Postaday2011: Back to blogging

After the worst night I have had since this bug, where I couldn’t lay down for coughing and wheezing and so spent most of the night in the chair, I have suddenly stopped coughing so much and ok, I am tired today but I have a bit more energy and think finally, I am over the worst. Much as I love my grandshildren dearly, I don’t think I could face another bug this side of next Christmas so I will be trying to avoid them if they have one. Gonna be sooo hard though.

Anyway, back to my blog… the challenge for today was the nearest book to me, 3rd paragraph, second sentence and write it in my blog. So the book is The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie… ‘ The wood had swollen in the rainy weather.’ Hmm that sounds like every door in our house but I am sure that’s not what was meant by writing about it and as I can only think of something creative I will go back to my blog question of however many nights ago it was.

Did I have a favourite brother? My brothers and I came from a very disfunctional and abusive background that began for us when my father left. I have also to say at this point, that although my mother’s choices weren’t the best ones and she could have changed things for us, I in  no way blame her for what we went through. I have no idea of what made her the way she was and I know she suffered a lot of depression, her own childhood wasn’t that great so I will never judge her. I believe that we experience what we do in life to help us on our spiritual journey. Each one of us has a different experience, even my brothers and I, despite being from the same family, will tell a slightly different story.

My story might be horrific to some but I know others whose story was wonderful compared to mine and yet for them it gave them a bad time as an adult. So, each experience is relavent, it doesn’t matter what it is that has led us into a despair, depression, excess drinking or whatever we have been through, it was our journey and it leads us to where we should be in this life. I am glad I went through what I did, I learned from it, gained a lot of empathy, took a lot of understanding to my work place and so on. I worked in a boarding achool for boys aged 7 -14 who had been excluded from mainstream schools. I like to think I made a small difference to some of their lives because of what I went through, and I actually like who I am.

Because of our situation, our mother had to go to work, we were left with teenage babysitters or people who didnt want to be there and thought nothing of giving us a good smack or two, eventually I was left to look after my brothers because they had other things to do. Here was I a child of around 9/10 being responsible for caring for four younger brothers. Mind you we had fun. The only bad times were when the oldest brother cut his ankle on a broken bottle and we had to take him to the hospital. I had no idea what to do and it scared me. I cleaned it up and placed a sponge on the cut to hold the blood, bandaged it up and got him to the hospital in the baby’s pushchair to be stitched up. Not the best thing to do but it worked.

The summers were good and we played in the garden, when times were tough, we were there for each other. We went out together to the park and the local playing field and ,particularly the two older brothers and I, spent a lot of time on the beach. We fought and argued like siblings do but there was never anything serious in it, there were other areas of our life that were serious, we didn’t need it in our play.

I went to the school medicals at junior school with the boys and that was another horror story for me, I guess we weren’t too clean, the boys in particular and I remember taking my little brother from the infants to wash him in the boys toilets before I’d let them look at him. Such a responsibilty for a child in junior school. It wouldn’t happen today thankfully, anyone not cared for would be picked up by social services and investigated. A lot has been said about Social Services but we might have had a better childhood had they been around then.

Back in the 50s and early 60s the laws were all so different and the house we were renting a flat in was sold, everyone was given notice to quit and unable to find a home they could afford, we were split up. The National Assistance Board, as DSS was in those days, would not pay out any money and we watched as they went through our home and told my mother the things she had to sell before they would give her any assistance. After that, myself and the two oldest boys went to my paternal grandparents and the rest of the family to the other Nan. It was there that we were taught true family values and where, I believe, we learned many of the important lessons that have got us through life since.

When we all moved back in together, I remember spending time in the ‘front room’ which nobody used, and trying to teach my youngest brothers some music and singing. We did many things together and were always there for each other. I left home at 16 to get married and have my first son, bless him, now 42, and left my brothers behind. It was so hard, I needed to get away but hated leaving my brothers, it was us against him..However, I had got the age where I could leave and I did.

It was those days as a child that gave me the strength to bring up my baby without family support, indeed as I did with all eight of my children. I don’t think my mother ever visited my home more than twice in all the years I lived in Hastings and certainly never since being here. So I am grateful for having to take responsibility for my brothers and everything I had to deal with because I was able to step into married life with a baby easily.

So if you ask me if I had a favourite brother I would say yes, all of them! It has been lovely over the years to see how they have remembered some of the little things I we did while we were children. I have one brother who shares my deep love of nature and is an excellent carpenter, another who is great with craft things and DIY, he even learned to knit and knitted me a lacy matinee jacket for one of my children, the two youngest are now both musicians and are also brilliant craftsmen, (Midnite Shift – George and Colin Okines from Hastings) who play clubs and pubs as a Swing band in and around Hastings. Best of all, no matter what differences they might have between them, and no matter how long it has been since we last met, it like we have never been apart and my love for each of them is just the same. Not surprising I guess since I was more their mother than their sister.

Many people would think I would be bitter about what happened to us but I am not. My brothers fared worse and still harbour a lot of ill feeling, because they were home a lot longer than I was but I have learned to let go. I can honestly say that I have fogiven the man who did all those awfl things to us because, like my mother’s life, I know very little of his life. I know he was abandoned and brought up by an aunt but nothing else. Somewhere along the way, something made him into the cruel and sadistic person he became. I felt sorry for him having to carry that burden all the time. I learned that as humans we all have a great capacity to love and to forgive. It is when we are able to let go and love that we cease to carry those burdens ourselves. It is without those burdens we can walk on with our lives easily. After all, like the wood that soaked up the rain, it is far to heavy to carry and no good to build anything with, better to let it dry out so it can be of some use in the world.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    That’s a great lesson you got out of all that…I needed to hear those words about letting go. I personally struggle with letting go of a lot of things so I know that I need to do this myself.


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