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Saturday, 2 July 2016

The day after mum died

I bought a democracy egg and bacon roll this morning at the polling station after voting. The queue for the voting booth even at 8.05am stretched round one corner and almost to the next. It's a busy booth, as you can guess. But I also was busy because mum died last night.

Last night I had just returned from having dinner and was in the apartment at around 6.30pm when the nursing home called. The voice on the other end was hesitant and reluctant so I knew what she was going to say before she said it but nevertheless the sobs gushed out as I answered and told them that I would not come out then but would instead visit the nursing home in the morning.

I went online and contacted my daughter and talked to her on Skype for a little while. Not long. But enough to get through that stage of grief when all you can do is sob breathlessly and helplessly from the pain. She tolerated my emotionalism stoically and I could see her lip quivering in response. It was exactly what I needed. Then I got down to making more calls to tell family members and I also made a quick Facebook post that generated a big reaction from friends and family on social media - more than I expected, and I was very humbled by the goodwill out there in the community. People had been reading my blogposts and so they were aware of what has been happening with mum.

Later in the evening I watched some mediocre British crime dramas and then went to bed where I hardly slept until early this morning, and even then it was fitfully. After getting up in the morning and voting I drove up to the nursing home and called my brother on the iPad that had been left there. I told him about all the things that have to be dealt with - from the Will to the death certificate and the funeral arrangements - and we talked a bit about the pictures that mum had in her room, which we will now deploy elsewhere.

I carried photos and paintings down to the car parked in the garage - a local soccer comp that was on in the park meant street parking was scarce when I had arrived at the nursing home - and drove to the appointment I had made at the undertaker's in North Ryde. There I parked and walked off in search of a cafe but the path just took me to a caravan park. I asked for directions and they pointed me back down the road, so I trudged back along between the forest on one side and the cemetary on the other, until I returned to my car. Then I drove up into the cemetary driveway and found the cafe, where I ordered a sausage roll and a small flat white.

Later when I had finished eating I met with the representative of the undertaker's and we went through the seemingly endless series of questions you have to answer to bury someone. There are forms to fill out and sign, some of which have to be sent off to government offices, so it's all very detailed. I could hardly imagine going through all this alone so I was glad to have the undertaker to lead me by the hand. As they say, it is a stressful time in anyone's life.

I finished up, got in the car and found the tunnel back to the city, then drove down the motorway until I arrived at home, unloaded the car and lay down to rest. I didn't sleep again. My mind is rushing with so many thoughts and worries, and now I hope that a few people will come along to the funeral which will be held at Gregory & Carr's, 14 Delhi Road (cnr Plassey Road), North Ryde on Monday 11 July at 11.30am. Just drive through the black gates on Plassey Road, there's parking inside. Drop me a line if you want to come along, as I need to get the numbers right for catering purposes.

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