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Collecting him

Two weeks pass, not many tears from Small but lot’s of I miss Daddy, very cuddly period but also very happy period. Home continues change, old ridiculously large bed goes and replaced with lovely brass Victorian one from parents, bedroom has space and toe no longer gets stubbed when trying to walk round. Amazing friends continue to support and prop us up in ways so kind. School Mummies give us gift card for John Lewis with incredible value, I cry at how kind people are, feel overwhelmed. Small and I choose new bed linen, girlie bed linen, it has flowers on and birds, it’s pink and turquoise and pretty and feels like some big loving hug. She selects Shopkins ice cream truck set as it’s for her too. New curtains get added, bedroom transformed. Mummy, it’s looking so nice, I love coming home from school to see what you’ve done next, it’s so much better. Bless.

Pat self on back, we manage her 8th birthday gathering with her favourite friends at local Pizza Restaurant. Have lunch out with sister, playdates at friends houses. Half term is fun and free , we have girlie shopping trips, endure weird film about trolls who fart glitter at the cinema. We go out when we want, get home when we want, eat out, stay out. Becoming naughty dirty stop outs. Small is happy though, she’s a different child, a more carefree one at last. We giggle at eating McDonalds knowing nobody will moan. We miss him but we’re living a normal life for once.

Half term passes and Small goes back to school. Think of him and realise that ashes have not been collected. Have weird urge that must get them NOW, he needs to be home again. Stuff on shoes, brush hair and drive to crematorium. Know exactly where I’m going but not prepared for road closure leading in. Panic, plug in satnav on phone to find alternative route, there is non. Drive back and round roundabout twice, there’s no going back, I have to have him. Watch as other driver ignores closure sign and makes illegal turn to drive down required road. Drive round roundabout again and make same illegal turn. Get round first corner and policeman pop’s out from behind hedge. Bollocks, just my luck. Explain only following what other driver did and actually collecting dead partners ashes, conveniently burst into tears. Nice policeman takes sympathy and explains bad bad accident has happened at entrance to crematorium and air ambulance on scene. Stupid mouth opens and exclaims “off all the places to crash”. Thankfully am let through, policeman radios ahead explaining predicament. Pass badly mangled car and make it to car park, air ambulance landing in park next door, all very surreal. More ceremonies in process, watch other people with strange sense of detachment, ponder why heels are so popular when most females resemble staggering baby giraffes in them. Got the leopard DM’s on again. Wait respectfully for service to start, smoke to pass time and think about ash, wonder if all ask is grey or if a body is a sort of paler version, study cigarette.

Nothing is really simple to find, no signs saying something helpful like “collect them here” so ask random gardener, he has no clue either. Wander around like a lost soul and finally find small office and request him, pass over form’s required and wait. Several minutes later asked to wait some more as they can’t find him at the moment. Really, not again, how many times can a dead person go missing, have urge to laugh hysterically but instead find eye’s welling up. Remind self that todays mascara is not waterproof so must stop immediately. Twiddle thumbs and feel even more tearful.

After what seems like 6 days a large hessian shopping type bag is placed on counter, like some strange bag for life thing only it’s got some weird logo for the crematorium on. Do crematoriums really need to advertise? It’s a handy size for a shop but decide it might not be the best idea. Inside is large maroon plastic urn with a bit of paper sellotaped to top stating contents. Sign for it.

No way prepared for sheer weight of content’s, man was always overweight even in sickness but by heck is it heavy. Wonder if bag handles up to it. Stagger back to car either swapping arms or holding with both and dump it in foot well. Sit back and take deep breath’s. Check lid is secure as don’t want him spilling even though car is such a mess nobody would probably notice. Resist urge to look inside, feel rather sick. There is a dead burnt body in my car, inside a large plastic urn there are eyes, arms, legs, oh my god there’s even a penis. There’s also a tumour, probably a few, all burnt to hell, that served them right, they can’t keep growing now.

Drive home carefully, he keep’s falling over at every turn and roundabout, give up and let him roll about. Drag bag up the stairs and put where chair used to be. Tears arrive again so visit kitchen and pray there’s something made from grapes or apples in the fridge. Thankfully there is, pour one and go and sit beside him. Silent tears stream as the realisation that he is actually never ever going to be with us again hits hard. Knock drink back and pour another.

Have to look, inside he’s in a plastic bag, neatly sealed. The ash is just that, just grey ash, he could be sweepings from a log burner, cigarette ash, the dusty bit’s left from a BBQ, ash is obviously just ash. Think again of eye balls and legs and put lid back on in a hurry, knock it over and thank god it’s in a sealed bag.

7 months on and he’s still here in his pot. We talk to him sometimes. We know where we want to take him, we know where he’d like to be. The Hillbilly’s have other ideas, weird ideas of somewhere that he’d never even been to let alone want to spend eternity in. We’ve got him though so we’ll take him when we’re ready to the place he was happiest, the place we spent so much time together as a 3, the place that held his heart.

After all, if they don’t like it I can always empty a BBQ……………….




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