Have you met your Parents?
This is a book like no other. If it is a book? Or a memoir? A diary? A journal? A fusion of words? Or a bundle of blended thoughts, or even a jumble of random moments?
I am not sure what the label is, but these are my words, my story, my chaos and the adventure that I wanted to share. Not the words of others, but mine. In the hope that I may help someone get through the crazy confusion life delivers and these words will find solace, humour and friendships in knowing that storms pass but adventures continue.
After Boris Johnson gave his infamous speech On March 23rd, 2020 my Dad phoned me and said.
‘Wendy, keep away from all this. It is a war office and it will be chaos’
I heard my Dad that day and one of the few times in my life. He was being serious and I also believe he felt a fear that I didn’t see coming but he did. Dad lived through the Second World War and was uprooted as a small boy when he was evacuated to Devon.
He also grew into a very historical and political man as he saw the rise in fascism and how governments controlled the livelihood of the everyday working class. A forces man conscripted in the 60s and very proud of his country and time serving in the RAF. Plus, he had lived through the 70s and the depravity and demise of the 3-day week and the appalling individual and political behaviours of so-called civil servants who protect and serve our county.
Dad didn't show his care or love easily, but I know he could see another storm coming and was warning me because he also knew I had experienced way too many major life events. The most recent being stuck in the hospital during a flu epidemic, the death of Mum the same year and the death of a man I had loved dearly from a school girl crush at the age of 14.
By July 2020, my life was going drastically wrong. I was empty but full of grief with nothing left to give. The balance was wrong in my world as people were taking from me and not giving back or being respectful. The rolling darkened storm clouds were appearing and gathering momentum. Storm Injustice, as I now call it was unfolding.
I was on food packages; The Ombudsman had declared that Lewes Council had treated me with Injustice and both the council, and the ombudsman still went on to ignore this ruling.
Then a weird Imperialism came charging in on its elitist thoroughbred horse. Rishi Sunak and the HMRC call centre staff (who were working in their bedroom at the time due to lockdown) Told me that my business did not qualify for any government support packages, but demanded I still had to pay tax on my registered business that was forced to close and if I didn’t pay, I would get a fine of 5%.
Injustice was becoming a daily occurrence with many everyday people of all colours, creeds and religions being battered by a class system that was dividing our country like it was in 1822 and the industrial revolution and disenfranchisement were in full swing.
I am sure many wealthy philanthropists have morals, work hard and pay their way, and many council estate families also have strong work ethics and have learnt from history, but what was unfolding was back to the times when men worked and behaved dishonestly and for their own narcissistic pockets.
Three Million entrepreneurs and working citizens of this country were excluded. In one swift mathematical equation of Rishi Sunak and the government, we were cast aside overnight. We didn’t exist.
My questions then started to spiral, and I couldn’t get answers. What was I to do? What was everyone else doing? Wherever I turned, The answer was NO. it didn’t matter how many times I asked, begged, argued, lobbied, or requested. The answer was No. No Support for you or your business. But Why? What was going on?
I had and have always worked, always paid into the system, and always had a strong work ethic. I had three jobs by the time I was fourteen and followed the rules of the land and paid my taxes, but unbelievably this storm was becoming worse and worse and with no Mum to help me, hear me, talk to me or have my back, My brain could not make sense of it all.
Then dramatically, by the end of July 2020, I took an overdose and ended up in the place I didn't want to be, in an overcrowded, overworked and equally exhausted NHS.
I wanted to sleep not die, I wanted it to stop, not get worse. What happened to my brain? To me? My life? My family? Why does everyone want to punch me? But, for now, I couldn’t think of that,
I needed to find a new home and I was going to have to adapt and relaunch my business as I need to work somehow.
I couldn’t work for a business. I could hardly get out of bed, let alone now had to get well without the support of family, the NHS, the Social System and HMRC. I added it up once, in my comprehensive maths education. I approximated I paid £900,000 Tax since the age of 18.
What did it matter, I was alone, which most of the time I am okay with, but on this occasion, It was not a good place to be. Somehow I found within me the resilience from the upbringing my parents gave me, to seek refuge 200 miles away to find peace and security in the beauty of Somerset to get well.
