I mentioned last week that the death of my grandmother had set off a chain of events which ultimately led to me meeting Caroline. It all began with her funeral…
Helen always had (may still have, too) a slightly unusual attitude to death and could, if you didn’t know her, appear rather cold and callous about the subject. Ostensibly, she treated any death as if it was designed to cause her maximum inconvenience. In reality, this was a coping mechanism, a cloaking device to hide her own absolute terror of the day when one of her parents would die.
For as long as I knew her this was the thing which scared her more than anything at all. On the other hand, it didn’t make the initial reaction any easier to deal with.
You can imagine, therefore, the reaction when Gran’s funeral was scheduled for her birthday. This wasn’t deliberate. Gran just lived in a part of the country with a higher than average proportion of elderly people and of course the mortality rate among the elderly is higher at this time of year.
The funeral itself was as nice as one can have in the soulless environs of a crematorium. I was given the honour of saying a few words about Gran and we all then went for a buffet lunch at a nearby pub, before Helen and I headed off to celebrate her birthday with a meal out that evening.
It was the expected reaction to the funeral date which began the chain of events. I was so concerned about this (and it was predictably ballistic) that I actually put off telling Helen for a couple of days. I did write about it, though. As a result I was contacted by a fellow lawyer named Charlotte. We got talking by email and instant messenger and a friendship (nothing more) grew. Charlotte was the friend who, almost exactly 15 months later suggested that I should meet Caro. The rest of that tale is history!