Everyone is talking about us – Glasgow’s Evening Times
January 14, 2021
Everyone is talking about us – Glasgow's Evening Times
If there's laughter in heaven he'll join in – https://bit.ly/2JFMBJ4
I had no sooner returned home from work when I received a call from my best friend Christine. By Janice Bell
“Hi Janice, my dad passed away 10 minutes ago,” she sobbed.
“I'll be right there,” I promised.
To help you understand, Christine's dad, David Bridges, originally from Maryhill and a lifelong Evening Times reader, was 86 and had been ill for months. We knew he wouldn't live for much longer but the finality of those words still hit home and my first thought was. OMG. This is the end of an era. Arriving at his house Christine beckoned:
“Come through. My dad's in the next room.”
“Em. Maybe I'll just …”
But before I could finish, Christine had ushered me through to the bedside of Mr Bridges.
“You can hold his hand,” she offered. “He's still nice and warm.”
“No wonder,” I joked.
“You've got a 13.5 tog quilt right up to his neck.” And we laughed through the tears.
A few nights later, I joined the family around Mr Bridge's old kitchen table where they were sifting through a series of websites looking at the various options for a coffin when they came across a website called comparethecoffin.com.
“Look,” said Helen.
“They've even got a Coffin Shop.”
And right enough, the online Coffin Shop showed every type of coffin available. Even a cardboard coffin.
Helen started to read out the description.
“Why not opt for a cardboard coffin which you can paint or decorate,” she said.
“It can hold up to 17 stones in dry conditions.”
“Dry conditions?” queried Jill.
“Given our unpredictable Scottish weather I think we should give the cardboard option a miss.”
“And did you manage to get the crematorium booked?” interrupted Christine.
And without realising the pun Helen replied: “Not yet. There was only skeleton staff working at the weekend.” And we all burst into laughter.
“You're right Janice,” smiled Ian. “You couldn't make this up.”
Later in the evening an old friend of Christine's joined us to pass on her condolences.
“I'm so sorry to hear about your dad,” she whispered sympathetically.
“I last saw you all at your mum's funeral.”
“Yes,” Christine nodded.
“She was only 64 when she died of a heart attack.”
“And what about your dad,” enquired the friend.
“How did he die?”
“Oh,” sniffled Christine.
“It was nothing serious.”
Full to bursting with tea, we decided to open up the wine and toast Mr Bridges.
“He would have loved this,” David announced.
“All of us gath ered around the table having a wee drink to celebrate his life.”
“Yes he would,” agreed Lorraine. She added: “The other day one of the young carers visited and offered, “Would you like a wee drink of water, Mr Bridges?”
“Apparently, he shook his head and whispered, 'Water's for washing your feet, I'll have a wee Macallan's whisky, thank you very much.'”
Squeezed into every tight space around the kitchen table Cole and Ali, the young grandchildren noticed that I was sitting on a strange-looking chair.
“Janice, what's that you're sitting on,” Cole was curious.
“Oh, it's a commode.”
The kids looked at me with no clue as to what I was talking about until their mum Jill explained to them what a commode was used for. Horrified, their bemused faces were a picture until David, the bright spark in the corner chipped in.
“Basically kids, it's Airdrie's answer to an en suite.”
This lifted the mood of the mourners again who were laughing and yet sad at the very reason we were all sat around the table.
As we poured another drink and toasted Mr Bridges there was a knock at the door and we wondered who else could be visiting at this time of the evening.
“Hello there,” whispered a shy young girl dressed in her carers' uniform.
“I've come to get Mr Bridges ready for bed.”
Everyone stared at each other for what seemed like ages.
“This'll be an easy shift for you tonight then,” replied David, before announcing: “Dad passed away two nights ago.”
And mortified, the poor girl stood at the door, the colour drained from her face before our eyes.
“I'm so very sorry,” she said.
“The early shift didn't tell me.”
RIP Mr Bridges, I'm sure you would have loved the banter.