So why write you may ask? Well, what else am I going to do as my work ethic is still very high, but I now cannot work 15 hours for the large corporate finance of energy companies working on their Global Transformation programmes, I can’t communicate well as my nervous system has spiralled into an incontinent mess, plus during Therapy for PTSD, I had to dig deep as my therapist kept referring to child trauma.
Child Trauma I kept repeating.
I didn’t have any Child Trauma. I played in the woods or climbed trees with my mates as I wanted to be Tom Sawyer, Plus, and I thought, more importantly, I didn’t go to war!
But my therapist wouldn’t have it, I had to dig deep, like an archaeologist searching for history to make sense. Remarkably and with much patience and through the peace, kindness and community of Somerset I am finding my creativity again, my brain helped me remember not only the bad but also the good which is a great relief to my nervous system.
From a toddler, I loved pen and paper. If I wasn’t playing in the garden, searching for newts, climbing the plum tree, running around the house asking for sums or spelling words so I could search the pears encyclopaedia, or sitting curled up with Mum trying to beat her finding words in the Puzzler word searches. On my 13th birthday, I was the proud owner of a second-hand typewriter and I loved it from that moment on I always wrote a diary.
Every single night I would write, happy, sad, lost, hurt, angry, drunk, sober, I would scrawl my words, my thoughts, my stupidity. The comfort of writing became a ritual before bed that I welcomed.
Some years later I had to stop writing my diaries. I had to burn years and years of memories and words full of personal thoughts, mistakes, happiness and forgotten memories. Why? Because they were read without my permission and used against me to coercively control, abuse and instil fear. Stupidly, it took me years to click, which ultimately caused my first breakdown just after I married.
This is not a story of abuse, rape, coercive control, gaslighting, manipulation and the horrendous moments in a life where there is not one bruise and no evidence. We have heard those stories.
This is the sequel, the story of Hope and remembering the good and being in nature helps the storms move on.
Fast forward to Dec 2020 And thanks to my Guardian Angel, Angie, who answered my desperate plea on Facebook for a home.
I now live where only I have the key. Although more importantly, my words are safe as I have the privacy again to have bits of paper everywhere from poems, quotes, notes, chapters and random pieces of information.
Sussex fills my soul as a rule-breaking pagan bonfire girl through to my core. But my heart has found the level lands, the colours, the light, the big skies of Somerset to heal and get my brain well and to feel liked again.
Jan 24th - Knock on Wood
'You wouldn't believe what happened today Mum, but I had to choose your coffin’
‘Yeah, I know right, blooming weird to be choosing your mother's coffin on a Tuesday Morning!'
I hold the phone to my ear and continue talking to my Mum as if she had never left.
'I know we talked most days Mum, but not once did we discuss what coffin you wanted, only that you wanted to be cremated '.
I pause and put down the phone to pour myself another generous glass of wine, dismissing my thoughts that I am going mad. I don’t care. There is only one person in this whole world I want to talk to at this moment, and that is my Mum.
I take another gulp of wine, fighting with myself. I don’t want to stop because it feels good to talk to her, but I know it is a bit crazy. I pick the phone up again and start talking, even though there is no response, I know she is there. I know she can hear me.
'How is your back? Is it playing up or has all the pain gone now you are up there?' I smile, wishing, hoping that my Mum is pain-free. From the age of 9 when my Mum injured her back, I always asked this question, why wouldn’t I ask her now she is dead!
'I do hope your pain has gone and that you are playing hockey and hanging out with your mate Eileen causing mischief'.
My words don’t want to stop. I feel the warmth of a memory of sitting on her knee, playing with her rings, wrapped in the arms of her blue knitted jumper. And so, I continue…….
'I just…. I just... Don’t know what happened Mum, Well, of course, I do know what happened. You had a 4-inch brain bleed and clot simultaneously, which is uncommon. Then some 9 weeks later, your body and brain decided enough was enough
I sigh. I stop. I take a deep breath.
'Anyways………., Dad is fine. He phones me most hours of every day and dishes out his orders. He has started creating weird routines. At the moment, it is about Pies, yes that’s correct, I said Pies. Most days he starts with a Pie. Yep, I am not joking Mum. If he doesn’t have a pie in the house or is shopping for a pie, ordering a pie, or talking about a pie, then his life gets even more turbulent. Honestly, Mum, he is like a rugby ball. You never know which way he is going to bounce or what conversation is happening afterwards'
'I do feel guilty for laughing Mum, as I am not sure if a pie has replaced you, or because Dad's brain is simply thinking of the basics of eat, sleep and wash.
