P1103655 - Version 2

January 21st, 2014, breaks bright (dull, actually) and early (9.30am) and I go straight into transcript three after twelve days away from the box. What have George and Kate - respectively son and granddaughter of Gaga - got to say to each other this morning?


I think the above image is a fairly random photo taken in George's room. I expect the file will contain the nursing home's notes on George. As for the chessboard, well George was a chess player once, indeed he played chess on his computer until the summer of 2013. But he didn't play chess when he was in the nursing home. That would have been too much to expect.

Anyway, has his back stopped hurting?


Ah yes, Kate and George have been joined by a carer. Her words have been positioned between Kate's column and George's.


Actually, the introduction of the carer really complicates the dialogue. No wonder George is hanging his head. As if he hasn't got enough to contend with, with whatever is happening inside his own mind.


The carer has rather insensitively raised the issue of Kate's father going for a brain scan on August 29th. George hated hospitals, hence the string of negatives that he uttered in relation to this. But he was taken in for the scan which showed that he had an inoperable brain tumour. The bowel cancer had spread up his spine, apparently. Anyway, George died two days later. I hope that doesn't come as a shock to anyone reading this. A death is led up to. The death happens. And those affected go over it again and again in their minds.


The carer was talking too much. Very difficult to get the balance right, of course.


Kate doesn't just exit room 21 and go downstairs. She travels ten miles to the last house her father lived in and enters his office which is full of old computers and drawerfuls of electrical equipment. But let Kate set the scene in her own words...


Just as Kate took a break between transcripts, so I must. I've walked away from the computer at which I'm writing and am in the room with the box again. Next up is a sheet of tracing paper on which is imprinted one of Kate's memories of playing with her father with a ball on the beach. Kate and George back in apparently carefree days. Though through the tracing paper I can see a sketch of George on his last legs, his face careworn and confused.


Meanwhile, Kate returns to the care home. Returns to the careworn and the caretorn:


The above is the fourth transcript, and it's the shortest. I guess Kate sat with George for a while longer. Looking around the room and getting consolation from both the symbols and from being in the moment. At least that's what I deduce from the presence of this next image.


OK, the fifth and last transcript. What more is there to say between daughter and father? Though if I remember rightly a carer is there to start with. I am not going to intrude my own thoughts this time. One mediator is enough.


The climax of the whole visit is this exchange:

Kate: "You have to forgive people, don't you?"
George: "Yes."
Kate: "I forgive you."
George: "Yes... also."

No bad that 'also'. Considering that poor befuddled George was having to contend with something like this going on:


Some kind of deathbed reconciliation scene between father and daughter? Is that what we have there? Yes and no. Let Kate put it her way:


Kate's father died a week after her visit, and a week after that we attended the funeral service at Llandudno Crematorium. George's cremation was the first of the day and as we left the crem, Kate realised that the smoke coming from the chimney must be from the burning of her father's body. And so she took the following photograph.


Operational Amplifiers, might be the title of the above image. Rest in peace, George Clayton, author of Op Amps, and, more importantly, father of Kate and Sara Clayton.


Kate is not sure what will be happening to George's ashes, as they have gone to his second wife. It may be that Kate will burn the above box and its contents, in a place still to be decided, on August 31st, 2014.

Finally, I should say why there are twelve days separating the writing of this and the last page to go up on this site. That is, between AUG. 31, 2013 (1) and AUG. 31, 2013 (2) . My own mother died at 10.40pm on Sunday, January 12, 2014. I was there when Mum quietly, painlessly and peacefully passed away, and thoughts of Mabel, plus arrangements for her funeral, have absorbed all my time since. Mum's funeral was yesterday and already I feel I can move on. Mum was a long time dying; a long, long time succumbing to dementia; and I have told that story in nearly 100 blogs
elsewhere. I wrote a penultimate blog - that might have been called JAN. 12, 2014 but is in fact titled We are stardust - just the other day.

For several years Kate and I have been proud of the fact that, despite having an average age of sixty between us, we had four parents still alive. Now all we can say is that we have two parents left in this world, one mother and one father, while two have gone back into that great swirling maelstrom of something or nothing that might as well be called the universe.