How will you die? Or how would you like to die? Not that you can choose, of course, but the way you die says something about your life. When you trip down the stairs and bash your head, pass out and lie in a dark house for three days. When the police have to knock down your door to find you, it says something about your life. It says you were essentially alone, in the dark all your life. Or at least that’s what it says about my dad.
I suppose you could say that the friend who alerted the police was concerned about him. But it was more likely that my dad hadn’t been paying for rounds in the local pub as usual and that’s why he was missed.
He had a girlfriend who he didn’t live with, Pamela, who resented me although she’d never met me. He had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, I suppose, because he led a ridiculously unhealthy lifestyle, drank too much, smoked too much, ate too much. You can’t keep that up forever. He was fifty-nine when the police found him, yesterday.
My granddad phoned me to tell me and I have to say I wasn’t surprised. He was frequently pissed and I am not surprised he tripped. And his whole life story has always been for me, there but for the grace of God go I. Because in the kind of weird dysfunctional story of my childhood,the odd thing is that although I really hardly ever saw him, we are very similar in personality and have a tendency towards degenerate behavior.
So just now, I phoned the solicitor dealing with my dad’s will. Dad lived in a big house in Highgate and I had stored some of my stuff in his basement before I left for Baltimore. I know Pamela had told him to get rid of the stuff because, I suppose, she wanted to erase me from his life. I phoned the solicitor because I could already see this Pamela, in my mind, a crazed woman, throwing all my stuff into a skip. So I told the solicitor I would either come over to London at some point and get my stuff or I’d arrange for it to be shipped here.
I could tell you a lot of weird stuff about my dad, but I won’t, because they say don’t speak ill of the dead. He was someone who was cut off from his emotions, he had a childhood that just fucked him up so totally that I don’t think he could function. And how people who are degenerates survive all that time is simply that he had money and could get away with it. If he’d been poor he would have ended up homeless, destitute and dead years ago.
Somewhat predictably, my thoughts have turned to the will. Whether I will just end up with a collection of odds and sods or whether I will clean up. I don’t know if I will go to London for the funeral. Maybe I should. It’s in a month’s time. I will think about it while I am vacationing in Chennai (formerly Madras. I leave for ten days next week). Also, it will be interesting to see what the autopsy uncovers.
Who am I? Displaced Londoner now living in the States with my two little girlies and long suffering husband. Co-author of hilarious parenting book Cocktails at Naptime www.cocktailsatnaptime.com
My mom's an Austrian, my dad's a Brit, which makes me a Britaustrian, or possibly an Austrish?