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6 months on 12 December 2008

Posted by Dr Moose in Grumbles, Life, Ponderings.

It’s been just over six months since Dad died, and we’re just about to complete our first full calendar year here in East Midlands University Town. I don’t know where the time has gone, and I don’t know where the money is going either, or more correctly, I know exactly where it’s going, and it’s going out faster than it’s coming in, in an unsustainable manner. Perhaps I should petition HM Treasury and Gordon Brown – “Just a hundred grand or so. Go on, call it liquidity”. Yeah, right! A lottery win would be most useful right now. It’s not just money though – we’d barely managed to get ourselves straight from the move and then came the upheaval of bereavement and, with it, the influx of inherited “stuff.” I don’t mean that in a negative way, just a quantitative one.

The guest room, which doubles as Daddy’s Play Room, has countless hundreds of CDs in it, many destined for the University, once they get their side of the act together. Thousands of CDs sit in their storage drawers, like illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. Still more hide nervously in cupboards, like guilty lovers, awaiting the chance to escape after the husband has returned home. (I’d probably enjoy most of the, but God alone knows when I’ll ever have the chance to listen to them. It’s not like I drive 20 miles each way to work, for example). That’s in addition to all the regular bits of un-filed paperwork, the ones which emerge once a year for the tax return and the ones that really do need to be put away before they are lost. Except they never are really lost, just in a pile rather than the filing cabinet.

And then there’s the books. Hundreds of them, stacked on the top of bookcases, packed in removals boxes, awaiting their final homes – bookcases that won’t arrive until Dad’s estate is sorted because there’s no money to spare. I’m grateful to have the books, and yet there’s still that lurking fear that I’ll never look at them and they will sit, mute on their shelves, just as they did at Dad’s, impressive but impotent.

It’s a bit like that with the car too. It’s all well and good to have it, and I can’t deny that it’ll be useful for the occasional holidays, but it seems like the petrol-consuming equivalent of Oliver Reed and costs as much to simply tax, insure and maintain as hiring a car of the size required for family holidays (although I’m grateful to Mum for covering those costs this summer.) I can’t believe that Dad would have wanted me to spend my share of the money he’s left me on just running his car. He may be gone, but the Bank of Dad could live on, and that would be an incredibly poor use of resources. I should probably never have taken the car in the first place, but I don’t know whether it was left to me in his will or whether it was a case of “Dad would’ve wanted you to have it” rather than “Dad wanted you to have it” – a big difference, especially when it comes to thinking aloud about what to do with it.

It probably doesn’t help that, on a national level, we’re being encouraged to spend and borrow our way out of recession. Well, I for one, refuse to prop up Barclaycard – I have enough trouble just clearing my very modest credit use as it is. And, worst of all, all I’ve wanted to do since Dad died is spend my way out of gloom. It won’t bring him back, and it’s all vanity, but that’s how I feel. I know exactly how I could blow a grand right now, not to mention grandiose schemes to justify keeping the big car and replacing the small one with money I don’t and won’t have.

So, as you can see, I’m not very jolly at present. The death, funeral and memorial service for an 18 year old student hasn’t helped, neither have those for folks living to what is euphemistically termed a “ripe old age.” In fact Nan, Dad’s mum, would have been 102 today, if she hadn’t died in 2001. I remember that all we had left from her estate after 15 odd years in sheltered housing and residential care was about £1000 or so.

You can probably tell that a lot of this has been thought through, and over-thought recently. It might constitute a “rant” – but it wasn’t meant to. Maybe it’s stuff I just need to get out of my system before writing the Christmas Letter that I don’t want to write.

It’s tempting to say that I’d swap all the “stuff” and all of Christmas (which I loathe anyway) for just one phone call to Dad – but that’s a stupid thing to say. It cannot be. He has gone, and we remain. I have a loving wife and two loving daughters, food for the table and a roof overhead. Glass in the windows, clothes to wear, good health (even given the appalling eyesight!) I’m a lucky man – it’s just been a little hard to recognise it of late.

There still is cause for “Joy to the world” – though I wonder whether I’ll really be able to celebrate it. (Not that that would be unusual!)



1. Kathryn - 12 December 2008

That’s alot to deal with…
It’s just horrible losing a parent, whenever…and to be expected to be adult and OK with it makes it that much harder without associated financial burdens too.
Love and prayers that the pleasure that the children will undoubtedly take in teh forthcoming celebrations kindle some joy for you too.

2. Dom - 12 December 2008

My thoughts are with you. God Bless. Dom

3. Chris - 13 December 2008

If you want some help sorting through books or cd’s I can pop over. You are not far away.

Dr Moose - 14 December 2008

Thanks Chris – I think most of the sorting is done for the minute. it’s the re-homing which is more the issue. But thanks! 🙂

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