There are a number of people who, over the last few weeks, have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help and support us, and this post is simply to say thank you. You know who you are and what you have done or said or messaged that has lifted our spirits or provided tangible assistance.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most gruelling experiences that we’ve had to cope with – and there are elements of it that I just won’t write about right now because they are so raw. There have been, as predicted by a number of people, some upsetting revelations on a couple of fronts and those aren’t helping the general stresses of this sort of situation either, but the voices of support on all sides really are making a huge difference in how Lady M and I are dealing with things.
So, last night we went back out for #Tuesday, gathering around us the usual crowd of reprobates and trouble-makers to pretend to listen to some music while unwinding from the chaos of life. I was on driving duties because, let’s face it, I wasn’t going to even try to justify getting between Lady M and a couple of pints of beer.
The upside is that I have perfect recall of everything that happened last night, and will be leveraging this knowledge mercilessly for as long as it’s funny.
Lady M and I were joined by Lord Danger and Sir S, and in the spirit of shenanigans and partial gallantry we swiftly rescued the ex-Lady M and Lady G from the conversations in which they were enmeshed. As they came across to join us, I could see musicians flinching in anticipation of a loud night to come. How could we disappoint them? By the time we reached the half-way point in the evening, there were quiet appeals from the frazzled musicians, who claimed to be unable to hear themselves play over the sound of an increasingly tipsy opera singer, the Ladies, and the occasional bemused smirk from myself and Lord Danger (who was regaling us with tales of his own return to work this week).
These appeals of course, in the style of school children around the world, provoked the sort of semi-hushed giggling and pretence of compliance hated by teachers wherever attempts at quelling hilarity are encountered. Out of deference to Lady G, who has to live with one of the aforementioned musicians, we did tone it down – a bit.
Rowdy, bawdy, and generally heavily invested in just having a good night out, it was definitely the spirited tonic we needed. Roll on next week…
Life is slowly starting to resume a more normal pattern, but it’s hard going. On top of the grief that came with the passing of Lady M’s father we have a lot of anger to process, and a mountain of paperwork.
Without going into any great detail, his estate is a mess and it has taken all our savings to bury him. There’s only a slim chance of recouping our expenses, and it is increasingly hard not to take it all very personally. We’re still experiencing sleepless nights, but for very different reasons now.
But we’ll get through this, just as we get through everything else, by dealing with what is in front of us as it happens. We’ve even been spotted smiling briefly in the last couple of days.
We’re finally home again after burying Lady M’s father. It has been exhausting, and we’re still on a rollercoaster as we try to sort out his estate. I was asked to speak for the family at the funeral – to give his eulogy – and with their permission, I’m posting it here this evening.
The first time I met Eddie, he looked me up and down, furrowed those mighty eyebrows, and said: “Who are you?” It wasn’t meant rudely, but it certainly made a lasting impression. At the time I’d just moved in to a flat-share with his daughter: Joanne. We weren’t dating, but a father’s protective instincts are never far away.
The second time I met Eddie, it was to ask for Joanne’s hand in marriage. I once again got the long look. Then there was a little nod, and possibly the driest commendation I’ve ever heard came my way:
“Just remember – she’s not just for Christmas right? You can’t bring her back if she starts running rings round you.”
These two short encounters illustrate so much of what made Eddie so unforgettable. His dry humour and love for his family were rivalled only by his ability to make friends wherever he went, and by his huge generosity of spirit. Everyone knew Eddie, and he usually left a trail of smiles in his wake.
He was never slow to help the people around him. Trying to track him down for a conversation often started with my being told he’d “just popped over to see so-and-so”, or that he was ” fixing something for someone”. As you can imagine, this was sometimes more than a little frustrating for his family, especially if they were trying to get something of their own fixed, or something sorted out.
It will probably come as no surprise then to hear that as we’ve met people over the last few weeks, the universal reaction to the news of his passing has been shock and genuine dismay – particularly among the ladies of the town: his ready wit and silver tongue seem to have left a trail of flirtation and teasing wherever he went.
We can only imagine that Barbara is feeling his ear right now and giving him a round telling off.
The last time I met Eddie, he was finally at peace. The pain and loss that had marked him in his last years were finally lifted. His relaxed features looked proud, and in the raising of his two amazing daughters – Jo and Suzanne – he has every right to be.
However we remember him – with love, affection, annoyance, or gentle smiles – his greatest achievements are here in this place with us now, and for that we are all truly grateful.
So, goodbye Eddie.
You’ve done well.