:: Ruby looking how I feel ::
Yes, yet again, I am close to hitting the wall. I was actually being very good and taking very good care of myself after finding out dad had died. Lots of early nights, baths - I even went out for a run a couple of times to tip the endorphins in my favour. There was the ever present sensation of wading through thick mud that you get when things are 'bad', but on the whole I would say there were a few days where I had a bit of time to reflect and work out how to cope.
It was the funeral yesterday though and there's nothing like a full day of inordinate sadness and family combined with a plentiful supply of wine, a late night and then finishing it all off sleeping on the floor in Ruby's room. I would just like to point out here I didn't just pass out in a fit of inebriation, the imbibing was a slow burn (honest) and Gwyn and I gave up our bed for my sisters and in laws to stay over. Was a bit of a sweatbox though and woke up after barely any sleep to the chimes of my sisters phone alarm hidden somewhere downstairs. It was then I remembered I had part 2 of my paediatric first aid course today. I spent the next hour extremely uncomfortably thinking of ways I could avoid doing it (much like I did the day I had a games lesson at school). I finally ended up talking myself round. The way it is is if I want to start working, (childminding) well, I don't need any more delays. Getting all the paperwork for registration and all the rest of the other stuff you need to do means it's already a process that'll take around 3 months. So getting through today (I passed the practical - yippee) I was also feeling pretty pissed with myself. I should have had an early night yesterday - though I guess drinking at a wake is actually mandatory in order to get through it. All the same, I should know better.
:: All tired ::
We are all so overtired now that Gwyn and I attempted to put our very knackered offspring to bed early this evening in the optimistic hope that we too would be in line for an early night. 5.30pm was slightly over optimistic. Despite the fact they are sleep deprived the laws of toddler physics dictate that this is no reason to go to bed earlier. Rather one should push themselves to go to bed later. You'll be familiar with this toddler physics if you're a parent. It's relative to the 'law of going to bed later' i.e: no matter how late you go to bed you will still wake up at 6.30am. So as I've been writing this blog post we've been battling every 10 minutes or so with storytimes and more cuddles. I thought it was the summer solstice a month ago and the light should be closing in a little earlier. I know I shouldn't complain but it's pretty difficult to put kids to bed when they think it's morning. Finally, finally though I hear peace.
This is the last conversation I had to deal with though, one I don't really wish to repeat:
Me: Listen, come on, you're a bit tired after yesterday and today, just lie down and get to bed, you had a long day at the funeral.
Ruby: But I didn't get to go in the cars (no she didn't. Had to get in limousines to go to the cemetery and one of the errors to add to a long list was that there was not enough space in the cars for the respective children or partners of 'the daughters' - it really upset Ruby)
Me: No love, but you helped me and went in the car with daddy.
Ruby: But I wanted to be in the cars with you, not chasing you.
Me: Well you saw me when you got there
Ruby: Yes, you were standing there by the big magicians megaphone (that'll be the microphone where I read my poem) and you were very sad (that'll be the bit where my voice dramatically but completely unintentionally broke at the end)
Me: A bit sad, I was saying goodbye to my daddy.
Ruby: Who died grampy?
Me: Nobody 'died' him. He died all by himself
Ruby: On the floor?
Me: No in his bed.
Ruby: He doesn't need his body anymore?
Me: No, he doesn't need it anymore
Ruby: Or his arms?
Me: No, he doesn't need his arms either
Ruby: Or his bag or his house?
Me: No you don't need anything like that when you die
Ruby: (She was getting very upset by this point) But how is he going to get back home if he doesn't have any directions?
That is the part where I started sobbing. Thankyou Ruby.
There are set responses for explaining death and dying to the little ones. 'He's with the angels, he's gone to heaven.' I'm not religious in that sense so they've got no applicability or place in our family. Neither was my father religious... at all. All the prayers offered up for him, the anointing of the sick, amount to token gestures albeit helpful ones. This is probably why I was actually laughing when the reverend read a tribute yesterday telling the congregation of how dad used to take us to church every Sunday. My sisters and I shook silently with supressed laughter remembering the deals that were brokered when we stayed with him once a month. They were of the ilk, I won't tell your mother we didn't go if you don't. Thankfully our shaking shoulders gave the impression to those behind us of demonstrations of incomprehensible grief so we got away with that. Anyway what I'm saying is I don't believe in a omnipotent God - a sole being, so the Christian explanations are fairly redundant for me to churn out. I've spent alot of time studying philosophical arguments for why we're all here and I'm no closer to knowing what it's all about, so any explanation I give has to be as honest as possible. I've got leaning towards a teleological argument that everything comes from a oneness, but not a 'personified' God.
Anyway it's all getting extremely deep round here and where I'm having absolutely no luck explaining it through written word I am having an even worse time explaining it to a toddler. I asked my dad when he was dying if he thought it would be easier if he was religious. He said a very definite 'probably'. What I'm going with though is something else he said, that when he shut his eyes he saw a bench in a park. And through the slats of the bench he saw lots of people waiting, smiling. He said he saw this everytime he closed his eyes and it was very pleasant. I asked him if still saw it about a week before he died and maybe he was telling the truth, maybe he was making it easier for his daughter, but he said yes. So that's where I reckon he went and that's what I can tell my own daughter. That he was going to be in a place where the rest of the people he knows that have died have gone. Maybe that is a certain heaven?