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Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm so glad to be home.

It's good we went though; Bobby's mum really needed both of us there, and Bobby really needed me there.

And the kids and my folks did really well here.

Some pictures ...

The plane. Air Namibia has great food, and great service. And not having the kids with us, we could say "yes" every time they wheeled their trolley of free drinks around. Windhoek airport is odd in that is literally in the middle of nowhere - there's just bush all around for miles and miles and miles. Beautiful landscape; when we landed it felt good to smell Africa again. I can't describe the smell, but it smells like home. The dust, maybe. When we flew out of there on Thursday night, it was hot and dark when we walked across the concrete to the plane, and there were dozens of tiny birds swooping about catching moths. I was sad to leave.
Driving from Jo'burg to Maritzburg, you go through miles and miles of this.
Yellow, dry, grass, with the odd bush fire.
Then you start to see mountains.
And the landscape gets more and more green
Until we were in Bobby's mum's garden and the yesterday-today-and-tomorrow bushes were in full flower so everywhere smelt of spring.
Another view of the garden.

We went to church with Bobby's mum on the Sunday. That was just horrendous, the whole congregation was either on the verge of tears or actually crying the whole time. The only thing that got me through it was one of Bobby's mum's dear friends gave me one of "her" babies to hold during the service and the tea afterwards. It helped to be holding this cuddly little person who was completely oblivious to all the sadness around her. This friend of Bobby's mum is amazing; she fosters AIDS babies; has (I think) seven of them at the moment, and, babies and all, still manages to play the organ at church, and keep goodness knows how many other balls in the air as well.

Monday was the funeral. Very hard, but not as bad Sunday's service.

Tuesday was the scattering of the ashes ceremony. Most of the family seemed to find this very healing; they felt relief and closure when it was done. I didn't, though. Both I and the niece I'm closest to found the whole thing rather horrifying.

We all (Bobby's mum, his three siblings and their children) went for a long walk in the Botanical Gardens afterwards; I did find that quite helpful.

Wednesday we hung out with the family, and Thursday morning we had to drive back to Jo'burg and fly home.

One of the chores we had to do while we were in Maritzburg was go through the boxes and boxes and boxes of our stuff which Bobby's mum has been storing for us for the past five years. Books - far too many. Dinner services, tupperware, kitchen appliances, toys (so much lego!), clothes .... far too many things. We brought the photos and a few of the childrens' books home; the rest is all being given away. Made me even more determined not to accumulate things here.

I hadn't realised how much work organising a funeral involves, nor how many legal and financial things have to be taken care of immediately following a death. I can't see how a recently bereaved person could possibly deal with it on their own; I know Bobby's mum certainly couldn't have mananged without her children to take care of it all for her. I wish she'd asked their advice before, though; there was quite a financial mess to be sorted out. Made me realise that Bobby and I need to make sure that all our affairs in properly in order.

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