Mum passed away about 1pm (apparently). It was about 2 o’clock when Hannah said she thought she’d gone. We sit in silence with tears rolling down our faces, staring out of the front room window.
District nurses didn’t come for another 2 hours.
There’s a ripping and tearing of packages. I can hear bin bags rustling. They’ve dropped a vial down the back if the fridge.
It only really hit me when one of the district nurses in the dark blue came in and knelt by the sofa, “She’s ready to be taken away now.”
Phoned the GP but they wouldn’t do anything until the district nurses got back to inform them. District nurses not aware of this system and speak to them on the phone. No-one has a clue what they are doing down here. Maybe we can get a certificate tomorrow.
A silver van comes with ‘Private Ambulance’ written on the side. I’ve never seen one of those before. Michael and Darren take her. They ask if her teddy should stay here.
We get the things that thieves might take and put them in the car.
We sit watching TV back at Sam’s. I texted everyone. Neil is first to get back to me and says he will tell the others. Neil says he will help if he can, but it’s limited because of the virus lockdown.
Sam isn’t easy. She keeps shouting then apologising. Control freak. It’s been too long of writing and now I can’t remember what’s happened.
We sit and phone around all the bills. The DWP say thanks for letting them know and they’ll be in touch if we owe them money.
We have to wait until we have the certificate.
Sam picks up the certificate at 1.30pm and we have to go and register the death at 3.15pm
We drive to town. There’s no traffic about. Lots of scaffolding and road works.
We have to wait until Thursday to go to the funeral place and the bank. Me and Hannah get most of the stuff from the house sorted. Needed more time than we got for my Nan’s place. We only got 2 hours to clear all her stuff. Had to just ram it all in suitcases, stuff the car and sort it out when we got back home. Sam says she has to hand the keys back within 2 weeks, otherwise they’ll charge her another month’s rent, except the council is shut and there’s no one to take the keys.
We go to the funeral place. Have to ring the bell because of the lockdown. Only one girl in. We sit at a table with a big catalogue of services and packages on offer. She says that the starting package is normally the ‘Traditional’ one – we know that’s £1000 more expensive than the ‘Simple’ one. She says that she can’t offer the services in the ‘Traditional’ one so there’s no point in taking it. No flowers, no embalming, no cars, no photo frame, only 10 people allowed, who all have to sit apart. No hugging and no touching the coffin. Curtains will be closed. No weekend visiting the chapel of rest. They want £38 for live streaming. Don’t like that idea at all. They want £12 to show a photo on a screen or £30 for showing up to 25 photos. Whole thing is still £3000. Mum had funeral insurance so no worries about that. The pastor isn’t allowed to come to the house, so we have to fill in a form and email it back.
We go to the bank. No-one about in town. The bank has 2 people on the door who ask what we want. We have to go upstairs and sit apart. I try not to touch the stair bannisters. The girl has a screen on her desk. She wipes the pen before giving to Sam to sign. She helpfully gives us a photocopy of the death certificate.
We drive to the housing place on the off chance there will be someone there. There are 3 people on the car park, but the place is shut. A man in a top with the housing logo on it asks what we need. We explain that we can’t clear the house because the tips are shut and there aren’t any house clearance places open. We don’t know how to hand back the keys. Luckily the people are staff and they make a note of it all. We have to fill in the end of tenancy agreement online, print it off and post it in with the keys. Sam has a new printer at home but it’s still in the box and we have to buy paper.
Me and Hannah go and clear the last of the house. Sam says she doesn’t want it cluttering up her house. I’m annoyed. It’s only going to be there for a week. She gets a call to say that the funeral is in 10 days’ time. I decide to go home the day after. That way Sam doesn’t have to put up with the clutter. We are missing the dogs and home so much and there’s nothing more that can be done here now. I don’t want to see mum at the funeral place.
We decide to leave Sam’s and go to a hotel. There’s a storm and I don’t want to drive at night. We check in to the BWFC hotel. Decide to go and get food in an American restaurant and invite Sam over. She leaves her phone in the restaurant. Manager phones me from it and we go and pick it up. Meanwhile Sam realises and goes back. They explain that we’ve got it. She comes to the hotel and is hysterical and inconsolable as there’s photos of mum on it.
Lashing down with torrential rain.