Sunday 10th October – It’s a week since my siblings and me bode the familial matriarch a tearful farewell. At this time last Sunday after mum’s passed I was utterly numb. A time existing in a dazed cloud exacerbated by the previous three days of sleep deprivation while being sustained by sandwiches and stolen slices of pizza.

One week on I’m no less numb, however with so much to address following the passing of a parent I’ve been distracted in large swathes from elongated episodes of dwelling upon mum’s loss. Of course, the grief’s there constantly; however, despite multiple sadness triggers there’s been a strong focus on the post-death ‘to do’ list. This driven by my siblings and yours truly’s keenness not to omit any action from that lengthy tick chart.

If truth be told, my sister Helen has almost single handedly made the funeral arrangements from her Cheshire home. My brother Ian and yours truly undertaking the bits she couldn’t facilitate, such as visiting the funeral directors to physically sign documentation and drop off an outfit for mum. I’ll have a meeting at some point with the vicar who’ll undertake Maggie’s funeral service, but up to press await date/time confirmation.

Helen also taking on the role of eulogy writer/orator. Ian and me to supply our own personal memories of the matriarch for our sibling to relay. I wrote and delivered dad’s four years ago and if asked would’ve done so for mum, but the consensus of the Strachan offspring trinity was Helen’d be the most appropriate person to deliver mum’s funeral tribute.

My own personal post-mort tasks this week’ve been registering Maggie’s death, along with cancelling a host of accounts/allowances which don’t require provision of the death certificate (which I’ve not received yet); along with tasks closed via the council registrars ‘Tell Us Once’ scheme. The remaining closures and commencement of probate will be undertaken upon receipt of the certificates.

In addition to being afforded administrative distraction from dwelling upon the families loss, the kindness and support of family and friends has proved an invaluable coping crutch. All of these individuals expounding a genuine love of mum, who’d quite evidently touched their lives in such a positive way.

I began my dad’s eulogy, in 2017, with the words:- “He was a lovely man!” can be a cliché when discussing those recently passed. A ‘go to’ saying as we scramble for the words that can adequately reflect our sorrow. In my dad’s case, however, those five words grossly undersell this true gentleman.

Words which’d be also fittingly reverential to my mum…. Obviously, though, substituting any male reference in the paragraph into female.

This week I’ve had scores of supportive messages. Some of these good wishes from people who’ve not seen mum for 40+ years, but remember her fondly as a lovely Guider, approachable youth club leader, warm cricket tea lady or just the wonderful host who made them so welcome when visiting Ian, Helen or me at our childhood home.

Some of our mates who knew mum for 50 years are distraught at the news of her passing. The hospitality, laughs, support through tougher times and genuine warmth she exuded forming a huge bond which began in the early 1970’s and remained until this day.

It’s a fillip to learn our mother’d painted such positive paint strokes on the good times section of these individuals’ life canvases. Bulletins which, even if only momentarily, afford brief respite from the starkness of the family’s current landscape.

I know I’ve said it more than once this week, and it may sound overly saccharin to some, but Ian, Helen and me were truly blessed to’ve had our fledgling years play out under the guidance of two such wonderful parents.

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