You've probably guessed by the title of this blog that this isn't going to be a particular joyous instalment. I've been to a funeral. Sadly a dear family friend passed away, aged 86, and it was his funeral today. He died just over a week ago, quite suddenly at home with his beloved wife.
I've known Ken since before I can even remember. He was one of those people who, as a child, you called 'Uncle' even though he wasn't one, at least not in any official capacity. He and his wife Marjorie were friends of my parents. We went on holiday together when I was a kid. Their family and mine, year after year. We plodded our merry way across the country. We generally went to the same places; Torquay or the Norfolk Broads to name but two.
They were really happy times, but aren't they always? You look back with a sense of nostalgia and rose-coloured spectacles and, even though you might not remember particular, individual details, they all merge together to form one joyous whole. It never rained, not that you can remember. Good times indeed.
Funerals are never going to be particularly happy events at the best of times, but it was at times like these that I really HATE my mental health conditions. I hate them. If I could have made that text any bigger or more pronounced I would have. I HATE HATE HATE them. Most days I live with them, because, well, you have to. I try to get a little better every day, but things like this always feel like they're knocking you back a couple of steps.
I can't do crowds. Small places, large groups of people and me simply don't get along. I get anxious just thinking about them. Outside is fine. A small throng is OK, but cramped conditions and an amount of people relatively to the size of the place is never going to work for me. It would have been easy not to go today. To have made my usual excuses, but sometimes you have to do the right thing. I wanted to go and say goodbye to Ken today. To pay my respects to him and his family.
I stood at the back with my wife and listened to the vicar (or priest or Father..I don't know what you call him) recount the story of Ken's life to his assembled family and friends. There were a lot of people. No surprise given who they were there to celebrate. I just hated that I couldn't go and mourn with my mum and dad. That I couldn't be the support they needed me to be. I could've I guess, but I didn't want to have a meltdown at a funeral. I didn't want to be the one that people were looking at and thinking I was crazy. I mean I am, but they're not to know that.
I did what I could. I paid my respects to a lovely, lovely man and I'll never forget the times we had together. Take care Ken.