A new relationship.

A new relationship.

After my dating period, I changed a lot I think.
Learned a lot about myself, my feelings and who I wanted to be for myself.
And I somewhat accidentally found myself meeting someone.

I’d seen him at the park often, he was a good looking guy. And in conversation with my friend J, we were talking about conquests and having an rather light hearted discussion about the struggle of being a young woman, who didn’t want a serious relationship, but was looking for more of a fling situation…. and J brought up this guy. Pointed him and and said to me, that if I wanted a fling, he’d probably be up for it.
I eyed him up and thought well why not. But courage to approach people sober, wasn’t really a strong area for me. So I didn’t give it too much thought right then.

A few weeks later, I was at the park with my tiny daughter in her buggy. I’d been giving a lady a skating lesson, which I regularly did and I saw him again.
At the end of the lesson, we had been talking about how this woman needed to be more confident within herself. She needed to trust her body and trust the process. She was doing so well, but she was so timid.
As she left, I decided to take my own advice, and knowing my daughter was spending the evening with her grandparents who could only see her after work, I took a deep breath and I went up to him and said ‘hey’
He looked over at me and I remember thinking to myself, now or never just DO it!
I asked him if he had plans tonight… and without letting him answer, I asked if he would like to go to the movies that night.
I quite honestly thought I was going to die as it felt like forever before he said he really wasn’t sure of his plans that night, but could he call me later. And like your average 15 year old, I actually wrote my name and number on his arm. With a ballpoint pen. Because that was all I had on me!!!
So well thought out right???

I don’t think I’ve ever left the park that fast. A bit of a laugh now, but I was so convinced that he probably thought I was a complete idiot, that I went home and phoned a friend to go to the movies with me so I didn’t have to go alone.
J was laughing his ass off at me. Somewhat impressed I’d actually spoken to him and hysterical over the arm writing! I was feeling 2 inches tall and so embarrassed.
While we were on the phone, call waiting beeped and I got him to hold on.
I nearly dropped the phone when I realised it was HIM! On the phone! And he was talking to me!
In fact he said, he was pretty free that evening if my offer of a movie still stood.
Shit. J was on the other line. Act casual woman.
So I smiled and told him of course (didn’t want to sound desperate) it was going to be fun. Movies with friends. I gave him my address and the time and told him to pick me up.
Then went back to J and told him what was up. I said a group trip would be less awkward and he rallied the troops.

Date night went well, and we endured the movie and then came back to my place. Where he got to meet the flatmates. And surprisingly got green lighted by the boys.
I was shocked as hell because they hated everyone…. it was the strangest evening.
He kissed me on the cheek goodbye and left… telling me to call him.

I sat on the couch with my flatmates going what just happened? They had less idea than I did….

He phoned me the following day, and we started hanging out. Every day for three weeks I saw him at some point. Usually evenings after work. And the longer we hung out the more confusing things were getting for me.
I was getting attached, but he was aloof…. but he just kept on calling. And coming over.

One night I invited him for dinner when he called me up to see what I was doing. It was my turn to cook, so I offered for him to join us and asked him what he ate.
He only didn’t eat fish, chicken or mushrooms. Seemed easy enough until I realised that my flatmate had gotten out chicken for dinner…. chicken pasta it was. So gourmet right? There wasn’t much I could do really as I didn’t realise C had already tried to help until the meat was defrosted. And we didn’t do food waste so I served it up to him and to his absolute credit he ate a whole plateful. And it wasn’t until the end of the meal and C asked what he thought of it, that he responded quite honestly with that actually he didn’t eat chicken…. cue crickets chirping, my face going beetroot red and my two flatmates promptly falling about laughing. Awkward much?????

So having survived that epic flop – of which I was never able to live down, this man still stuck around.

And I have to admit to you here, that he had been staying the night most nights. But we had yet to have sex. And it wasn’t for lack of trying on my part…. sort of.

I will say that given that he was very hot, very attentive and a load of fun, I wasn’t quite confident enough to go down the completely blunt road of ‘hey I think you’re a bit hot, let’s get jiggy with it’ even though actually that would have been a) effective and b) would have solved a number of issues as I wasn’t sure why I felt so almost…. shy around him.

It wasn’t like he was the first….

But I think the problem was I liked him a little too much. So I was a bit afraid of rejection. He was such a gentleman and he would leave the room when I needed to change or mentioned going to sleep… he would excuse himself to the bathroom conveniently for five minutes. And one night after sneaking out of the room and imploring C to tell me how to get this man to pay me the attention I wanted, he came up with the brilliantly male solution of ‘just get ya tits out’ and he assured me that unless he was gay that would surely work. So I went back into my room and I got brave. I took a deep breath and pulled up my shirt over my head without warning him. And when I looked at him to gauge his response he was looking in the other direction! He was looking away to give me privacy! Aarrghhhh! Could I literally do nothing right?

And yes, my flatmates had an absolute field day with that one!!! They started taking bets on his sexuality…. whether he had a daytime girlfriend too or whether he was just so pretty he was completely stupid.

So around week three, J was starting to get a bit stroppy with me for disappearing on him and not wanting to come hang so I agreed ‘we’ would come along on one of his infamous adventures. And I told him when he turned up that evening as he inevitably did, that we had plans that night.

We went out to the supermarket as J has said pack a picnic. And bought food and drink. And we picked J up and a couple of other friends. He said we were meeting the other ‘up there’ and wouldn’t tell me where we were going but promised it would be fun. Then as we were driving he started chatting away. Inane conversation until he randomly threw in the ‘soooo what’s up with you two. You guys a couple yet?’ To which I wanted to disappear. I looked at him and shut my mouth. Nope not getting into that one here…. he looked at me sideways and I very deliberately looked at the road and not him, and he casually responded with a noncommittal mumbled ‘I dunno’ which shut the conversation down. And we drove about 20 minutes listening to mostly J’s chatter, from town before parking up in a somewhat dark and deserted spot except for a few lonely cars. Which turned out to be our friends. And that became known once we got out and I realised seeing them there waiting for us.

J had torches, and he pointed across to the dark bush and said we were going up there. Such a freaky experience wandering through dense bush, with no idea where you were other than with 10 other friends who clearly seemed to know what the deal was. But this was a new place to me…. we hiked up hills. Climbed a few hundred stairs and then all of a sudden we popped out of the trees and into a huge clearing and a beautiful white stone monument. It was breathtaking. Lit up like Christmas, the whole thing was stone and just glowed with this ethereal light. And looking beyond the monument was a sea of darkness between us and the beautiful twinkling lights of the city beyond us. It was so dark we could see every star in the sky and crystal clear. I was awestruck by this incredible place and J looked at me and told me he knew it was worth the hike wasn’t it? It truly was. And I didn’t even know the significance of the site yet!

So we all sat up there for a few hours. Talking, laughing, eating and drinking. Taking in the sights and the sounds of nature which had replaced the sounds of the city.

But it wasn’t long before J decided to push things again because he had at one point in the evening asked me point blank if we were going out yet or what and I’d told him I had no clue and that he’d stayed for three weeks but we hadn’t even slept together yet. Which he found as hilarious as my flatmates did. It was more than a little irritating that I was such a source of amusement to them all.

So he asked him this time, if we were going out yet? And he grabbed my hand this time and instead of talking to J he looked at me and said ‘I don’t know, are we?’

I felt cornered and I had no idea what he wanted from me, so I went with the non-committal… and I replied with ‘well I don’t know, it’s not like you’ve asked me!’ Thinking that he’d let it go at that if he wasn’t interested.

Instead he looked at me and actually asked me out! I was blindsided. ‘Well, would you like to go out with me?’ Such a simple sentence and one that sent me into a giddy spin…..

I said ‘of course I would!’ (Well duh! I wasn’t going to say no was I?) and that was when he kissed me for the first time.

And while I’d like to say fireworks went off…. I’m not sure J shining a torch at us and whooping like a dementor really qualifies as fireworks. But it made us laugh and wasn’t something I’ll forget, oh, ever!

It’s still the only time a man has ever asked me out. Which you have to admit is a little bit cute…. And he finally admitted in conversations later that night that of course he liked me, he had from the start but he was in fact really shy and because I had so many male friends, he thought he was just one of the boys too so he was too scared to make a move in fear of being rejected. He also admitted that J has given him a bit of a tune up about it that night and told him to man up before I sent him packing which made it my turn to laugh myself silly.

And that was when I realised that we had both been setup in the most epic fashion by one of my best friends….. I don’t know how he knew we would be good together. But I swear the man’s a magician and he somehow knew. And his bait & switch worked. Making me think I was hooking a player. Making him think he was going to get relegated to the loser pile if he didn’t move faster and sending us both in search of each other when neither of us were looking for anything remotely serious.

It’s been almost 20 years since the night he asked me out. We have two children now and while we aren’t the young kids we were, and our journey hasn’t been without it’s struggles and trials, we are here. Still.

Hanging on

Hanging on

Sometimes I never quite know whether I’m going to make it to the end of the day.

I know that sounds terrible. But right now we have so much going on in our lives and so much stress that there are times when I just wanna scream…

Stop the world… I wanna get off

There has to be a breaking point right? A point where the human psyche just cannot tolerate any more. Where the decision is categorically removed from your hands and your brain goes into some kind of overload protection mode? I mean, when one is given so much to deal with, it’s just kinda a given that you get to places where the darkness envelopes your mind like a fuzzy blanket and all you can do is close your eyes and succumb to the nothing.

I’m torn between wanting to sleep all day. To ignore all my responsibilities, and just rest. And the guilt that goes along with that when I know that if I do, it’s not just me who I’m letting down. It’s my children and my partner who works insane hours and is exhausted beyond belief. Because he would end up picking up the slack. And I just feel like I can’t do that to him.

He has no idea of how many times I have imagined driving my car off a cliff somewhere into the ocean. Or of taking so many painkillers that I would float away forever. Or of how I’ve calculated whether it’s possible to hold your own breath long enough to stop your heart.

I know he would miss me. And I know it would break him. Because I’ve had to be there for him when he lost loved ones and I know that pain he would suffer. I know my kids would be devastated and would struggle to get through life. And those two things are what I cling to even though I hate my life so much. I hate the idea of causing my babies pain more. And their dad being broken would hurt them deeply. He is quite literally too exhausted to cope right now and I don’t know how to help him as I’m too stressed and exhausted myself.

