Greg was fine for the funeral. He had seen his mother an hour or so after her death and had come to terms with her passing. In many ways it had been a great relief for everyone as she had suffered for years with emphysema and had been marooned in the house for the last two. She had once been a very energetic woman holding lots of successful house parties, catering for forty or fifty people at a time and doing all the cooking herself. Her brain had been active to the last. She had even once stood as the local Liberal candidate for the council elections. But in her infirmity she had been relegated to a chair watching TV or doing crosswords and word games to keep her mind alive. Her last few days in particular had been painful to watch because she went downhill rapidly and could not move an inch from her bed. So everyone agreed it was better for her to go rather than to linger.
Greg had returned to London to collect Kay and me, taking us back in his car to his mother's cottage for the days leading up to the funeral. I felt confident that he was able to drive on the motorway all right, now that he had sobered up. His car had large scratches and gouges at each corner where in the past he had misjudged obstacles when parking it. Thankfully he had never hit anyone or another car but I had banned him in the last few years from making any trips in the car while under the influence. He had occasionally crept out and driven for more alcohol in the night when I was asleep, hence the mishaps to each corner of the car. Although he always maintained he was a better driver drunk than most people were sober. No comment!
Greg and his sister Jill were busy for a few days making the funeral arrangements, whilst I helped where I could with preparing the catering. The funeral day was successful (if you can call it that) and we spent a lovely day with all the relatives and friends who had travelled far and wide to be there. Over the following days, Greg and I went through his mother's things with Jill and made choices about what to take for ourselves or what to dispense with. We also made plans with Jill about selling the cottage. So there was plenty to keep us occupied. But already on the day of the funeral Greg had started to drink a glass or two of whisky. I was torn between saying anything or giving him some leeway - it was his mother's funeral after all. But I also knew that once an ex-alcoholic has ONE drink, they are on the path to ruin again.
Once we were back home in London, Greg did indeed start to slip back into drinking quite quickly. Within a week or two he was back to half a bottle of whisky per day; within a month he was back to a full bottle each day. When he came out of detox, I had told him I could not bear to go through another bout of his alcoholism. We had already twice had the opportunity to pick up the pieces, but three times he had let us down and put us through hell. He had promised things would NEVER get so bad again. He had categorically assured me he would never go back to drinking heavily again. But here we were yet again. His sobriety had lasted just six weeks. Here I was again, having to drive out each morning to get him his supply of whisky and cigarettes for the day. Not to do so, once he was on a full bottle a day, would have meant HE would drive instead to get it. I could not have that on my conscience. The credit bills were rising into several thousands of pounds and in addition we had two large loans to pay off....all of it going on whisky and cigarettes. Where was it all going to end?