Two posts in one day again, I must try not to make it a habit but wont make any promises.
Well for those of you unable to attend the funeral yesterday and perhaps for those that did but are interested in my take on it then I thought I would update you all here. At the moment I cannot explain my feelings but it is a bit like anaesthetic I guess, I am conscious of what is going on around me but I am not really feeling it.
The morning began yesterday after just a few hours sleep. I hadn't gone to bed until 2am and the alarm was set for 7.30 and I seem to recall being awake at some point through the night but I think I did sleep a little.
I got a shower first thing and a shave, not a big deal really but the shave felt significant. When Stephen first went in to hospital I hadn't managed to shave for a day or two, work and hospital routines meant grooming was kept to a shower, change and back out the door.
Steve didn't like the beard that followed but we made a deal, I would get rid of it just as soon as he got better, (at the time we didn't know it was a tumour), he ageed but, as he has never got better I have worn a beard for 9 months. Yesterday really signified the start of a new chapter for Steve, whether one believes he has gone on to elsewhere or not his legacy is alive and well and here and I have taken his legacy as my purpose.
Stephen was brought home around 8.30am, we had made space in the lounge we called our own and his coffin was open. He looked so peaceful, just like he was sleeping, still as handsome as always, it was a fitting close to that chapter in his life as he left from his home, our home, for his final journey in this life at around 12.30.
The journey to the crematorium was relatively short and it was warming to see so many familiar faces at the Crematorium including some Steve and I met in the first days of his diagnosis, family, friends and colleagues who have been there throughout Stephens journey to support him and us in so many ways. Some just by being there or being themselves and others in different ways but I felt proud to see how many people had come to say a fond farewell to Stephen.
The service went without a hitch and many said they felt it a fitting tribute, "Life is a Cabaret" by Liza Minelli is not really a typical funeral song but it was one chosen for Stephen's and as well as it being one of his favourite numbers to perform it also represented his mantra. Before we went out on stage, whenever he felt nervous or just when a situation was difficult he would just say, "Tits and Teeth!"A broad smile and a large intake of breath and on with the show.
All of the speakers got through their pieces brilliantly and for that I am VERY proud of them all, the did Stephen proud and would like to re-iterate a public thanks here too. It was an emotional and difficult day for us all but we got through it.
Afterward there was the usual beer and buffet at a local golf club. A bit out of the way but it was fine, we were there to drink a toast to Steve not to critique the decor. The afternoon came to a natural end as evening approached and many went on to their locals to continue celebrations, Steve would have approved.
Many of my friends and family went on to a friends house to continue with the celebrations but I felt I wanted to be with Stephen's family so I went with them to Oldham. It was lovely to spend time with them and we all went for an Indian meal at a restaurant which has without doubt become a firm family favourite with one member in particular dining there at least three nights a week.
At the end of the night though I felt I needed to be home. I was very grateful for a lift home from a close friend of the family, I felt guilty as it had been a long day for her but she would not allow me to get a taxi and would not drop me at the train station. I had just felt it inappropriate for me to be out all night when I had only laid Stephen to rest earlier the same day. My family were surprised to see me home.
That was the end of the day, after changing and putting the world to rights before bed I think I did manage to get some sleep. Today has felt weird. The only way i can describe it is like I feel lost.
For the last week or so I have been planning and arranging and fussing overt a funeral. Thats done now so I can get back to normal. Whats normal though? Normal life has Steve in it, at the centre of it and within every aspect of it. I don't have Steve here any more so therefore I don't have a normal.
Maybe it will come in time........