Harry and I seem to be travelling to Victoria Coach Station and beyond rather frequently, these days. We are going again to our daughter's and will spend the whole of the half term there.
Many people are kindly asking how she and the boys are getting on, since the death of the knight. Judging from my last visit and from my phone calls, Deb seems to be strong. She has her good days and her bad days, which I should imagine, is normal under the circumstances.
When one loses a husband, there is a whole mound of complicated paperwork to fill in. There are bills coming in and delays in the payments and concessions that are due. Well I won't go into details because that is too personal, but believe me, it all adds to the stress and I am very proud of the way she is handling things, so far.
The youngest boy, aged ten, who we call the brown haired boy, seems to be coping very well. However, I feel he is shelving his feelings and shrugs off any hurt. He seems to be getting on with his life.
The fair haired boy is angry, very angry and kicks at everything as he walks outside. This twelve year old is the one most like his father in looks and personality.
While I was staying last time, he had developed school phobia, choking on his breakfast in the mornings and being reluctant to leave the house, even though Harry went with him to the bus stop.
This boy prefers to sit outside the school office than to go in to his various classes, though things have calmed down a bit since we were there last. However there are still difficulties.
He is waiting for a test for autism. His appointment is for some time next month. It will be good to know how best we can help him whatever the tests reveal.
I think I first suspected that he might have a tendency to Asperger's syndrome when he was about three years old as he always played by himself in his own little world, rather than with his playmates who were totally ignored. He was not a cuddly sort and he avoided eye contact. He did not always respond to questions, though clearly this was not out of rudeness. He always talked for hours about trivia, whether anyone else was listening or not.
However, some things do not fit in with the expected pattern, as he has always played well with his brother and he does make eye contact when asked to.
School started to notice that he was 'switching off ' rather a lot during lessons and going into a little reverie. It is more noticeable now that he is at secondary school and his work is falling behind. He has one or two friends and on the whole, people are very kind to him.
When we left the last time, the fair haired boy clung to me and I said, "We do love each other, don't we?"
He looked at me and nodded and I told him we were coming back soon at half term.
So I'm not sure that he does fit the Asperger's pattern completely, but there seems to be a tendency there. However, it is not extreme like the boys I have worked with in the special school.
Maybe every one is on the spectrum somewhere.
The day of the funeral was warm and dry, which helped to make it less terrible.
The church was packed, not only with Deb's friends and acquaintances, but also with many supporters of the Knight. There was no doubt that he was a very clever man and he was very respected at work, so it was not surprising that many stood up and gave a verbal tribute to him. It turned out to be a celebration of good things and nothing negative was said at all, which was only fitting at a funeral. However, some of us secretly wondered if it was the same person that we had known.
All the family put individual flowers on top of the coffin, before it was lowered into the ground. The boys were very, very brave, but I shall never forget the look on their faces when this was done. It really got to me and the impression of it will stay with me forever.
The opening in the ground was extremely deep and the vicar was nervy because my two small grand daughters kept running towards the edge, to search for the flowers that they had placed there earlier and now seemed have to disappeared forever. Sam had to grab their clothes to stop them falling in as they didn't seem to be aware of any danger.
It was good to meet up with long lost family and friends afterwards and to catch up with the new people as well. Soon the day was over and most people left, a few at a time, some to travel many miles home.
Thank Goodness we didn't have to go till some time later in the following week. There was a slight feeling of desolation, but it didn't last long. There were things to do.
The garden is very large, the lawns too big. Shrubs needed to be cut back. Harry and I got to work in the garden over the next few days, clipping and cutting. We cut all the available lavender, bundled it up and wrapped the long stems with cord and took the harvest to the grave. The Knight would have appreciated that as he loved his lavender.
I will miss the blog while I am away and wish I could take my laptop with me. We already have too much weight to carry, so will have to make do with books.
I will try and borrow my daughter's computer if I can get the boys away from the games they have on there.
However there will be plenty of chopping and cutting to do.
Back in eight days!