well after a long period of emotional chaos, physical exhaustion, and administration excess, i would like to think that at last the world is beginning to spin in the right direction.

basically, if you have never gone through the death of a relative then putting the small matter of the emotional fallout to one side, you have no idea as to the paperwork involved.
within hours of the death you are expected to register the death.
for this you need to book an appointment at some place you have probably never been to previously, hidden away in the back streets of a town you have little knowledge of.
after the stress of finding said place, you turn up, answer all manner of questions, and if your head is screwed on right and you’re not a gibbering wreck, then hopefully you will emerge 30 minutes later with a valid death certificate which then allows you to organise the funeral, and proceed with the relevant probate gubbins.
if, however, you happen to be experiencing a breakdown of normality and answer a question wrong, which you only realise a few days later when going through stuff back at hq, then lo and behold, a can of worms has now been well and truly opened.
needless to say this is what happened in the case of yours truly.
thankfully, the ‘error’ was minor, and so i was able to start the ball rolling.
which meant first and foremost was sorting out the funeral.
now, despite the knowledge of bh’s condition, there were some topics of discussion that were never ventured into.
the type of funeral being one such topic.
subsequently, the sheer scope of choices and decisions is somewhat overwhelming.
still, after a few days of contemplation i came up with a plan.
without going into all the details, as they are not of relevance, i would like to think that bh would have approved of my choices.
then once the day is over, the real emotional intensity kicks in.
you are no longer wrapped up in the build up to the ‘big day’, so your head begins to absorb and process the last few months.
but instead of kicking back you are then exposed to real administration demands which kick in once someone has died :
banks. employer. taxman. land registry. car insurance. dvla. dwp. etc.
all of whom require forms to be filed, a copy of the death certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificates of me + the boys etc etc.
when it comes to the death certificate it cannot be a photocopy – but a genuine copy as provided by the registrar.
and hence the reason a mistake on the original can then cause all manner of extra stress, as in order to have a correction done takes some real hoop jumping.
but yesterday was the beginning of the end of that correction process, and hopefully i have broken the back of the beast, meaning i have now handed the rest of the probate admin to a dedicated team at the bank, and let them deal with the various agencies from hereon.

well that’s the plan.

then alongside the practicalities is the headf*ck that kicks in once the funeral has taken place.
for me this became somewhat intense as bh and myself had been together for 23 years.
in other words my soul mate for the the whole of my adult life to date, someone with whom i made all my choices in life.
[to be fair, most choices were dictated to me .. ]
while life for the boys continued much in the same way as before (food on table, electricity in tv/playstation, clothes ironed etc), for me the change has been immeasurable.
and this has take a lot of adjusting to.
over the last few weeks the one question that has become the main conversation opener : ‘how are the boys coping’
currently my answer is : ‘better than me’
of course, there have been experiments with the new found ‘freedom’ that has descended upon my life.
the main change being that i have been able to listen to reggae – something bh hated with a passion ..
hey, every cloud ..
still, after a few emotional triggers i realised that there are some issues that i am struggling to resolve.
a quick chat with my gp and i’m referred to a bereavement counsellor.
due to a last minute cancellation 24 hours later i find myself back at the day hospice (thankfully not the one where bh died as i don’t think i will be able to go back to that place for a very long time), where bh visited and enjoyed the facilities on offer.
one hour of random chat later and i emerge with a sense of direction.
i have more sessions booked, but during the first hour i had a realisation as to what’s causing me the most pain.
of course it’s early days and i still have a lot to figure out, but at least there is a plan in place to help me get to the next stage of the grieving process :

shock > denial > depression > acceptance

as a good friend of mine said recently : ‘tick off a couple of boxes each day, and you’ll get there’

and that is exactly what i’m doing.
i wake up and think as to what boxes i need to tick off (ironing, cut grass, buy food, paperwork etc), and if i manage to do all as i wish then little by little things will improve.

not only that, but given that i am able to throw myself back into the other passion in my life, i have allowed myself a few treats :

lots of on-u sound goodies : t-shirts, japanese only releases, old compilations that i never picked up on release, full set of tack>>head cd compilations.
the byrds boxset : a band i have always wanted to hear more of, but never knew where to start, so decided to just get the lot !
lou rawls : live album.
cabaret voltaire : virgin era boxset : my favourite era of the band, and this boxset compiles all manner of stuff that was only available on vinyl. missed out upon its release.
philadelphia international classics – the tom moulton remixes : 4 cds of massive 11 minute 70s disco classics. perfection from start to finish.

oh and one other thing.

last year as bh went through the hell of chemo/surgery/chemo under the advise she would be cured we planned to go to this years camp bestival as a celebration of the cure.
well, as we all know, that plan didn’t quite work out, but after a chat with the lads, we have decided to go to the festival anyway as a celebration, and to have a new era adventure.
fingers crossed that the weather doesn’t turn it into the type of experience i had at glastonbury in 2005 !
if you happen to be going to this event, then by all means drop me a line at the usual place, and who knows, i may even buy you a pint.

well, now that i have done the catch up thing, from hereon, things should hopefully get a little lighter (of course, there may very well be irregular detours into the darker aspects of day to day life as it doesn’t take much to put me into a big downward groove), and hopefully quicker to write/read.




One response to “12-06-12

  1. Truly sorry for your loss Mark, but glad to hear you are coming to terms with it all. Have a great time at Bestival. I am going to Lovebox this weekend and it’s looking like it’s going to be yet another grey and soaking afternoon – so no surprises there then.

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