Thursday, 13 December 2007

Life goes on!

So that was it, it was all over, no more waiting, no more phoning. I cried for a while, but I cry when anyone dies, I don't remember if my mum cried. I called my best friend later that night to tell her and I cried harder. I was still going on my trip with the college his dying did not interfere with my life, there would of course be the funeral, it was sure to happen during my time away, but I had already made my mind up I would not be going. I think my mother wondered what people would think, although she always let me make my own decisions, I didn't care what people would think, they had not spent years of hell, anyone who knew us well enough would know why I was not there. I phoned Gran, it was the first I had spoken to her in over 18 months, I told her I knew he had died and that I would not be going to the funeral and that I was going to continue with my plans to go on the college trip, she didn't say much, 'I felt it was only right I phoned to let you know' I said and that was it I have never spoken to or seen the woman since.

The trip was enjoyable, certainly worth going on. I called my mum on the day of the funeral as she said she might go, she felt she should, but she decided against it and stayed home to grieve in her own private space, grieve for the man she married, the man who had fathered her child and grieve for the 20 odd years they had been together, remembering the happy times.

At last we were settled, it may sound cruel but we knew it was ok to be out and about, knowing that we would never stumble across him, never see him lying in a gutter. We were relieved, if the drink had not killed him he would certainly have become a 'down and out' We had many long discussions after his passing and it was only then we asked ourselves the question 'was he an alcoholic?' it will seem clear to everyone on the outside looking in that 'yes' he was but when you live with something for so long it becomes the 'norm' you assume everyone else lives that way, women stay at home and look after the children and men go to the pub.

One afternoon there was a chap at the door, I answered to find the ARSEHOLE standing there.

'Can I come in?' he said

'My mum's not in' I said

'It's you I need to speak to' he said

'You can speak to me when my mum's in, she'll be back in an hour' I said firmly

There was no way I was having this man in my house, I was 18, I had no idea what he wanted or how he knew where we lived, had it been any of my dad's sisters, my Auntie's, I would have let them in, welcomed them, but they had sent him or he had said he would come 'I'll sort it all out' being the dedicated son-in-law that he was, bullshit, he was an ARSEHOLE nobody liked him, the one person on this earth my dad hated, had fought physically with. Perhaps my Auntie's were unable to face me, perhaps they hated us, blamed us for his death. Perhaps if we had stayed with him and made sure he ate properly he would have lived longer, we should have looked after him, if we did would he be dead now or perhaps it would have been my mother, dead through stress or perhaps he would have killed her, who knows. He returned when my mum was home and explained that dad had money left over in his bank account and I was next of kin, I needed to go and see the bank manager and he would take me! 'I don't need you to take me, I'm quite capable of going myself' the audacity of this man. He also told us about dads dying minutes, how his family surrounded him, someone had been out of the room, but as soon as they were all together he died peacefully, of sane mind my father would, I'm sure, not have chosen to have the ARSEHOLE present while he took his last breath. Nonetheless it upset me. A friend of my dad's sister worked in the lab with Anna and so the family knew that we had been informed of his illness, none of them tried to contact me, they didn't have to deal with my mum, I was 18, but I was still a child really, still their flesh and blood, never to this day have they tried to get in touch with me, hear my side of the story, what we had to live with or just generally stay in touch, I wouldn't take anything to do with them, but I would have liked them to try, contrary I know. I feel disowned, through no fault of my own, I had 3 Aunties, 3 Uncles, a gran, a papa and 7 cousins.

I made an appointment to see the bank manager, I went myself. Dad had never paid his poll tax so that had to be deducted, plus the funeral expenses, the man had died an alcoholic, a poor sole and he paid for his own funeral, which included a lair, which takes 3 people, his father is now buried there and I assume his mother will go there too and his family, 3 sisters and parents, couldn't even club together for his funeral. How sad. I left with a cheque for £2100.

My mother was quite upset with the whole thing, when they had the house, there were insurance policies, endowments, they were both covered and would both be financially secure if anything happened to the other, the mortgage would be paid, the funeral expenses would be covered, the policies would have paid out and here we were only 20 months after separation and the house had been sold, the policies cancelled, the endowments cashed for under their value, living in a council flat and left with £2100, not to mention a dead father. This lead to ifs and buts, what if we had managed to put up with him a bit longer, we would still have been in our home, mortgage paid at the age of 44, plus a little bit extra. It's not all about the money, but it changes the direction of your life. If we had put up with him longer, he would have lived longer, maybe only a bit longer, but he would have been fed, looked after, but my mums life was under threat. Once I moved out of the flat, mum decided to move and buy a flat, she had to take out a mortgage until she was 65, this means working until the age of 65, she has had to struggle on her own to pay her bills, she never did imagine this would be the struggle she faced, but then what price is happiness.

