Wednesday 27 February

God what a day. Why can’t these people just have a little compassion and keep their bloody mouths shut instead of lashing out and causing so much hurt? It was a funeral and still people only think about themselves.

Ben and I got to the church just after 10 this morning and we were one of the first people there. I could see J standing on the opposite side of the road, having a row with a woman I didn’t recognise. He seemed very upset.

There was a small group of people gathered in the churchyard, so we approached them and they turned out to be J’s family. We introduced ourselves and it turned out they knew who we were. J’s sister, Elspeth, said J had talked about me a lot. I thought that was strange, what had I done to warrant him telling his family about me? Then I felt like they were all staring at me, waiting for me to say something, but I didn’t know what.

Not long after, the woman J was rowing with came over into the churchyard and joined the group of family, and Ben and me. She just stopped and stared at me like I was a Martian or something. Elspeth introduced us, and I realised this was Muriel, Helen’s mother. I said hello but she just looked daggers at me and said, “You might have waited until my daughter’s in the ground before making a move!”

I was speechless. I tried to tell myself she was just grieving, that she didn’t mean to be so hurtful, but something in the way Elspeth was awkwardly shifting her feet and avoiding the conversation, not to mention the shouting I had just heard between her and J, suggested otherwise. This woman truly believed I was moving in on her dead daughter’s husband, and she was perfectly ready to accuse me of it at the funeral. What was I meant to say?

Then I remembered my fantasy of being his saviour and him falling for me through it all, and I felt sick. Was I trying to make a move on him? What on earth was I doing?
J came over shortly after Muriel, pushing his little girl in her pushchair. He hardly said a word to me. I tried to break the tension by saying hello to Beth but I seemed to just upset her. J told me she’s not used to strangers, then bent down to her level and said, ‘This is Tasha. Tasha is one of daddy’s very good friends.’ I suddenly felt my face flush hot, and I was aware everyone was staring at me again. Beth looked up at me and I focused on her instead and said hello again. This time, she smiled.

The church was packed, with people standing at the back. The service was lovely. Jamie got up and talked about Helen and their life together and how much they loved each other and Beth – he was emotional but he managed to keep it together and it was absolutely beautiful. It made me wish I had known her.

At the end, during the worst bit – where you have to shake everyone’s hand and thank them for coming – Helen’s mother said something awful about Jamie being all calm and cool, like he’d already got over Helen and was ready to move on. Helen’s sister (Angela) told her off and tried to take her out of the way, but Muriel was having none of it. I decided to just get out of the way and went with Ben to the hotel for the reception. We were there before anyone else and were the only ones there when J and Beth arrived on their own. J apologised to me for what Muriel had said, making excuses for her having lost her daughter and being out of her mind with grief and all that. I just told him not to worry about it.

The reception was lovely, but I could tell it was hard on J. People kept coming over to him and telling him how much they thought of Helen, and sharing memories of her – he’d said that’s what he wanted, during the service – and it was really sweet but I’ve no idea how he didn’t break down because if people had done that about Mum at her funeral I would have lost it.

Elspeth rang me a little while ago, just as I was getting ready for bed. I guess she got my number off J, I don’t know. It was weird though. She and her mum will be going home tomorrow so she wanted to say goodbye and to say thank you for helping out with J and stuff. But then she said, “He’s really vulnerable at the moment and he could so easily get hurt.” I told her I wouldn’t hurt him for the world and she said, “Just be careful.”

What should I make of that? She’s clearly picked up on the fact I like J. Does she think I’m only helping him because I fancy him? Oh god, am I only helping him because I fancy him?

I bit the bullet and asked her why she was saying these things to me, had he said something? And she said he’s not said anything in particular, but she could tell there’s something there and he feels guilty about it. Oh my god!

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