It is a very odd thing to realise that I am now parentless. While at least one of our parents is still here with us, they remain a buffer between us and our own inevitable demise. For me now, those two individuals who were always there, the bedrock of our whole existence when young, are both gone. I was always the youngest boy in my year at school; as a teenager I tended to mix with a group of friends who were older than me, and for years afterwards most of my acquaintances were often a year or two ahead of me in age. It is therefore an odd sensation to be not only parentless, but at the senior end of things.
My father died before he should have done almost two decades ago. However, Mam continued bravely on. She had a long, often sad and lonely widowhood. Funerals, particularly Welsh ones, are often cited in literature and drama for their displays of piety and hypocrisy. And having just returned from her funeral, I retain some very strong feelings about the way she was undeservedly isolated and neglected in some quarters over many years.
(Hopefully my smiley face will be restored again somewhat by the next time I write this blog!)