Friday 5 August 2022

Sorry about July's #TBCSmiles...

So there were no #TBCSmiles in July. My mother had died, and the funeral was on the 19th. I was exhausted and having a desperately needed few days at home with my family. They needed me to be there, even if just to ruffle their hair occasionally and feed them something including vegetables. I needed some normality and a break. 

Flowers from my mothers funeral red yellow colourful and bright

Funerals are mainly organised by other people after talking to you, but they are still really stressful. It was forecast to be the actual hottest day ever, and with people travelling (mainly by train) from all over the country, any stress was doubled. We went down a day early, and avoided the midday. It was a mere 31 degrees in the shade at 7am...

We found a fabulous celebrant to do the service for us, my mum would have liked her. Then we had to try and explain a whole person in little more than an hour. It's never going to be possible, and I feel like, in many ways I'm only just learning exactly who my mum was now myself. We had a Grandma Dragon plaque for the end of the casket, and told the celebrant my mum had given herself that name and been proud of it. 
The celebrant didn't really get our convoluted and broken (and decades long) family history, and neither I nor my sister were in a mood to explain at length (we'd already covered our absent father, and deceased uncles, brother and child - it's a dark tale). 
The celebrant focussed on brighter times and the more fun things my mum had done - fostering babies, volunteering for local politics, collecting her dragons. She said in the service that no-one really remembered why my mum was Grandma Dragon, or why she loved dragons so much. But I know.

Pocket Dragons ceramic model dragons dressed as space loving teenagers

Truth is 40 or more years ago my father, who was somewhat lacking in kindness at times, once called her a dragon. He was so proud of himself he said it again and laughed out loud. As a child I just thought it was a joke, but looking back he meant it with meanness. Instead of being upset she owned it. She well and truly owned it. She took on the name for herself and he could never hurt her with it. As time went on and grandchildren came along, she always referred to herself as Grandma Dragon. Her love for dragons only ever grew bigger and bigger, and I bet she never forgot why it started.

I feel there is no coincidence the Dragon's funeral was at 2pm, in the hottest hour on the UK's hottest day ever... 

Scottish pocket dragon model wearing a kilt and playing babpipes

The impending heat prevented a couple of my mum's older friends from coming, which really in many ways was a relief - my mother would NOT like to know anyone came to harm attending her service. The dress code toned down as the predicted temperature went up, and by the day we even allowed t-shirts and shorts - which my mother wore for 8 months of the year regardless of weather. Respectfully everyone wore a cotton shirt or dress. All trains from London were cancelled on the day, and I banned anyone taking long routes by coach (my mother... harm... as before). This meant we were without one of our children, but they were mentioned in the service, and asked after by those attending, and had really supported me since she died, so were every bit as 'there' as anyone who could attend in person. 

Everyone carried water and there was a special message beforehand to please drink and get a refill if you needed it. Two of the kids had nosebleeds, so my son was accompanied by tissues and a plastic bag, but thankfully no-one fainted and no-one was ill. It was actually refreshingly cool inside the low stone built chapel. The service was good. The flowers were beautiful. The Ushers were smart and incredibly polite.

Goodbye Mum... 

The funeral flowers for my Mum A diamond shaped arrangement with bright bold big sunny colours

A special message in this post to my sister. The truth is that we haven't spent so much time together in several decades. We haven't been there for each other so much, worked together, cried together, sobbed so much over precious childhood trinkets... and laughed, and smiled, as we remember the people and places where we used to be. It's been very hard on her, and she doesn't have a partner at home to spill it all out to and be grumpy with. I love her dearly, and it's her birthday today, so I hope she has a great day, and makes many more smiles. 

Sorry to anyone who missed #tcbsmiles in July, I do intend to return in August. I think I'm ready to take a look through your smiles and smile with you. I think it's probably exactly what the doctor would order... 

And if anyone does want several hundred Pocket Dragons - aside from a choice two or three held back to go forever on our mantlepieces...

Pocket Dragons crammed onto a shelf, all smiling


  1. Sending love and hugs. I am so sorry about your mum. x

    1. Thanks Kim. It will happen to all of us at some point, but knowing that didn't make it any easier in the end. I guess she ensured we'd have plenty to remember her by at least :)


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