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Blog: A Strange Day
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At the time it happened most of my little bit of the family were on the way to Australia for my brother's wedding, so though we were all together we didn't spend a lot of time talking about it, as we were trying to focus on the happiness of the wedding, as that's VERY DEFINITELY what Nan wanted. Sometimes people say in this sort of situation "It's what they would have wanted" without being entirely sure, but GOODNESS KNOWS we knew her wishes in this instance because she made them very clear indeed - the last time I saw her her main worry was that her being poorly was going to spoil the wedding, so we not only had to reassure her about it, but also carry it through and have fun. This did, however, mean that we'd all had to deal with the grief seperately, and so it felt a little bit odd, after so much thinking about it in private, to all be coming together to acknowledge it at last in this way.
SO yes, I was geared up for some EMOTION, and that's what i got! We arrived in Peterborough a bit early, so had a look round Queensgate and then had a quick nosey over the wall into Nan's old house, which was opposite the undertaker's. My Grandad had worked there as a carpenter nearly all the time that I was growing up, so the area had a lot of memories. We walked down the driveway towards where his old workshop had been, and I found that it was not only all still there, but that they had all the old cutting, sawing and planing machines that he used to use there. As we arrived a Council van was there, taking away massive bags full of wood chippings, so everything smelt incredibly strongly of my Grandad, as that's how he always smells when I think of him. It was great to see it all still there and be reminded of a particularly lovely bit of my childhood.
Soon my parents arrived with the rest of the procession, so we went out again to get out lift, and had the very strange experience of walking past nearly all my cousins, aunts and uncles parked along Dogsthorpe Road! I'd last seen them all three years ago at my Nan's 90th birthday party, so was, as ever, amazed to be reminded that my cousins not only had kids, but they'd been GROWING.
Off we went to the crematorium, where the service was presided over by my Nan's old vicar, who'd come out of retirement for the occasion - he'd actually done the christening for my little brother Thomas, who delivered one of the tributes. Bless him, he did EXTREMELY WELL, and when, towards the end, he found it difficult to carry on i just wanted to RUSH THE STAGE and give him a big hug. I know he's a proper grown-up to me, but he always seems about six years old when i look at him - which is quite a feat of mental agility, as he's about a foot taller than i am.
Anyway, then it was off to the pub (which, for added oddness, turned out to be the one opposite my friend Robin's house where we go at Christmas and where the final verse of We Only Ever Meet In Church happened) where we wandered about a bit, talking to a few people and, personally, being a bit daunted by having so much FAMILY in one room. After a couple of hours a few of us went back to the parents' abode and then for the train home, where i got back utterly WORN OUT by all the emotion. There's been an awful lot of that over the past couple of years, good and bad, with my family - I'm hoping 2007 will be a year of REST!
posted 28/11/2006 by MJ Hibbett
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