Well, it’s taken us exactly two weeks on and off (mostly ‘on’) including 12 full car loads to the Dump with 20+ black sacks of ‘stuff’, and other assorted contents, but today at 5.27pm, we finished clearing Lee’s home.
Sadly, it really is the end of an era, and all that needs removing now is all the large bits and bobs – and we’ve got the Salvation Army for most of that*.
The fridge-freezer is the only exception, and that’s going to be removed by Kettering Council…
So, Ann will be over there for one final time next week, but for me, it’s the last time** I’ll ever set foot in 30 Yeoman’s Court, Meeting Lane.
*Update 1: Wednesday, 11th July. The Salvation Army were quite picky about the bed that needed removing. As a result, they WOULDN’T take it. Luckily I found a company based in Northampton, who weren’t quite as fussy and the offending article is going to be picked up on Friday, 13th July.
**Update 2: Thursday, 12th July. Actually, as things turned out, it’s WASN’T the last time for me. We got a text today from Kettering Council reminding us they’d like all the carpets removed too! That required another trip to the Dump!
Today, was a bitter-sweet experience. Ann and I (ably assisted by David) moved Lee’s two bookcases full of Movies over to the ‘Library’, just off Yeoman’s Court Community Hall in Burton Latimer.
We reckon there is over 500 movies in her collection, and Lee has bequeathed them all (as well as all her CDs) to the Residents there. Looks like there’s enough for a ‘Movie-Night’ every night, for the next 18 months!
It was a difficult day for the Palmer/Gambles clans today, as we said goodbye to Mum.
We drove to the Flat, met up Neil, Debbie, Alfie and Frankie, and then our Celebrant, Richard Woolnough. We then went onto Beckenham Crematorium by car, for the Service at 1.30.
I’d agreed to lead the tributes with a semi-humorous eulogy covering Mum’s lighter side of life, entitled: ‘The Rebel without a Pause’, whilst the Order of Service was led by Richard, who did a splendid job with just the right overall tone and words to make it all feel very special.
After the event, we travelled back to the Flat for a buffet, and it was good to catch-up with everyone. It also gave us a chance to spend a bit longer chatting, with the ‘pressure’ of the Service now over.
By the time we left it was after 4, so we guessed we were in for a sloooooow journey home – we were right: 3 hours and 5 instead of 1 hour and 50! – and only a 98 mile journey!!
It was a very surreal day yesterday. Ann and I, together with Neil and Debbie, met at Mum’s Flat, and began the task of working through everything. Thanks for your kind thoughts everyone, together with the cards – they mean a lot.
All your suggestions about ‘trying to remember the good times’ was the philosophy we adopted for the day – and it worked. Sifting through the variety of bits and pieces triggered a variety of emotions, as we decided their final destination! Inevitably, there was some sadness along the way, as we black-sacked a lot of memory-triggering ‘stuff’, but there also some giggles as well, the funniest being when we uncovered Mum’s secret stash of Bailey’s and Vouvray wine – we know she liked a little tipple every so often, but these stock levels would have rivalled Unwin’s!
A ‘mass moist-eye moment’ too, when we found a hand-written letter by Mum to Neil and me, written some 20+ years ago, offering us her thoughts about coping with the aftermath of her passing. How prophetic!
Almost five hours later, we reached a point where, after ‘redeploying’ 60+ black sacks, donating various items to worthy causes, and retaining the heirlooms and family-related documentation, we’d got about as far as we could go. So, it was off to the local Costa to discuss and work-through the mountain of paperwork – and think about the logistics of the funeral. An hour later, we had a plan in place, and so we said our goodbyes and we went our separate ways – each with a sizeable to-do list.
Phew! What a rollercoaster of a day. It was a day that needed doing, and one that took us all back in time, if only for a moment, to share brief glimpses into what seemed like simpler times – I’d quite forgotten the joy of being a kid and living at home with Mum and Dad – no responsibilities, no mortgage – and no money worries! Seemed just perfect – when did it all get so complicated?
It’s hard to sum-up the impact of the day as a whole – I think we both felt pretty ‘flat’ on the journey home – perhaps ‘bitter-sweet’ is the phrase?
Mum passed away in the early hours of this morning, after sustaining serious burns last Friday in an accident at her Flat.
We visited her at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on Sunday, where she had been admitted to the Specialist Burns Unit. Thankfully, due to the medication they’d administered at the time, she was pretty much pain-free and quite chilled-out – and it was comforting to know that she wasn’t suffering too much at this stage.
Our thanks to Doctor Andy Williams and his team for their advice, and the 24/7 care they gave Mum during her brief stay there.
At last Mum, the confusion you’ve been experiencing in recent years, has come to an end.
Take care: we’ll see you up there sometime (save us a space near the front!)