Within a space of a week or two, I now had to take the next steps and with a little help from my uncles, especially Uncle Brian – who undoubtedly, was brilliant when he helped my Mum with all the paperwork and funeral arrangements out when Dad died.
It was so stressful and I hadn’t a clue how to organise it properly. ‘God! How am I going to do this? I’ve never done this before in my life” I thought. Uncle Kevin gave me a list of all the important things to do first before the funeral is organised. Things such as notifying her death and collecting her death certificate was very difficult to comprehend, but once it was done it was a big weight off our shoulders. James would have been there with us too, but he had been acting rather strange and there were some things that didn’t make sense (things that I would prefer not to explain in this blog). I had to then ring up the bank, the council and change all the bills so that I was the account holder – for only a temporary basis since we now wouldn’t be able to live at our home anymore. Max tried to help me but he wasn’t in the right mindset to do so. He had spent most nights out of the flat with his friends and tried to stay away as much as possible – doing anything to distract him, to avoid the thought of coming back. There were times when they did come back early hours of the morning and slept in the living room with cans of beer and kebabs. Most of it was bought by one of his closest friends. He was very kind and had been Max’s rock through most of the time they had been at school together. They would all sit around chatting and laughing while I stayed and did my own thing in my room.
The funeral was next to arrange. So Uncle Kevin had been researching for reasonable costs but the prices were extortionate and they weren’t able to contribute to it themselves. I had some savings but I had to think of my future. Uncle Brian agreed with me when we texted regularly on how things were going, and said there might be another way. A relative who we rarely saw in our lives was at my Dad’s funeral and he sent my mum a card to keep in touch. But mum felt that she didn’t want to be pitied on, and only wanted to be in her own family bubble. It wasn’t intentional, but it caused her to push people away – part of her stubbornness. Uncle Brian contacted this relative by email and he responded the next day or two that he will cover the cost of the funeral, and Uncle Brian would reimburse him. What a relief! I was so worried about having to start all the way to the beginning of saving up again and the financial stress of having to organise the move. I got his number and said a huge thank you and told him on how immensely grateful I was. I started to tear up a little bit on the phone. He said he lost his parents a lot later in life which wasn’t exactly the same, but he knew what we were going through. He suggested that Max and I come down to see him and his family one day for a break. ‘That sounds wonderful!’ I said ‘Thank you’.
Uncle Kevin kept me up to date during the day and eventually he found a funeral home that was a lot cheaper and not too far from where we live. We paid it a little visit and spoke to this lovely lady who discussed about how we were going to carry out the service. We said we were going to have her cremated, like our Dad was.
She showed us some pretty keepsakes in a book. She suggested that we perhaps place some of mum’s ashes after the cremation in there along with a piece of her hair. It was all so thoughtful and special but even these things came at a significant cost. I spotted a heart shaped keepsake while I was flicking through the pages.
It was perfect. But when I looked at the price, my face fell with a deep sadness.
Even in death, why does it have to be so expensive? It just seems so wrong..
The lady looked at me with compassion and then a gentle smile lit up her face. ‘Look..’ she said quietly. ‘I know how difficult this is, but part of my job is to help people and I want to make this as special as possible for you and your brother. So.. you can have that keepsake for free, if you want?’
‘Oh!’ I cried out with delight. ‘Thank you so so much! You don’t know how much it means to me. You’re amazing!’ I hugged her and I could see a slight tear well up in her eye. Even Uncle Kevin started getting emotional too and gave her a peck on the cheek to express his gratitude.
We filled some forms and went over some paperwork but after all that was done, I walked out feeling so relieved and happy that there was still some good, caring people out there. Uncle Kevin dropped me off back home and when I went to bed later that evening. I laid there thinking about mum.
It’s going to be okay. I can get through this. We both will.
Just one step at a time…