Friday, January 18, 2008

In memorium...regretful changes

Photo by Flickr's Vsz

Circumstances can change so easily, whether it's at a moment's notice or through the long passage of time.

Take the arrangements this week. Last Friday I had a call from my family telling me that my aunt had died. She was my dad's only sister. We weren't that close because after my dad's sudden death, which occurred 35 years ago, our family ties began to revolve more around my mum's relatives.

Since moving away from my childhood home 22 years ago, I have seen less and less of my dad's side of the family. If he hadn't had died when I was so young, who knows where fate may have led. With 10 cousins on the loose with an average of two kids each, many of whom have now children of their own, that's one huge family to keep up with, which is in complete contrast to our small immediate family.

However, despite the distance between us, I was still upset to hear the news about my aunt and today I should be here,

or at least in a little terraced house overlooking this beautiful parkland, in the small village of Trelewis in South Wales.

Yes, this morning I should be paying my respects at my aunt's funeral and passing my condolences to my cousins, some of whom I haven't seen for several years and others whose paths have not crossed mine in two decades.

So, with the necessary childcare arranged for me to make the trip on my own from Suffolk to South Wales, all that was left to organise was the coach and the hotel, which I did with great efficiency. Under no circumstances was I going to miss my aunt's funeral.

Whether I was driven by guilt at not having seen my aunt for several years or a natural bond connected to childhood memories, one thing was certain, I just wanted to be there even though we weren't that close. I wanted to see the rest of my family again, even if it was in unfortunate circumstances.

With this sense of drive nothing could stop me, not even the heavy downpours or localised flooding in that part of Wales. Even though the funeral was arranged for today, amidst existing plans for us to fly to Scotland tomorrow, I wasn't going to miss it for anything...

...not anything....except...

the needs of a young child, my youngest, who woke at 4pm yesterday morning shouting for "Mummy" and who coughed and coughed for the next three hours while I was making the final preparations to leave for a couple of days.

Then there was the fever, with a temperature of 38 degrees.

He needed cuddles and only Mummy would do and it was only when he had been comforted could he then sleep.

Even though I wanted to go to my aunt's funeral, I could not leave my little boy.

He was too ill.

So I stayed...

...and he slept and coughed and sweated, slept and coughed and sweated.

He didn't want to leave my arms and just wanted to be cuddled and I wanted to cuddle him.

I should have left yesterday morning and I would have arrived in Wales last night. Instead I cancelled all my bookings and stayed.

I've never missed a family funeral before but sometimes, just sometimes, you just have to.

So to my aunt......I regret I couldn't make it...and I am sorry...sorry for the passing years and sorry for today..

...but here's a final farewell from afar...
may you rest in peace.... and give my daddy a big hug should you see him...with much xxx


grumpyoldwoman said...

You were with your Aunt and the rest of your father's family in your head and in your heart. But you in person were right where you belong. The needs of the living must always come first. I am sure your Aunt would have applauded your decision to put your little boys health and comfort first.

I hope he is soon fighting fit and into everything again very soon.

Baba said...

What an eventful week! Grumpyoldwoman is dead right - you did exactly the right thing and your heart holds everything true and dear to you in the right place. Hoping desperately that the trip to Scotland is filled with fun, laughter and joy - you all deserve that! LOL XXXX
p.s. that's the second time you made me cry since my wedding......but a beautiful blog!!

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Grumps - thanks so much for your gentle and kind words. My feelings over the funeral took me by surprise and on the day I felt myself drawn to our local cathedral, where I was able to light a candle and join sentiments with the rest of the family, even from a distance. It helped that my mum rang me on my mobile after the funeral and I managed to express my condolences to one of my cousins. It is true that you are the best person for the job at times like this and it means a lot to me. ;-D

Hi Baba - so true. It has been an eventful week, and how quickly things changed after our phone call early in the week. I am sorry the post made you cry, I hope that my next few posts will make you laugh. We've arrived safely from Scotland this evening, after having a wonderful time ~ just the tonic we needed. ;-D

Laura McIntyre said...

Im so sorry about the loss but you honestly done the correct thing, family comes first

21st Century Mummy said...

Thanks Laura - and I am so glad I stayed ;-D

Jo Beaufoix said...

Your Aunt would understand completely. Miss M has had that same cough and fever. It is awful. You couldn't have left hi so don't feel bad. Hugs.

21st Century Mummy said...

Thanks Jo, especially for the hugs ;-D