Amidst all that's been happening over the past ten days, one thing I haven't written about is this...
I'm not the Phil mentioned there, but the chap who has sadly passed away is Lisa's uncle. Phyllis was her Mum's sister, and we went to her funeral in April 2009. I'd never believe that was five years ago if I didn't have the blog post to prove it. It seems like yesterday.
This death was a little more expected, but no less sad, as the man was as lovely as his wife, and had always been good to me from the moment I started visiting Lisa in Brighton back in 2004. They were kind enough to put Lisa's Mum up for the weekend on a regular basis so that we could have a bit of space, and as this blog post mentions, I would often drive her over to their bungalow on a Friday afternoon and stay for a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a large helping of war stories. They were always generous with Amelie (even if they couldn't spell her name), and were just a lovely couple to one and all.
So it's sad that they're both now gone, particularly as Lisa grew up surrounded by three sets of aunts and uncles, all of whom helped to raise her, and Fred was the last of those. But the nice thing about writing a blog is that I have ten years of memories to look back on and re-read. The funeral was yesterday morning at Woodvale Crematorium, which is like a peaceful oasis of calm in the middle of a busy city, and despite being drugged up to the eyeballs, I wasn't going to miss it.
The service was conducted by the same chap who did Phyllis's funeral, and despite not knowing either of them, he did a lovely job for both. We sang eight verses of 'Abide With Me', heard a couple of tearful tributes, and ended with 'Morning Has Broken', which was perhaps appropriate on the longest day. We then returned to his daughter's house, where Toby played with the chihuahuas in the garden, and I was reminded of how much I like Lisa's cousins.
It was difficult emotionally for Lisa, and physically for me. The steroids seem to be having a cumulative effect, and rather than gradually getting better, I'm currently feeling worse each day. Yesterday was particularly bad, with a lot of sickness, and a continuation of the cold-like viral symptoms which meant that I began to cough up blood. It was also the first time since Monday that I've had to smile politely for more than a few seconds, which proved to me that my cheek isn't as improved as I'd thought. I'm no stranger to being called face-ache, but this time it was completely appropriate.
It was a beautiful sunny day though, and a fitting send-off for a lovely man who lived for almost 88 years. So temporary problems aside, it really wasn't that bad.