So where were we kiddies?? Oh yes, I was going mad.. So here comes part 2, the nasty bits. Some of you may read this and judge me ~ all I ask is that you wait until the end to judge me.
I Don't really remember my Dad's funeral.. I'd arranged it from within a haze of pain and all I can really remember is vowing not to cry in front of my kids, they didn't need me falling apart in front of them, I had to be strong for them. Trouble was, who was there to be strong for me?
I remember delivering Dad's Eulogy ~ I stood up and my throat closed, but I did it. I had remembered my promise to Dad and so everybody was treated to the glory that is Bunny Berrigan's "Can't Get Started", and I vaguely recall various people pressing my hands and uttering words that washed over me like the sunlight. My surviving Brother and Sister were there, but I was the focus as my Dad had lived with me and everyone knew I had been his carer. My husband had appeared out of the woodwork a couple of days before the funeral and I wanted him there to look after me, a mistake with hindsight. But I got through the day and didn't let my kids down ~ or my Dad I hope.
2 days after the funeral I got the first phone call from my siblings ~ what about Dad's will? As I was Dad's Executor it was presumed that I would know who got what, and how much, oh and when? Honestly, it turned my stomach, I hadn't slept for over a week and suddenly the vultures were swooping ~ I felt dirty and soiled by the blatant avarice, what about my beloved Daddy being dead? Isn't there a saying about waiting until the body is cold?
I saw my Solicitor and he explained that it would be a lot cheaper if I was to sort everything out and apply for Probate myself ~ ironically I stood to gain next to nothing from the Estate, my siblings and all the Grandchildren were the benficiaries. But having spent so long looking after my Dad, it seemed natural that I would "do the right thing" and take on this task myself.
The phone calls increased to every few days ~ how much and how soon would the funds be handed out? I took to avoiding the calls as it felt as though my brain would explode ~ if I talked about this then it was as good as admitting that my Daddy was gone forever. However, I started putting all the paperwork together as I was supposed to, good daughter that I was. My husband had suggested we take the kids away for a break and I allowed him to pay for a week's holiday in the Canary Isles for me, him and our combined children. My daughter posted a comment of FaceBook saying how excited she was and within a couple of hours I got an offensive text from one of my siblings saying how nice I could afford a holiday. I replied and explained I couldn't afford to get the bus to the Travel Agents, my husband was paying.
I don't really remember the holiday ~ other than it not being a huge success. Too much had happened and his kids had started making my life tricky ~ seems they weren't prepared to share their Dad after all. I suppose the marriage limped on for a few more weeks after we got back, but fairly soon I got royally dumped ~ by email..
Underlying all of this was an ever increasing money crisis. Having never lived in the benefits system, I had no idea of what I was entitled to or how to go about claiming it, so the kids and I lived on Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit ~ which isn't an awful lot, approximately £600 per month to pay for EVERYTHING, including the hideously expensive pre-paid gas and electricity meters that this house has. Imagine having so little money that you had to choose not to eat for 2 days so that you could put some money on the electricity key and feed your kids? Sounds melodramatic doesn't it.. to me it was just every day.
One day I went to the bank and drew some money out of Dad's account ~ as I had not informed the DWP that Dad was dead they were still paying in his Civil Service Pension. The sheer relief of being able to go and buy food for the kids and put a decent amount on the gas and electric can't be described. I was horrified at what I had done, and swore blind to put the money straight back, well as soon as I could anyway. But I didn't and as I slid further into the madness of my breakdown I took to withdrawing bits here and there to pay for, well, living. Each time I swore I would repay it with the money that was due to me when I had finalised the Estate. Can you see where this went wrong? How could I finalise the estate when I had withdrawn funds after his death? To be clear, I never touched a penny of his money.. it was his pension.. for some reason it matters to me that I make this clear.
This continued for a few months until I realised exactly what I was doing. I went to see my Solicitor and confessed everything. He very sensibly called me for everything and told me to get it sorted straight away ~ he did point out though that my career as a Master Criminal was never going to take off as using a dead man's bank card isn't terribly clever. So I started the process of sorting everything out and began to think that somehow I could make this better.
And then I had a visit from the Police.....
To be continued..