Actual plan for the bank holiday weekend and days previous to it:
Children were going with their dad for a week from last Tuesday to this. I was going to have two days of blissful aloneness and silence (I take introversion to great extremes!) and then go over to J’s house so the two of us could go camping at one of our favourite campsites near Holmfirth, for some much needed rest and recuperation from the exhausting joys of single parenthood.
What actually happened:
J’s dad unexpectedly died last Saturday. 😦 He was a wonderful, kind, intelligent man with my very favourite sort of dry sense of humour and I adored him.
I waved my children off with their dad on Tuesday morning, threw a load of clothes in a bag, left all the washing up to fester all by itself for a week and drove across to be with the family and help out in whatever way I could. The whole family have made me incredibly welcome over the past couple of years and they really do feel like my second family. As soon as I heard the news I just wanted to be there.
Over the past week, I have done some expected things and some unexpected things. Lots of them aren’t my story to tell. I’ve found strength in myself where I hadn’t suspected it lay. I’ve laughed, cried, cuddled, tidied and cooked. There have been high moments and low moments.
Following the registering of the death in the centre of Sheffield, J’s sister and mum and I all went shopping. The two of them bought lipstick and new watch straps; I treated myself to a new watch for a fiver. We had lots of fun, laughed a lot and tried on comedy hairpieces in a department store. Then we sobbed on the bus on the way home. I think that example is a fair representation of the emotional map of the week!
I am so, so glad I was there. It has been a huge privilege to play a part in the grieving and the organising which goes along with any passing. I know my presence was appreciated and I very much appreciated being there.
I held it all together very well considering, and my only real wobble came in my dreams – I woke up yesterday morning having just dreamed I had drunk an entire bottle of Night Nurse through a straw… hmmm…!
I drove home through torrential weather late last night, feeling about as miserable as I have for a while, following one of the lowest moments of the week. I didn’t sleep a great deal, being twitchy and worked up. (I didn’t break out the Night Nurse though! Hehe!). This morning I threw myself into sorting out the kitchen and dining room after I’d left it in such a state a week ago, and felt much better for it.
The children arrived home and their cuddles were healing. One helped me do the supermarket shop and I now have meals planned for the rest of the week and all the food to make them with. I haven’t been that organised for ages! Two suddenly had an urge for baking this afternoon, and the result of that urge is a delicious batch of cherry biscuits which appeared as if by magic while I sat on the sofa and did nothing towards it. Result!
Next week Mum and I will be driving over for the funeral, which is going to involve some excellent music choices and some Spike Milligan. 🙂
Before that, we have a week to organise school uniform, stationery etc. and get on top of the laundry backlog (again). I’m still mostly working on the premise of ‘don’t stop, don’t think, just keep going, tidying, working and I can cope’. I’ve decided that as long as I am entirely aware that’s what I’m doing, it’s ok, for now…