3rd April, 2019
Dear Mr and Mrs Brenchley,
Many thanks for the lovely card you sent me. What kind words you said about my mother. She was one unique lady.
I am sorry you couldn’t get to the funeral. It went off well and the vicar did her proud. I had a few people back to the house afterwards but the weather was poor for travelling so they didn’t stay long. It was a good job you didn’t set out, what with the local flooding we had.
Anyway, thank you again for the card and keep in touch.
3rd April, 2019
Thank you so much for the card you sent me and the lovely flowers that arrived beautifully fresh on the day. The funeral service was done so professionally by the local vicar. Mother knew him quite well. He was often round for tea, so she said.
I am sorry you couldn’t make it to the funeral. I know you would have liked to but the weather was dire and it would have been silly for you to set out knowing how bad your chest has been lately.
You and Mother were friends for so many years so I know you will miss her. The tales she used to tell me about the two of you at school! I am sure there are things you could tell me — or maybe not. Perhaps, when I have settled things here we could meet up and have a chat. There is quite a bit to be done at the house and it really needs to be dealt with soon. I will be in touch shortly.
3rd April, 2019
It was so lovely to have your company at the funeral last week. I felt quite out of my depth and it was good to have a supportive friend with me. I know you understand me better than anyone. I don’t feel I have to put on a show for you. It was difficult dealing with those strangers. There were a number of people there I didn’t know. I hadn’t even told them because I wasn’t sure who to ask. Word must have got round.
When I have cleared the house and put it on the market I shall be able to draw a line under it all. It has been a terrible strain these past few years. This is something I could not easily confide in to most people. Even at work I have tried to put on a brave face to the world. I only let it slip to my boss the day before the funeral so I could have the afternoon off. He was alright about it, of course. In fact, he said to take as much time as I wanted. I am never late and rarely take time off — and they owed me some holiday —- so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t need to take any leave at the moment. What I plan to do is sort out the house, that will be quite therapeutic I think, and then take a few weeks break somewhere on my own. I am quite looking forward to that.
If you wanted any of the knick-knacks that you saw last week, let me know, and I will put them to one side.
Thank you again for your support and friendship.
3rd April, 2019
Dear Messrs Somber & Co,
Re: Funeral of Elizabeth Biggs 27th March, 2019
This is just a line to thank you for the professional way you conducted my mother’s funeral. Everything went very smoothly for which I am eternally grateful.
Funerals are never easy times but should I ever be in the position to recommend your services, I cannot speak highly enough of your team.
Gillian Biggs (Miss)
4th April, 2019
It feels odd writing a letter to you. I don’t think I have done it since I was a teenager. I seem to remember I was on holiday with Linda and her family. They sent some postcards and I said I wanted to write a letter. I can’t think why I did it now. Perhaps it was because you never seemed to appreciate postcards that other people sent and I felt that you would think it too trivial to bother. I was always trying to please you, in case you hadn’t noticed.
My therapist thought it would be a good idea if I wrote to you — cathartic, she said. It made me chuckle for the first time in ages. It occurred to me that you would think that a load of rubbish and be so dismissive —- further relegating my self-esteem to the deep mire. The new me is determined to not allow you to do that —- so be warned.
I wondered why Father left. I asked Aunt Susan once. She just laughed in my face. I didn’t know why at the time. I always quite liked Aunt Susan. She was plain speaking, like you, of course, but there was love and caring within her no-nonsense approach. I wish you could have been more like Aunt Susan. But that’s what life is, isn’t it, a series of wants and wishes?
I shall enjoy emptying this gloomy house of your overbearing presence. It was not a happy place for me to grow up in and it needs exorcising of that oppressive atmosphere. It is in the very fabric of the building. I write this on paper, but I would never do it, of course, but I would actually like to set fire to the place. There, I’ve said it. The only thing I would add is that I wish you had been in it at the time.
Dr Hengiss says I should try to verbalize my fears and angers. It vents the frustration I have been feeling all these years. She says it will actually help to keep me sane and stop me from hurting anyone, including myself. Dr Hengiss has suggested I write this letter, include absolutely everything I want to be rid of, and then tear it up. I half thought of writing it and setting it aside for a while, to see if I feel differently in, say, a year’s time but I don’t think that was in the spirit of what she had in mind.
I suppose it’s time to come clean about replacing your heart pills with the vitamin tablets I was taking. It was so fortuitous when I found out they were identical in every respect. That could not have gone any smoother. It’s funny but I didn’t even plan it like that; it just sort of happened.
I think at this point I should make some sort of apology —- but I’m not going to. I was never good enough for you even though I constantly strove for your approval. I had a miserable childhood and felt you barely tolerated me. I have no idea why I did stay and look after you as you got older. It was probably because you had frightened me into this subjugated role. Still, now I’m free.
I’ll be having a good few sessions with Dr Hengiss. She has been a source of refuge and stability these past few weeks that I have never had from you in all my fifty-five years.
30th April, 2019
Dear Dr Hengiss,
Thank you for the past few sessions. They have been very helpful. I thought I would further extend the idea of letter writing. Penning something to my mother and destroying it afterwards, I found strangely liberating. I didn’t know how it would make me feel but I think I am coming to terms with all the events leading up to my breakdown.
According to your protocol, I should probably destroy this letter after I have written it but I have decided to post it to you. It occurred to me it might help some of your other patients.
Some of my pent up fury was associated with a bitter dislike of mother. I see that now. She never had any time for me and treated me like little more than a hired help. That is going to have some effect on a person eventually as I am sure you realise.
To set the record straight, my mother stopped taking her heart tablets. That was the cause of her death according to the post mortem. I felt uncomfortable when police started to question me but I suppose any normal person would. Anyway, that is all behind me.
I thought I’d let you know I won’t be attending our scheduled meeting next week. It has been a bit chaotic, with the fire and everything. I’ll be putting everything in to the hands of solicitors and insurers and going away for a while. Please don’t trouble yourself; I am quite alright.