The year 2018 has decided to test our mettle, and this second week particularly so. Christmas cards arriving late (with our postal system, how should it be otherwise?) contained messages of gloom, injury and doom from some friends and relations.
Then, at the middle of this week, I learnt that a lady senior to me in years, whom I worked with for many years, had died. The first news we had of it was from a mutual friend who attended the funeral. The surviving sister is shattered (they had lived together as spinsters for their whole lives with only one break of a few months when one went to England alone). My name came up in conversation after the ceremony. She remembered me, having been my typist at work for a number of years, and asked our mutual friend (a wonderful cat benefactor) to arrange for me to call on her to discuss the estate and business matters. This I did and found her very frail and upset.
Then I discovered a worrying situation involving another friend of hers who had been assisting with arranging her finances, but was now apparently not wanted on the scene by certain parties. These had arranged for an attorney’s warning letter (warning at the start, anyway) regarding the fact that she was questioning certain financial activities, construed as impugning the reputation of the person involved. This then went on to demand, in quasi-legal terms, an impossibly large sum of damages plus legal costs.
I drafted a letter for her which warned the attorneys that their letter was riddled with inaccuracies and appeared to contain actionable intimidation. This letter, in turn, demanded a retraction of their allegations plus an apology.
Other deaths in this lady’s family were then the cause of moves by her husband and others which meant I had to send this letter chasing around South Africa to make it possible for a hard copy to be placed in her hands.
Now I am watching the situation to see if anyone steps out of line before the will is read and Letters of Executorship are provided.
Then, on Thursday 11th, we received a request to arrange for someone who had been employed in a firm managed by Younger Daughter’s late husband to be taken to hospital. We have ‘adopted’ him and have been assisting him wherever possible over the past few years, with free accommodation in back rooms at the home of Sister-in-Law, and with transport for medical visits etc, and making application for a pension (what a performance that was!) and with managing his finances.
As soon as I appeared at his door, he insisted on rising to his feet to shake my hand, as has always been his custom. I could tell immediately he was far from well, though. Obvious pleurisy was making his breathing laboured, and placing a strain on his heart — he had been warned that he should have a pacemaker. The ladies phoned for an ambulance while I helped him pack and gather his documents. There was no possibility of getting him down the many steps and to the hospital ourselves. So, we waited and waited. And waited. Eventually, when Brother-in-Law got back from work after three hours, Much Better Half and I came home. I finished the mowing I had started in the morning.
It still took over an hour after we had left for the ambulance to arrive.
Our friend was put on oxygen before being loaded, and according to S-i-L he perked up immediately.
After supper, while I stayed home with the kids, YD and MBH went straight to the hospital he had been taken to.
There they were given the news that he had died shortly after arrival in the Emergency Room. A sobering thought: he was nine years younger than I am. Little did I know that his handshake greeting, given with such effort, would also turn out to be a farewell salute.
Relatives are in Australia, so we had to handle matters.
On Friday 12th I called in undertakers and we went to the hospital and spent a number of hours filling in documents to the best of our ability, and I formally identified the deceased. YD got hold of the sister in Australia who decided to fly here on Thursday which means the funeral needed to be organised for next Friday. We will put her and husband up.
Then I went to the undertakers to complete further formalities in regard to cremation and the memorial service. In between this lot I had builders visit regarding the completion of unfinished bits around the house we have been awaiting for a year or so. This will be a Blessing (literally, as being the name of his assistant who will do most of the work). My mind wasn’t fully on the instructions I gave …
Finally, I completed platform two on the jungle gym.
To end 12th I have a message to again visit the surviving sister mentioned in the part at the beginning of this post. I will have to try for tomorrow. Now what? And, what next?