helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

Wednesday (part 3 of 4).

Richard's alarm went off at 7am. I woke up, thought "I'll get up in six minutes", and promptly fell asleep again. Usually, Richard's alarm goes off every six minutes, but somehow he'd managed to hit stop rather than snooze, so it didn't go off again. I don't know what woke me up, but I'm glad something did - I opened my eyes again at 7.40am, and practically leapt out of bed cursing (and then, cursing my back, which was creaking most uncomfortably). Didn't even begin to get my shower - we barely had time to get dressed. Amazingly, we got across London and into Paddington with five minutes to spare before our train was due to leave. I never want to do that again.

The journey to Chippenham was entirely uneventful. We arrived there mostly on time. There were plenty of taxis waiting in the station forecourt, so we picked the first one in the line to take us to Devizes. The drive took about 20 minutes, and it would have been quite scenic if we'd been in the mood to appreciate scenery.

We met the other funeral-goers in a hotel reception room. I started to feel very panicky as there were too many people there that I didn't know (friends, rather than family) so I was a bit clingy to Richard, which he didn't like at all. It got to about 11.20am, and everyone started movingoff towards the church - just Richard's dad and Anne and us were left. I almost started crying then, but managed not to, as I knew it would set everyone else off.

I'm not sure what I want to say about the funeral itself. I don't really feel right going into details here. Suffice to say that the service was short, and appropriate. Someone in the row behind me had a wobbly voice, and sang in a most operatic way during the hymns. Possibly the same person kept commenting during the prayers, which annoyed me slightly (a prayer saying, essentially, "may she rest in peace" doesn't need some member of the congregation going "Yes, yes!" all the way through it), but that's a problem I have with Christians of the hallelujah type rather than anything else.

We came out of the church into bright, bright sunshine. Richard's dad commented how this was the first time he'd cried in 39 years. Lots of people came up to say how sorry they were, and Richard handled it quite well (I hugged him lots and made supportive noises as much as I could). Then we walked up to the cemetery for the burial. The priest did more priestly things, a police helicopter buzzed overhead, and Richard's grandfather almost fell into the grave. Luckily Richard's cousins were able to catch him before he did.

We stayed in the cemetary quite a while. Richard's aunt came over and tried to say helpful things, but what she said came out a bit wrong. She said "She's at peace now", but that made me feel so angry - Richard's mum wasn't not at peace before - this death wasn't a welcome release after months or years of pain, it was totally unexpected and unnecessary.

On the way back to the hotel, Richard's brother-in-law Mark and one of Anne's friends stopped to play Poohsticks in the canal. We dawdled as long as possible getting back to the hotel, because we weren't sure that we could take the invasion of Old People. Refreshments were laid on, but there was nothing that I felt certain I could eat (there were some sandwiches with just cheese and cucumber in, but they'd been on the same tray with the fish and meat sandwiches), so I went into one of the hotel restaurants to get a meal, and ended up having a really good conversation with one of Richard's cousins.

After a few hours, most people had left, and so we went back to Richard's dad's flat. Mark and Anne and Anne's friends were there for a bit, and then they left, leaving us alone with Richard's dad. We had a really good conversation about what he was planning to do in the future. He concluded that he'd probably be moving to Poole to be near his dad and Uncle Hug, and we said that was good for us as it's easy to get down there. Then he drove us back to Chippenham station, we had tea in the station cafe, and got on the train.

On the way back we felt very melancholy and thoughtful. I did some thinking by myself, and some with Richard, and reached a few interesting conclusions, but more about that later...

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