I wish it was easier to find staff. I just don’t understand why we are finding it so hard when we are good employers. We look after our people – and we offer good training. We have been advertising and advertising and every person we like seems to find it too hard to jump through agency hoops. Or the agencies won’t help them. Or the agencies tell them they cannot take the job for health reasons (prior injury). And the ones that desperately want the job, are silly enough to discuss their history of theft with us. Or their dislike of the institution that is having a job. Or they want huge money while doing a substandard job and causing damage we have to repair. Or they want to tell us all about how they have sued every employer they have had and everyone in the world owes them money. Or they lie about medical issues and cannot pass the physical the government require. And it baffles me. I can easily see why many are unemployed…..

I feel like people’s work ethic these days is so far removed from mine. My partners. My families. And I don’t understand it. I was brought up in a generation where we work for a living. You go to work and you give it your all and you get paid s wage for that. And no matter how you feel, you just get up and go. So even on my worst days, when I cannot face the world, I do it. I put on my happy face mask and I drag myself out of bed. Force in a coffee and chocolate and I do my job. Day in and day out. The only time I’m forced to take a day off is if I’m actually really ill. Like when I was hospitalised with Pneumonia. I did stay off work for a bit then. I had no choice!

But so many people think work is disposable. Or that they deserve more money than they do. I’m baffled by the people that demand a pay rise and go to the toilet to supposedly empty their bowels. 8 or more times a day. And then you check their online presence and notice that all of their commenting and posting coincides with bathroom visits. They call it multitasking. And get offended when I point out that social media isn’t what they are paid to do. And even more offended if you dare point out that they need to stop with that.

They can never figure out how I know either…..

I feel like I’m looking for a unicorn. Someone who loves work. Understands the balance between work and home life and who is willing to complete all tasks assigned to them to the best of their ability without breaking anything.

All I want is a break from work. I would like to be able to take my kids out on the weekend once a month. Not even every weekend. Because my kids know the sacrifice they and we make to give them a good life. But one weekend a month we would like to spend time with them. As a family. Without work butting in. Anyone got a unicorn going spare?

Maybe it would help my mental health and my stress levels.

Sometimes I just want the world to stop spinning. Even just for a few minutes so I can clear my head and find myself again.

My firstborn

My firstborn

This one will be another long one I’m afraid, because it seems once I start, the words just keep on coming!
But this one is mostly, about my daughter.

She was conceived accidentally. While we were on one of those ‘save the relationship’ holidays people do. Get out of town and do fun stuff that takes you away from real life’s problems and really, just puts off the inevitable and makes life harder.
I came back and I walked away from him with no idea where this road of my life was going next.

I’d been working hard. Long hours and keeping myself busy. So busy I thought I was getting really run down. I was constantly tired, my mother pointed out I was looking thin. Thinner than usual for even me, and I averaged about 42kg at 5’1″ so I was never big. But she said I needed a checkup.
So I dutifully went, as I though maybe my iron was down, or I don’t know, maybe I was struggling with the break up.
And my GP checked me over and did bloods. Asked me the usual ‘could you be pregnant’ which I gave a resounding hell no! I’ve been single for 7 weeks. Nope, no chance in hell.
And later that afternoon he came back and said oddly, my iron counts were normal, which was unusual for me even on a good day. And he asked me again to come in and do a pregnancy test. I disagreed, and I was a broke apprentice so I had no more money spare. I told him I couldn’t afford the $10 when it was negative and there was just no way it would be positive. But he was pushy…. so he convinced me to go in and see the midwives 3 doors down from my parents house, as he told me they were free, fully funded. At that point I gave it, I mean sheesh. If it stopped him nagging me I’d prove he was losing his mind.

It took me a couple of days, but my next early finish I wandered down to this midwife office, and I walked into the waiting room somewhat awkwardly. I’d been warned, so I’d had a big drink half an hour before and I was dying to pee.
I rung the bell as expected and this bubbly blonde came out and I explained my GP wanted me to do a pregnancy test, so she pushed a cup into my hands and sent me to the bathroom and said pee in this. I did and handed it to her, and she told me to take a seat and she would see me in a few mins after she saw another lady who had arrived.
So I sat and read trashy magazines and waited, a few minutes later she popped out and did something at the desk then said she would be right with me.
Her lady left and she took me through to her room and we sat down.
She was thorough. Did a full medical history and then she asked me what my next steps were going to be.
I’m completely oblivious at this point. So I’m looking at here, with an obviously puzzled expression on my face, and I said, “well. I’m going to probably get an early night as I’m working tomorrow, you?”
I think at that point she must have twigged that I wasn’t there for the same reasons she thought I was there. Because she kind of sat there for a minute, thinking. And the next question she asked had me thinking she was mad.
She asked me why I was there.
So I told her of my pushy mother and pushier GP and how they were both losing their marbles and I was really just there to prove them wrong.
She then got a strange look on her face, and she said “oh. Well, then I need to ask you, how would you feel if I told you, that you were in fact pregnant”
*cue stunned mullet reaction here*
I remember thinking oh my gosh. Nope, can’t be. And I said out loud, no. No way. I can’t be. We’ve been apart for too long! I’m sure I’ve had my period… at least I think I have.
And she showed me the test.
I was still in shock and I asked if it could be a false positive, because that’s a thing right? Happens all the time yeah?
Yeah nah. She offered for me to get a blood test and come back the next day to see whether that was possible – but I have to say. I don’t think she was convinced.
I was still muttering to myself as I left. And I didn’t sleep. Not a wink as I wondered what if it was true? What was I going to do?

The next day, she confirmed the bloods agreed with the previous days test. And while I was with her she did a proper physical and a check over. And as she felt my stomach she asked me again about my ex. I told her it had been nearly 8 weeks since I’d seen him so I was really baffled by all this, and she said to me she had a hunch from my bloods and exam. But could she just check something. I agreed, and she took out her doppler.
I heard my babies heartbeat that day.
And the midwife confirmed her suspicions that I was 9-10 weeks pregnant.

I went home in an utter daze. I told no one. I pretended everything was okay. And three days later, on the Monday I finally told my mother. Who was elated by the way. Elated enough to jump up and down shrieking “I’m getting another one!”
I was still a little numb and freaking out just quietly. But it seemed, that this babe might have been meant to be here.
On my way to work the next day, I made myself go into Baby Factory. It was odd, I was drawn to the most beautiful, tiny pink jumpsuit and I bought it. I didn’t yet know I was having a girl

I then had to tell Mr Serious.
Which was the absolute disaster you would expect. And stupidly I gave him an ultimatum which in hindsight was ridiculous. I told him, that he could either be there for us, or he could stay the hell away and never have anything to do with either of us again. No responsibility financially or physically, but he had one chance to decide.
And 3 days later he decided he wanted to be part of this babies life.
More stupidly, I agreed to give him yet another chance.

I should have seen what was coming when at 12 weeks, I had a bleed. Big enough to go to hospital, and spend an entire day being monitored. And stuck in overnight on bedrest.
He stayed at work, and got annoyed when I wasn’t going to be out in time for dinner. But never once asked how the baby or I were. And I was so worried, that I didn’t even notice until a few days later. And when I asked him why he hadn’t asked, he told me that we were both fine so what did it matter.
That should have been Strike 1.

We weren’t living together while I was pregnant. He didn’t come to the gender scan as he was working, so I went alone and found out I was having a girl.
I was flatting with 10 South African male strippers and a beautiful girl who was their manager. It was a beautiful house and they were such lovely guys. Even if they did like to parade around naked and practice their stage shows on the lawn….
And my female flatmate would invite me in for a chat while she bathed naked. And that was normal….
They knew I was pregnant and they were so thoughtful. When I started to develop hyperemesis I would wake up every morning to a banana smoothie and vitamin and iron tablets waiting on my bedside table for me.
Because they had learned it was about all that I could keep down. And on my days when I couldn’t get out of bed, there would be constant refills of water, and prompting to drink and try something to eat from them.
I could never get over how lucky I was, and how lovely they all were. It was such a blessing because Mr Serious wouldn’t even visit and didn’t really seem all that bothered if I ate or not.
Eventually though, I got too sick to stay there and around that time my pregnancy went from drama to drama.

I’d thought the bleed was bad, but then I went to an appt with my midwife who had a bit of trouble (I thought) hearing baby on the doppler. Now I could hear the heartbeat, so I thought she was being fussy. But she said to me, why didn’t we go for a drive up to the hospital. She would show me through delivery suite, and we could check out the tracer machines. Meet the Dr’s etc. She had talked about it months before and she offered to drive me in her car, so I thought why not. I was up and about now…. so off we went.
We arrived and she walked me through quite fast, and she didn’t really give me a very good look before popping me into one of the rooms and showing me the monitor.
I had no idea why this was so important, but she was a sweet lady so I went along with it and she put the monitor on. I lay back and dozed a little, because she said she was going to get a Dr to come and meet me and she would be right back.
I don’t know how long I dozed, maybe an hour. And she must have been in and out without me realising as when I woke, I could hear her whispering, and there were four Dr’s and a nurse quietly discussing a trail of paper in their hands.
She came and sat down next to me and she asked me if I had plans that afternoon. I said no, not really. And she told me that if it was okay with me, she needed for me to go to a specialist womens hospital in another city, because there was something very wrong with my babies heart and they needed to know what it was.
I sobbed. And I called Mr Serious. And he told me he would be home when he was home and he hung up on me and refused my calls.
I was taken from there, directly to a much better equipped hospital as what my midwife had heard, was an abnormal beat on the doppler, confirmed by fetal heart monitor.
Once up there, they did an echocardiogram of my babies heart, while she was still in utero. They did scans, and blood tests. And they gave me a diagnosis.
All while I was alone.
My daughter, had an Atrial Septal Defect.
And I had no one with me as I had to hear the diagnosis, listen to the prognosis and treatment options and I had to sit and wait alone until Mr Serious deemed himself ready to collect me to take me home. As I was stranded up there, almost 2 hours from home.
And not once did he even ask how either of us were, yet again.
Of course I told him, he grunted.
That should have been Strike 2.

He dropped me home and I didn’t speak to anyone for days. I grieved for my baby and myself. And I was terrified of whether this was my fault. Was she going to die? Would the surgeries they spoke of save her? What was her life going to be like?
And I had to tell my family and friends, because I was so distressed.
My flatmates bought me chocolate and flowers every day for two weeks.
And I struggled more and more, as baby got more active and more visible. The guys loved feeling her kick and putting their ears on my belly to listen to her moving. They were so sweet, and so good to us.
So when I told them I had to move out, they understood, even if they were really upset I was moving. But they moved my stuff so I didn’t have to do anything, and there were more than a few tears as I said goodbye to them! I had loved living there.

