I am not looking forward to Tuesday at all, which I suppose is only to be expected. It is the funeral of my brother-in-law. To be perfectly correct he is Frank's brother-in-law but I think that makes him mine too!
The last time I saw Peter up and about was at Anne-Marie's house when we went down for the day to celebrate Simon's 40th Birthday. He was still getting over the treatment he had had for prostate cancer but was chatty and good company as one might expect. Even then though, Carolyn knew he was not well and things got much worse over the next few weeks. Carolyn and Peter, Anne-Marie and Maher went to Greece at the end of August and it was after that holiday, when Peter could hardly walk, that things started to go downhill rapidly.
A short stay in hospital revealed Peter had cancer in every organ in his body (apart from the liver) and that he had a very short time left to live. He went home and Carolyn nursed him, with the help of her family and nurses until he died on October 16th at 11.50pm. He was 68. I will miss him so much as he was such lovely company.
He was brought up as an only child and like me, was used to being with older people for most of his young life. We could take the piss of each other and wind each other up, knowing we were not being serious. We played many games of cribbage together when Frank and I were in Southampton and I remember the games of sardines that the family used to play when Frank and I were first married. So many happy memories.
The holidays we spent together as a family were always great fun. Peter would go fishing but rarely caught anything that I can remember. When we were in France before Katie was born Peter and I would sometimes walk down to the bakery together early in the morning to buy bread for breakfast. He was always an early riser! During that same holiday we took a day trip over to Jersey and we hired a minibus which Peter drove around the island. He showed us all the places that had been important to him as a child and I was sat in such a position that I could see him in the rear view mirror. The look on his face showed just how delighted he was to be showing us all his island. I can also remember the beach at Val-André! That was one of Peter's favourite beaches and we spent quite a few days of our holiday there. There was to be another family holiday next April - the first that we had had since Tunisia in 2000 and I was so looking forward to spending some fun times with Peter again. But sadly it was not to be.
Thankfully we got to spend a little time with him in the few weeks before he died and the cancer did not take away the old Peter. He knew who we were and was still able to joke with us from time to time. Tuesday will be a very sad day for us all. Frank has been asked to do a reading and that will so hard for him! But I am glad he is going to do it. And at the crematorium he is going to be one of the men carrying the coffin. I can't imagine how horrible that will be for them all - knowing Peter's body is in there.
He will always have a very special place in my heart as he was the best brother-in-law anyone could have wished for. If there is an afterlife then I am sure that he will carry on being the life and soul of the party and if he is reunited with his father-in-law then I am sure they are having great fun together again.
Rest in Peace Peter!