Saturday, 25 October 2008

Moving On.

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! 


Bear Naked said...

Thanks so much for sharing.
I hope you enjoy your time with your daughter and grandsons while you are visiting.

Bear((( )))

Expat mum said...

Aah. There's nothing more heart-breaking than grieving children, whatever their age. They just need a lot of love and hugs, which you are more than good at Maggie.
If it's any consolation, my friend has a son with Asperger's and he's brilliant. Once they figured out what was going on, everything fell into place. He is highly, highly intelligent and off to university like any other kid. Good luck with that.

Mean Mom said...

I'm sure that your daughter will be very relieved to have your support during half term and at every other time, of course. The boys will also find your presence comforting. I can't really imagine what it must be like to lose your father at such a young age, but there is no doubt that both lads have had their worlds rocked over the past few months. It must have been a very frightening, bewildering and tremendously sad time for them.

I'm glad that the funeral went off as well as you could have hoped for and I do hope that things improve for the 'fair haired boy'.

Hope you have a good week. I will miss reading your posts!

Stinking Billy said...

maggie, very poignant reading, What is it they say, "These things (times) are sent to try us"? Those grandchildren are going to be even more reliant than ever upon your continuing personal interest in them, but they needn't worry, that much is clear.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

powerful post! read you very soon!

fishing guy said...

Maggie: I wish you the best on your trip. This is always a tough time.
Thanks for your comments and I hope hubby can work through his problems.

Anonymous said...

Maggie you are a real gem of a mam,I am so glad your daughter is coping, she can get help from Cruse you know, there are quite a few young widows there and lots of help understanding how children grieve

Robin said...

I did not realize your daughters sons and mine are the same age. I look at my boys and I can't imagine the pain your daughter must feel. I am so glad you are there to help her. We will miss you.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

You write so well Maggie (which I'm sure you have been told many, many times). Your warmth and caring will support them hugely over the weeks, months, years to come. My (wider) family are afraid of showing their feelings and I wonder why when our emotions are the greatest things we have, can give and share with others.

CrazyCath said...

I hope you get some "normality" back, if that is possible. (((Hugs))) to you all.

Wendy said...

Family support is very important. I am glad you and hubby are going to be with your daughter and grandchildren at this time.
Love to all. Hope blond grandson can find an outlet for his anger. Maybe he is just a child that keeps his feelings inside.

We'll miss you.

VioletSky said...

I hope your time with your daughter and grandsons is positive. I will use your time away to read back through some older posts since I am new to your blog.

cheshire wife said...

Hope that you enjoy your week away. I am sure that your daughter and grandsons will appreciate your visit.

Hope the 'fair haired boy' will be alright. People grieve in different way especially children.

scrappysue said...

cyber hugs to you and your entire family at this sad time

Granny Smith said...

Thank you so much for keeping us up on what is happening in your life. I really care, and my heart aches for all the stress you and your daughter's family are feeling. Your daughter must be very thankful for your support at this difficult time and which will continue to be difficult for quite a while.

david mcmahon said...

You and the clan are in my thoughts, Maggie.

So sorry I've been AWOL for a while.

Rinkly Rimes said...

It seems you have rather a lot of worries to cope with at the moment. But you're writing them out of your system, which, from my experience, helps.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear Maggie, you obviously have a lot to get through, and luckily it sounds as if you will be kept busy. I do feel for you - that dear little family needs all your love just now. Poor boys - it's so hard for them. It sounds as if your daughter is coping very well, considering everything. Love and thoughts to you all - and thanks for taking the time to visit me too. M xx

RiverPoet said...

Maggie, I hope everything goes well with your family, and we'll still be here when you get back.

Incidentally, Asperger's is a very high-functioning form of autism and often goes undiagnosed because of that. My son has Asperger's and is able to give and receive affection (from some people). He has gotten very good with his social skills as he has gotten older, but when he was a child, he had a very hard time. He wanted to be with me all the time because no one else understood him. He was picked on a lot.

But these kids are so brilliant! If they learn proper social skills, they are just fine.

Peace - D

Anonymous said...

Just read expat mum's comment and I'm so glad to hear about her friend's son. This is quite common.

Take care, CJ xx

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I'm so glad we got a progress report. I will pray for your daughter and the boys. I'm so glad you guys get to stay with them for a while. I know your daughter must be so happy for the support. I always appreciate you dropping by to visit. Take care. Hugs, Trish

Anonymous said...

This is such a powerful post and you are the kind of gran everyone should have.

I am proud to be sharing POTD with you.

lmerie said...

A very touching POTD. May your families journey down this road be filled with much comfort!

aims said...

Oh Maggie.

Thinking of you and yours.

May peace be with all of you.

Taking the lavender to the Knight touched my heart deeply.

Rose said...

Maggie May, I'm sorry I didn't get here earlier--I hope you have a chance to read all your comments before you leave for your daughter's. You and your family have been through so much; my heart goes out to all of you and I wish you peace and healing.

I have had a couple students with Asperger's Syndrome, and they did quite well in school with extra help and guidance. Perhaps your being there will help in getting your grandson the additional services or alternate teaching methods he needs.

We'll miss you, Maggie; your daughter is very lucky to have such supportive parents.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Maggie this is all too tragic. They are so lucky that they have you and Harry to support them. Much love to you all. I only wish I could help too,

Maggie May said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments that have been a great source of help and comfort and it is good to know that I have such caring blogging friends.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh my, I didnt know about the death of your daughters hubby, IM so very very sorry.... Im glad she and her boys have you in their lives....

life aye..... ya just dont know whats around the bend....

please give hugs, and take some for yourself....


Bina said...

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for two young boys to lose their father. And I'm sure they may feel a tad bit guilty. When the knight was that sick, and his personality took on the ugly side, who knows what the boys thought? I used to wish my mother dead when I was growing up and if that happened, imagine the guilt I would feel?

I'm glad the fair haired boy is getting tested though. Hopefully, whatever is going on with him can be fixed.

Suburbia said...

Your daughter must be so greatful to have you around right now.
Take care Maggie x

elizabethm said...

What an amazing burden for you all to carry. Grandparents can make such a difference and I am sure you will be a source of real strength and love to your daughter and her family.
Sending you lots of positive thoughts. You and your husband are real stars.

Lavinia said...

Thanks for sharing this and filling in some of the missing pieces to "The Knight's Tale".

I am just catching up here. Impressed by your eloquence and way with words, as ever...