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To paraphrase Oscar Wilde…

26 May, 2017

To have to go to one Uncle’s funeral is unfortunate; to have to go to two, and on the same day, looks like carelessness.

 

A little back story: previously on TRG…

 

My Dad had one sister Pauline, who married Pete.

My Mum had a brother Bill, who married Ruby.

She also had a sister Pat, who married Ray.

So that’s six aunts and uncles.

Sidenote – Ray was also Dad’s cousin, so a pair of cousins married a pair of sisters, Pat and Mum, meaning our family tree doubles back on itself and we are related to some of our cousins twice.

Following it so far? That’s the straightforward bit.

Pat and Ray’s daughter Christine married Bob. They divorced, and Bob remarried to a woman whose name I don’t remember. But she was a relative – a niece I think – of Ruby. So our family tree twisted again, aswell as falling out with itself over Bob’s second marriage.

Families. Ain’t they just something huh?

But I digress…

 

Mum died a long time ago. Ray died some years back. Pauline died about seven years ago, two weeks before my Dad – her brother.

And then some sort of stability for a while. Till last Christmas. Bill was very ill, not long left. But he battled on. Easter came. Pete was suddenly taken very ill, and passed very shortly afterwards. A week later, Bill passed too.

We were all in shock that two Uncles – albeit from opposite sides of the family, and who could only have met a handful of times – should pass in such a short time, were bracing ourselves for two funerals. And then the arrangements were made. Both funerals were arranged for the same day. In different crematoriums. Fifteen minutes apart.

The realisation that we couldn’t be in two places at once, that we couldn’t honour them both, was a terrible feeling, one that (to continue the recent theme) we were struggling to come to terms with.

And then, a day later, we heard that Pat – sister of Bill and Mum (are you keeping up?) – passed.

How do you process that? Fifty percent of our aunt/uncles lost within a fortnight. Given that my parents and grandparents have already gone, that’s all but one of the generations above us gone. And Ruby, our last remaining aunt or uncle, hasn’t been in good health for some years and looking very tired, emotionally and physically. I really don’t think she will be long before she follows her lifelong sweetheart.

 

So yesterday (Thursday) was Bill and Pete’s funerals. We explained what was happening, split the family in half across the two services, and passed on love and apologies from the absent parties.

I went to Pete’s, my sister went to Bill’s. Then we met at Pete’s wake so that my sister could see his family, before we left to attend Bill’s.

At Bill’s we saw June, daughter of Pat. We gave her our condolences, asked if arrangements had been made for her funeral yet. Actually yes, she said, tomorrow (Friday, ie today) at 10 am.

Sadly, that wasn’t enough notice for us to make arrangements to attend – by this time it was 6pm, the funeral would be 100 miles away.

So, to summarise, there have been three funerals in our family within less than twenty hours.

 

It’s only really now, 9pm on Friday, that I am managing to process the last few days. I was in a daze yesterday as we zigzagged across the town, consoling, remembering, and catching up with family we hadn’t seen in what was in some cases very nearly a lifetime.

It’s events like this when you realise you don’t keep in touch enough, you don’t see each other as often as you should. And when you have three such events in quick succession, that feeling trebles. There was much swapping of numbers, promises of meetings and barbecues over the summer, and of properly keeping in touch. And it wasn’t just pleasantries, we all realised on such a day that we had to mean it.

All this kind of brings you right face to face with your own mortality. And it reminds you of your own age. My sister and I were the relatives in the corner saying “that must be James then, you know, Lorraine’s eldest”. Just like old aunts and uncles used to do at weddings in our childhood.

 

So all in all, it’s been a bizarre week. Throw into the mix the excitement and the lack of sleep brought on by my rekindled – well, not just rekindled but firmly now ablaze – friendship with the blogging friend I mentioned last week – which is a whole post (or more) to itself – it’s been one of the fuller weeks I can remember.

 

I’m looking forward to this bank holiday weekend, for a bit of time off work, a chance to catch up and take a breath. And hope that life settles down.

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From → Blogging, My Head

2 Comments
  1. Why of all days do I decide to see what TRG is up to? That’s some story. You should have all just met in a pub halfway between the two services and toasted the two gentlemen. Glad you are still with us.

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