‘Most days he demands my attention as if I am serving with him in the Royal Air Force. After his morning pie, He calls me with a list of jobs he demands that need doing, and before I know it, we are off driving around the Sussex Countryside. He will talk nonstop about fishing, cats or various jobs he has worked with on with Mario and Les, or how many people he had to manage when he was Foreman and what wood was used.
I can smell the freshly planed wood shavings on my Dads workshop floor. This must have been the last time I hung out with him and even then, he used to give me a job. I used to hoover up the shavings on the evenings Mum was working in the pub. I chuckle to myself at this fond memory of sitting next to my dad in his work van as we drove home in the dark.
'Do you remember what he said when I asked him if he wanted to do a speech at my wedding?’ He looked so shocked I had even asked him, it was as if I was a stranger and not his daughter.
Don’t you remember? He said, I don't know what to say about you Wendy, but I would if you were a piece of wood. I start to laugh, ‘Oh, Mum, if you didn't laugh, you would cry, as you used to say to me.
‘The other day he turned up at mine, I could tell it was him before he even arrived at the house, as his jazz was blaring from his car. I mean he is 84 years old Mum, and he rocks up like a boy racer in his Vauxhall Corsa. He marches in with his tweed trilby hat, and with that grin of his, he demands a tea, two sugars, strong but milky. Although this time he was a bit different, I could see his eyes were red, and as he drank his cup of tea, he was quiet for once. He cuddled the dogs and began to say, "I am a Widower Wendy, W.i.d.o.w.e.r. Strange word, Widower, isn't it?" and then he gulped his tea, put down his cup, demanded that I need to look into insurance policies for him and he was gone. As quick as he turned up, he had gone again.
‘I have taken your lead though, so thank you for teaching me that one Mum, I just let him ramble on, as I can’t keep up with most of his conversations. If we are both honest though, I think Dad and I both enjoy the comfort of the drives around the countryside.
I pause as my stomach flips, and the world goes blank.
June 16th - Gone Fishing...
Oh, Mum, Dad is Dead.
OH, Mum, he was fishing, and the police found him in the River Medway.
It is the first day of the fishing season Mum.
OH, MUM, Mum Mum Mum. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, but can only say the silent cries of I want my Mum, I want my Mum, I want my Mum, like a screaming toddler, and not orphan I now am.
29th July - I can't get no sleep....
Mum……..Mum, I took an overdose.
I am so so sorry Mum.
I know Mum, I can’t believe it either. I didn’t mean to.
What had happened to me Mum?
I need help I cry, Truly, I was full of fear
This happened to my business.
I paid my taxes. Please Hear!!!
But why? Why so blind? Is it in 3D?
You fool Wendy, you know this.
A narcissist will never make it clear.
They tell tales to exclude, deceive and instil fear.
Enough Now! Stop! I can’t take anymore.
Seeking, crawling, broken and poor onto
an unprecedented NHS crowded corridor
The waning moonlight delivers your kisses,
your smile is still so clear.
Time to wake the fool, the answer is NO.
No help or need for you here.
Masks roaring with the hidden emptiness, love and business are to be.
My confused whispers of silent screams shout IT. IS. ME.
Wendy….. I hear Mother Nature whisper
As the west wind gathers me,
safely, to my new front door.
Awakened my senses return, exhausted as I
heal lost loves and the injustice, from my core
I stare, I drift, I meander, I listen to my new neighbours’
They murmur, flock, swoop, and crow
The tides, rhynes and estuary waters continue to ebb and flow
Rainbows parade the blue skies, wrapping the gold leaf around my heart
Swaying and playing amongst the grasses and chatter of the Skylark
2021 - Orphan Annie
Mum, Dad, I have thought and now that you are not here and living your next life, I want to tell this story.
I am getting my head together a bit more, but PTSD has ripped through me, my career and my health, but I need to work which I why I am going to write instead, just like I used to write for you as a kid to keep me occupied or the letter I wrote when I run away the second time.
Anyways, sit back, light the fire up there or wherever you are and please meet a Tomboy girl called Wendy. I think you will like her. Here goes………….