Since Dad died a few months ago, Mum's been giving me lots of the stuff she wants to get rid of, sort of like I'm an Oxfam that collects from the door. Stuff of mine from childhood, stuff of Dad's she wants out of the house, general stuff that's been cluttering up display cabinets for decades...
A few weeks ago I was given a cardboard box that even she didn't know the contents of.
"It's something I packed for you in 1994 when I was going to kill myself and was wanting to sort out things for you to have that were important", she said, as if this wasn't in any way a disturbing revelation.
I'd left it in my car boot for 3 weeks. I mentioned it to a friend, Nat, a couple of weekends ago and she referred to it as an "Emotional Timebomb". I didn't really give it much thought.
I opened it the other day, mainly because I wanted it out of my boot.
Inside are lots of things wrapped in tissue paper held together with sticky tape that has gone brown.
First I found a couple of nice coloured glass wine carafes, then a china cup and saucer with, I noticed, a bit of paper stuck to the bottom explaining that it had been given to her by a lady in the flats we lived in when I was born. "Love this Derek, it's important" it said.
Then I unwrapped a brass pot that again had a note on the base saying it had been her mothers and that there was a lid "Dad might find later when he's sorting through everything."
Inside the pot was a piece of paper, folded, which turned out to be her 1994 suicide note.
"Please don't hate me" it said. "I am with my parents now and one day we too shall be together again".
It said other things too but I don't know what because I chucked it back in the box along with the half dozen things I'd taken out and the whole package got put out in the garage.
Isn't that a pip.