Harold. Part Three.
My brother in law Harry had just passed away, it took his wife Cassandra 12 and a half hours to let his brothers, sisters and 3 children know!!!! Is that how you treat a family? But worse, much worse was to follow..... I was at work when Megan came home from school; we hoped she wouldn’t see it on Face book first. Paul told her, she didn’t know and she cried lots.
The photo I had taken of Harry and Cassandra on their wedding day I put it on Facebook, with the words RIP, Harry’s brother’s, and sister’s did the same, within 5 minutes Cassandra’s daughter messaged Josie and demand she remove everything! Josie told Paul and soon Paul had a message from Amy, it read, “My Mum is LIVID, she wants you ALL to remove Harry’s photo NOW, she thinks it DISRESPECTIFUL!” Paul didn’t reply, his Brother had just died! Soon people on Facebook messaged Paul to say they knew Harry and didn’t know that they were brothers, many others said how sorry they were to hear, some knew Harry, some didn’t, this gave Paul a spot of comfort. Yet this ‘comfort’ quickly changed to anger! Then the conversations between Harry’s siblings went something like this, “How dare they tell us what we can and can’t put on our Facebook, we are showing our love, for our Brother our way.”
There was an instant discord that now came from Cassandra’s side of the family! As Harry’s children or siblings didn’t removed his picture, Paul worried that she would now not tell us when Harry’s funeral was! Would such a thing be possible? Or was everyone’s mind over thinking it?
I bought sympathy cards for Cassandra, Harry’s siblings and his 3 children.
Two weeks went by and still the brothers, sisters and children of Harry heard, nothing about his funeral plans, so all the questions started to arise, “Who would give the eulogy?” “Who would carry the coffin?”
“When would be the funeral date, time and place?”
“Will we have reserved front seats?”
“Who will be in the black limousines cars?”
“Would he be cremated, as he DIDN’T want to be buried?!”
There were SO many questions his siblings were asking each other yet after 2 weeks of Harrys passing, there was just silence and..................
There was no time for tears because of all the above and more....
Josie texted Ruth, Harry’s daughter to see if they had heard anything she had heard that the funeral would be very soon but didn’t have a date, she said she would ring Cassandra and find out and let us all know.
The following day, Ruth rang Josie with the date of the funeral, time and place; it would be in 1 week’s time! I was working that day, I asked my Manager if I could have the day off he kindly said, “Yes.”
Harry’s brothers, sisters and 3 children were left totally in the dark as to what was happening on the day of his funeral they were told nothing! I was wondering about the picture that I wanted a copy of would I be able to get it. Josie said she would never go back to Harry’s house ever again, Harry’s other brothers and sisters said the same. Ruth said, “It was no longer her Dad’s home anymore now,” so none of his children would ever go back either! Then a few days after, Harry’s children said, they had, “Changed their minds and in defiance, would go to the house the day of the funeral, to look at the wreath they had bought and to see the other wreaths his long time friends had bought, they would be there at 11am an hour before his funeral and they wanted their Aunts and Uncles to be there too for support!” Paul said he didn’t want to go, as he’d not be able to hold back his anger that they only had to say 1 wrong/negative thing and that would be it! He knew that he’d not be able to not say anything! He spoke to his younger sister who felt the same, but thankfully his older brother and sister, they seem to have their older head on and gave good advice, “To go there with dignity one last time.” It was good for me too to hear that for the 2 eldest that remained, for until this point I’d thought they were all with 1 heart and 1 mind and felt just as angry as Paul and Josie. Their wise words brought us all back to earth.
Megan had 100% attendance at school and she wanted to keep it! She’d asked me to phone the school ask if she could go to school for an hour the day of the funeral, she wanted to know if she would still have her 100% attendance; I rang the school and was informed if she didn’t return after Lunch then she would lose her 100% status! Megan was gutted! I told her she didn’t have to go to the funeral, naturally she wanted to go, so on the morning of the funeral, I put the dogs out 6am for their 10 minute loo and as usual the barking One barked! Megan text me from upstairs in her bedroom and asked me why the dogs were out so early, I texted back and said, “It’s time for you to get up you are only at school for 1 hour today,” she texted back, “FORGET ABOUT ME, WE HAVE NEIGHBOURS ASWELL WHO ARE BEING WOKEN UP!!!!!” Then she added another text that I was “SO DISRESPECTFUL,” Ignoring her silly text I asked her if she wanted a bath, her reply was, “I want to get the sleep that I missed back, by taking revenge on you,” nervous I asked her what she meant by revenge? She texted back, “Steal your sleep,” I texted her back, “Well you can run your own bath and do your own breakfast!” Her next text said, I don’t give a f*ck! I texted back as she didn’t know that I was the Revenge Queen when I was younger, “I will not be picking you up from school you can come home on the BUS !!!!” She replied, “I won’t be able to leave the school I need a Parent or Guardian to sign me out,” she said instantly humbled! I was silent with rage, my heart pounding! I said, “Ok I will pick you up,” but I let my mind wonder, I could charge her £20 it would work out as, £10 to pick her up from the school and £10 to take her home! I wouldn’t give her another penny until I felt I’d withheld £20’s worth! But slowly, slowly I calmed down and I thought there is enough hate in the World, and because of Cassandra’s selfish actions, major hate in the family had arisen! It just wasn’t worth it, I must be getting old!!! For the young me would not have backed down! EVER!!
