Saturday, 14 December 2013
Friday, 29 November 2013
Saturday, 16 November 2013
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Saturday, 2 November 2013
By November 2012 I was completely exhausted – both physically and mentally – by all the emotional, financial and physical abuse dished out in large doses by my Nan and Granddad to the rest of the family. So when we were offered the services of an external mediator to “make one final effort to resolve all the current problems” I was happy to co-operate.
Saturday, 26 October 2013
Friday, 18 October 2013
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Monday, 7 October 2013
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Exactly as had happened twelve months previously the Head of the Sixth form was lurking and clearly looking out for me when I arrived at school. I could tell by her broad smile that I didn’t have anything to worry about. She was very kind and made a special fuss of me knowing that I didn’t have parents outside in the car park or on the other end of the phone waiting for news. In the past I have moaned about how some school staff seemed rather casual or cruel in the things they did but they certainly all got 10/10 for the way they handled my results day.
All of my friends got the grades they needed and six of us went out for a celebration drink. While I was at the school I saw two girls and 1 lad in tears so something must have gone wrong for them and I saw one parent having a real shout at a teacher, "Why didn't you warn us!!!"
Once I knew I was going to university there seemed to be lots to do in the month before the Induction Week! I had decided to rent out my family home (as inherited from Mum and Dad) because I needed the money to live on and it would have been silly to just leave the house standing empty. This meant I would be living with my Nan and Granddad during the holidays which, bearing in mind all that had happened before, was not ideal for them or me.
I said goodbye to the neighbours and explained about the house being rented out. One said "Do you need planning permission for that?”. I have never "fallen out" with the neighbours but they have never been particularly supportive either.
Saturday, 7 September 2013
Friday, 6 September 2013
Perhaps the most useful advice they gave me was that I should think about finding somebody to share the house with me. They knew about a girl, she was 19, who lived a few miles away and who was in a similar situation to me. The lady assigned to help me wondered about the two of us sharing the house and "supporting each other a bit." The school helped me a lot while I was looking into doing this and the Deputy Head took me down to the CAB for a chat about what it would mean, emotionally, financially and practically to do this.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
For most of my friends there was the anticipation of the dreaded Thursday in August when the external exam results were released, via the school, to anxious pupils – and even more anxious parents in some cases! Truthfully I can confess that I hardly gave a thought to this potentially life-changing event. By brain was so full with other, more immediate, problems that any hypothetical concerns along the lines of “What will I do if ….” never rose to the surface.
I can remember driving into the school car park and feeling mildly aggrieved that my usual space had been occupied by a yellow Mini. Then, quite suddenly, the full disgusting horror of my situation leapt out of my subconscious and grabbed me by the throat. It was all the parents sitting in cars, or standing in little worried groups, while their children went into the Sports Hall to collect the infamous “brown envelope”, that had done the damage.
It was several minutes before I felt able to get out of the car and walk towards the main building. The year 12 and year 13 results came out on the same day so half of the pupils were relative strangers to me. Despite this the many signs of success and the few signs of tears were obvious at a glance. I particularly remember two lads from my physics group having a “frank exchange of views” with their angry parents.
There was a massive queue to get the brown envelopes. I had only been waiting for about 30 seconds when the Head of the Sixth Form dashed over to me with a beaming smile and my envelope in her hand. This is just so typical of the kindness she showed me over two years. She knew I would be coming in on my own and that I would have nobody to share my modest triumph with so she kept looking round and waiting patiently for me to arrive – and then she pounced! My results were excellent, better than the most optimistic of my predictions made immediately after the exams.
Going back home, via the shops as I needed to buy some food, was rather an anti-climax. As was phoning my aunt and uncle with my good news. All I really wanted to do was to be able to tell Mum and Dad what had happened but of course that was impossible. I was relieved of course that this educational hurdle was behind me but I didn’t experience the real jumping up and down with excitement feeling that I noticed some friends displaying.
That night I had my first invitation to a social gathering in ages. I also had my first proper kiss from a boy. I don’t suppose for a minute that he even remembers it, but I do!
Saturday, 31 August 2013
I have made a big decision. I think that it is time that I stopped mourning for my Mum and Dad and moved on with my life. That isn't to say that I will ever stop loving them, missing them or wishing that we could have had lots more years together. That isn’t it at all. It is just that it will soon be three years since they were killed and I think that is long enough for my full-on sadness to last.
I had been thinking about this for a little while and last night I had a long dream about them that helped me to make up my mind. I have had this dream a couple of times. In it Mum and Dad are sitting with me in an enormous sunny park full of benches. It was such a calm, loving and peaceful place – no feeling of sadness at all. On every bench there are just three people and somehow I just knew that this was the special place that God had created where all the teenagers who had been left behind come to see their dead parents.
In the dream I would talk to them both and they would promise me that we could meet in the park again and again until I was ready to let go. Well last night in my dream I told them that I thought that I was ready.
They seemed really pleased and reminded me that they would always be inside my head if I needed them. I know that I will have a few wobbles along the way - times like my graduation or my wedding day but I think I will be able to cope.
