Nickie over at www.Iamtypecast.com has asked some of her blogging chums to contribute to the #dosomethingyummy campaign for CLIC Sargent http://www.yummymummy.org.uk/. Nickie has given us a writing prompt and has asked to share our inner most thoughts. This week is about Survival.
I was 13 years old when my Dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. Over the next 5 years the disease took hold of him and slowly chipped away at my family. My mum lost the plot, my brother started drinking at 14 and I tried my hardest to keep it together as I felt I was the strongest of us all. Thinking back to when I was that age, I probably should have had more support. For a brief period when I was 14, I was taken into the care of my aunt and uncle and put on the social services risk register. Once back with my family, my dad had got progressively worse. My mum was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and my brothers were running amok, and I started to get obsessional about food and my weight (but that is another story). There were times when my Mum would go out, my dad was in bed and I was playing Mum to my younger siblings. I didn’t have the carefree teenage life that my friends had. I was always trying to keep our family together.
Eventually, my mum finally cracked under the pressure and wanted out from caring for a sick husband and after a nasty incident involving police, my Dad left the family home. I was devastated. Everything I tried to do to keep us all together had failed. All the pain and suffering we had been through was for nothing. I was so angry at my Mum. How could she let this happen to us, how could she not love Dad enough to care for him.
I started to resent Mum and I spent a lot of time with my Dad at his new place. He needed me more than ever and I wasn’t going to run out on him. Mum and I argued constantly and eventually she asked me to leave. I was 18 and studying for my A levels. It should have been the best time of my life. Instead I was now homeless, penniless and my world had collapsed around me.
At this time I was working part time for Stakis hotel group in their banqueting team and my boyfriend worked in the restaurant. Immediately after leaving my Mum’s I stayed with him for the weekend then we approached my boss at the hotel. The hotel had living quarters for some staff and I asked if I could temporarily stay there until I could find a place. My boss was fantastic and allowed me to stay there rent free. I suddenly realised that there were people out there that would help me find my feet and that maybe I could do this on my own. I could be independent and stand on my own two feet.
At the staff house, I would spend my evenings going through the local paper looking for a place to live. I was working part time and I knew I was going to struggle to study and work more hours. I was terrified about the kind of place I was going to find especially as I only had £200 a month to spend on accommodation if I stayed at college and worked part time around it. However, I found a room in a house advertised in my price range. So I called up and arranged to view the room.
When I walked into the house I just knew it was going to be my home. It was a two bedroom house and I would share with the landlady. She was the most compassionate woman I had ever met and after a cup of tea, I ended up explaining how I came to be homeless. She assured me that I could do this. I could live away from home, work part time, get my A levels and eventually get a job that I deserved.
So that weekend I moved in to my lovely room in my lovely house with a lovely landlady. I was so scared that I wasn’t going to be able to manage. I studied hard, I worked my hours and occasionally did an extra shift. These extra shifts paid for cheap nights out with my friends. Dancing the night away carefree, like they had been doing years earlier. I continued to support my Dad and help him whenever I had time away from work and college. I paid my rent on time and I gained a very special friend in my landlady. I passed my A levels and I found a job at a stockbrokers. My Mum and I never recovered from that time, however I became so strong. It is true what they say, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I survived that time in my life and I am a better person for it.
I have never really talked about this time in my life like this and whilst I am typing the tears are pricking my eyes. This is a great cause and I am pleased Nickie asked me to contribute.
Bouche x x x