Words spoken at Nelson Mandelas funeral by his dear friend and fellow prisoner Ahmed Kathrada. Those words just about sum up how I have been feeling of late
I am feeling the loss of Sharon greatly, to the point of verging on depression. I visited her Mum in September and didn't realise how stressed going to Crewe would make me feel. I have yet to go to my house, which is within spitting distance of where she used to live. The thought of going there has been churning my stomach, but at some point I have to go. I think I have decided to sell. I say I think, because one minute it seems the best idea so that I can make a very healthy start to my boat fund, then a new tenant signs up and I think I will leave it for a bit longer. It would certainly make sense to sell because while I am living cheaply with my Dad I can add to my fund as if I were still paying my mortgage and get that boat a bit quicker than anticipated. On the other hand, they don't sell as quickly up there and while I have a tenant covering costs I may as well take advantage of it and see if the housing market is stable.
There have been some major problems with my Dads house this year too. For a long time there has been what we thought was blown plaster on one of the internal walls, but then I noticed a crack going right through the bathroom wall upstairs and then a massive crack in the corner of the back room. it took ages to try and persuade my Dad to call in a surveyor, but after checking his buildings insurance policy and then showing some photos to a building engineer from work I took the decision away from him and called the insurance company. They sent in a surveyor and what we thought was blown plaster was actually a massive crack. The back of the house is pulling away from the front due to subsidence. They have drilled bore holes and put cameras down the drains and it seems that for a very long time the drain has been cracked and leaking moisture into the ground making the corner of the house twist. They have fixed the drain with a liner and work to do the subsidence repairs will start in January. I have told my Dad he also needs to modernise. I cook in a kitchen roughly the size of a narrow boat galley, which is fine if you live on a narrow boat. It is a nasty grotty old kitchen and there is plenty of scope to come backwards into the back living room and make it bigger, cleaner and modern. I have put my foot down, he doesn't do the cooking, I do! The thought of all that mess and building work is very stressful, with the added problem of where will my Dad go during it. He could go to my sister in Devon, but he doesn't want to and I don't think she wants him to either.
Next week I have to take my daughter to see her Dad. She hasn't had any contact with him since she was 19 and she will be 34 next week. Before that, the contact with her Dad was sporadic and then non existent after the age of 9. I have always tried to be dignified about her Dad. What he did to me isn't anything to do with her and I have always tried to balance my Mums view that he is a bastard. He was, to me, not to Chris. In the past he has had some major drug issues, I am sure he thinks she doesn't know and it sounds as if he is not proud of his life, but he remarried and had 4 sons and Christine wants to get to know them and her father now she is in the right frame of mind to do so. She has a chronic illness which is going to be long term, she is unable to travel on a train so it is me who will have to deliver her to his house. After the last time I saw him, I saw a pitiful human being and made a conscious decision to forgive, but I am worried. She has expectations, her brothers have expectations and I don't want anyone to get hurt. I will just have to stand back and let her make her own choices.
In all I can't say 2013 has been a good year. I have lost a dear friend, then a lovely colleague from work. I can only hope that 2014 is much better. Now I have it all written down I have decided it is time to move forward. Merry Christmas everyone and a happy New Year.