I was 10 years old, the month was August and the sun was shining on what had appeared to be the perfect summer’s evening. The time was around 7pm, Top of the Pops was playing the latest ‘80s tunes on the goggle box and that’s when we had a knock on the front door. My Mum, being none the wiser, thought it was the neighbourhood kids messing around. Oh how we wished it had been… instead, it was the Police. My Dad had popped out that day and we had no idea where he had gone. Obviously, there were no mobile phones back in the 1980s, we didn’t even have a landline because my Mum and Dad couldn’t afford one. If we needed to contact anyone in an emergency, we had to run to the nearest phone box which was situated a couple of miles down the road.
I didn’t hear the entire conversation, I was hiding in the kitchen at the time and what happened next was a bit of a blur… it had felt like we were in a movie playing out in slow motion. Then, we were in my sisters car and on our way to the local hospital. Once inside, we were taken into a little room. Myself and my sister stayed in this room whilst Mum was led away into another room. I was so frightened, nobody was telling me anything and I had no idea what was going on.
On the way home, I remember asking my Mum and my sister over and over again ‘why is Dad not coming home with us?’. Then eventually I heard the words… ‘Dad is dead’. No, this wasn’t happening, not really… I would soon wake up from this nightmare and everything would be fine again… Dad had gone away for a little while, yes, that’s all it was.
I was in complete denial, I could not accept the harsh reality that I would never see my Dad ever again.
I was lucky enough to be raised by caring and loving parents who did their very best to make sure myself, my sister and my three brother’s childhood was stable. We all grew up in a three bed house on a council estate, quite a rough council estate come to think of it. There was never a dull moment, day or night and on one occasion the Police even gave up on the area. Apart from this, I have many fond memories of my younger years. Especially of Christmas, my Mum always made sure the festive season was one to remember. Our house would be full of colour and sparkling lights along with hand made decorations adorning the walls. We used to go for lovely long walks in the countryside and on rare occasions we would take a day trip to London. We would catch a bus to the train station, Mum would purchase the travel cards and then off we went, we never bothered to plan our day, we would literally go with the flow and it was always an exciting adventure.
We lived in close proximity to an aerodrome and my Mum and Dad would take us there during the weekends or school holidays, Mum and Dad would always walk and we would ride our bikes or roller skate. On occasions, a few of the kids from our neighbourhood would tag along too and we used to sit near the fuel pumps watching the planes take off and land. We had no idea how dangerous that was until one of the pilots shouted at us to move out of the way because we were in their blind spot. A few years later they decided to cordon off most of the area… we were lucky none of us were seriously hurt.
I spent most of my childhood outdoors and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I was definitely a Daddy’s girl, there was no doubt about that. I enjoyed assisting Dad when he had to repair a bike, or plant some seeds. Dad was a very clever man, I remember my Mum telling me he was an Engineer for a time, but he was sadly made redundant during the early 1980s. This was a tough time for our family and money was extremely tight, we had to survive on the bare minimum. The times we would all be sitting in the dark or by candle light due to not having enough fifty pence’s to power the electricity meter… My Dad would always shout ‘Power to the People’… a phrase used in a comedy show back in mid 1970s… to make light of the situation. My Dad had a great sense of humour.
After being made redundant, Dad experienced bouts of depression. He also suffered with many aches and pains and I had no idea how serious these pains were. Mum knew they were very serious and no matter how many times she would tell Dad to make an appointment with the doctor, he would always reply, ‘if I go to the doctors, they’ll keep me in and not let me go’. Instead, Dad’s way of coping was to spend as much time outdoors as possible, so he decided to become an odd job man. Dad loved to help others whenever he could, whether they needed items repaired or their windows cleaned. Our life appeared to be rolling along at a steady pace for a little while, well, that’s how it seemed anyway…
Here we are, born into the world. From a tiny innocent baby with no knowledge whatsoever of who we are or where we are. The various stages or milestones we face but can’t actually see or hold in our hands which we strive towards. The many strains, challenges and frightening realisations our little brains and bodies have to process as well as endure on this elevated journey we like to call ‘Life’. Then there’s Mum and Dad, our parents. What does the word parent mean anyway? Well, apparently it means a person who nurtures, rears and is a care taker of sorts. A parent doesn’t have to be somebody of a biological nature, anybody can be a parent. Tiny mere mortals who have no choice than to entirely depend on this ‘alien being’ they first make eye contact with.
This is the reality… all of these experiences and many more, along with the huge responsibilities which are placed heavily on each and everyone’s shoulders for the rest of their entire lives. We are completely oblivious to what the universe has in store for us, the paths we might follow and the types people we might meet along the way. Let’s face it, we have no idea what we’re doing or where we’re going, not really. We’re all just ‘winging it’ towards a destination unknown.
Ok, Now Some Of You Might Be Thinking…
Why is she spouting on about the blooming obvious?
Let’s be honest here, there’s an abundance of blogs which go on and on about life from various perspectives… the lessons I’ve learned in life, the life I thought I’d messed up but then I eventually learned from my lessons, not to mention all of the hundreds and thousands of life lesson quotes… which I will hold my hands up to sharing occasionally on social media sites. Most of us are guilty of doing this, yes we are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to criticise life blogs or quotes, not at all, many are extremely inspirational which is why I’ve decided to jump on the band wagon.
I would like to share my own life experiences and stories with anybody who would like to read them. Unfortunately, it’s not always been an easy ride, but I have learned a hell of a lot within the 40+ years of survival on this planet.