I only moved, because I got offered a house. Just a tiny one bedroom with study, that would be perfect for the baby, was in my budget and had a bath and a fireplace.
I needed to have somewhere to raise my baby. It was close to the hospital and it was not too far from my Dad.
It was adorable! And I spent a lot of time painting it and readying it for baby.

My pregnancy had been awful really, but by the time the little house was ready, I was due any day and I had accepted that what would be, would be. That Mr Serious was useless and I may as well figure this out on my own. I’d given up nagging him.
But close to my due date, he started staying over. And in my head I told myself it was because he wanted to be with me.
Then right on my due date, i woke up in the middle of the night, and I thought I needed to go to the bathroom. My belly was twingy. I had no idea what was going on, but stumbled to the toilet, and as I went to sit down, I felt this sudden massive gush of liquid. Warm liquid. I was mortified as i thought I’d pee’d myself. And my next thought was, but I’ve not even sat down yet!!!! What on earth!
And I grabbed some toilet paper and gave the seat a quick wipe, because I still needed to pee, and suddenly it hit me, I hadn’t pee’d at all, my waters had broken! Whoa!
It was 2am, and I finished in the toilet, grabbed a towel and went to get the phone to call my Mum. Because she was 6 hours drive away and I knew she needed time to get here.
By the time I got to the phone, contractions had started, and so she got out of bed, packed a few things and started driving.
I spent the next 4 hours pacing, sipping water, mopping up wet patches with every contraction and swearing under my breath at sleeping male in the other room.
6am rolled around, and I knew his alarm was going off any second so I went and sat on the bed. When he rolled over to turn it off, through gritted teeth I told him he about 3 minutes to get in the shower, or I was and there would be no hot water left when I was done – and he rolled back over and went to go back to sleep! I remember elbowing him in the back and telling him my waters had broken and to get in the shower now or miss out, and he finally got out of bed.
I stood at the door, and waited till he got out and as I got in I asked him to call the midwife at 7am. I hadn’t wanted to wake her earlier, but 7am was much more appropriate.
She told him he was not to leave me in water alone under any circumstances, which annoyed him greatly as he wanted to go into work to sort his run for the day. So he called his mother to come and sit with me until the midwife arrived at 8am.
She was there 5 minutes after he called and I didn’t even realise he’d left until the midwife arrived and she decided that we might need to head to the hospital now.
I called him. And you guessed it, he hung up on me and turned off his phone.
But a labouring woman is not one to be messed with, and I was fuming. So I phoned his boss on his cellphone and asked what he was up to right now. He was a very old friend of mine, and we were really close. He told me that he was getting ready to head out on his run. And at that point I very nearly lost my cool. Through gritted teeth I asked if he had mentioned that my waters had broken at 2am, and this baby was coming? And i got an “oh shit no!!! Are you serious?” As I was rather, I said I needed him home and fast, we needed to go to the hospital now.
His boss dropped the phone, I heard him yell to D, one of the other staff to go take the keys out of van 3 (Mr Serious’s van) and throw them in the safe, and then I heard him tell Mr Serious that if he wasn’t walking out the door 5 minutes ago to go home, then he’d not have a job to come back to.
His boss was all about family, and all of his workmates were stunned he’d not said a word!!!! He called me a few minutes later apologising, telling me he’d sent him packing and he should be home soon, and he gave him three days off work.
Now, all that rushing might have given you the impression birth was imminent. And at that point, I thought it was. But actually, I was really crap at labouring it seems.
I had developed toxemia. And I had zero idea how to push. So I was at the hospital all day. I had him, his mother, my mother, my sister, my grandmother, a few cousins, a nephew, my father, his sister and his niece and nephew at one point…. it was a circus!
I swear, if I’d have sold tickets I would have been quite well off!
But no matter what my poor midwife did, this posterior, stubborn babe was not budging. And her obs were not going well.
After pushing from 10am through to 6pm, with a short breather of about an hour with gas so I could rest a little, she was finally born. Completely manually assisted right on the dot of 6pm and she wasn’t breathing.
My midwife literally had both hands all up in there and she pulled her out, and as she did, my mother said she called flat baby, and they’ve never seen so many people moving so fast.
There were three nurses with me, to deliver the placenta.
There were 6 Dr’s and my midwife and a handful of nurses that came in one door, swooped on the baby and went out the other door leaving the room in a kind of stunned silence.
One of the nurses turned up the gas, while they stitched up a couple of abrasions from my midwife, and I remember wavering in and out of exhausted consciousness thinking I was floating on a boat in the ocean.
All day, my ex had been sullen, disinterested, and he didn’t even seem worried about either me or the baby.
I had no idea of the room around me in those moments after delivery either.
My mother explained that to me much later. About two months later. And only because when the photos my sister had taken were developed, she tried to hide some of the photos and I wanted to know why. It was because everyone was crying…. I didn’t understand, so she filled me in.
They took the baby cutting the cord as they were leaving the room already with a limp, blue, lifeless, doll like body. She was so tiny.
And when they peeked out the door, they would get glimpses before the door was pushed shut. She was intubated. She was given CPR. She was worked on for hours before she took breaths on her own. Was stable.
And that whole time, my family sat there thinking that we had lost the baby. Because no one would tell them anything.
And the moment the midwife came through the door, holding that little girl in her arms, I don’t think my mother could get across the room fast enough. She was the first to hold my baby, and then my  grandmother and my cousin, and then his mother.
They woke me back up and turned off the gas, so that I could see her.
And in my world it had only been minutes.
I had no idea of the stress and drama that everyone else had been through.
We were transferred to a room that night, and I remember that he left. He was tired he said.
My family stayed. They helped me shower. And dress. And get into bed. They dressed my baby and cuddled her and held her close. The loved on her, and me. And I didn’t notice his lack of.
That should have been strike 3.

It all seems so horrendous looking back. And I wish in hindsight, that I could have made different decisions but I did what I did.
I can’t change that now.

But we had so may issues with my daughter and her health that I don’t know I had the room for noticing.
There were so many things I just did on my own for her.

I had to learn CPR because she would stop breathing.
I learned to work an apnoea monitor to keep her alive at night, or alert me if I needed to breathe for her.
Paediatrician appointments. Doctor Appointments. Cardiologist appointments. Sleep specialists. Feeding specialists. Plunket. Parenting Support. Carers. Home Help.
I did it all.

He wouldn’t even hold her without being made to, until she was about 12 months old and could walk.
In fact, I have photos from every time he did hold her before she was 12 months old. And there are not very many. Four.

He boycotted her christening.
Even though his father (who incidentally hated me anyway for ruining his sons life by getting pregnant) gave my daughter, the handmade gown that he, his father and his grandfather were christened in to wear. And his mother, sister, brother and nieces and nephews attended. His best friend is my daughters godfather.
And yet he refused to have any part in it.

He missed so much of her early life.
Which was why him getting full custody, was even more heartbreaking than it even seems possible to be.
He never wanted her, and was not interested in her, until he thought that she would get me to come back to him.
Sometimes I wish it had worked, and I hadn’t been forced out of her life. Because to this day I love her more than life itself.
But I firmly believe that you cannot make you children happy, if you are not happy.
And I stand by my choice to keep myself physically, emotionally and mentally safe.

I am just grateful he didn’t take my choosing to live without him out on her – although he did deprive her of her mother.
But I cannot say whether that’s something that hurts her. As I just don’t know.
It hurts like hell to admit that too. I should know, I deserve to know. And I don’t.
I am the worst mother in the world.
I kept her alive so long, yet I failed in bringing her up.
Punishment for that happens internally, every day. I wish it didn’t. But if I had any other choice, I would have taken it in a heartbeat to have been able to keep her close to me.

The cathartic property of writing.

The cathartic property of writing.

I’ve spent the last week or so reliving parts of my life, that for so long have been buried in a deep place inside of me and to be quite frank with you, I just needed a breather.

While I started this blog, for the simple fact that some of my internal musings were driving me crazy, I allowed for the cathartic effect from getting those stories out.
What I didn’t allow for was the mayhem that’s ensuing in my brain right now.
I have this ‘stop the world I wanna get off’ kind of feeling.

There are so many stories in my head.
So much I want to write down.
But only so many hours in the day and I know I cannot devote my entire life to this right now as my normal life is in such complete chaos right now.
I’ve got a lot going on, and it seems so strange that the absolute need for me to start this, hit me when it did. Like I needed another thing on my to-do list? But here we are. Messy, disorganised, chaotic in blog also.
I began with the best intentions of trying to create some kind of timeline, but right now I actually need to press pause. Because I need to figure out which stories are worth sharing, which aren’t. Which affected me, but aren’t interesting enough – or if that is even a thing? Who am I writing this for? Me or readers who barely exist? My 3 fans?
Should I be thinking more of what they would want to read, or more of what I want to share?
Can someone learn something from anything I’m writing or has that point been lost in the blur of dredging up memories which have been silenced so long.

I’m not sleeping well, again.
My stress levels are rising as I try to get a handle on this. It’s feeling a little overwhelming.
For now though, I will try to keep going. I’ll try to push through the what if’s and the niggling voices of self-doubt and maybe.

I may for a while attempt to keep my posts shorter and more direct. Which may be easier given I have literally spilled a large chunk of my life over the internet already!

The dating period…

The dating period…

I write this with a touch of amusement, a large part trepidation and a whole chunk of what was I thinking?
But really, I wasn’t.

Having recently escaped an abusive relationship, I jumped feet first into the dating game.
I was in a new city, no one knew me. No one knew him. I mean, come on, it’d be rude not to right?

And I do look back on this ‘era’ in a somewhat nostalgic way, even if some of the experiences I had weren’t all good. I learned a lot I think.
I put myself in some situations I probably shouldn’t have, out of naivety. Out of stubbornness. Out of the ‘just because I could’ attitude that took hold of me for a while.

