Fingers crossed

Today, has been a day to relax. After my physio which was this morning. I made no plans to do anything. I just wanted to chill out. Have a day off from the stuff, me and my Dad have been doing recently. I also wanted my Dad to have a day to himself, without me turning up, going through paperwork or going to appointments and him getting stressed by it. So that was it. My whole day consisted of physio, then back home for an hour and chatted with my good friend Marc on FaceTime, then off to the Metrocentre for a coffee by myself, and buy a new sports top. Then it was time to go and pick G up from school. Thats it. My whole day. It was lovely not having to rush anywhere or get stressed.

Tomorrow is the day when my Dad goes for his first appointment at the Freeman Hospital Bobby Robson Wing, since going to his chemotherapy and finding out it had not worked. I’m not sure what my Dad is expecting to happen, but the way he was talking is that they will give him some answers tomorrow, such as life expectancy and how far the cancer has progressed. Just in case he is right, I’m starting to get nervous. I know it something I am eventually going to have to hear, but at the same time, I don’t want to. Its as if, if I don’t get told, then it won’t happen. It makes me sick thinking about it. In the last year and a half, I have lost my Brother, JJ and 3 weeks ago, my Mam. I don’t want to lose my Dad so quick as well. I will keep you updated as to what happens tomorrow.

This is my Dad, having a few sneaky pints a couple of years ago at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

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Its starting to get complicated.

What a horrible nights sleep I had last night. It felt as though I had woke up every 5 minutes. As if all the stuff with my Mam’s death wasn’t enough to keep my mind active so I didn’t sleep, every time I turned over, I was getting shooting pains up my back from my back injury. How I didn’t wake Denise with all my wincing, every time I moved, I do not know. So as a result, I am shattered today. I feel I could just curl up on the settee and go to sleep. Unfortunately, that is not an option as I have to go back down to Whitley Bay to start the messy process of sorting my Mam’s bank accounts and my Dad’s benefits etc.

Well, we did our visit to the Job Centre and got forms filled in for my Dad. He still has paperwork to find in the house and finish filling another form to take back down to them. Personally I find the Job Centre / Dole Office / benefits office / The Nash, or whatever you want to call them, very hard to deal with. They won’t volunteer information or tell you what your entitled to unless you specifically ask. They tell you you have to go to the Citizens Advice Bureau ( which is a 15 min train journey away ) to get the information, even though you are already sitting in the Job Centre. And they wonder why no-one likes going there.

After that, exciting ( not! ) visit to the Job Centre, we went to the bank to start sorting my Mam’s bank accounts, only to find that there was too much in the accounts to just close, and by law, we would have to go to a solicitors and apply for a Letter of Administration which could take possibly 6 weeks. Well, we got done what we could, then went to the solicitors and arranged an appointment to apply for the Letter of Administration. Again, they are going to want any paperwork that is to do with any financial things she had, such as bank accounts, life insurances etc. This is where it gets even more messy, as my Mam, has kept paperwork going back to the early 1960’s, and non of it is together. She used to get letters and statements etc and put the in drawers and cupboards etc all over the house. Anywhere that was convenient at the time, so it appears. We are going through stuff and finding paperwork for things my Dad didn’t even know about. I think its going to be a case of going through each drawer and cupboard, one at a time, and just pulling out the most recent items and shredding the rest. Its a nightmare and I can tell my Dad is getting a bit stressed by it all, bless him. I’m trying my best to keep him calm and do as much as I can do for him.

A bit of help

Today, while my Dad was at the local CIU social club for his normal Sunday couple of pints, D, G and myself, went to his house and did a little bit to help him out. We gave the kitchen a good clean up. Cleaning, polishing, mopping, new washing bowl and drainer. After we had finished it looked nice and clean.We have also brought some clothes washing home to clean and take back.
I couldn’t decide if my Dad looked pleased or not. He has never been a one for using a lot of words when a couple of words will do.  The problem we have, which everyone in our situation will have, is that, because my Dad’s wife ( my Mother ), passed away ( I hate using the word ‘died’ when its someone close ) only 3 weeks ago today, we don’t want to make him feel like we are just piling on in, rearranging stuff and trying to change the way he runs his life. All we are trying to do is help him out, in whatever little way we can.I cannot decide if it is the right thing to be doing at this time, or whether we should wait longer. I’m sure deep down, he appreciates the help. Like I have described him in my last post, he is ‘old school’ so never asks for help. I reckon this is a ‘pride’ thing. At the same time, he has to realise he is elderly himself, and cannot do everything he used to be able to do, such as climb ladders to change lightbulbs etc.

On a different subject, my Grandson, Jack, started crawling forwards today. I knew it wouldn’t be long before he did that. He has gone through a stage where he was crawling, but backwards. I’m really pleased. There’s going to be no stopping him now. You know what babies are like, once they start crawling, they are all over, and you have to have eyes in the back of your head to see where they are and what they are up to.


It’s been a long time

Its been over two weeks now since Mam died, and since then I”ve been travelling the 10 miles to the house to help my Dad deal with things. Today, while I was visiting my Dad, he asked me to come upstairs. I knew what was coming. Dad took me to my Mam’s bedroom. The same bedroom, where she took to her bed, ill, not long before becoming serious ill and being taking to hospital. It was a strange experience. Its been quite a few years since I was last in that room, and that time, was when she was ill as well. I could still see my Mam lying there all those years ago. What made this time even more strange, was that my Dad and myself, had to go through here drawers and bags, and dresser, looking for any paperwork relating to any of her bank accounts and insurances etc. I tried to blank it out, but it felt I was sort of invading her personal stuff and felt wrong in a way. Having to go through bags of paperwork, not knowing what I would find was sort of stomach churning for me. For my Dad as well, I’m sure. He seemed to ‘just get on with it’. Being what I loosely term ‘old school’, my Dad does his grieving in private.
The bedroom, if you can imagine it has two wardrobes. One in each alcove, a dressing unit in the bay window, a desk, and two bedside cupboards, and all of which had any amount of stuff packed away in them, and paperwork in every drawer. A daunting task lies ahead of us.
Afterwards, we went into the downstairs back dining room. This room has very rarely been used for dining. Over the years, its got more and more like a room to store stuff. We found, yet more letter in more cupboards and drawers. I dread to think how long this is going to take. At the same time, like I told my Dad, a lot of the paperwork is for the same things, so once we sort out the most recent ones, we can shred the rest.

Four generations

On one of the first trips to Costa Coffee, This is the one and only photo of four generations of our family. Unfortunately Grace was missing, although she is same generation as my son John. Left to right: Baby Jack ( my Grandson ), John ( my Son ), me, then my Dad. I love this photo. Due to circumstances prior to this, this is the first time my Dad had met his Great Grandson Jack. Also, this was taken just 2 days after my Mam’s funeral, so it was nice to bring a smile to my Dad’s face.

The one and only photo of 4 generations of the family. L - R: Baby James, Joe, Me and my Dad
The one and only photo of 4 generations of the family. L – R: Baby jack, John, Me and my Dad