...that this week is over... it's been a hard week for me as I've had to deal with the funeral of my manager from work, Chris King. He'd been ill for some time and was admitted to the Royal Brompton Hospital on 5 March with, amongst other things, a collapsed lung... he went downhill but then seemed to be fighting the various infections and making a little bit of slow progress.
However, despite their very best efforts he sadly died a couple of weeks back, and the funeral was held on Wednesday. I'd taken the initial call at work so had to pass the news on and promptly broke down - and I've been crying on and off ever since.
It sounds like a cliché but he really was the best manager I've had up til now; over the 6 years I've worked with him he has supported me thru my marriage break-up and subsequent divorce, the deaths of both my parents, the loss of my part-time job at the craft shop (which I'd heavily relied on to pay all my bills) and one of the last things he did was to put the wheels in motion for a higher manager to get me back to work full-time from my part-time hours, which has helped me no end.
He was totally selfless, always put everybody else before his own needs... always had a smile and a cheery "hiya" as you walked past his desk... always had time for a chat or a joke. My section soon got used to the pretend fights and arguments we would have, just daft office banter between the two of us but if he needed me to do something it always got done.
On and off over the last couple of weeks I've been clearing his desk which has been hard - anything confidential had already been removed by our temporary manager who's been put in the role for the next 6 months whilst they find a suitable replacement (ie one who doesn't have such a hellish journey getting to and from our 2 office locations!) So I'm left with clearing all the years of accumulated office "junk" that we all have in our desks: coffee cups and glasses, paper clips and staples, notepads and pens etc... as well as assorted general paperwork. Boy, he was a hoarder lol... he'd kept a printout of everything "in case it comes in handy"... training course notes and office procedures dating back to 1989 (I kid you not...)
Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day, blue sky and a tiny breeze, and the grounds of the crematorium were nicely set out and full of flowers. There were a lot of colleagues from work - current as well as retired, and lots of his church family and Boys Brigade colleagues. When the hearse arrived, we could see that his coffin was draped with the Union Jack standard of the local Boys Brigade Battalion, of which Chris had been a member since a young lad himself, rising thru the ranks to hold Warrant Officer status. What a lovely tribute and honour - for someone who had given so much of their time to such a worthwhile activity.
After the service his sister had made arrangements with the pub around the corner for refreshments, and I got the chance to have a chat with both her and the Minister who took the service. My colleague Toni (misteejay) was there too, and when people started to leave, she kinda kidnapped me and we went for a spot of craft retail therapy, for me to spend money I haven't got, and then she took me back home to Southend. I was almost cried out by now, so many well-meaning colleagues had come up to me and said "are you ok?" which of course would set me straight off again... and feeling totally numb, so it was good to have someone stay with me for a while whilst I tried to get a grip on things. Thank you for that Toni xx
So - RIP Christopher King - you will be missed by countless people for a myriad of reasons, but by me for simply being "the best manager I've had til now". I hope you have a comfy cloud with a ringside seat for the cricket, and that you can again enjoy a cheeky beer or two.