When I came to this city, I had missed out of being a teenager.  At least a REAL teenager.
I never went through the period that most go through where they go out drinking with friends and spend years in clubs and bars.
I had brief interludes sure, but we’re talking a month here, a month there, a few months combined over my entire teenage life.
So I was relatively inexperienced when it came to societal norms and expected behaviours.
From under 16, I had been limited to one person. And even when those rare chances to be ‘single’ came up, I had never really been able to take full advantage of those situations because of fear of my ex, anxiety over people finding out and it getting back to him, and of course, the whole just not really knowing what to do!
And that part hadn’t really changed.

In my early 20’s I got to live my teenage dream really.
There was drug experimentation. Taking up smoking. Drinking… a lot. Going out to clubs alone and going home with random people… or taking them home.
Just as often walking myself home alone, through the city streets at 3 or 4am. And I never ever felt unsafe. Of course, I was usually pretty wasted. But still.
I never felt unsafe.

I had some hilarious interludes…. like the night I met a younger guy who looked JUST like Ralph Fiennes in a bar. I was unbelievably drunk, he was hot. And I decided to take him home after much dance floor grinding and groping.
I was living in my W St flat at that point.
So off we teetered. And when we got back to my place, we arrived in to find my flatmates waiting up for me as they often did. No big deal.. I felt a little queasy so went to the bathroom to skull some water and attempt to make myself presentable.
When I came out, Ralph was gone.
I asked my flatmates where he was… and C told me he’d sent him home. I must have looked shocked… because he launched into a rant at me about how the guy was only 19… and just a baby. He worked in a takeaway store in a tiny town north of our city and his life’s goal was to manage the store.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… and I remember telling C, that i didn’t actually care. I wasn’t gonna keep him. Just use him and send him on his merry way!!
C handed me a joint and told me to set my bar higher next time.
I think back on that now, and how indignant I was at the time and how hilarious it was even just a day later! And I still laugh.
I was so lucky to have amazing flatmates though. So protective of me.
And that story I remember fondly. Because I instigated everything that happened to me.

But not all of my interactions with men were so positive.
I could tell you a hundred stories of nights in clubs where I’d fight off unwanted hands and body parts. Where I would move 20 times in five minutes to get away from creeps who  wouldn’t take no for an answer, or who thought that it was absolutely fine to grab my ass from behind. Or try to grope my breasts as they moved past me deliberately. Or press their groins against me in the hopes that what, I’d decide “hey I love your fabric covered Ken-esque lumps and why don’t we go home and have sex..” Dreamers.
Some nights you shook it off and dealt with it.
Others you got so frustrated you changed bars, and when that didn’t work you just gave up and went home.

The scariest ones for me though were the ones that took you by surprise.
When you weren’t out looking for anything, and something happened. And you didn’t want it to but you weren’t given a choice.
There is a guy, P who I still know to this day. And he’s a “nice” guy to most people. But I know a more sinister side of him and it’s something I’ve never shared to anyone. And sometimes I feel guilty for never speaking up.
He was part of a circle of friends, and I’d spent a fair amount of time with that group. With no issues. So my guard was well down.
They knew I was new to the drug scene as my innocence was a source of much amusement to them all.
So, one of the older guys B, had an absolutely beautiful girlfriend who I got on really well with! So when we had gone out, and everyone was heading back to their place it seemed fine. Nothing strange.
Then the drinks came out, and some of the guys were smoking, and I had a couple of puffs. Which was still okay.
Then B and his girl started doing spots on the stove. And I was fascinated as I’d never seen anything like it – sheltered upbringing right? And they thought that was hilarious. So they encouraged me to have a go. And showed me exactly what to do and how it worked. They explained it as being just like a joint but with a smaller amount giving a bigger high. 1 inhale as opposed to 6. They were really convincing and she showed me and made it look so easy. So with a big of friendly egging on by the boys, I gave in and gave it a go. Now I was an obedient person, so I copied her exactly. And I’m a fast learner. But I was completely unprepared for the burn of the inhale. My eyes watered, and the boys were chanting hold it, hold it. So I held my breath, my chest on fire and my eyes streaming… until I couldn’t hold it any longer and I breathed out. Then promptly erupted into the worst fit of coughing I’d ever had. I coughed until my head hurt, and my burning throat was raw. I tried sips of water and cold beer to try to ease the pain. And then I pretty much sat down in a chair and stayed there for what I think was several hours. Nursing a beer and drifting as everything literally melted away from me.
I have vague snippets of memory from the evening. Laughing…. coughing… no longer caring about the pain…. the feeling of being feather light and nothing mattered….
And I remember someone putting me into a bed.
Because I was in no state to be going anywhere or doing anything.
And I must have slept. Because the next thing I remember, is waking up feeling like I was being suffocated.
I could hear party noise still. But the room was dark, and I wasn’t entirely sure where I was but I couldn’t breathe properly and I knew someone was laying on top of me. So I pushed… as you do.
And then I started to realise what was going on. That P was on top of me, and that he was raping me. And he started to talk to me, telling me that it was okay and shhhh. And he held my hands while I tried to pull away, and he told me he was nearly done.
I remember his hand on my breast. I remember I could barely feel him inside me because he was so small. And his hands were rough and large. He smelled like cigarettes and alcohol and sweat. He tried to kiss me and I just lay there.
I was in shock. And I don’t know why I made no sound, but I lay still. I let him finish. And then he was off me and within seconds he was snoring.
I think I lay there for a while, wondering whether he was really asleep or not, and as soon as I knew he was I bolted.
I dressed myself with shaking hands and I looked out into the lounge, seeing several drunk men sprawled on the couch focussed on the TV. So I took the opportunity and I quietly moved past them, behind the couch and I opened the door, grabbing my bag and skates on the way out.
I ran barefoot from there. From that house. And I didn’t look back.
I went several streets away and I sat down still shaking. It was barely light yet, so I used someones doorstep and I put my skates on. And I headed towards town. I went home and showered. Then slept for a day. And then I pretended like nothing had ever happened.

I don’t think I cried. I felt strangely numb. Even now typing this, this was something that makes me wonder why there are no tears for it?
Was it the drugs in my system? The almost out of body experience that it was making it feel almost like it didn’t happen to me?
Another time in my life, where I overanalysed every single word and action leading up to that moment where was there something I did? Something I said? Some kind of target painted on my forehead that only men could see?
What the hell was wrong with me? This wasn’t the first time, so why me?

It did make me warier though of the people I was hanging out with. You see, I was really close to some of the guys and I have never told them of that night.
I was much more careful after that though. I have never touched oil again. And my drinking reduced hugely. One beer, maybe two, No more.
I never wanted to be in a position where I was put to bed again. Where I wasn’t capable of getting myself out of somewhere I didn’t want to be. I didn’t trust falling asleep places.
If we went to parties, I went with a plan of how I was getting home, or I didn’t go. Even if it was that I knew I would be able to walk to a bus from there.
And I never went back to that house again.
Whenever someone suggested drinks there, I would always be busy.
I still feel nauseous when we drive past it, even though it’s inhabitants are long gone and aren’t even in this city anymore. The house still holds a sense of dread, and guilt, and makes me want to run.

After that I went on proper dates.
Trying to change the game plan that most men seemed to have. I grew warier and more jaded. So dates happened at restaurants. And I chose whether I left with them, or I left alone. I know I pissed a lot of people off.
But I was looking for something a bit more specific now…. someone strong enough to handle me, truly.
Someone who wanted to, who wasn’t just in it for a quickie or a booty call.

I wasn’t an angel though…. There were still the occasional men who I chose to sleep with.
And they were somewhat cathartic.
One I met in a bar. He looked kind of like a short Vin Diesel. No hair, body builder type. A very good looking guy. And I’d seen him around before as I often used to frequent the same bars. We’d flirted a few times and I’d always left it there. But one night he bought me a drink after convincing me to hang with him a while instead of running off so fast. So I did. We danced and things were going well, so I decided to go back to his place. And it was fun. He was respectful surprisingly…. he let me take the lead but when I fumbled and felt stupid he immediately let me know how cute my mistakes were and he encouraged me to not only step out of my comfort zone, but to own those steps. It was a cathartic experience. And not something I forgot even though I never saw him again and I don’t even know his name…..

