I had the unfortunate news recently to hear that my Great Uncle Pip passed away at the end of October.
I took the day off work to attend the funeral with my mother, grandmother, Liz and Kaleb. We left pretty early in order to get to Pickering, Yorkshire in time (and hopefully without rushing around when we got there). Lucky we did as there had been a lorry drive off the other side of the motorway as we were driving up, which caused a bit of traffic (I think later on they closed the whole motorway to get a crane in, if so it's a good thing we missed that).
We arrived with time to spare, so went to the B&B to drop everything off and get ready. I set up the travel cot and got changed, and we all sat downstairs for tea and a cake before heading out (I put together a jigsaw of a woodland scene too).
Getting ready to go out, we realised that I had forgotten to put a jacket for Kaleb in one of the bags (the paradox of choice - he has a number of jackets so didn't just pick one straight away, I had planned on checking a particularly warm looking one still fit him before we left, but forgot the next morning when we were getting ready). Luckily the tops we brought along for him were all long sleeved, so we put two on at once and decided to see if we could pick a jacket up at the shops, where we headed next. We all started to have a look around some of the shops before splitting off from Liz so we could get to the church on time, as it was at the top of a hill.
I had never been to a funeral before, so I just followed mum. The service was lovely; there was an old recording of Pip's Dad singing. Afterwards we drove to the crematorium, which was unlike what I would have expected (but then again, so was everything as I didn't know what they are like). The family gathered outside briefly before heading off to the hotel, I had a few moments on my own once everyone had gone and my mum and nan had gone to the toilet while I waited. I could hear a song being played quietly from inside (I think it was "Amazing Grace", but it may have been another song), and everything seemed mostly still.
Back in Pickering, we met up with Liz and Kaleb who were already at the hotel (Kaleb sporting a new jacket Liz had found in one of the charity shops). We went to the house afterwards, and Liz had a look at some of the old photos of me in the alleyway. Kaleb enjoyed meeting some of the family again, and even more meeting those he hadn't seen before.
The sense of togetherness with the family was strong, I felt lucky to be a part of it all, even given the circumstances. Lots of going back over old memories. Kaleb had a good time, apart from one episode of being grumpy (but it was late after a long day and meeting a lot of people), which went once the family started playing "ring on the string"; he thought the singing for that was the best thing since he found his feet earlier that day. As the party games continued, I had to explain to Liz while we were feeding Kaleb in another room why a song about someone's greenness varied randomly in volume.
We popped over again the next day before heading home. As with the journey up, we only stopped off the once on the way down. We were thinking about having a second stop as we weren't rushing, but Kaleb fell asleep so we decided to just get home. The trip was unlike any other I have been on, and I have been reflecting more than usual.