Before I get caught up in another new X-Files recap, here is a life update...
I have a vague recollection of sending another offloady email to commoncomitatus but I don't think I actually put it on LJ. So.
Given all of this happened over a month ago, I can't remember dates any more...
Just before Christmas, we met up with my uncle and grandmother for lunch at the cafe in House of Fraser, which was (as usual) overpriced for the standard of food. I very much suspect this will happen again next year despite them complaining on both occasions that the food was overpriced. I was of course dreading this meet-up, because thanks to pre-Christmas stress I was running spectacularly low on spoons.
During October we had written to her with some photographs of Leo, telling her not to worry about the piano any more because we would sort it, and providing our contact details, out of which contact the telephone call came to meet up as above. So that's something at least; they can no longer use the argument that our various numbers "do not connect".
Anyway, we met up, it was as painless as it could be, and then we parted ways at the Paperchase exit of House of Fraser whilst my uncle supposedly walked us to the bus stop. In fact, what he actually did was take us to one side in the arcade outside House of Fraser to tactlessly drop a bombshell on us.
To cut a long story short, we believe my grandmother may be in the early stages of dementia; she has become more and more forgetful, spends her days sitting in the kichen staring into space, forgets how the TV works etc., and what he described as "aggressive", particularly in terms of being outwardly racist, including verbally abusing an optician. (She has always been racist, in the of-that-generation sense, but over the years had managed to kerb it somewhat and keep it to herself.)
She broke her hip earlier in the year, and physical trauma like that can be a trigger, not to mention the stress caused by my father being a perpetually selfish dickbag, and indeed the ongoing acrimony with my mum and David. Which is another thing. My uncle began a diatribe, for what of a better word, by saying, "I don't know what you've been told, but..." before going on to say that basically, David had attempted to call up (I presume to tell them about Bulgaria) and my uncle cut off the call. He then wrote to them asking them never to contact my grandmother again.
Cunningly (or not), he did not inform my grandmother they had tried to ring. So when they subsequently sent a further letter to her saying they no longer wanted anything to do with her, she was understandably upset and confused. My uncle solely believes that it is the "stress" of this ongoing dispute which has caused the latest situation, though frankly that is the tip of the iceberg.
During a letter my grandmother wrote in response, she mentioned that after coming out of hospital she went to stay with my father and he made her sleep in an armchair. I have no idea how much truth is in that, but it seems likely to be very little, as apparently - in an uncharacteristic attack of selflessness - my father suggested this arrangement because his house is adapted for Dominic and has such amenities as a ground floor shower room, etc. It also gave my uncle some respite and he apparently spent the week in Liverpool.
They were talking during our visit of wanting to sell the house (internal alarm bells ringing because it might well be part of my inheritance; which sounds like a terrible thing to say but it's one of only a few safety nets we have for the future) and rent a bungalow, but all of our advice as to the state of renting in Birmingham fell on deaf ears. No, you are not going to get a lovely little bungalow in Harborne for the kind of money you think. (They have latterly decided against it presumably after doing some research.)
On the plus side, my uncle is very aware of this untenable situation, and if things deteriorate he will call Social Services for support (I suspect she will be very resistant, but he simply cannot care for her full-time and his work takes him all over the country). Also, Paul and I both work in safeguarding, and could raise the alarm if necessary.
But basically, all of this, a week before Christmas, was a massive bombshell of extra stress I could really have done without. They are as yet unaware of the move to Bulgaria, because we didn't want to tell them until we'd had the go-ahead; David has now basically said we can tell them whenever we need to, because as far as they're concerned the matter is closed. But my uncle's attitude towards David hit a raw nerve, because he'd obviously been trying to tell them himself rather than burdening it on us, only for my uncle to cut him off mid-sentence. I'd been trying to hold onto all my internalised stress about the situation at least until after Christmas, but that in particular set me off, and was exacerbated by the additional worry about grandmother and how that situation will pan out - particularly as my grandfather also suffered from dementia and it is the cruellest disease in the universe.
After that it was like the floodgates opened; I had supervision a few days afterwards and had an embarassing emotional wobble in front of my line manager, as at that point the flights out to Bulgaria had been confirmed as 24th January (which was just over a month away and a lot sooner than I was expecting). This only came about because I felt it pertinent to inform my manager that I might be a bit low or grumpy when the time came, but then it all came out.