Another very healing experience was one that started at work.
And is another story that makes me smile when I remember it.
As I was minding my own business at work when we had a few customers come through. Charming and friendly foreigners who needed some help to get what they needed. But who would have been forgotten in five minutes had one not returned a few minutes after leaving with tickets to a show. Turned out he was the manager and the group were touring the country with a show. And he asked if I would please come and see the show that night, and if I could come for a drink with the lead act afterwards. I was so surprised and must have looked it as the other manager working took the tickets and laughed as he said “she’d love to mate”. I nodded, as I was kinda shocked and really wasn’t entirely sure how to react. My workmate poked me in the side and whispered SMILE WOMAN. So I smiled. And then laughed at the absurdity of the situation as the gentleman left.
He had ended up giving me 4 tickets, so I took my workmate and his wife and a friend along. And that was the beginning of a wild ride.
The show was on a Wednesday night. And I’d enjoyed the night out. We had a few laughs and a few drinks. I was still somewhat confused, and I admit carefully watching to see if the lead act even knew I was there. And he gave zero cues. So I figured it was just maybe them being polite since I was helpful in the store and after it was all done, I waited a little, finishing my drink. My friends had left and I figured since no one had spoken to me I would go to. But as I went to walk out, the manager came up to me and asked if I was leaving. I said I had to work in the morning, so I was heading off and he asked me to stay just a little. He offered to buy me a drink and explained that the acts hadn’t finished up their debrief yet but that M would like to meet me and if I could hang around a little longer…. So I agreed, because free drinks and of course curiousity – that killed the cat incidentally ya know. So I sat, and played with my straw, and generally felt the nerves in my stomach twisting me up inside because I didn’t quite know what on earth I was even doing there. Why was I feeling so obliged to wait for someone who couldn’t even invite me himself? This was the most unusual situation I think I’d ever been in!
And then he came up and sat down next to me, and what a charmer. I have to say. It’s no wonder he doesn’t talk to women himself because I’m pretty sure normal humans vs those baby blues. Not. A. Hope. In. Hell. of escaping them.
He apologised profusely, and right off the bat, he had an easy manner. A way of talking to you like the world revolved around you. And he was so grateful that I’d waited because he was so amazed I had even come along. And he asked my opinion on the show and was so genuinely interested, that it was easy to talk to him. And we talked and drank for a few hours, and he asked me to come back to the house they were staying at just up the road, because the venue were closing, but he didn’t want me to leave yet. But not in a creepy way… he made it seem endearing, and sweet.
He was like honey and cigarettes all at once. Rough and raspy, but sweet as syrup.
I ended up not leaving that house all week.
He kept asking me to stay. Fed me. Made sure I had everything I could possibly need. He even sent someone to get clothes and toiletries from my house. He asked me to be near him for the entire duration of his stay in the city. And to be honest, the I didn’t mind.
I was treated like a princess. As if everything I needed or wanted was in reach and the sexual energy was absolutely electric. Like nothing I’d ever felt before. He taught me a million things and taught me how to demand what I needed and wanted. How to get what I wanted instead of just giving.
And I’m not a clingy, or needy person when it comes to sex. At that point of my life, I wasn’t attached to him at all, but it was somewhat addicting the way he fair worshipped every step I took. He sung to me at night. And we spoke all night about the world, life, our goals and dreams and where we would be in ten years time.
I always knew it was a temporary thing too.
There were little things, like while we would have sex a hundred times a day,  he would never sleep in the bed with me. He would sit in the chair and watch me sleep. Because he was an insomniac and sleep wasn’t something he did well.
He was so intense. But funny. And we spoke of relationships, and life.
He knew I wasn’t looking for anything serious or long term. He could see my pain and aversion and he made comment on it a few times. He knew I held a lot back, but he never pushed me to talk about anything I didn’t want to.
And he never made me feel like I had to stay.
In fact it was almost the opposite. I felt drawn to stay because I felt like this was a tiny bubble we were in and I wasn’t yet ready to leave it. But much like a bubble, it felt like once we reached that moment where it would pop…. that would be it. It would be gone and never return.
It was an intense, fiery affair. And I still remember the day I left him there.
I knew they were flying out that day. And with hours to go, I didn’t want a busy farewell. He had, in a rare moment, fallen asleep in the chair. A smile dancing across his face as he dreamed of who know what. But I’ll never forget that smile and the way he smelled or felt. I ruffled his hair gently and I kissed him goodbye and walked out the door.
I heard from him when he was back home, he sent me a grateful email. He didn’t want a fuss either and he would never forget me. We had fun.
We emailed for a while, catch up every 5-10 years…. and even recently I caught up with him to see how he was doing. He’s finally somewhat settled down. Not with a person – but he has a child now and a failed marriage. It took him years to admit to himself that he wasn’t the relationship type. Which made me laugh. I could have told him that 20 years ago…..
But I have so many memories of that week. And every single one is precious and helped to really shape me into the person I wanted to be. But needed a helping hand to realise that I had more potential that I gave myself credit for. Those memories heal me. They are things I try to remember when things aren’t going well.
They, like he, serve a purpose in my life.

All of my experiences shaped me in some way. Some bad, some good. But they all prepared me for my life.
Because we all know things like life, they never go to plan do they?

Losing my daughter

Losing my daughter

This post is probably a bit of an open letter to her.
She was only 1 when as her father tells it, I deserted her.
And in a way maybe I did. Because I wasn’t strong enough to fight back, because he sucked all of the fire from my soul. Because I let him take me to the brink of destruction, where I stood on the edge, and if it hadn’t been for the hand of a friend, I could have easily fallen into an abyss from which I wouldn’t have returned.

I did walk away. And I own that.
But not because I wanted to but because I was pushed. And initially I wanted to take her with me – I always wanted her with me. But he wouldn’t let that happen.
And I wasn’t strong enough to fight him physically, or force him to let her come with me.
I had no power when it came to him.

Every. Single. Day.
Even now, more than 20 years later.
I think about her and most days it’s with a mixture of sadness and being proud that I gave birth to her. Because every day I see things she’s doing as an adult. Living her life. I am so grateful that she had the chance to become an amazing woman.
And I’m sad because I missed a lot of it.

There’s a lot I’ll skip here, because 20 years of experiences is a lot of ‘stuff’ but I’m going to share some excerpts of some of the good and bad times we had.

When I first left, there were a couple of months of radio silence. I would have sneak conversations on the phone with her Grandmother. Because her Dad refused to speck to me. I would get rushed whispers and I would get hung up on if he was coming. So he didn’t know I was speaking to her.
But I never got to hear her voice. Or see her face.
Until one day, he called me.
And after the initial stomach plunging moment, I picked up the phone fast. And I said hello as calmly as I could, though my whole body was shaking, with fear of what was coming.
But he was civil. He said my daughter wanted to see me and wouldn’t be consoled, so he was bringing her to my city. I stood there and let the tears run down my face, aching to hold her. And I asked when. He said that he was half way there, he would be there in a few hours and he wanted an address.
I gave him my mothers. Because I didn’t want him to know where I lived. He told me what time he would be there and I said I’d be waiting.
And I hung up on the phone… wondering if I was dreaming or this was real?
It was real.

And surreal at the same time.
As that strange visit, where I was on edge and terrified, but focused on my baby girl. Started a few years where we would do three weeks turn about with her. Where until she was at kindy, we would both take turns collecting her.

And he would send me letters begging me to take him back and demanding to be allowed to stay with me to show me he wanted to change. To be what I wanted. That he didn’t care if I had seen other people. He would not be controlling anymore and he would do anything I asked.
And I wouldn’t. Because I wasn’t the same person I had been and I struggled with the internal demon battle, but I managed to stay strong for myself.
Even after I met someone serious, he would still beg for me to take him back every chance he could. And he made my life awkward and frustrating, but I had to deal with it because I was terrified that if I made too many waves, he would prevent me seeing my daughter. And I would do anything for her.

I have so many beautiful memories of my baby growing up from that time. She was such a beautiful precocious child, who spoke early, and had her mothers very decisive nature, with her fathers way of remembering everything said or promised.
A chatterbox, and a truly sweet soul. She loved everyone and everyone loved her.
We would spend time with her great-grandparents who were smitten with her. And would offer to babysit her while I worked.
And she would stay weekends with her Great-Grandad in a nearby town, and she was the only great-grandchild who he would regularly have come to stay. She was such a beautiful soul and she really enjoyed his company.
Devastatingly to me, she wasn’t allowed to attend any of their funerals.

She wasn’t allowed, because her father remarried.
Which I encouraged actively. I even got them to hook up. He had been telling me he met someone and had been chatting to her online as she lived an hour away – but he had met her at a party at a friends house. And I told him he would be stupid to not ask her out. But he was reluctant, so I messaged her and told her myself, that since he wasn’t going to she should ask him out and I told her he would absolutely say yes!
I thought that by him having someone else, he would leave me alone.
Which did work to a degree, as I did manage to get free of  his unwelcome advances and inappropriate comments and discussions. His creepy touch and the way he would watch me.
She became his new obsession which was in itself a relief and a freeing moment.
I thought her and I were friends, and I would offer her advice when he was acting out. I’d tell her what I wished I’d have the courage to do and didn’t. And I encouraged her not to let him do to her what he did to me.
And they got married.
About the time I was cut off in fact.

It came as a bit of a shock to me, as it was a slow thing. Visits became difficult. Timings awkward, and complaints made about travel. And I always did what I could do to help. We switched to flying to help save time so we could spend more time with her. And I’d often pay for the flights, to ensure I got to see her.
I didn’t pay child support, as he didn’t want it, but I would look after all of her clothing and schooling needs. 4 times a year I would take her shopping. He would let me know by sending an empty suitcase and telling me she had nothing that fitted. And I would fix that. Send her home with an entire new wardrobe of her choosing, and new underwear socks and shoes. Books for school and anything she needed. I often sent up shampoo and conditioner and anything she asked me for.
So as things got trickier, we negotiated new schedules. Changed access weeks to suit him and I got less and less time. Which broke my heart more with every negotiation.

And it all came to head one christmas.
It was my turn that Christmas to see her. As she had been with her Dad the Christmas before, and we had been taking turns. And when I tried to book her travel, he kept putting it off and putting it off until it dawned on me and I confronted him and he admitted he wasn’t sending her for Christmas.
So I went to the courts.
I fought and won that Christmas. It cost me a fortune, but they granted turn about for the custody of her for special holidays. And she did come down that year.
It was our last Christmas together.

The following year, they challenged it in court again.
And this time they won. So I appealed it and we had many, many court hearings over her custody. She was forced into having a lawyer who failed to fight for her like she should have.
Her incompetent lawyer, who originally admitted that my daughters wishes were to see both of us. Didn’t fight when her Dad and his wife filed to have me removed from access for no reason.
There was no one fighting in my corner except me. And the lies that were thrown at me from them were horrific.
And they kept winning. I couldn’t see how and every loss was absolutely devastating.
I was shattering into a thousand pieces and none of those pieces were strong enough to keep fighting. And I didn’t have the money.
As in the end, it came down to a battle of the funds.
One judge would see that it was horrible and would agree to my shared custody terms – which was all I ever asked for. I just wanted time with my baby. I never fought them for full custody as she needed time with her Dad too. And her Grandmother up there.
But I wanted her to be able to share her time with both of us. Fairly.
The next judge would rule that her Dad should have full custody.
The next would rule shared custody.
It was fight after fight and it was extreme elation with the wins, and extreme heartbreak with the losses.
And then it got to the point where I was losing my sanity and my will to live.

My relationship suffered with my obsession for wanting to see my baby.
We split up around the time that he put his foot down, and $100’000 into the court battles he said no more. There was no more money to fight when it just kept going back and forth like a bad tennis match.
And he wasn’t as emotionally invested as I, as he had not had the chance to ever really be a Dad to her, but he was left picking up the pieces every time my heart was broken yet again.
He was there with me standing at the airport, waiting for her to arrive on a flight, that her father didn’t put her on and didn’t tell me until I panicked that she wasn’t there and called him.
He was there with me at every court hearing.
He was there looking after her with me. Feeding her, clothing her, caring for her.
But at the end of the day, her father would remind him that D was NOT her father and he was nothing to her. He had no say and didn’t matter.
But to me, him shutting down my chances to see my baby, were a kick in the teeth and the last straw.
The day I walked out on him, I hadn’t seen my daughter in over 3 years and I didn’t have it in me to argue with him anymore.

But it didn’t change my reality. I was still without my baby girl and I didn’t know how to live. I left town for a while, did some growing and changing and I returned with a new outlook.
It wasn’t that I stopped wanting my baby, but I decided that I couldn’t continue not to live without her. I had to learn to live without her.
So I took the time to grieve and to learn how to be me without her, and how to let go of the anger and hurt. Shut it down and lock it away – like all the other pain in my life.
Make it disappear.

