Well, one good thing about it; Phil and I have worked together, as a team, very well indeed, in the hard and painful aftermath of his father suddenly passing away early in the month. We got his funeral organised and done, we’re working on probate, and I have been cleaning and clearing out his house, which Phil inherited, and which, conveniently, is the other half of our semi. We’re still mulling over what to do next, now that Harry is gone. Do we sell one house, do we sell both houses, and move somewhere else? Or do we go ahead and reunite both houses back into one, as it originally was, when his parents, grandmother, and one of his uncles all purchased it together fifty-odd years ago?
Right now, I think we are both too shocked and sad, and too damn busy, to make a solid decision. We’re not going anywhere for the immediate future. Harry was 80, very close to 81, when he died, so to lose him wasn’t entirely unexpected — he was old, he had some of the health problems that come with age — and while he was both good and brave, and not the type to just give up, he never got over losing Phil’s mother three years previously. It was an exemplary marriage between people who loved each other devotedly for most of their adult lives, and, even after she was lost to pancreatic cancer, it was so hard to think of them as anything but a pair. I miss him dreadfully — Fridays and Sundays, when he almost always came over for dinner, are particularly hard — but the small mercy in it is that he didn’t go to a ghastly, prolonged death. It came suddenly, it was incredibly fast, and he went at home, at the end of what seems to have been a pleasant day. If the death of a fine and much-loved person can be good, then his was. I won’t call it consoling, or at least not very, but I am so glad he was utterly independent to the finish, because that mattered to him.
And he mattered to so many people. We had a full house for the funeral and the luncheon afterwards, but for the internment on Monday, it will be only Phil and me there to say the final goodbyes. We’ve spent the last month looking after the feelings of the other people who are grieving for him, but on Monday, we don’t have to be strong and capable and calm and dignified, if it’s too much.
I am a great big crybaby, but somehow, just this once, I held myself together. I was so worried I would just ugly cry at the funeral, but I did not. When Phil was giving his beautiful eulogy, I somehow managed to remain mostly dry-eyed, and composed. It was hard. I cry easily. I have always cried easily. All around me, people were crying. I still don’t know how I did it, but Phil said it helped him get through his speech.
I miss him so much. He was so good. He was a quiet man, and I am mostly a quiet woman, and we could be quiet together in the most companionable way. He got it, that I am shy and introverted, and it often takes me a while to relax and know people well enough to loosen up and be actively friendly, instead of reserved and polite, and he simply left the door open until I was able to feel comfortable, and let my actual personality show. It made me love him, possibly more than anything else ever could have. That I’ll never have another busy Friday or Sunday, running around frantically trying to shop for, and prepare, a dinner to please him, makes me desperately sad. Yes, there were times it was stressful, but by the time I’d told Phil to fetch him and bring him over, everything was ready, and it was worth every bit of effort and time. The wildly extravagant Tapastravaganza was really done for his benefit, above all else, and, as it turns out, he hardly shut up about it, once it was done. I succeeded in my secret wish to please and impress him. It felt important at the time, and of course it was, given what happened such a short time later, so there’s my own personal consolation, and it’s a pretty big one: We gave him a damn good send off, even if we didn’t know that’s what we were doing at the time.