This post is for the sake of anyone who has missed the announcements through other channels.
Mum's funeral will be this Friday, 11 May 2012. There will be a private committal, followed by a public service at Brunswick Parish Church in Manchester, at 2:30pm. All are welcome to join us in celebrating both mum's life and the Christian message that was so central to everything she did.
Mum's wish was that anyone who would have bought flowers should instead make a donation to either Macmillan Cancer Support or The Christie hospital, both of which provided excellent care during her final months. If you would prefer to give to one of us (myself, my dad or my sister) then that's fine. We will allocate donations appropriately.
If you are family, and would like to pay your respects at the crematorium, then please contact us for details.
One of the best features of Manchester is The Christie. If you're unlucky enough to have cancer here, at least you have access to one of the leading cancer research hospitals in the country. However, much of what they do falls out of the scope of the NHS, and that's only going to get worse as the so-called “reforms” continue. Therefore they rely heavily on their charitable fund to cover the shortfall.
I know that some people are most motivated to donate to charity when somebody is doing something visible. Sadly the nature of my conditions, at least how they are currently affecting me, makes paticipating in most sponsored events impossible. I briefly considered doing a sponsored lie there in agony and swear lots, but I'm not convinced many people would cough up.
Instead, I invite you to please sponsor my friend Kerry who is doing the Great Manchester Run* tomorrow in aid of The Christie. I've made a donation myself in the hope that it will encourage others to do so. How about you say hello on Twitter or Facebook when you've done so?
Now I just have to get over the fact that the race itself is sponsored by a private healthcare company…
It's now a month since mum died.
I had a proper cry last night. It doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem real. Everything is just a blur. I keep forgetting, and wanting to share something with her, or pick up a conversation we never finished. And then I remember.
It doesn't matter that we used to fall out sometimes. A friendship isn't about the low points, or the things we get wrong. It's about being there when it's most important. I see dad apparently coping so well, and I know that on the inside he must be hurting at least as much as I am. He's lost his best friend, with whom he had an almost telepathic relationship. My sister is clearly struggling; I've seen a lot more of her than usual and she's been round my dad's place almost constantly. My wife is going through the same pattern as me.
But the kids have been a real inspiration, especially our eldest. I think it's safe to say that her grandma was her best friend too. They shared a birthday, and had a bond like I've never seen before. She's hurting deeply, and yet still manages to find pleasure in the rest of life. She sees no need to hide or dilute her feelings. As she grieves, she is honest about everything, just like the woman she is grieving for. This gives her great strength and freedom. In “little Tricia”, mum lives on.
I guess normal service will be resumed shortly. Maybe.