The Post-THE-Day post. A day I never wanted to have and a day I would gladly not have if I could somehow wipe it. Within that though, I felt strangely elated that everything went so well. Gail would have loved it, I know.
The Ceremony was moving but lovely, I managed the 10 minute Eulogy without breaking down and even managed to get some of the humour that was so important to us into it. The Celebration of Life after was exactly that; every one remembered Gail as she would have wanted and the whole thing was held in a nearby bar / restaurant called Mimosa that was ‘very Gail’ and one she would have approved of.
It’s funny but just a year previously – with no fear that the date was impending but just one of those conversations you have sometimes – Gail said told me that when she went she only wanted me at the funeral and to just have some people back after for some sandwiches. I pointed out that there were people who loved her, who would want to say goodbye and, in any case, I needed someone there. Amusingly, I couldn’t even envisage what she was expecting with the sandwiches at home request. I’m fastidious about mess in the house and, with a latent OCD kicking in after Gail’s passing, I would have spent the whole afternoon hoovering up, walking behind people with a dustpan picking up crumbs.
Within that I was deliriously happy that I’d stumbled onto the idea of Mimosa. If we’d had the big chat closer I’m sure it was somewhere she might have suggested herself. The music she loved turned into a five hour ‘Mix Tape’; the type of thing we used to send each other back in the ’80’s. I even created it on Spotify so anyone can hear it. It was lovely hearing her favourite songs but even better hearing those ‘coded’ ones; the songs we used to speak to one another in when times were different.
Also, far from things being private and intimate, her passing being observed by just me, the whole thing became a worldwide event. With some friends of Gail unable to get to Colchester due to travel issues – Los Angeles, Greece and the Isle of Man just a few of the places where Gail’s friends lived – or ill-health (She had many friends with Lupus unable to make the journey), I’d had the whole thing recorded on Webinar so anyone could log on and see the whole thing. Friends and family were even able to go online for a month after to see the ceremony and I was able to get a downloaded copy to keep.
After the Celebration, I’d been taken to a nearby hotel to see Gail’s family down from the North-East. There were big family issues there – Gail hadn’t spoke to her closest for a few years – but I was glad everyone had been able to come and say goodbye to her. I felt it was important to try and mend the bridge; too late for it to be fully workable but good enough to hold up for anyone who needed to gingerly cross it.
After I left the hotel bar, it was past midnight of the 30th and the worst day of my life was behind me. I decided not to order a cab but walk the distance back to our house, passing a darkened Mimosa on the way. I’d had a drink but not too much – it’ s never a good idea even a year after – but I felt oddly light-headed. The day had gone as well as it could and I just knew implicitly that Gail would have approved. She’d have asked ‘HOW MUCH?’ at what I spent and then laughed as I’m famously frugal, but she’d have appreciated me getting everyone there – even those who couldn’t exactly be there – and I think she’d have appreciated me trying to fix some of the broken relationships.
I’m not proud of too many things I’ve done in my life but I am proud at what I was able to do for my wife on that day.