Janis : An Introduction

I was 4, maybe 5 at the time. I squeezed myself into the trolley chair that was far too small, and no matter how much the metal bars bit into my skin, I was determined to stay. I loved to watch her face change and move as she wheeled me around the store.

She arrived every Friday night like clockwork; I remember standing in the window of our tiny living room watching her van pull up. I almost jumped up and down waiting for her get out. Sometimes Terry was with her, sometimes he wasn’t. She baked with me, Marble Cake was always my favourite. I loved to watch her draw, and so she copied all my Disney VHS boxes, unfortunately I have lost them all since and wish I had taken better care of them, knowing now how much I would love to look at them again.

And so she left like clockwork, every Sunday night. I cried uncontrollably hoping it would make her stay longer.

By this time I was around 7 years old so I wasn’t aware straight away that she was poorly. Only that I was supposed to be more careful than usual. But soon her hair fell out, and she started to smell unlike how she normally did, She seemed to be less fun, and then she began to stay less and less. It was explained to me by various people that she had something called cancer.

For a short time after that she seemed normal again, she seemed happy and bright and things seemed to be good. But then eventually she stopped coming at all, although we did go up to Scotland to see her once or twice, but it wasn’t the same.  Of course, I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but I knew something wasn’t right.  Now I am older I know that my beautiful, colourful Auntie Janis had secondary metastatic cancer, and her days where numbered.

This was never said to me, but something in a child’s heart knows when someone they love is about to leave them.

I walked in the door after my other auntie picking me up from school, which was relatively normal as she was around most of the time. My mum was leaning on the dinning room table, puffy eyed. Something in them was cold for a moment, numb and wanting… and then I knew. Janis would not be ok, as everyone had previously explained.

I loved her so much, and I was angry at her for leaving and at the heinous disease that took her away. But I cannot be angry with her anymore. She lives in my battle, and tells me every day

 

“Don’t you dare think like that… You’re not me!” and so I listen, to her wonderful voice, that thick Glaswegian accent that I crave and miss so significantly.

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Probate Changed Our Lives

My first post… wow. A new chapter in my units life. My unit is small, my Fiancé (Shane) and I, my Mother and our three dogs.

People have always believed that our unit is a strange one; “Why has your mum never remarried?”, “Why do you and your Fiancé still live with your mum?”, “Why do you have three dogs? that seems an awful lot!” well, I can’t answer these questions without going into great lengths and details, but it works for us, or it has done for a while. We’ve needed each other and supported each other throughout a great number of unfortunate incidents, which makes our story a very special one.

Recently, the story has changed however. Having been through so much over the past few years, the cherry on the cake was when my beloved sweet elderly Granny passed away a few weeks before Christmas. I’m sure many people who have experienced this would agree, its pretty ‘horrid’ (as Gran would say) loosing someone at this time of year, especially when the funeral occurs on 23rd.

It was a strange Christmas, it was different from what we were used to. Morning’s all on the bed, with all the dogs, opening stockings and watching Grannies face beam with pleasure… not just because she was receiving gifts, but because she was so overwhelmed by the sense of togetherness and love that filled us all up.

Instead we carried on without her, choosing to avoid my Aunt’s lavish and underrated  Christmas lunch, and particularly my Uncles sarcastic comments and continual attempt at oneupmanship.  We had a Christmas lunch that included both Turkey (for Shane) and Roast Rib of Beef for Mum and I, it was delicious, and the day was quiet and calm if not a little weird. We enjoyed it as much as we could and toasted Granny to make sure she was remembered, it wasn’t so bad in the great scheme of things.

But that’s when the real fun started!

Probate!

through-out the years my Family (extended) and our dynamic has been a little odd, I won’t lie to you, My Uncle and Auntie enjoyed their extravagant lifestyle, flying to their house in Spain and jet setting to exotic locations such as South Africa and Thailand. My Cousins were spoiled, although luckily they turned out ok. Whilst we struggled with little to no help at times.

My Uncle had helped us on occasions when we were really hard up, but the emotional support would have been gratefully received. In conclusion, they had their life and we had ours (Mum and I). Although despite this fact, my Auntie and I (My Mums sister) always had a wonderfully close relationship as I grew up, I always talked to her as she came across as non judgemental.

Recently this has all changed.

Mum was left everything, the house and the estate, as mum was incredibly close with Gran, as I was. She stayed with us at Christmas, We looked after her at the end, We went to see her every week. Granny new my Aunt didn’t need financial help, where as Mum did, and so did I.  Call it one last thank you.

The Minute Gran flew away to her new plane, the vultures descended, claiming what they believed they deserved. People were called to inform of her death, and everything was frozen; Bank accounts, ICA’s, Bonds and Shares etc. What every-one had forgotten is how this would effect Mum. In Grans later years Mum was her carer, and so she stopped working. She received what she needed from The Gov, but it wasn’t really enough, of course granny passing away caused this all to stop.

A solicitor was hired for probate, with Mum in the state she was in couldn’t respond accordingly to My Aunt’s probing questions; “Do you want to use our solicitor? Or do you want to find your own?” “Do you want me to call everyone or shall I?” of course the answer was always yes. An answer she would later regret.

My Uncle got us a reduced rate with his solicitor as he had been there for so many years, which was helpful, however the final bill will still come to around £4,000.00, the funeral cost £5,000.00, She still owed my Uncle’s company debt from a loan he had got for Granny a few years back to help mum with her debt. The interest rate a 5% so now she owes nearly double what she originally did (of course he will still be making some money) around £30,000.00. She could see the money that Granny had left her slowly slipping away.

Our little rented house that we had grown so unaccustomed to had to be abandoned, the Gas and Electric couldn’t be paid so the Metre was immediately cut off… We couldn’t eat, shower, bath etc. And of course whilst my health is fine to work, my degree is extensive and my grades would suffer. Shane is in substantial debt, and it bothers him greatly so of course his money came in, and went out again.

Frankly we were F*****

And so we packed as much as we could, and walked into Grannies cold lifeless home, everything exactly as she left it.

The Will however was simple, uncomplicated. Which made it more challenging to comprehend why its March 22nd and Probate still hasn’t been granted. Whats taking so long?

Not only is probate taking so long, but there are many other questions I can’t answer (and usually I have an answer for most things); What’s the Oath all about? So, let me get this straight, you put your hand on a bible and swear an oath to god that you’re telling the truth about who you are. What if you don’t believe in god? What if you’re muslim? What if you have your passport with you to prove who you are instead? Would this stop this archaic practice? I didn’t understand how my mum (who is astutely atheist) had to shut her face and pretend she was christian so she could get her estate. My question is if she had said, would she not be granted probate? Why are solicitors allowed to only work 2 and 1/2 days a week? Im sure she’s very nice and all but WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT???

And so we have moved over most of our stuff across to this lovely house of grannies, that really we would love to stay in, but can’t. Unfortunately (again) the house must be sold so that my greedy family can have their slice of my Grannies plot even though they hardly ever saw her.

In conclusion our unit must split up. Mum will buy somewhere affordable of her own, and we will continue to rent with the money Gran left me until my degree is over as it’s not enough to buy… and my slice of grannies paradise will go to some avaricious landlord who sit on a pile of cash while we continue to struggle.

Hopefully my degree will give us some stability in the future, but for now, we must endure.