March 2020 Part 4


We set off Saturday morning. I feel really ill. My flu is back again. We travel about 300 yards on the motorway when Hannah’s car decides to break down. She can’t go above 40 because it won’t go over 4th gear. We stop and turn it off and now it won’t go above 3rd, so we have to stick to 30 all the way home. Chris phones and we are thinking about going his way, because we really need to get off the motorway. He says he doesn’t know any garages and they’ll all be shut anyway. I get annoyed at his lack of compassion and willingness to help.

We’re travelling home in a broken car, full of my dead mother’s stuff, and I’m feeling really ill.

Hannah gets a call from Heather and they all think it’s funny because her car is always breaking down. Hannah says she can’t afford to get it serviced properly.

I’m really angry, upset and crying. I vow to get her car fixed at the dealers, no matter what the cost.

This can’t happen ever again.

Hannah says she can’t get the image and shock of finding Grandma hanging upside down out of the bed. She feels guilty for falling asleep. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has PTSD after this.

We have to keep putting the hazard warning lights on for the trucks coming up behind us. A man flags us down and kindly offers to help but obviously there’s nothing he can do.

We have to meet Heather at Broxden and take the dog food from her. We can’t get enough of it. All the dog food shops are shut or sold out.

We get home after 12 hours driving. I cry. Hannah cries. This week has been horrific.


I call the doctor because I can’t be ill anymore. Dr agrees to see me at 10.30. I wait in the car park to be called in. He phones me when I’m on the car park and tells me to wait at the door to be let in. He’s in full ‘Haz Mat’. It’s like an apocalypse movie. I get even more antibiotics and steroids. I don’t know about the steroids. I’ll read the leaflet.

I text Susie to tell her to leave Liv’s headcollar over the gate. Claire texts me and says to call her to get Liv moved as soon as lockdown is over. I can’t afford to pay any more livery but I have no choice.

We are all in bed about 11, when the carbon monoxide alarm goes off in the living room. The wood burner chimney is blocked. We have to open all the windows. No wonder I’ve been feeling ill. Or maybe it’s the virus again.


I’m out of bed at least. I take the antibiotics. I try and clean up and do some washing and sorting.

I get a text from Brenda, so now I can fill in the rest of the funeral interview form. I send it back to Sam.

I get a letter from mum’s pension dept., the DWP, to say that they didn’t owe her any money but if we owed them, they would recover any money from her bank account. That won’t be happening because we’ve closed it. I phone to try and explain and to ask what happens if they’ve overpaid. There’s a recorded message to say that all debt recovery has been suspended for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t help because we have to know how much we need to pay all mum’s debts. We’ve got £500. I hope it’s enough.

I leave a message for the chimney sweep and he agrees to come out for emergencies. Our radiator is broken in the living room and my bedroom radiator doesn’t work either.

Ju has to go to Inverness for the 5 bags of dog food we ordered 2 weeks ago.

Howie agrees to come and fix Hannah’s car. We leave him to it on the drive.

The chimney sweep comes in mask and gloves. He is annoyed that we’ve been burning the wrong things. We are really sorry and apologise. Never had a wood burner before and we are still learning.

Ju decides to go and see if he can buy proper wood because we have to keep warm.

I’m shattered. It was all just too much. I try to eat even though I don’t want to. My face keeps filling up. Loads of tissues. A tickly cough, not like the first time around 4 weeks ago when I thought I’d broken every rib from coughing.

I read the leaflet for the steroids and it says not to take if you or a close relative has bi-polar. Mum had that all her life. This amongst a big list of other side effects. I decide to take 3 instead of the 6. My heart is racing. Anxiety probably. I’ve overdone it today and go to bed at 7.30.  No Emmerdale for me tonight.


I take an antibiotic and a cup of tea. Half an hour later I start vomiting. I’m sick to death of seeing Coronavirus stories on TV.

Saturday 4th April 2020

We decide not to go to the funeral. Hannah has been told not to go because of her Asthma. Sam is understandably fuming and upset and that’s an understatement. She says Hannah could come on the train if her ‘priorities’ were right. I tell Hannah and she sends her an angry text and now they aren’t speaking.  Darren isn’t going because his kid has asthma. David isn’t going because he can’t get time off the farm.

Ju is going crazy saying that he’s always letting me have my own way but this time he’s putting his foot down and he ‘won’t let us’ go. I’m too ill. This, of course, is nonsense as he knows he couldn’t stop either of us in reality.

It’s like ‘Sophie’s choice’. I want to go, obviously, but I don’t want to die, and I don’t want Hannah getting sick and dying. I don’t want Chris to get sick and die and I don’t want to bring back anything to the house that could kill any one of us. I don’t want Sam to get sick and die. I can’t help my mum now. It’s not a proper funeral. Sam is seeing if she can get us a link to watch it online which is better than nothing.

Sunday 5th April 2020

Ju is getting frustrated with Duncan as they can’t seem to work together and tidy the shed. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t care. They all just need to keep busy. We’re stuck here for the foreseeable.

Text quote says It’ll be £2750 to concrete the side of the house. We need to buy wood but everywhere is shut.


Sam sent the link to the funeral. I get a text from my dad’s wife to say they’re thinking of us.

Brenda sent a text.

I offer to sit and look through some photos with Sam, but she says she doesn’t have Skype and she’ll be too upset anyway.

It’s a really hot day.

Hannah & Duncan have gone to get food shopping. Hannah is wearing a scarf around her mouth, but she’s got asthma. Duncan has had his head shaved because Hannah messed up his haircut.

I’m sat at the kitchen table crying, again.

Ju is in bed because he did too much yesterday and has been up since 4am.

6th April

We’re just milling about, and Hannah has gone to take Fiona some food and drop it on her doorstep. I tell her to be back for the funeral. Don’t want her walking in and the dogs kicking off just as it’s starting. Chris phones to say he’s arrived at the funeral.

I log in.

This is the most surreal day. The camera is at the back of the place. There’s a screen with mum’s photos on a loop. The coffin is wheeled in. We’re sitting here watching Sam, Chris, and Sam’s friend (all wearing masks), and Neil. The music is cut short at the beginning. We lose connection for a minute.

8 minutes later they’re done. 4 people and 8 minutes. That’s all her life was worth. Everyone leaves but the camera is still rolling.

A boy starts hoovering. I expect another coffin in a minute like a conveyor belt.

I switch off.

Phoned Chris. Chris says he wanted to see his grandma, but Sam told him to just wait then just follow them, so he didn’t get to see her. He’s really sad about that.

Phoned Sam at night. I think the minister didn’t read the poem. She says she doesn’t remember either and rings the minister to complain. Apparently, she did but we lost connection and missed it.

We’re going to have a proper service at the scattering of the ashes on Loch Lomond where mum wanted.

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July 14, 2023

What a loss.