His Deliverance Home

I love waking up to the sound of birdsong.

A gentle and courteous re-awakening for the coming day.

It is quite possible that the very last person to see my Father alive was my school friend Allie, whom had returned my roller boots home after borrowing them. They were also the last gift that my father had given me for my 13th birthday, 3 months previous to his passing.

Retro Mayfair roller boots

https://picclick.co.uk/Pair-of-Vintage-Retro-MAYFAIR-1970s-ROLLER-SKATES-391931986773.html

Allie told me sometime after he died, that she was worried about me because I hadn’t been attending school and decided to take my roller boots back to my house to see where I was. After several attempts of knocking on the door and as she turned around to leave, my father opened the door only very slightly and she asked;

“Is Michelle in please?” and my father told her I wasn’t there.

Allie passed the boots to him and he quickly shut the door without another word.

She said he looked unshaven and terrible.

As I have said before in my previous posts, I can not be exact about the timings of what happened but I do know that the boots were taken back, the day before my father died.

So right now I find myself back at the evening when I prayed for God to take him back to Heaven…

and the prayer was answered…

My Mother’s belief is that my father would have been cold because she left the house that Sunday morning, without lighting the fire. For years, the guilt about leaving him like that, has eaten away at her.

A neighbour had felt concerned because she hadn’t seen him for some time and as the gossip had hit the street so effortlessly, she contacted the police.

And she was right to do so because my father was found dead, lying on my bed wearing his Snorkel Parka coat zipped all the way up to the top, as if to keep warm.

Retro Snorkel Parka coat 1980’s
https://www.ebay.co.uk
What I Imagine

His mind weary
wretched and confused
He laid down

Covered in a shroud of grief
cold and alone
to live no more

Once a handsome young boy
with jet black 
locks

A melancholy heart
so permanent
so prevalent

His eyes fell closed
his prayer unheard
by us

He gently whispered 
I'm sorry
forgive me

A thwarted Soul
A Ruptured life
A weeping child

Let this be his Deliverance

My eldest brother was asked to identify his body as my Mother was unable to do it and he told me many years later that he wanted to make sure that,

“The old man was definitely dead.”

He was only 21 years old.

My father was only 47 when he died.

There was no money to pay for a funeral and it must have been a nightmare for my Mother to arrange. I know that my Grandmother sent money from Australia to help with the costs and I believe my mother sold my father’s car too. My Godparents were a great help, organising the wake at there house.

The day of his cremation, seemed surreal and a bit of a blur really. I recall us having one black car for my Mother, my two brothers and myself. The neighbours were standing out in the street watching on, as we drove off down the road and I also remember my brothers laughing in the car at some point.

I felt terribly sad about that and the sadness turned into numbness.

At this point, I still hadn’t cried at all.

I don’t remember the service but I do remember sitting on the stairs of my Godmothers house during the wake, feeling angry at all the people who had come to eat and drink when my father had just left this world.

It felt very wrong…

A few years back, when having a conversation with my mother about my father, I asked her why she would allow my father’s coffin to be left open at the front of the Crematorium for people to pay their last respects? I told her that I felt it was a terrible thing to do, to allow a 13 year old child to see her father dead and that it had caused nightmares for several years. My Mother was mortified to say the very least, telling me that she didn’t know what I was talking about-that it had never happened.

Up until that point, I completely believed that my father’s coffin was left open during the service and he was wearing a blue hospital gown. His arms were crossed, resting upon his chest and he had a blue complexion. I had even shared this with friends during conversations about loss and grief etc…

My 13 year old mind made that part up.

I never got to say goodbye.

The trauma that settled in that day, had such an lasting impact that went on to effect my whole entire adult life.


https://www.google.com/search?q=when+death+is+welcome

 

The Post-Mortem determined that the cause of death was Ventricular Heart Failure.

He literally died of a broken heart…

A rare moment with my Dad.

© All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019-2020

20.10.1981

Today, grief washes over me like a vicious ocean.

I have been running from this sadness for so long now and have felt too paralysed to work on my writing this past week. Some days I just wander in my mind looking for a safe place to rest but seemingly, it’s proving more difficult

I have to keep writing through it.

On the anniversary of my fathers passing I desperately want to acknowledge him and give meaning to his life as no other person ever does.

Nobody… and I feel very sad about that.

Was he that insignificant? Did he really matter to anyone? Was his life that unimportant?

If you were to ask my brothers to tell you the date of their father’s death, they wouldn’t have a clue and my Mother always needs reminding.

The date goes unnoticed.

Most years I remember him in silence but this year I wrote a Facebook status which came completely out of the blue.

If there was a direct telephone line that could reach him now, I would choose to hear him speaking softly to me and listen carefully to the sound of his voice, savouring every moment. I would ask him how his day has been and tell him about mine. I would spend the time laughing with him and sharing the simple things I know he’d love to hear… and I’d love him just that little bit more.

We must never underestimate the power of un-resolved grief. Its a burden to carry for sure and one that is so heavy for me to this very day.

Even though I was very afraid of my father, my love for him is evident.