And I didn’t stop trying to see her.
Eventually I was permitted to go to her. She was not allowed to come to me under any circumstances. Even when she asked herself. And I always felt so sick when she would ask me if she could come with me, or come and stay. because I desperately wanted her to, but as I was fully supervised when I visited her, I had to be so careful with my words. As the wrong thing said – when I spoke from my heart to her, they would stop me being allowed to visit for months. I was punished by them keeping her from me.

I was allowed a few visits after her little brother was born, I was permitted to visit once when he was a newborn.
I was punished after turning up to surprise her for her birthday once. I couldn’t speak or see her for 8 months.
I was allowed to visit again when he was 3.
I wasn’t allowed to come between then nor speak to her. She wasn’t allowed to call me and when I bought her a video cellphone so she could video call me and I could see her, and it was shut off within days. I later found out her step-mother took it and used it herself, it was returned to me when I demanded it, full of text messages, photos and emails belonging to her step-mother.
I had another child. who is now almost 5 and who hasn’t met his half sister.
Because I’ve not been allowed to see her.
I’ve been threatened and told that I’m crazy and I’m not to come near her.

One of her boyfriends contacted me once on Facebook. And he told me she was always talking about me and wanting to see me. She was 16.
He wanted to surprise her and make her happy, and he asked if they could come down for a weekend. He was going to pay for her flights.
I have to admit, I got so excited…. but dread took over. And I was afraid. So I stupidly told him as long as he ran it by her step-mother and father first. And I told him to take a person he trusted who could speak for him. So he took his mother. And he did the right thing and asked if he could take her for a weekend holiday to see me, her mother.
As predicted, her Dad hit the roof and said hell would freeze over first.
He later told me his mother was astounded and tried to speak sense to him, as did he. But her father was completely shut down and walked away.
I wasn’t surprised and I apologised to him. I felt so sad for him and embarrassed for his mother. And devastated for myself and my daughter. As it hurt so much knowing she still wanted to come but couldn’t.
They broke up after a year or so.

Once she turned 18 I would speak to her on messenger apps, when she would contact me. She would tell me things which made my heart sing. I was always so happy after talking to her, even if it was a brief chat. because she was reaching out to me.
And I got brave some days, lightly suggesting she come visit. Asking her to come and see me.
I offered flights, accommodation and everything.
But I’ve had my heart broken every time, as she’s not ready to go against her father, which I respect. It has to be her decision.

I just wish she knows how much it hurts. How hard it can be to breathe some days when I look through old pictures – because that’s all I have.
And every day I look at her and regret every time I have been away from her.

Every day of her life, I’ve woken up and thought of her and wondered if today would be the day I would get to hold her again and see her. Talk to her.
Let her know how much I love her.
And that day hasn’t come yet, but I haven’t given up hope. I made her. I birthed her. I breastfed her.
One day, she has to come back to her mama, right?

The escape

The escape

I was free.
And while I was homeless, and couch surfing. I felt so free and it was incredible. So liberating… and I had so much joy.

I was meeting new people every day through my work. My workmates were wonderful and this new city had me so anonymous and empowered.
I found I could go anywhere and do anything and no one was going to say a single word!
Going to work wasn’t a chore, it was a goal. And I do believe that I was happy. Albeit a little lonely at times.

Every night, I tried to call my daughter.
Every night I failed. Either no one would answer (thanks caller ID) or I would be hung up on. But I didn’t stop calling. I would call a dozen times over the evening.
I was missing my daughter so much. I ached inside and my arms ached without her. So I had to keep my mind and body busy so I could function.

It took me less than a week to find the local skatepark and I started going their regularly after work. I would finish at 4 after not taking a lunch break and I’d hit the waterfront.
It took a few weeks of pottering around before I started getting waves and hello’s when I turned up. And eventually i got brave enough to start a conversation with some of the skaters.
One, who worked at the park was really friendly and we got chatting a lot. I’d often bring J an energy drink in the evenings and he introduced me properly to a bunch of the locals which was awesome.
I made friends. And I started getting invited places, and to the indoor park, on street missions…. And J would often come along when he could.
There were a couple of separate groups. The skateboarders and M. And the inliners and P. And J kind of floated between the groups. But it was cool seeing both sides, and meeting so many people who were so far out of my normal world, and my work world that it felt like a whole new lifestyle.

I would crash at J’s apartment in town frequently after late night mish’s where I’d missed the train to the family members where I was staying, and was stuck in town. And his flatmates were all really chill. No one minded an extra, and I’d buy dinner sometimes or shout the movies in return.
And I was still couch surfing to a degree, until I decided maybe it was time to find a proper space to stay. An actual bed of my own.

So J helped me find a place. He knew someone who knew someone (he seriously knew the entire city I swear) and so I went and looked at a house, with a psych professor and a programmer. The most random guys I’ve ever met and both fascinating and hilarious.
So I took the room!
They introduced my sheltered self to a whole other world too. As they were big drug users.  Many an evening was spent getting completely blazed, and discussing the big issues surrounding society and human beings. Incredibly smart men. Very strange but comfortable lifestyle.
My Dad brought a truck down with my furniture. And I was moved in properly a few weeks later. It was in walking distance to work which was awesome and right in the inner city.
We had a heap of fun in that flat, even though I spent a lot of time out socialising.
I will never forget how they would traumatise Amway sellers and door knockers in general.
Or how they would smoke weed like it was cigarettes.

C lived in a wardrobe which was a little bit hilarious too. It took me weeks of trying to figure out the flat, when I finally got up the courage to ask where the heck Craig slept!
Because our other flatmate had the front room. Next to mine.
I knew where the lounge, kitchen and bathroom were. Lounge in the centre and kitchen by the door. Then bathroom behind the kitchen.
But the 3rd room was puzzling me, as I thought there was a wall behind the kitchen and bathroom. I couldn’t see where a third door was.
Well, the boys thought this was hilarious, so Craig (after about dying laughing) showed me his room.
What I had thought was just a wardrobe, was actually a doorway!
It looked like one of those big old Narnia style freestanding wardrobes, but instead of containing clothes, it contained the biggest room of the house! With a large room, ensuite and a conservatory!
I ended up spending a lot of time there, jamming on the guitar with C while he drummed or played keyboard. And hanging out. He gave awesome back massages and I would often trade dinner cooking duty for a backrub! It was bliss.

The only flaw in my new life so far, was the missing chunk of my heart that was my baby.

I would often think about what I’d escaped. Why I’d run so far, and how I could have changed my current outcome.
It’s not that I wanted to, because I knew I couldn’t go back to that toxic relationship that had consumed me entirely. But I wished I could get my daughter back. I would have done almost anything – except sacrifice myself for her.
I focused a lot on my escape. And my happiness.

The nail in the coffin…

The nail in the coffin…

So as I said, Mr Serious was back. And honestly, most of the time I can’t even tell you how he wrangled his way back in but he had a terrible hold over me which I couldn’t shake completely.

And while this time I didn’t let him move back in, I did let him convince me to move into his parents place with him.

You see, my mother had moved cities a little while before my daughter arrived.
300 miles away. And we had gotten closer before my daughter was born. So I was missing her, and he agreed to give it a go in a new city. To uproot our family and move near my Mother (and other family down there) so I agreed.

I found a job. I found a house. I paid the deposit on a house and childcare. And I paid for everything I owned to go into storage.
He didn’t do anything.
Not a thing.
So I was working my butt off to get everything setup and ready, it was all planned out. Even down to me finding him places to try for work and I let him get away with waiting till we were down there to go into places in person and take CV’s in.

And while we had been apart, I had been out being sociable and meeting new people. I’d also rediscovered an old hobby. Skating.
I was a figure skater and speed skater as a kid. And completely randomly one day I had wandered into a skate shop in town. I’d been pondering whether people even still did that. Or not. And I discovered that they did! Of course, like anything there had been massive changes… roller blades were new and strange when I was younger. Where now they looked at me sideways when I asked about roller skates. A slight chuckle and the smiley salesman guided me over to the roller blade section. There was an entire wall of skates for my perusal and I looked over them fascinated! He seemed somewhat bemused by me. But I told him I was an ex-figure skater and I had owned a pair of roller blades way back when… but they were so different to anything in front of me. So he took some time to explain them all. The differences in styles…. the fits… the brands…. And best of all he said that if I got a pair there was a group that met weekly to go for a ‘street skate’ and he picked me out a pair of aggressive skates. He told me those were what I needed and told me where to meet the crew.
As I was well single. I didn’t hesitate. Exercise, weight loss, new people, hopefully some fun. What wasn’t to be interested in?
I got involved! I made a whole new circle of friends, and I got good at skating. I got super fit and strong, and I was learning to ride ramps with the guys and having an absolute blast doing it.
And, I admit, I’d been venting a little about the move, and how Mr Serious was, and how he was getting more and more frustrating to me.
They were good guys. Good friends. And when I was hanging with them I felt like I had no worries in the world…. I was happy.
I was also sad to be leaving them. But they were too.

The weekend we were supposed to be leaving our city, we had decided that we would go down on the Sunday.
The plan had been to pack only what we absolutely needed. And we would stay with my mother for a few nights.
The movers were booked to bring our storage lockup full of furniture and possessions down on the Monday so we would have unloaded Tuesday and stay in our new house by Wednesday as he would take care of the unpacking because I started my new job on the Monday.
We had been staying with his parents, so we were mostly packed and basically just had to throw bags and selves into the car and go. We’d been living out of our cases for weeks.

On the Saturday night, I had told him that I was going for one last skate session at the indoor park with friends, and we were going to have a beer afterwards. I wouldn’t be early home, but not too late. And I had a ride sorted as we only had one car, and I suggested while his mother was around he might want to go say farewell to his friends.
I left. Had an amazing night. Achieved some small goals and finished up that night on a wicked high. We then kicked back and had a drink. A single beer. But it was more the discussion about the future, catching up again regularly when I visited family in town… talking about wonder of the scene down there and whether I’d find a group like this one to teach me more. There were hugs, and a few tears (mine mostly!) and goodbyes.
It was a really good night. But before I realised, it was about 11 and I panicked. So I asked my ride if I could be dropped off now and rushed off. He knew I’d be in trouble and he asked if I wanted him to wait, but seeing Mr Serious standing at the window, I said best not too and waved him goodbye.

