I spoke to Dad's partners sister-in-law today, and asked if she ever talks about or remembers Dad.
I don’t think she does, not really. Apparently she doesn’t talk much about him and when they bring him up she says ‘he’s the one who drowned’. I don’t really want to think too much about what might have morphed into drowning in her mind.
It feels so immensely sad. Another erasure. Another repository of memories of Dad being eroded so soon - just six months for their 27 years of love and laughter to fade away.
I know it has shaped her. I know she holds it in her heart even if she can no longer remember quite who, or when, or why. I know it matters not whether she can recall it but that they shared all those years of mutual adoration. But it still hurts.
I hadn’t realised how fond I was of her until we lost Dad. If I’m brutally - shamefully - honest I was often jealous of her in recent years and sometimes wanted her out of the way. Not for ever, not even for very long, just for a little while so I could spend some time with my Dad without her. Just us. I missed us, I still do.
Over recent years, there was barely a minute where they weren’t together. There were certainly no more gentle afternoons just me and Dad hanging out in the pub or pottering at home, chatting, or not chatting. Just being. Together. I missed those. I always will.
In hindsight I can see that this was not just their increasing and eccentric co-dependence and teenagerish giggly adoration, but a symptom of something deeper and much more sinister. She was the body, he was the brain, and together they made it through. Now he, and all that kept her anchored in the here and now, has gone. And very soon she will be lost to us to.