In the end, even though I couldn’t actually go to the funeral I decided to take the half day Ali Rana had so begrudgingly offered me. That way I would at least be able to sit quietly and think about Jules and say goodbye in my head if not in person. So I sat with some gentle music and did just that.
I thought about all the happy times we’d had. Belly laughs in the playground waiting for our children to come out. Sharing our worries. Gossiping. Giggling. All the while I had an image in my mind or her smiling face. That image was her as she was, not the one with no hair and a face made puffy by chemo. Even that face had the same smile though, despite the fear and the pain.
It was tempting not to go into work at all but then I’d have missed the funeral for nothing so, reluctantly, I got the bus. Half way across the Big Bridge my phone rang. It was Karen. Primo had spoken to her.
“I am so sorry you weren’t given the whole day off,” she said. “I don’t understand why Ali Rana said no but I’ve booked you off for the whole day as compassionate leave and put the half day back in your holiday allocation.”
I didn’t tell her I’d missed the funeral. Instead I got off the bus at the next stop and walked home.
Tonight when I was watching the news I was saddened to hear that Alexander McQueen, the man who designed the lovely suitcase I lusted after a while ago, was dead. Apparently he committed suicide. He was only forty. What a sad, strange world we live in. On the one hand there is Jules, fighting so hard to live, on the other a man who seemingly had everything to live for choosing to take his own life.