It was during the Wake that I started to realise that I had no idea who quite a few of the people were. Some turned out to be colleagues from school and that was fine. They knew Mum or Dad and they wanted to mark their death. I had no problem with them being there.
But there were others who were just hangers-on. They never spoke to me or to Dad’s side of the family. They were just friends of Nan and Granddad tucking into free food and drink. It still makes me cross that I was rationed to a couple of friends from school while complete strangers were there mob-handed.
Nobody wants to be the first to leave a Wake. However once the first person decides that it is time to go then the mad rush for the door starts. In this case it was a friend from Mum and Dad’s time at university, who needed to leave to catch his train, who cracked first. The room went from fairly full to almost empty in less than 15 minutes.
I think it was about then when it really hit home that Mum and Dad were dead. That I wouldn’t see them again and that the course of my life had changed forever. That is one hell of a lot to cope with when you are still at school.
My aunt had a curious and enigmatic conversation with me before she left. I didn’t realise it at the time but she was worried, really quite worried, about how me living with Nan and Granddad was going to work out. It was left that I could ring her day or night if I needed to chat. I didn’t realise until too late exactly why she was so concerned.