I was full of dread going to the South West. For ease of travel, we decided to go by train. I wanted to be able to chat in comfort rather than wade through traffic for four/five hours. Also, I am getting to the great part in my book and I wanted to try to finish. It was a lovely journey. At one point we were on the coast and I took a number of photos.
We had some fish and chips for tea with Helios’s mum that first night. I had a heart to heart with his mum. The trouble between Apollo and his grandmother is that he doesn’t get in touch enough. I gently reminded her that there is a certain loyalty that children have for their parents – especially children raised by single parents. Helios’s children are only now beginning to have the emotional maturity to question what they used to take as truth without question. They are only beginning to realise that truth can have several sides.
The next morning we got up and got ready for the funeral. I wore my black dress, black tights and black boots. I swept my dark multi-coloured scarf around my neck. Helios’s sister and I had a hug when the hearse arrived. Flowers in the shape of DAD were at the foot of the coffin. We set off in a limo behind Helios’s dad. I was in the back seat with Helios’s mum and she and I held hands to the service.
Apollo was there when we arrived and I threw my arms around him. I wanted to be sure he sat with the immediate family – including me. People from the funeral home carried the coffin into the service. Immediate family went in first followed by other family and friends. I sat with my brother-in-law on one side and Apollo on the other. Helios and his sister were on both sides of his mother.
I managed to keep from crying until the vicar said the following words from First Corinthians 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I sobbed and grabbed Apollo’s hand. We held hands throughout the rest of the service and, when we were directed to leave the church first, we remained holding hands until we got outside and began to meet friends and family so that they could offer their condolences.
Initially we stood together. I confessed that I only knew a few people there – I knew Apollo would have the same problem so I introduced him to the few people I knew. I tried to ensure he was comfortable. I think he’s rather shy. He has always been good with me but, having been shy as a youngster, I know how uncomfortable being in big crowds can be – especially if the crowd has a particular expectation of you.
All of us piled into the limo and headed for the pub. I told Helios’s sister that every time I saw her father, he was had a smile on his face. My father-in-law was a lovely man.
After the service we went to the pub for catered sandwiches and drinks. Apollo and I again sat side by side for a bit. I didn’t want to monopolise his time so I wandered off from time to time. I figured he needs to know these people – most of whom are family – a bit better. He didn’t move much and only drank a soft drink for the hours that we were there. I know the feeling – if you don’t have much money you don’t want to accept drinks because you’d end up owing people an expensive round. However, at this kind of occasion he could have let us treat him.
I learned that Apollo wasn’t always so shy. When he was very young (about 4) he used to walk up to complete strangers, clamp himself to their legs and say “I love you!” Helios’s mum said “You had to watch him! Before you knew it he’d be off again and around someone else’s legs!” Apollo grew red with embarrassment when he remembered.
There was more than enough food but we had only hired the pub until 3pm so we each headed for home. Apollo went home and we did the same. I gave Apollo a hug before we sent him on his way.
The next morning we went back to the funeral home and I took some photos of the family flowers. I managed to take the photos without crying.
It was the next morning when we realised Apollo had sent flowers for the funeral. What a thoughtful boy.
The rest of our time in the South West was spent going through my father-in-laws items with my mother-in-law. She gave Helios a number of small items. My concern is, as always, for them.