon333
Date:March 28th, 2005 06:23 am (UTC)
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We were very sad to read the news of your mother's passing, and wish to send belated but sincere condolences (and hugs) to you. We have been so little on line that we only found out a few days ago, and had just mailed you a rather frivolous card, not knowing. So glad that Meg was able to get there in time despite all the challenges and be with you at such a difficult time, and that you two could share the comfort of your anniversary amidst the sadness. To family, past, present and future.

Hugs from Megan and EQ

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