One Day at a Time by Alan Houghton
Everybody was asking questions, when all he wanted to do was lock the front door and throw the key away. What was he going to do? Was he going to give up work? How was he going to look after their daughter?
His wife had just died. Just 31 years old in Christie's hospital. He had barely registered her death and the barrage of questions erupted. How to inform her family in Malta? His own family wasn't a problem as they were not in contact with him anyway. Funeral arrangements to make. Where to bury her? The biggest dilemma was how was he going to cope with his 2 years old daughter?
Everybody had an opinion. No two were the same. His mind was in overdrive. Would Social Services get involved and take her off him? The in-laws making offers to take his daughter and bring her up in Malta. There was even an offer to go and live in Malta. Some suggested getting a nanny to look after his daughter. Others had said it was best to get remarried as soon as possible. A manager from work had paid a visit to express everyone's sympathy but then left a parting grenade with the news that his department was being reorganised and that 5 jobs were being reduced to 3 and that everyone would have to reapply for a job. Just what he needed.
He needed to talk with someone not emotionally involved. Salvation came in the form of the local Catholic priest. He wasn't Catholic but his wife was. The wise old priest told him to only take the decisions that he had to do as his mind wouldn't be right for a couple of years. Don't do anything that you might regret later as it might be difficult to undo. His family doctor repeated the same advice.
As his mind partially cleared, he took the decisions that he had to. Service in the local Catholic church and then burial in Malta. He didn't know what was going to happen to him in the future, so the logical decision was to bury her with her family. He could always visit her grave when he needed to.
The Malta offers were turned down because he had just lost his wife and he did not want to lose his daughter. Also, if he took the Malta option, it would be difficult to undo as he would have given up his house, his job and probably his freedom. He could not burn all bridges.
So, the soul-destroying task of finding a child minder that he was comfortable with, began. A dozen were seen and none of them felt right. But then an angel appeared from nowhere. Well actually a friend from church of one of his neighbours. He went to see her. She had two young daughters of her own and she wanted to help. There was never going to be a perfect solution to his dilemma. All options meant hard work and sacrifice but there was light at the end of the tunnel. He had a way forward to make a go of it and importantly still had options in Malta if it didn't work out. He began to sing Miriam Bellini’s ‘One Day at a Time’
‘Pushing and shouting
That's crowded my mind
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time’