Saturday, 22 March 2014

When my dead parents come to “visit” me!

The problem with death and the associated trauma is that the sadness and stress doesn’t ever go away. Not completely. It gets easier to cope as time passes and sometimes you can fool yourself that you are “better” or “over it now” but then some quite minor event brings the unhappiness flooding back.

The other side of this is that something as trivial as a dream can help reduce the sense of isolation and I’ve been so lucky that at a number of real crisis points since Mum and Dad were killed I have felt their loving presence around me.

The most recent of their “visits” was in the last few weeks. I had had a very stressful two weeks preparing for the Granddad’s court case (he is accused of abusing me emotionally, financially and physically in the months after the fatal accident) and I was missing Mum and Dad such a lot that it had been keeping me awake at night. I would lie in bed with my head churning away and that made the night seem about 2 weeks long. Then on Wednesday Mum and Dad came to me in the night. I suppose it was a dream but I felt as if I was awake. Mum stroked my head like she used to do when I was little - she called it her magic stroke - and quite suddenly all my fears and uncertainties just vanished like a cloud. I have felt fine ever since!

Mum and Dad were not religious – they were both scientists – but not too long before they were killed we talked about what happened when people die. Dad said he would try to contact me from wherever he had gone during a thunderstorm because he so loved them. On the anniversary of his and mum's death what happened? We had a short sharp thunderstorm at breakfast time! Thunderstorms in January don't happen often so it was really spooky that one should happen on such a special day. As soon as I heard the thunder I just knew that Dad had kept his word and was letting me know that he will be watching over me until the time comes for me to join him and Mum again. It is hard to explain why a simple co-incidence made such a difference to my moral – but it did! The rest of the day was a bit of an anti-climax after that. I was mega busy with course work so I didn't have much time for thinking about what might have been and I suspect that my mum and dad would have wanted it that way.

Mum and Dad also found me at Christmas. I was staying with my aunt and uncle and they had spent ages putting all the family photos of my dad on a DVD plus all the bits of film of Dad and Mum at family events after they had got married. It must have taken my uncle (Dad’s brother) ages to do the work. It was only the last few bits of film that made me cry, one bit was taken six weeks before Mum and Dad got killed and that was very painful to watch. My reward was a long involved dream in which I spent ages talking to the two of them about my life at university and my boyfriend.

But the most important “visit” of all was when the two of them persuaded me to move on with my life. I had another lengthy dream in which Mum and Dad sat with me in an enormous sunny park full of benches. On every bench there are just three people and I just knew that this was the special place where all the teenagers who had been left behind come to see their dead parents. I have had a similar dream before where I talked to them both and they had promised that we could meet at the park again and again until I was ready to let go. This final time – and I have never had this dream again - I told them that I thought I was ready. They seemed really pleased and reminded me that they would always be inside my head if I needed them. I knew it was time to stop the full-on mourning for them and to move on with my life. I will ever stop loving them or wishing that we could have had lots more years together but you only get one life and I didn’t want to waste it in mire of self-pity.


Friday, 7 March 2014

The never-ending cycle of "having to cope".

I don’t know if Neighbourhood Watch exists in other countries or if it is just a UK group.

Back in early 2013 the local Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator called at my house to have a good grumble about how having students renting a property attracts crime to an area. I was cooking tea at the time so I just took his literature and didn’t think too much about it.

A few months later a new Co-Ordinator called round and like a good hostess I invited him in for a coffee. After a few minutes he asked, "I really need to speak to the owners about my concerns".  According to his records Mum and Dad live elsewhere and I was just some random student living in the house. I explained the true situation – that I had inherited the house when Mum and Dad were killed - but I don't think he believed me for a minute! H claimed his records were very reliable.

Fast forward another few months. One Friday I found a note had been put through the door while all four of us were out. The note was in rather flowery and old-fashioned language but the message was clear. I was to make myself available to meet with him the next day at 10AM, or else! I tried to give him the benefit of every possible doubt about what he had written but even after doing that the note left me feeling angry. It was obvious that he thought I was some irresponsible student playing some stupid game with him. He seemed to think that I was lying about Mum and Dad and about owning the house.

Saturday 10AM came, but he didn’t.  Saturday 11AM came, but he didn’t. He finally arrived 80 minutes late. He was quite frosty with me from the start and almost the first thing he said was, “I don’t want to seem difficult but I really do need to speak to your parents rather than to you.”

I explained again that the house was mine but he didn’t accept that. Next, although it wasn’t any business of his, I explained how the house came to be mine. But he still didn’t believe me so in the end I had to show the stupid man their death certificates and the massive file of financial and legal papers. It seemed like the only way of getting rid of him.

Finally he accepted that the house was mine. I waited for his grovelling apology but no, he then started having a good grumble about students. And then I lost my temper! I now know what they mean when they talk about a “red mist descending”.

Not long afterwards  I saw there was a Police-Community Forum meeting just down the road so I went along. And who should be there but a senior person from Neighbourhood Watch! So I asked her about what had happened to me and she promised to "look into it". But the audience were not satisfied and people kept asking her more questions and she got more and more flustered. Even the Community Policeman joined in against her.

I now know that Neighbourhood Watch people have "no statutory right of access" to my house and I am under no obligation to provide them with any information unless I chose to do so. She has now got to go back to her people to remind them about how the scheme is supposed to work. It was brilliant!

Is it all sorted out now? Actually it isn’t because I have had another note put through the door from yet another new co-ordinator. So the whole cycle is starting again!