I knew walking in that it was going to be a hell of a night ahead. As he was standing there, glaring at me and asking what the hell time I thought this was. And who was that dropping me off?
I have to admit, with a beer onboard, and an aching heart at losing friends yet again, I wasn’t probably in the best mood to pick a fight with and even more frustrating, the person dropping me off was the same person who always offered a ride home as it was on his way. I had several times tried to introduce them, but there was always an icy reception so I just stopped bothering.
But I started to get really angry with him.
Yes, I was late. I should have been home an hour before. But I was saying goodbye and I needed to do that as we were moving away.
He knew where I was, who I was with and while he may not have known names that was his decision. I had frequently invited him to join us, and he was the one who always declined. Or insulted them and me.
If he was that worried about my safety he could have offered to pick me up.
I felt like it was a one-sided argument, with him accusing me of sleeping with all of them and putting them before him and for making him worry about me and for acting like a child when I was supposed to be a mother.
The more I spoke up for myself, my mental health and my need to have a life aside from my child and him, the worse he got.
Hours and hours we argued. He yelled. I tried to talk sense into him and I retreated more and more into myself until I was so exhausted, I asked him what did he want from me????
What was it that he needed from me, that I wasn’t giving him????
Because I pointed out to him that I loved skating. I loved the fitness, getting my head clear, kicking out some of the internal anger and hurt and pushing it into learning and improving my skating.
I also told him that in our new city I was hoping to find a new group to skate with.
So what did I need to do, to make him okay with that?

The answer stunned me into complete silence.
“You need to choose, me or skating.”

I sat there, my mind spinning because while he’s made me give up people… workplaces… social groups… he’s never once put it so bluntly.
It’s always been a slow progression of him alienating me from things, or just making it too hard for me to do them.
But this, was an absolutely blunt expression which when I asked if he was sure, he told me that if I didn’t give up skating he was not moving cities with me.
I had to think about that.
I walked away from him at that point because I didn’t know what to do! I had so many things spinning in my head. My daughter. My new job. The house. Money. Friends. My feelings. My entire life.
I was watching it internally completely implode, and trying to imagine how I would cope, without some kind of release. And I couldn’t see it.
No matter how I tried to turn it around, I couldn’t see a single good outcome.
So I made myself a coffee, and I stood in the kitchen and drunk half of it before I walked back into the lounge and I quietly told him my answer.

No. I won’t give up skating.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that angry. He was furious and he didn’t know how to contain that.
I simply told him, that I couldn’t give up the one thing that made me truly happy at that time, and that if he needed me to choose between that and him, then I was choosing that.
Because I hadn’t felt happiness since I’d met him. Other than the times we had been apart. Those were the only times I’d felt truly happy, or free.
And every time he came back, it was like a dense fog dropped over my life and I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t breathe because he suffocated me. And the pain he caused me on a daily basis was more than I could bear.
So I needed an outlet. I needed to be able to skate, to survive.
I had nothing else.

He stormed out at that point. And I grabbed my wallet and keys and walked out the door, across the road, and to the dairy, which had just opened seeing as it was going on 7am at that point.
I did something I never thought I would do, since a brief foray when I was 15… and I bought a packet of cigarettes. And a lighter.
Then I sat on the front steps of his house and I watched him watching me through the kitchen window.
I lit a cigarette. And I smoked the whole thing.
He watched me the entire time and his face was thunderous.
And mine was bemused…. because it was something I had chosen to do so deliberately because he HATED smoking with a passion. He hated smokers.
And while it probably wasn’t ideal as a response, I think right at that moment, I wanted him to hate me too. Because if he hated me, then maybe he would let me go.
As I’d decided I would go still.

I went back into the house and I didn’t speak to him as I packed my things and put them by the door, and I called a friend and asked him to come and get us.
And this was where I saw his wrath get physical, probably for the first time ever towards me.
I moved my daughters bag to the foyer and I think that was when he realised that I was going to take her too. And he grabbed her bag. I tried to take it back and asked him what he thought he was doing? Because we were going without him.
He decided that there was no way that was happening, but I held on. I wasn’t wanting to let him keep my baby. She was only 1.
We scuffled, as I tried to keep hold of the bag and keep him away from me, and he lashed out at me and I ended up hitting my head on the doorframe. And when I got up and I tried again to take her bag, he decided that he would take matters into his own hands and he hit me.
He told me that he would not allow me to take my daughter out of the house and he threw my bags and me out of the door and locked it.
I remember sitting on the ground, dizzy and disoriented. And I just remember feeling sore and at the same time, somehow numb, and wondering what the heck had just happened. I don’t think I could even move. I literally just sat there….
My friend arrived and picked me up and took me and my bags to his car and we left… he didn’t ask where my daughter was, and as I nursed my aching head, I didn’t speak to him. Not until we got back to his place, where he and his girlfriend made me a drink.

It was over.

Vodka and lemonade.
I remember it being really strong. And I remember feeling it burn my throat. But I drank the entire glass.
And then I remember the tears starting.
They knew it was bad, because I never called and asked for help. I never had ever called and asked for help as long as I’d known them and this time, I was hurting so bad. Physically and emotionally and I had no way of holding that in. It was just too much.
I nursed another drink in my hand and I started to ramble. No idea if I was being coherent or not but they both held me while I sobbed and talked.
And they helped me to make a plan.
First we talked about my baby and what I wanted to do. They were both advocating for Police involvement and getting her back. And I wanted that so badly, but at the same time I was terrified of his response if I went in the the Police, and what he could say or do. And I wasn’t brave enough.
To this day, one of my biggest regrets is surrounding my daughter. Because I didn’t tell anyone of the prior abuse, so no one knew the extent of it, and that meant that now at the most crucial point, I had no backup. No one I could go to who could backup my story.
Only a hundred people with snippets of information that weren’t solid enough, because I never spoke honestly to them.
At that point, i felt so defeated. And part of me wondered if she even deserved a mother who couldn’t even put a roof over her head!
It had dawned on me that while I was trying to figure out how to get my daughter back, I had no home.
Without him, I could not afford the house we had rented.
Because of him, I had given notice on my own place.
So I had nowhere to go.

But I had a job!
So my friend asked me if I still wanted to go, and actually the answer was yes…. I needed to get out and I needed to go now. While I could. And while I was safe and he didn’t know where I was – as I knew this time he hadn’t followed me.
So my friend booked me a train ticket for the following night.
And that night, we got drunker and drunker. And I told them more than I’ve ever told anyone about the relationship I was escaping.
And it felt so freeing. While I was drunk it felt like I was invincible. He couldn’t touch me there, I was in a safe place. And if I could just get out of town without him knowing, I would be okay.
I also got my nose, tongue and my navel pierced that night!
Piercings were another thing he never allowed me to have as my body was apparently his property. So I decided in my drunken wisdom that why not.
It was MY body and I could do what I wanted to it.

The next day was a blur of hungover, sleeping and staying very quiet.
I just had to make it through to the train. And I stayed so focused on that.
I’d called my new boss and explained how sorry I was that travel plans had been a problem but I was able to be there Tuesday morning, first thing to start work if that was okay. And my new boss was actually really fantastic about it. Which was a relief.
My friends dropped me at the train station and stayed with me until I boarded. They gave me snacks and drink, and a blanket to take and I waved them off, so grateful, and terrified, and exhausted.
It was an overnight train so I slept a lot. I woke at various stops and looked outside to see where we were. I did a lot of thinking, and dozing, then waking and thinking more.
And before I knew it, I was at the end of my journey.
It was early morning, and I stood on the platform of a new city, looking around, pondering where I needed to be. An attendant came and asked me if I was okay and I asked for directions to where I needed to go, and discovered it was an easy walk. He said it would take me maybe an hour. Which meant I would be early, which was fine with me as I hoped to find some breakfast on my walk.
That ended up being a super healthy McDonalds combo.. but it was better than nothing and was the first open store I saw! It was deserted, so I used their bathroom. Put some makeup on and brushed my hair. Changed into work appropriate attire and made sure I was clean and presentable. Put on a smile. Heels.
Then walked the 5 minutes to my new workplace and looked through the closed windows to scope out the place, before sitting down on a seat near the entrance to wait.

The manager arrived half an hour before opening and as he unlocked, I introduced myself and he was lovely, very welcoming and glad I was there.
I apologised for having bags with me, and asked if I could pop them out the back for the day. And he raised an eyebrow and asked if he could make me a coffee.
Which did make me wonder if I looked okay? But coffee…. always accept a coffee.
That was the first day, of a new life. And coffee was a good start.

Trying to escape…

Trying to escape…

I promised you the story of a person who I met completely by accident.
While he was working. And I was looking for help with something inane.
And it actually turned out to be something quite special, in a stranger than fiction type of way.
I’m going to call him Mr Happy… because it sums up his persona completely!

This person, is still a large part of my life. We are still friends, through subsequent partners and jobs and social circles, we have remained close. He’s now overseas, but we try to connect every year or so to have a good catchup.
And for many years, we partied together, we went out every weekend, at the height of my grown up party life, he was a central figure for me, along with his girlfriend at the time, my then boyfriend and a large circle of friends.
Now we are both older, wiser (perhaps) but still close.

Remembering, at this point, it’s post a zillion funerals and me having kicked Mr Serious aka the douchebag out. So I was single and while not looking, I wasn’t not looking either if that makes sense?
I was socialising, trying to meet new people. Trying to rebuild damaged friendships.

