This last week preparations for Christmas went on hold and now there are only two days left to get my act into gear. There are a lot of Christmas cards that remain to be written and I have left all the presents to be wrapped to the last minute, so I don’t forget what I have bought. My head has been elsewhere and my memory took a sabbatical. If you follow my blog you will have read “Standing on the Sidelines” and know why it has been a tough time lately.
The funeral was yesterday, Wednesday 21 December which was also the Winter Solstice. Every post on Facebook and blogs I looked at appeared to be full of it being a time to celebrate the joy of light. Although, it probably wasn’t like that at all, but it’s a bit like when you buy a new car, you suddenly see many new cars exactly the same as yours. It didn’t feel like a day to rejoice; for me it was one of the saddest days I have experienced. No one looks forward to a funeral but I can fully understand why they are so necessary – it is a final goodbye and closure, gone but never to be forgotten.
The crematorium was packed with family, friends, work colleagues and even nurses from the hospital. That was the measure of the great fondness people had for Martin. The eulogy was about the gentle and good man I knew and then, much to my surprise, went on to say he was a romantic too. It is clear that some people bring out character traits in a person that others fail to do. I was full of admiration, mixed with a tinge of envy if I am truly honest. I married the boy and in his second marriage he had become the man.
When daughter #1 stood up to read a poem she apologised for forgetting the Orders of Service, saying that her Dad would have been annoyed with her. Far from it, he would have been proud and impressed that she had the wherewithal to find the email she had sent the printers and read the poem from her iPod, with her voice only really breaking on the last few lines. Thank goodness for modern technology.
All of the family took me into their fold and we shared our grief together. I thank them for that, more than they will know. I was made to feel an enormous sense of empathy and love as we hugged, cried and held hands. His wife and I hugged and cried too and we agreed that we both had been married to a good man.
The Just Giving memorial page is full of words of kindness and the number of times “gentle man” and “mentor” are used is heartwarming and wonderful for my daughters to read. I hope that the money donated to the Encephalitis Society will help support further research into this dreadful disease, increase awareness and support other families and patients.
I arrived home, after a long journey consisting of a taxi, four trains and a tube,taking a total 6 1/2 hours. I was exhausted both emotionally and physically and fell into bed too tired to eat. Then, both daughters sent me texts to say how good it was to have me there and how much they loved me.
Clearly I did have a place of importance yesterday and as someone wisely said to me the strongest support comes from those standing on the sideline.
Now I need to get on with wrapping presents, writing those cards that I can deliver by hand and I wish you all a very happy Christmas.