A few days after being to the bank the ARSEHOLE called to see how I'd got on 'Fine' was my reply. 'We were wondering' he said 'if you would like to buy the headstone, we've priced them and they're about £500' I nearly died, not at the price of the headstone, but at the cheek, he did not know how much money I got, nor did I give him any indication, 'you do know that my dad paid for his own funeral and his own lair and of course there were debts to be pay, I'll have I think about it' I said. No fucking way, were the thoughts running through my head, back then I wouldn't have been so rude, he called back a few days later and I quite simply said 'no' it wasn't the money, it wasn't greed, had the circumstances been different then I would have done it without question, this way both gran and papa have a resting place and a headstone all paid for by their son, meaning no further expense to the rest of the family, let the dead man pay.

I offered the money to my mum, I felt she should have it, after all, it was the left over money from the sale of the house, she declined, said I should enjoy it. I gave her £100 to spend on herself and went out and bought granny a microwave, it was £99.99, she had never had one, she was delighted and grateful and gave me a row for spending money on her. I still have that microwave, through in the back shop, although it is past it's best! The man in the flat upstairs was selling a car so I bought it, my first run around, I also bought a TV and video and a hi-fi system for my bedroom. I did enjoy it, I had things I'd never had before, mum was pleased.

I have mixed feelings about my dad's family, I would like them to understand what we went through, so that they would not think bad of us, but surely they realised once he'd died at the age of 44 with cirrhosis of the liver, that he did indeed have a drink problem and not a wife problem!


Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hey Nicola, again that air of resignation when you write just breaks my heart....

I can't offer you any explanation for your father's family's behaviour - who the hell knows what makes other people tick or how they rationalise things. All I know is that at age 18, they should have done better for you.

I remember when you first wrote of not going to your dad's funeral I was quite taken aback, shocked even but now your story has unfolded further, I know that for your and your mum, he died years before.

As for the arsehole, well just that - arseholes.

To conclude - fuck 'em all and be happy. Merry Christmas to you and yours lovely. X

Self employed mum said...

Hi Kathryn, I hope I'm not depressing you too much, especially at this time of year!

I feel they should have done better, but you know, people of lower intellegence and all that! I think it has made me the person I am today.

I consider going to a funeral a mark of respect and my respect had long gone, I have never felt guilty at not going, I don't do guilt, I trust the decision I make is the right one at the time and I go with my gut instinct and nothing else, it's worked for me all these years.

Hopefully as the story unfolds further, yes there's more! it will be clear why I have to take this journey and by God do I hope it's worth it after telling everyone my all!!

Thanks for your Christmas wishes and 'ditto' to you and yours.

Nicola x

Anonymous said...

There's always a reason for everything that happens in our lives. One day I will blog about the reason I felt my dad passed when he did. My thoughts only and it has been very difficult to live with, not at all sinister, however.

There was a reason for your dad going when he did. You and your mum had to be set free. You deserved a life of your own without having to look over your shoulder constantly. Your dad will not be in a better place now as he will be experiencing the pain and suffering he has caused you and your mum over the years and believe you me, he will regret it. It might have been a long time ago but his peace will take a long time to arrive. Yours, however, came as he left your lives for good. Other things may have happened to you since then that you look back on and wish hadn't or perhaps feel depressed about but your freedom has kept you going and has allowed you to open up to yourself and discover this whole new life which you have buried within your heart since your dad's passing.

You and your mum deserve the best.

Crystal xx

Sparx said...

Hi - This just breaks me up, I feel really blessed not to have had to go through any of the stuggles you've faced. You're very brave to write about it all, you seem to have come so far. I hope you're finding this cathartic, it seems there's a lot you've been holding in.

Mid-lifer said...

This is so moving. You've had to go through so much - that's such a lot for an 18 year-old to deal with. How brave of you to write about this and relive it.


Self employed mum said...

Hi CJ thanks for your comments as usual, I look forward to reading about your dad.

I believe everything happens for a reason, but I always thought when people passed their pain and suffering ended? Certainly our pain and suffering ended, that's true.


Self employed mum said...

Hi Sparx, I didn't realise I was holding so much in until I started writing it down and it just seems to flow and flow and flow. The journey is nearly ended and I look forward to the closure, I hope I get.


Self employed mum said...

Hi mid-lifer, thank you, I don't feel brave I just know I have to relieve my brain of all this 'stuff' floating about and move on, in peace.


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