So, the day of the funeral had arrived, it had rained cats and dogs 3 days ago, 2 days ago and the day before, so I went to town to buy Megan an umbrella as she had told me she had broken hers by, “Using it in gale force wind and rain!” I told her, “You mustn’t use your brolly in windy weather, as that’s an easy way to get blown over into the road!” I also went to get some cash as Lisa, Harry’s daughter had said, “If we are not invited for refreshments afterwards then we would as a group go out for a meal and a drink instead.” I said to our children, “It is unheard of not to have refreshments after a funeral, even a poor person would offer their guests a drink and a slice of cake, that if Cassandra didn’t provide refreshments, she has done Harry a disservice, he would have been sadden how she has treated his brothers, sisters and 3 children.” So I took out enough money that I thought we’d need for our meals and drinks.
Harry’s siblings had put together to buy a lovely wreath, so as we solemnly arrived at Harry’s home, family and friends were already gathered in the front garden, some we hadn’t seen for many years and our children didn’t know most of them, so they were reintroduced again. There were gentle, sincere, hugs, and to our children “The last time I saw you, you were this high, (hand 2 foot from the ground.)” There was a floral arrangement with Harry’s name, one that had the word “Mate” but the firm favourite, by all was the 1 was with toy cars, vans, tools and a garage on. That one summed up Harry; I took lots of pictures of that.
I asked Ruth, Harry’s daughter if she’d been inside the house she said, “No, nor am I going in, but all I want from my Dad is a photo album of us when we were young.” I asked her, “So when are you going to get it?” She replied, “Now is not the right time, I will ask after.” I told her I want a picture of my son with Harry that I wanted to take a picture of it, as Cassandra may want to keep it. I went into the house and it was full of many people I didn’t know! Cassandra’s friends and Steven Harry’s friend was in the comfy chair by the door, I asked Steven to pass me the photo that was by his head, he passed it to me and I laid it flat on the pine table next to me and took 2 photos to make sure, I had a good copy, just then as I was about to take a 3rd photo Cassandra walked past me and shouted, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FROM!?” Everyone in the room looked at me, I was shocked by her outburst I said, “From Steven off the wall,” then Chakku, Cassrandra’s friend shouted from across the room, “YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED FIRST!!!” As I was outnumbered 15 to 1 where I had always felt welcomed and comfortable in Harry’s home, I suddenly felt very unwelcomed, unloved and afraid so I gave the photo back to Steven, and left quickly! I was shaken and felt safe outside with Harry’s real family and friends.
The hour quickly past and then the hearse could be seen coming slowly towards us, Paul’s family and Harry’s children didn’t know if they were going in the hearse or not, but there were rumours that there was only 1 limousine! Cassandra was at the edge of the path with her daughters and suddenly she started to cry her girls and another friend Jo comforted her. The Undertakers took the floral tributes and placed them around Harry, but there were too many so some had to go in the limousine. After 3 minutes or so Cassandra, her daughters and 2 of the step-daughters boyfriends went in the limousine! I was shocked! But I suppose at the end of the day, hate is just that, HATE and that’s just what Cassandra has shown, all because she wasn’t obeyed, that his nearest and dearest didn’t remove him off Facebook. It was strange seeing this lovely, man in the coffin, leaving his dog, cat, fish, chickens and all his years of collecting all behind, not 1 single thing did he have with him. Some of his neighbours who had known him years, stood on the other side of the road in the cold, bright, sunny day.
My car was facing the right way already, so we got in and followed close behind, the funeral car. It was about a 10 min drive. At the church, men who I didn’t know escort the coffin into the church, none of his brothers were invited to take part, it was like he was an only child and with no family! A man who was about to escort the coffin into the Church, gently pat it affectionately with his hand ... that was a lovely touching moment, denied by Paul and Harry’s other brother. As there was no seats reserved for us his family we sat where we could find a space.
The Vicar spoke about Harry from Cassrandra’s point of view only, talking about Harry’s step children, carbooting, collecting, tree house etc. Harry’s brothers and sisters were not mentioned at all! It was all so....spiteful! His 3 children were mentioned by name, just to say he had 3 children from his first marrage ... Then 2 of his step daughters Chloe and Skye went to the front together. Skye spoke first, what she said was beautiful and she cried and cried lots the whole time she spoke with her head facing down as she read her notes and moving tribute to Harry. Then Chloe spoke she too cried as she read her notes and tribute to Harry. Only 1 hymn was sung “All Things Bright And Beautiful.” And this is a first, for me; there wasn’t even a funeral program! No keepsake of Harry, his brother’s sister’s or children were not invited to speak. They were all cut off from the day of his death! The Funny Onion, showed her true colours.
At the end of the short service we followed out behind the coffin of Harry it was then I noticed Golden standing on the back row, hankie in hand wiping away tears, we smiled at each other with a weak smile.
We were informed before the funeral if we wanted to not give flowers we could donate to Cancer ward of another family member who had just had an operation, that there would be a special box in the foyer with Harry’s name on, so as I approached I saw for the first time his real name Harold Kindman. I put my money in from Paul and myself and went outside.. ..
Holding Paul’s hand I looked up and noticed he was crying! Harrys friends who had escorted Harry into the Church had escort him out again, for his final journey, but Paul and the rest of his family wasn’t allowed to come close to the coffin, Cassandra saw to that!
More gentle, sincere hugs from Harry’s side of the family outside the church, including Golden and others who hadn’t been at the house. Then there were questions, “After the burial, are you going back to the house?” Harry’s brothers, sisters and 3 children and their families all said,”No.” I then suggested a large friendly family run pub that would be ideal for us, and large enough that we wouldn’t need to book tables. Gold didn’t go to the burial site, she said she wouldn’t, she just wanted to pay her, “Last respects from the Church.”
So the rest of us went to the burial site for his final journey.