A huge thank you for so many beautiful messages that have been sent to my family and I, both directly on my blog post yesterday, via email, text, Twitter, Facebook and Birdforum – all of these messages have been hugely supportive and so beautifully written and several have reduced me to tears. I apologise for not replying to all of you individually at the moment, but each and every message is very much appreciated and treasured. Thank you all so much – Best Wishes Penny x
Today has been incredibly difficult indeed, in fact more so than yesterday. None of us slept a wink last night. Poor Lucy said she stayed awake all night and listened to classical music – she said she was worried that she would never sleep again because of the shock. But, Lucy is far stronger mentally than all of us and managed to go to her orchestra rehearsal this evening, I really don't know how she did that! Father would have been so proud of her. We were all wrecked with exhaustion and found it very difficult to carry out any tasks or make decisions.
We had to receive and deal with some very difficult phone calls this morning from the Coroner's Officer – it was explained to us that there was only one GP available at the Heacham practice today and that they did not know my Father and were not prepared to sign the death certificate. The only GP that had seen my Father recently was not in until Wednesday next week! Long and short of it, I then phoned the care home manager Nigel to ask for advice etc. Nigel said that he had spoken to Father's official GP at the surgery yesterday who also would not sign the death certificate, as he had not seen him recently either and Nigel didn't think that the lady GP who returns next Wednesday would sign it either, which means Father would then have to have a post-mortum OR our other choice was to have a post-mortum now (or as soon as able to) which would clarify the death and then produce a death certificate. So as a family we decided to go ahead with the Post-mortum now as it looks like that is going to have to happen late next week anyway, so why delay it!!! We were then told by the Coroner's Officer that this would now happen this Monday at the QEH – not what we wanted for our Father, but because of the 'law' we don't have much bloody choice. I've been swearing alot today!
We phoned John Lincoln Funeral Directors at Hunstanton and they are coming out to arrange things with us on Monday, even though we have no idea what we are doing yet. The Coroner will ring us when the post-mortum is completed on Monday and then phone John Lincoln to take Father away to be cared for etc. Father's requests for his funeral, which he typed up and gave to Vivien in 2007 will mean he will not be having a 'traditional' funeral – more on that another day!
Vivien and I wanted to clear Father's clothes and belongings from the care home – I don't know why we wanted to do this today, but we did. It ripped me apart to return to his bedroom where I saw him deceased yesterday, but we got through it and were a good team. I couldn't have done it without Vivien – she is far calmer than me and makes me see sense! We had to sort everything here, as Mother stated very clearly she didn't want any of his clothes returned and it would have really upset her. We obviously took things like all Father's 90th Birthday cards, his green bear I gave him, his green hand warmer that I made, his rug he has on his lap and a few other items of clothing for sentimental reasons and choose a set of clothes to dress him in (sure you know what I mean by this). The rest we left in the room for the home to take to a charity shop or do what ever they liked with. As we left the room, we turned to take one last look at his room, where he had been since May last year and with a million thoughts and emotions running through our minds, we made our way downstairs.
We said goodbye to some of the staff and things became extremely emotional with hugs etc. I will hugely miss seeing some of the residents here too, especially a lady called M. who is hilarious, feisty and a real character – I love her and always chat to her, even though most of the time she hasn't got a clue what she or I are talking about! A member of staff then appeared, walked towards towards me and hugged me so tightly and I just broke down completely – this lady is particularly special as she made Father smile so much and I thank her and all of the staff that made him smile and cared for him. Nigel, the manager was very supportive and helped us with our bags etc out into the car. We left and returned to Holme. I left all Father's belongings in my car, as if we had brought these into the house, it would have traumatised Mother – all too soon.
We had a late dinner, which consisted of the remains of my Slimming World meal I had made Wednesday evening, potatoes, sprouts and gravy which was very nice indeed. Mother didn't want to leave the house, but Vivien wanted some air and so did I, so we walked around the village and to Holme Marsh NWT reserve (the three hides in the village). The track along Marsh Lane was like a river, but we managed to work our way around it. It was a really sunny day, which lifted our spirits a little. I was very impressed by the reed clearance from the first hide – you can see the pool now!!! We saw a Common Buzzard perched on a large hawthorn, a Marsh Harrier flew over and a Redwing flew over the pool. Coots were around the cut reeds, but not too much else. We had intended walking around the village, back up Peddars Way and along the main road back to the house, but bumped into Sophie by the church! We chatted for a while and she then kindly invited us back to her new abode for coffee which was very kind of her. Sophie really helped us with thoughts and decisions for the funeral and we all had a really nice girly chat, which gave Vivien and I some normality from the rest of the crappy day we had gone through. Huge thanks to Sophie (and her mum who popped in a bit later) for her thoughts and ideas and for inviting us in to her fabulous 'pad'! We walked back in the dark – Mother had been asleep since we had left. We sat and discussed things in the evening, cried, dozed and ate junk food. I got really upset when I heard my Mother say 'I can't believe we are not going to be able to talk to him anymore' – it was desperately sad to hear her say this.
I fell asleep on Father's old bed (still in the living room) and then woke up irritable and more tired than before I went to sleep. I returned home to King's Lynn. Vivien is still staying with Mother. There isn't really enough space for us all to stay there. Phoned Lucy later who had returned from her rehearsal and seemed to be ok, bless her.
There are tons of things to sort, but tomorrow we're having a day off and in any case all the people we need to contact are only available Monday to Friday in office hours. I don't think Mother will, but Vivien, Lucy and I will probably go and spend some time by the sea tomorrow. I really hope that day 3 won't be worse than today – such a difficult time for us all.