I feel the need to tell you a story (occasionally I take liberties with my blog and this is one of those occasions … indulge me – it helps me to get stuff written down. For some reason it helps me rationalise things!)
The following is a story about events that changed the life of a girl forever. For the sake of this tale let’s call that girl “Mel”.
The date is 22nd August 1997. It’s a Friday and at seven thirty in the morning it is still early for Mel and her husband and they are still in bed – they own and run a town centre pub so they don’t keep the most “normal” hours you can imagine.
Mel is asleep and dreaming. In her dream she hears a phone and is thinking “for Gods sake someone answer that phone” and the next thing she is aware of is her husband shaking her to say “Mel, it’s for you” and he hands over the telephone receiver.
“he…ll..o” she says, half asleep.
“Mel it’s Dad. There has been an accident” she hears down the line.
At this point I am going to have to change to writing in the first person – I’m not good at telling stories. I just write about stuff I know about and if you haven’t guessed: that girl is me.
“What? Is he ok?”. This is important to note that I said “he”. I just assumed something had happened to my Dad and hadn’t yet registered that it was my Dad I was speaking to.
“No Mel. There’s been an accident and Mam is in hospital”. I am now awake shaking my husband.
“What the fu%$% happened? When? Where? Is she ok? No . No . No.” I remember saying these exact words.
“She was hit by a car last night. She’s in intensive car .. we don’t know.” I can hear in his voice that he is panicking and upset.
“Dad! Dad! It’s OK. Listen to me. I am on my way down now.” My husband is out of the bed and already rummaging in the wardrobe grabbing me some clothes.
The rest as they say is “history” but it’s “my history”.
My mother was intensive care for a week until we made the decision to withdraw support and it was the hardest decision we have had to make as a family. That is, until we had to make the same decision, in exactly the same unit some 16 years later when we said goodbye to my brother MY HERO. Mam was 63 and had been married to my Dad for 45 years. They had 4 children with me coming along when she was nearly 40 (and my Dad nearly 50!) so I was very much the baby of the family and also became the “white sheep” – a relative “goody two-shoes” (oh if only they knew!) as I was the first to go to university.
There is so much more I could have written and maybe one day I will. No one would believe half the events that have happened to this family, let alone the “whole story” .. it’s a little like the “Godfather” in that the story would span three generations of a family but a little less “gangstery” and Italian and more Welsh, Greek and Serb (Dad was Yugoslav and Mam a Greek Cypriot which is where I get my “arm waving” and fiery temper from) with a great deal more humour. Laughter was a vivid memory of my childhood.
So this weekend marks another anniversary without my Mam and its dawned on me that this is the reason she has been on my mind a lot recently. I am a different person to the one she knew. A better one I hope. Someone she would be proud of.