I then had another wobble on 23rd December after we had family over for the traditional pre-Christmas get-together, but I think by then it was more that we'd finally finished the shopping and I had time to think again. :P
Christmas itself came and went without incident; I had a stinking cold on the day so Paul had to cook. He was also ill so dinner ended up being a little overdone, but it was otherwise okay. We spent New Year's Eve watching Game of Thrones because I was not in the mood to celebrate and just wanted the year to be over.
Alas, it did not end there. We received another letter from my grandmother just before NYE, which was mostly the usual array of randomness, except for her raising (AGAIN) about whether or not we wanted the piano. I DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH CLEARER WE CAN MAKE THIS. So that wound me up again because I suspect (as ever) that it just boils down to my uncle wanting to sell it.
On 29th December (I have checked this against FB messenger) we also found out that David's mum (Chris) had cancer. He found this out a day after the rest of his family, and we found out from my mum, who was drunk and upset; unfortunately at that point I had gone to bed early with a migraine so Paul tried to calm her down, then I responded more coherently in the morning. What this meant in reality was that they had postpone their flights because they didn't want to be out there when the inevitable happened and only be able to have one of them fly back to the UK for the funeral.
We saw them just after New Year's when they told us about the flights being rebooked until 24th February, and then I got upset again - mostly because David was also upset, but also because I felt selfishly relieved that they wouldn't be going as soon as planned, and because I'd been trying to hold things together until 24th January. The not knowing was the worst thing, as well as his inability to be there as much as his siblings who live nearer; as it transpired, Chris passed at home a few days later.
The funeral was on Thursday just gone, 11th February. I had in fact already booked leave for Thursday/Friday because of Valentine's Day, so that worked out conveniently. Knowing this information, they then rescheduled the flights for 16th February (tomorrow!).
In the intervening period, we went for a "blow out" meal at Carluccio's on 6th February, where David got emotional and then I got emotional and then my mum got emotional, and then Paul came out of the toilet and wondered what had happened. It also didn't help that all three of them were drunk by the end of the night and I wasn't (due to ongoing health issues; I had one cocktail and felt like I'd been hit by a bus the next morning).
Thursday was difficult. I was expecting it to be, but that didn't really help. I didn't know Chris well, had only met her a few times, and Paul had only met her once, but we went along to support David. (Incidentally, Chris gave me an aloe vera cut-off several years ago and it's still going strong in the kitchen.) We didn't know until after, but we should have sat at the front with the family; we actually sat near the back instead.
I was actually okay after the funeral for most of the rest of the day, until Kate and Sam (David's kids) were leaving. They won't be seeing David now for a long time, and it's just a shame they couldn't find time to meet up after the funeral rather than that already sad occasion being doubly poignant. What properly set me off was the thought that David probably wouldn't see his extended family again after that - mostly because they don't really get along, in fairness, but I'm a softie at heart when it comes to family stuff. :P My mum thankfully explained to David's sister, Sue, that I was stressed from ongoing health issues (my side had been painful on Thursday, as it happened) and the high emotion of the day had got to me. In fact, by that point I was just so drained and overtired that all I could think about was the move to Bulgaria and all the angst that entailed.
During the car journey home I failed on multiple occasions to stop crying, so eventually made myself fall asleep purely in an effort to reset my stupid brain. I had another bit of a wobble after we saw them off at ours, but by that point I'd given up on strength and decorum. :P
I then had a three-day migraine, obvs.
We saw them again for the official "last time" on Saturday, as they came over to drop off boxloads of stuff (some for selling, some to go in the loft, and some stuff I wanted) and we had tea at the Wetherspoons in Oldbury, then went back to ours to watch Sherlock Holmes (the RDJ one). And actually, it was a bit anti-climactic (in a good way!) because we'd got all the angst and stress out of the way on Thursday.
On the plus side... yesterday was Valentine's Day, so Paul and I cooked ourselves a three-course meal of calamari with aoili, home-made sausage and lentil stew, and profiteroles. Everything was made by us except the bread for the main course and the mayonnaise for the aoili. :P All very nice indeed, and profiteroles are surprisingly easy to make, although my arm hurts now from all the beating.
I suspect I have missed quite a lot out of that because so much has happened over the past eight weeks or so, but hopefully 2016 will start to improve, now it's got all the Awesome Celebrity deaths out of the way.
We have things to look forward to, in any case: a colleague's 40th birthday party in March, Sunset Boulevard in April, and of course five more brand shiny new episodes of The X-Files - and a like-minded colleague to squee over it with. ;)