This week I went to a funeral, and when it is not a close family member there are certain things can be noticed that otherwise would go unnoticed. So straight after the funeral service we all went out next door to look at the floral tributes. There was a lot of flowers to each name, the names was against the brick wall with the floral tributes laid out in front of each name. The funeral I’d just been to they had requested no flowers as they wanted the money to go to a lovely organisation, which myself and others put money to. Amongst the floral tributes two stood out, the first one was the one to an Asian Mother one of her flowers was a circle on the ground and flowers of two different colours was placed inside the circle making an Asian word or words. I’d never seen that before and I thought it was beautiful. The second floral tribute that caught my eye as I stood there with others around me from the funeral I’d just been to, hugging each other and passing their condolences to the family of the gentleman who’d passed away, a worker from the hearse car struggled to carry a huge diamond shaped floral tribute it was about four feet across and two feet wide , as he walked the pointed ends bobbed up and down, then when he arrived at the place for it to be with the named right person he carefully put it down onto the ground with the others that was already there. Three floral tributes that was there then had to be moved outwards to make space for this wonderful display of flowers. I wondered how much this single tribute would have cost, I tried to guess and I thought three to five hundred pounds! But the sad thing was, the person wouldn’t know how much they were loved! So looking at both tributes to two different cultures I thought death is a leveller it may be bad English but in my sadness it didn’t matter, my thoughts wasn’t spoken out loud and to me, it meant all the families of all the tributes there, represented loss, sadness, all gone from their loved ones, that’s what they all had in common, none there was higher in status than the other.
Many years ago I enjoyed selling on eBay. Through doing this I got to know the family at my local post office, the funny husband and his lovely wife, both called Sam, they have two lovely kids Christine and Christopher or Chris and Chris as they are affectionately known. They also had Staff who worked in the well stocked shop. It is a popular post office and shop, yet about ten years ago the post office was faced with closure, but the school nearby and other great people in the Community including Mr Sam campaigned to keep it open. Everyone’s hard work paid off and the busy little post office was saved! The family and their small but trusted team of workers, all worked very hard, the shop is always spotless, with a great atmosphere, the family always had time for you. Its used by school children, pensioners and everyone in between. I’ve watched their beautiful children grow up and help out in the shop, young Mr Chris eventually works in the post office. Even when I stopped doing eBay I still went into the shop and post office for milk, biscuits, crisps, cake, you know essentials. At work we bought milk from there every day and sweets, biscuits and cakes if we had meetings or visitors.
It was my day off on Monday, and in the evening I had a text from a good friend from work called Louisa, she told me, “The post office was robbed today, no one was hurt, there was a lot of police cars outside.” I replied, “How awful!” She went on, “It’s Christmas time and horrible things like this happen as people become desperate for money.” I couldn’t imagine how the family would feel that evening. The following day I was at work, and I had more infomation, the son was hit on the head with a gun when he tried to stop the robbers going into the post office section! A female customer who tried to run out was caught and thrown to the ground! It was the talk of the Community, nothing was in the newspapers! No news at all.
Then this morning it snowed! Paul came to meet me from work, as I’d forgotten to take my waterproof boots, he told me, “I need to buy coffee from the post office, then I remembered we also needed more milk, so we walked to the post office, Mr Sam was outside leaning against his distinctive large yellow van, as it was the first time Paul and myself had seen, him since the robbery and he looked dreadful! He wasn’t his usual happy self, his hair was uncombed, he was unshaven, and he wasn’t wearing his usual smart clothes. I said, “We are very sorry about what happened on Monday,” he started to say something then he shouted, “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!” The poor man was distraught! I thought, this image they don’t talk about in the newspapers, the hurt, the fear, the upset, that is caused by the actions of mindless idiots! As Paul had the dog with him, I went into the shop to get the coffee and the milk. I was looking at the five different choices and price ranges he had, from one pound fifty to three pounds fifty, then I heard Mr Sam say from outside, "Take what you want,” I didn't quite know what he meant by that, I was alone in the shop, still looking at the coffees, when I heard Mr Sam from outside say, “Take what you want, you haven’t got to pay for it,” I grabbed a jar of coffee from the shelf and quickly left the store, very conscious that I am on CCTV so I held the jar up almost in the air, to show the cameras, that I wasn’t stealing it, in fact I thought, would he remember that he told me I could take what I wanted?
Outside the store, Paul asked Mr Sam, “Has the police caught them?” He turned to look at us pain etched on his face and he said, with anger in his voice, “They won’t be caught!” He then said to us, “I’m sorry that I shouted at you earlier,” I replied, “That’s OK you’ve been through a traumatic time.” I said, “Do you think they knew you?” But before he could reply Paul added, “They must have been watching the post office, to know exactly when to come in,” Mr Sam, said, “I’d popped out for five minutes, to do a delivery and was held up at the traffic light, if it wasn’t for those light, I’d have been there to help!” I could feel the helplessness and regret in his voice. But it made me think, would it have been worse if he was there? But he is a broken man, I could see he’d cried...... and cried. I thought maybe us the general public had forgotten it all, but it was still current and raw to him, an awful ordeal. He was still talking to us, when his phone rang, I said to Mr Sam, “You have our support.” And we left him to it. Back at home I said to Paul, “I forgot the milk!” I carried on, “I was that shocked when Mr Sam said I could take what I wanted and wouldn’t need pay for it, that I forgot the milk.” Paul said, “Don’t worry when I go to get fags I will get milk then.”
Paul and I also discussed what would happen next, I said to Paul, “I think he will shut up the shop and the post office!” We both think it could have been much worse if Mr Sam was in the post office at the time of the robbery ...... even fatal. I wish the family and their dedicated Staff all the best, I hope the baddies are caught!
That was this week, I wonder what next week holds.