So anyway, we started chatting (and flirting) over the phone, from a support desk where he worked and I had to tell him how to do his job. In the nicest way possible.
Which led to him getting me to bring my machine in so he could have a look at it.
And I have to admit, that after many conversations over the phone  I was a teeeeensy bit more than curious about what he looked like. And I can’t say I was disappointed. He was definitely my type at the time. But his smile was what absolutely did it for me. He had this million gigawatt smile that just wrapped me around his little finger.
I walked in the door to his offices, and he came flying out at a million miles an hour, just radiating happy!
He was the happiest person I’d ever met. It was a combination of bewildering and awe inspiring and just contagious. Like, I felt happier just having him around! And I still do, to this day!
He bounced around the place, and we fixed my machine. And he gave me his number….
It was so flattering to be asked out on a date, when I hadn’t had a proper date in forever.
And even better, he already knew so much about me. About my daughter, and a little of the rocky position I’d been in. And he still wanted to get to know me better.
He also hooked me up with a job working at his work, because seeing as I knew as much as he did (if not more in some places) he decided that his boss just HAD to hire me.
Which was amazing as the team were amazing people, who many of which have remained friends. Almost 25 years worth of friendships in that little office.
So working together, it really didn’t take long before we started to get serious about dating officially.
But it was a bizarre relationship.
We would have so much fun, and we did so many things. Went on crazy adventures out of town. He would look after my daughter like she was his own. And he was so into making me feel good about myself. Which I honestly handled terribly.
I kick myself to this day about it.
I just had no idea how to be in a happy relationship where I was treated as an equal.
Not a darn clue.
I would sabotage things often, and I would even at times try to push him to yell at me, and he never would. He just wouldn’t rise to anything, he would just explain to me so patiently, like a father telling off a toddler, that this wasn’t how things worked.
He was funny too, about sex. We never had sex. Not once.
And that frustrated me, because I couldn’t understand that. It wasn’t that I wanted to, but more, that every man I’d been with had used it as currency of some kind, or as a way to have a level of power over me. So I also had no idea how to share myself in a way that was sharing rather than allowing people to just take what they wanted.
And he couldn’t fathom or do that to me. We had discussions about it. He would always tell me that it was not happening until I could understand his perspective, and that I was ready to do it for myself and not just to keep him happy.
And every time I broached it, we would talk in circles and wind up with me feeling rejected and defeated… him feeling frustrated and not knowing how to get through to me, and both of us struggling to work out how to fix it.
In the end, no matter how many amazing times we had, it wasn’t fixable. So we agreed that maybe, just maybe we needed to stay friends. And no more.
We still flirted… and had fun, but once the pressure of sex was off the table it was actually amazing how quickly our relationship got lighter and less suffocating.
We were only together weeks…. but he brought sunshine into my life.

He also opened the door for me, to realise that there were definitely other people out there who found me attractive.  Which was a fairly new thing for me.
I was introduced to other people, and setup with a few.

I had a brief fling with a gorgeous motorcycle riding workmate, for a week or so. We again didn’t get physical, but it was a hell of an ego boost!
Although in hindsight, I’m not sure how healthy that one was. He was far too young and while very pretty to look at, not terribly smart……..

And unfortunately, around that time, Mr Serious somehow crept back into my life.

The first crack….

The first crack….

Mr Serious.

You will have read of the abuse I suffered at his hands, and I still punish myself for not getting away from him sooner.

But, I had a very close relative die, and I really do think this was the beginning of the true disconnection between us.

I had been up to visit family, around 90 minutes from home. And I missed one member, and I’d had to leave to be home by my curfew (Imposed of course by him) time.
I had been with other family, so we had arrived to the motel and I had called my father to say we would stop in on our way past.
He asked me to come right away and wouldn’t say anymore, so I rushed over there. Wondering what was going on.

My Dad sat me down, told me my mother was on a plane to Auckland as we spoke, and that a very close family member had passed away that afternoon.
He knew (rightly) that I would be devastated.
I didn’t believe him at first, and I swung from disbelief to anger, to what am I going to do at 0-60.
Told my Dad I needed to go. I had to go up there and I had to go now, which he got. He hugged me while I cried and he told me to be careful.
I had to go home, so my Aunt took me home so I could pack.

And this is where Mr Serious comes in.
Because we had one car between us, and when I got the call to say they had passed away, I needed to drive 90 minutes to be with my family. I needed to. I couldn’t not go and be with them and see for myself that it was true. That our family had lost it’s backbone.

So as you would expect, I called him and asked him where he was, because they had died and I needed to go. I was packing a bag, I would be gone at least a few days. I needed him to come home and I needed the car.
In response, I got told he was at Burger King. He was busy. I got hung up on twice, and then he turned his phone off.
I packed, and paced, and cried. And kept trying to phone him, my family and him over and over.

Several hours later he finally came home and walked in the door like nothing was going on. By this time I was an absolute mess. So I couldn’t even talk to him. I loaded my things and took my key and I walked out. He was talking but I walked out on him.
I couldn’t even look at him. I was so angry and hurt and so I left.
I ran away.
It was Saturday.
On Monday, I farewelled another family member as they disconnected life support.

I thought that weekend was truly horrific. But it was going to get worse.

I stayed away until the Wednesday when I came home. I needed clean clothes, and a breather from the grieving relatives. The tears and the stories. Funeral arrangements had been made and I needed just to take a few minutes.

If only i had known…

He knew where I was, but I had been punished yet again. As I got home to emails from friends asking for urgent contact. And I hadn’t been home an hour when my home phone rung.
It was one of my radio friends, from before Mr Serious.
And in my devastated state, my entire world as I knew it crumbled from beneath my feet.
They (and others) had been trying to get hold of me from Sunday when it had been discovered that a close friend, and early boyfriend had been found Sunday, and he was gone. His death was ruled a suicide.
When confronted, he admitted people had called the house, he had told them simply that I wasn’t there and hung up on them. When they kept calling, he took the phone off the hook.
My friend had called me and kept calling and calling, because there was drama, between his adopted parents, and his birth mother and ex-wife.
His birth mother had gotten to his ex-wife T, and they had shut his adopted parents out of the funeral decisions and had stopped them from even seeing them.
So while trying to lock down my own broken heart, I spoke with his parents, gently. And I tried to advocate for them with T. But it was like talking to a brick wall.
I spent that evening sitting with M. As T (and I am ever so grateful for this) allowed me to come to her house, and sit with him, and say my goodbyes. I spent 6 hours sitting on the floor of her house, holding his hand and talking to him. Wishing I could see him smile one more time. Hear his nerdy laugh.
I had to be so guarded with my words though, as while I was wishing I could help his parents, who were the loveliest people around, and who he was an absolute testament to….. I was so painfully aware that saying the wrong thing, would mean I would have to leave.
And it hurt. It hurt so bad, knowing that he chose this way out, and that he didn’t talk to anyone. He chose to go out drinking, knowing his meds didn’t allow it. It felt like a kick in the teeth that here I was farewelling two people who didn’t choose to go, didn’t want to go. And here I was farewelling someone who did want to leave.
I spoke to him about his parents. And when I left, I called them and spoke to them again. And I told them where and when the funeral would be, and that as much as I wished I could be there, it was the same time as one of my family funerals and the two were 90 minutes apart.
I missed seeing him laid to rest.
Although I spoke to mutual friends that evening, and I know it was lovely. I also know that not being there that day left me broken inside. And not in a way that could be fixed.

I can also say, that arriving back at my house, after midnight. And walking into the most horrific atmosphere was almost unbearable.
I could feel the tension walking in. And I remember feeling almost suffocated by the accusing eyes that attacked me within seconds of walking in.
Demanding to know where I had been and what was I doing.
I can honestly say, in that moment, that was one of the first times, that I felt like I truly hated him.
Like my skin was crawling…. my face was prickling… and I wanted to hurt him. Hurt him in a way I had no idea how to even achieve.
Like I was hurting.

I packed my bags, I don’t remember doing it, but I remember kissing my daughter goodbye as I dropped her at her Grandmothers. Wishing I had the strength to take her with me, but as I told her Grandmother, I just needed help for a few days. To get through the funerals. And I would be back as soon as I could. I asked if they would bring her to the funeral, but if they couldn’t that was okay. And she knew I was struggling to hold it together. She hugged me, which was a rare thing. I remember that so clearly.
Such a stilted, awkward thing. I didn’t quite know what to do as this woman is relatively emotionless most of the time. Accepting and meek. Never affectionate except with her grandchildren. It really stuck in my mind…
I don’t recall at all leaving there.
My next clear memory is the next day, at the first funeral.

It won’t come as any surprise to anyone reading this who has also read other posts, that he didn’t appear at either funeral. A relief really.
But looking back, isn’t it funny that in the times when I needed him most, it was not him who was there. He was never there.

I managed to get through two funerals.
So many family members and so much love. We were surrounded by people who loved both and it was a completely hazy event in my mind.
I remember snippets.
And it’s interesting that speaking to family members, like distant aunts and cousins, they had odd snippets of memories that I cannot place.
Some things, I recalled after being reminded.
Like the tents on the lawn… and the food. Gosh the food was an amazing thing. Dozens of women from our familial cultural melting pot, appearing out of nowhere with army style tents for sleeping and food prep and eating… it was a crazy and incredible event. They came in and took control of everything. Ensured everyone from near and far had bedding, sleeping spaces, food in their bellies.
They blessed the house, provided mats for under the casket and song to welcome the casket in with. Things that I will ever be grateful for and feel blessed to have had.

But I cannot remember for the life of me where I slept. Four days.
And I don’t remember sleeping. Maybe I didn’t?
I remember hours sitting talking, sitting with, holding and talking to my loved one.
I remember the stories shared within the family.
I don’t remember sleeping. Or eating. But I remember watching people eat.
I remember the funeral. And the burial.
And I remember the numb feeling inside when they closed the casket for the final time…. as it really hit hard.
It was like someone took all the air out of the world and suddenly! I felt like I wanted to stop them and tell them they were making a mistake. But there wasn’t anything I could do.
I remember how hot and wet my cheeks felt, and my utter inability to blink.
And then it was over.

A slow movement of people back to the house. More stories…. and then quiet.
The next day, everything was quiet and subdued and everything was packed up, and disappeared as fast as it had arrived. Erased from the property as if it had never been there.

I remember looking at the stars that night, looking and wondering which ones were each of those fateful three.

We had a day of quiet, before the second funeral, which was so different to the first. Much ‘whiter’ and  more sterile feeling. A church with traditional hymns.
A parade of a closed box.
Flowers everywhere and people in suits. Less tears. As even though we had been close as kids, I felt a little more disconnected here. Maybe because it felt so much less personal?
I don’t know. Maybe because they were 16. And I was an adult. At least I was pretending to be.
Afterwards, there was a very civil and low toned afternoon tea. And then it was all over.
It felt so different. I can’t explain why…. but maybe I’d run out of tears that week.
Maybe I was just so broken that there was no emotion left in me. Nothing to feel.

3 days.
3 bodies.
3 breaks in my heart.
3 special people gone from my life.

I don’t remember going home.
But I remember that the next few months were rocky. So rocky.
We’d hit a point where I was changing and fast. I kicked him out yet again.

And this time, I met someone new.
Accidentally….. And I’ll tell you more about that next time!

I know, I’m so mean! But it’s coming, I promise!