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!