Chapter Twenty Seven

Tim did survive the switch-off but didn’t regain consciousness. All my family and Tim’s family had a chance to see him and make their farewells, as did Gordon, his lifelong best friend. I sat beside him holding his hand for several hours before he finally slipped away. I’m not sure what the doctors did but apparently it would have been possible to keep him ‘alive’ in his unconscious state for some time if we’d fed him via a tube and dealt with his faeces ans urine. In fact one of Wendy’s friend’s son was in such a state. He’d had a major heart attack which had starved his brain of oxygen. He’d been just about to get married and his fiancĂ©, a doctor, was keeping him alive, paying for 24-hour care, even though there was no chance of a recovery and against the wishes of his parents. So Wendy understood where I was coming from. Dad was a different matter so I didn’t let him know of my instruction to the doctors. He wanted to get ‘the best’ private care for Tim and I had to I tell him that he was getting that on the NHS and ignore his wishes.

Several people, including my parents and Tim’s parents,offered to help arrange the funeral for which I was grateful even in your dazed state. In the end I decided to let Mum stay with me and take charge of looking after the children and the domestics and to accept Gordon’s help. He was more on the same wavelength as Tim than anyone else. Tim wasn’t religious, in fact he thought religion was an enabler for some of the worst atrocities ever, so that was our starting point. The funeral director suggested we contacted the British Humanist Association who provide a person they call a celbrant to help arrange the funeral the way we shoppingant it. They said Crewe crematorium was a very sympathetic place and Gordon said he’d been to a beautiful ceremony there. We asked John if any of them would like to make any contribution – such as a reading, poem, song or piece of music and I suggested to the children that they might do something.

In the end I chose the music, I wanted something slow and mournful to start with and something bright and optimistic to finish. John wanted to do a reading, a celebration of Tim’s life; Warren and Teresa wanted to read a poem they had written; and my two decided to do a duet, Di singing and William playing the guitar.

I wanted to go shopping for an outfit but in the end decided to choose something from my wardrobe. Tim would have preferred that.

I can’t remember much of the actual ceremony as I was too upset. I sat between my children on the front row with Peter and Wendy and their children across the isle. The place was packed and I didn’t recognise lots of them. Afterwards we went to a nearby hotel for tea and a buffet. I talked to as many people as I could and this kept me busy and the tears at bay. When we got home I had a long cuddle with William and Di both of whom had behaved with dignity throughout the day. When they’d gone upstairs to their rooms I curled up on the sofa next to Mum, put my head in her lap and sobbed and sobbed until I was quite exhausted.