The most important influence of all was that my Mum and Dad loved me far too much to want me to keep on being sad. I absolutely know that they would want me to have a long, happy and fulfilled life making the best of every opportunity that comes along. They would be so cross if the accident that killed them both also ruined my life.
So how do I feel about how the last 8 months has gone?
Overwhelmingly I am glad that I made the conscious decision to change. When a bad day comes, as they still do sometimes, I reach out for emotional or practical help from people around me or I go for a long run. What I don’t do is to sit at home crying or feeling sad wishing that I could change the unchangeable. I still visit their grave but I know that isn’t where they are. They are inside me and I carry them around every minute of every day.
By doing this I think I’ve honoured my Mum and Dad’s memory far more effectively than perhaps I would have done otherwise. I would not want to have been thought of as “that girl who never really got over the death of her parents.”
Saturday, 24 August 2013
My first job once Nan and Granddad had driven off without seeing me was to find some clean bedclothes so that I had somewhere to sleep. But of course since the heating had been turned off the clothes cupboard wasn’t warm and so all the bed clothes were cold and slightly damp feeling. So I put them on the drying rack in front of the fire to air and warm through while I wrote down the list of jobs that I needed to do. And so it went on for several hours; every routine job seemed to take an age and before I realised it was tea-time.
Ah, no food in the house. Food shopping had been Mum’s area so off I drove the superstore. I never realised that food was so expensive! Who needs meat anyway? Cooking I could manage so I had a decent tea before looking again at the massive list of chores that needed doing.
The garden was a mess. It had been designed to be low maintenance because neither Mum nor Dad liked gardening but low maintenance doesn’t mean zero maintenance. I never did master this part of running a house and I think the neighbours used to fret a bit at how untidy it was.
I went to bed fairly early and it was such a pleasure not to have to worry about Granddad coming into my room without knocking. I remember walking around with nothing on feeling very adventurous.
And then I started to cry. Almost my first real, let it all come out, cry since the accident. When people talk about floods of tears they must have been thinking about me. I just lay on my bed bashing the pillow as hard as I could saying again and again to Mum and Dad, “Why did you have to leave me to face all this crap on my own?” This wasn’t some silly game, this wasn’t some horrid phase with a clear end point, this was how it was going to be for as far into the future as I could see!
Eventually I calmed down. And as I lay there thinking I realised that I had a simple choice. Force myself to be a grown-up long enough to finish all my exams and go off to university or give up on all my dreams by being weak and feeble. I knew I didn’t want to go through life wishing, if only I had done this, that or the other so that first night really was the first day of the rest of my life.
It was what they call a steep learning curve for the first few weeks. My aunt came over to help me with some paperwork jobs that I had no idea how to start and she brokered a “peace treaty” between Nan and Granddad and me. Basically we ignored each other and agreed never to discuss what had happened when I was living with them. This was an agreement they broke later on and this will be part of a later blog entry.
Friday, 23 August 2013
It was just after school had closed for the summer that I decided that I was going to have to move out of Nan and Granddad’s house and back into my family home. By now all the paperwork had been sorted and all the tax had been paid so the house was mine.
I had to move out because I simply didn’t feel safe living with Nan and Granddad. I was tired of being battered, both emotionally and physically, by him. The number and severity of the hits I was getting was going up and up and it was just a matter of time before something really serious happened. So I decided to leave and once the decision was made I felt much calmer in myself. Of course I didn’t give either Nan or Granddad any hint at all that I was leaving. I chose a morning when he was at the Bowls Club and she was having her hair done. I just packed everything I had into my little car, drove the short distance to my house, unpacked the car and started the rest of my life.
I left a short note on their kitchen table to say where I was but I didn’t bother explaining why I had left. They never agreed with anything I said so it wasn’t worth the effort. I knew that as soon as they read the note they would come round and sure enough at 12:30 their car arrived. I was hiding upstairs where they couldn’t see me and I stayed there until after lots of door bell ringing and banging and shouting they finally left.
It was so strange being in the house on my own. It felt as if Mum and Dad were just away for a while and that if I was patient I would eventually hear them arrive back. I knew in my head that they were dead but a part of me was still struggling to accept the truth. Strangest of all was going into their bedroom. One of Dad’s astronomy magazines was on the bedside table just as he had left it the morning of the day he was killed.
The phone was still working so I phoned my Aunt – Mum’s sister and my Uncle – Dad’s brother – to tell them what had happened. Well part of what had happened because I didn’t know whose side they were going to be on. It was a little while before I realised that they were 100% on my side – basically once they found out about the lies Granddad had told them and about all the hitting.
I didn’t know very much about running a home and the first few months were very difficult but they were a lot, lot better than feeling scared all the time. And that is how it felt when I was near Granddad. I did know enough to cancel the standing order that paid the rent that Nan and Granddad had been charging me and that was one of the very first jobs I did. I can remember feeling quite grown-up sorting that out on my own.
Saturday, 17 August 2013
Monday, 12 August 2013