Everything went well at the Funeral and the reception that followed. Everyone was very kind. Everyone seemed to like my address or eulogy. Apparently I delivered it beautifully. I was however very upset and only just managed to get through it. I can't believe that Dad has gone, that both my parents have now disappeared from my life.
Their house looks as if they have just gone out to the shops and will be back in a moment. I don't want to make it a shrine to them, but I can't bring myself to change anything yet. It has fallen into my hands, and I've decided to make it my home, but claiming it will be a long process. I know that a time will come, in late summer maybe, when I am ready to set to and clear away the old furniture and ornaments and plan a fresh decor to suit my own much lighter, plainer, clutter-free taste. Till then I think the place needs respect. It has a welcoming atmosphere, but I know it fears what I might do, and I need to win it over, to show it that I won't do anything ill-considered or brutal; and that I want it to live again, for me.
The garden is peaceful and private, well planted. At the bottom is a rockery, and both my parents' ashes have been scattered there. I wonder if they know. The very fact that they are 'there' in a real, physical sense makes me reluctant to sell the house too soon. I expect to stay there for at least three years, perhaps longer. The location is next to a park, in a quiet cul-de-sac quite near the heart of the village. A potential des res in a modest sort of way, in so far as a 1960s bungalow can be a des res. It isn't however the ideal spot for someone going through transition. The immediate neighbours all know me as I used to be, and may not care to see Lucy Melford all of a sudden - but I dare say that in time, by degrees, I can get them used to a very different 'look'. And I can remain with my doctor, who is being supportive. And Brighton is a fast drive over the South Downs, not a crawl along the coast. And I have easier access to trains for days out in London. Oh yes, it's less rural than where I am just now, and the sea isn't so close, but there are handier shops and services. It makes sense in every way to move there during the months to come.
Emotionally I am closer to the edge than I've ever been. But I have a lifelong habit of thrusting feelings into a box and sitting on the lid, and although that's not a good way to handle them, it will save me from despair and depression. What I really need is a complete break for a while, to recharge. A short caravan holiday will have to do. And I won't underestimate the value of picking up the threads of my normal life. And I do have a good holiday to look forward to. I've discovered that Dad paid in full for the November cruise last March (when he could get the maximum discount). I don't want a refund; I will go, and enjoy Madeira, the Canary Islands and Morocco in warm sunshine. And think of Dad when I drink my wine, or sip a Manhattan.