Our healing is unfolding

©All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Within The Stillness

There is a space in between
a quiet place
serene
so still.
The stillness is laden with sorrow
and remembering
what was,
the sadness of
what could have been
and the reality of
what is.
Who am I now?
is a question that I ask
on this merry go round of
a fragmented life,
love and
accountability.
Am I lost in the stillness?
Can the sorrow be released?
Am I bold enough to own my beauty
and serve the sorrow with endearment?

Oh how my playing with words
can free this weary mind
for a while
and breathe life
on to my plain paper.

A tenacious Spirit
A reckoning
A joyous moment.

 © All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

The Warrior Child

I feel compelled to write about a little girl I know who lost her Daddy suddenly, nearly a year ago.

This morning, she is unable to access the outside world because grief is her opponent and grief is winning.

She sits on the sofa with her pet dog, wrapped in soft blankets. To the left of her, close by are her Dad’s ashes – which, she says with slight confusion, are much smaller than the ashes of Fidget! Her recently deceased, much loved pussy cat.

She is 12 years old.

Her strength has the capacity to withstand the mightiest of storms. Her wit can enthrall an audience of listeners and her smile lights up the darkest of rooms and yet…

her heart is fractured.

Over the years, her survival techniques have pushed the closet of people away, often hurting them to release some of the burden that she carried. At times she unacceptably played the role of scapegoat when other children could do no wrong.

Trying to find a way back from the self destruction was so terribly difficult for her and although she longed to be accepted and forgiven, the path was somewhat difficult.

She really didn’t want to hurt others… just to show them how much she was hurting.

The pattern became familiar until it was a safe pattern of knowing and by that I mean she knew how to fill up other people’s convincer strategies of who she was and what she was about.

It really wasn’t true.

This child with her fractured heart is hurting and there aren’t enough words to describe the pain that she is in.

I feel the depth of an unforgiving, relentless and unbearable grief that she is carrying and trying to make sense of. I know that there are questions that she will be asking internally that can not be answered now, but still she carries them. There are days when the world forgets about this little girl and her struggles and I guess that is just a part of life.

Life carries on.

Grief carries on.

When a child loses a parent their whole experience of the world changes. When the death is sudden, no time to say goodbye, no time for a last hug, cuddle, giggle, sharing of stories, anything.

Just left with an ocean of overwhelming loss.

A nothingness.

Gone.

To the education system who lack the knowledge of how to help these children emotionally, day to day within their school life, please take the time to train your staff appropriately. Give them the tools that are so desperately needed to assist these kids.

To the education system who refuses to understand that there are days when these children cannot and will not be able to access the school day because grief will take over.

Let them be children who need time to grieve not an attendance statistic.

To all you Mums and Dads out there that are struggling with loss, please please know that you are doing an amazing job and ask for help if you need it. The earlier the intervention, the more a child can begin to work through and begin to process the trauma.

https://www.winstonswish.org/

And to the Warrier Child

I feel your pain.

I really do see you.

I know.

I understand.

I am so very proud to know you and I am grateful to be able to walk alongside you and your Mum throughout your journey. Thank you for re-connecting with me and allowing a certain trust to begin to build between us. You are the most resilient child that I know and one day you too will rise up and show the world who you truly are.

Summer 2019

I love you both.

Author unknown

© All Rights Reserved – The boy in the Chip Shop 2019

26

My big brothers looking very little.

We lived at number 26 Jellicoe Road until I was 4 years old.

My recollections of that house are small in comparison to what I remember of number 13 which was situated opposite.

26, had a large front room which housed an old gas fire. The kind with the off yellow tiled herth and brass coloured, extendable fire screen. In later years, I would use that screen along with an old sheet and pillows to make a house.

The kitchen sink was white and seemed huge. Nowadays, a sink that people would pay good money for. The significance of it being huge could be connected to a memory of my eldest brother having his mouth washed out with soap by my father. I have a movie in motion – in my mind of Paul being dragged kicking and screaming towards that huge sink by a huge and scary Daddy.

Paul is 7 years older than me.

Poor, poor little boy. What pain he must have endured.

In the hallway by the kitchen was an understairs cupboard and Paul told me some years back that the old man used to lock him in there after a beating.

Mum said she knew nothing about it!

A REJECTION on both counts – parents are supposed to love and protect you.

Upstairs, the floor boards were dark in colour with a few rugs scattered here and there and I remember at some point a large train set being laid out on my brothers floor.

Another vivid memory of living in number 26 is of me having a bath with another little girl who was wailing loudly in utter protest. Our Mother’s were the best of friends and we attended ballet lessons together. The girl had an adopted brother who lived, detatched from their house in a kind of shed-like room and as I grew older when we visited, I knew that was very wrong. He was left out in the cold (literally) and always presented with ill health. Both mother and daughter communicated abruptly to the boy and his obvious exclusion was heartbreaking to watch. I felt sad about the boy who lived outside and I remember asking my Mother why?

There was never a definitive answer.

Even at such a young age, I felt a deep connection for other’s and the natural desire to help them.

Maybe our parents belonged to the, ‘it’s acceptable to abuse children club’ or even, ‘it’s okay to turn a blind eye club’- maybe it was fashionable in the 70’s?

I am choosing to be human in this present moment as I write using sarcasim and a certain defiance. As a therapist I have the skills to look beyond their collective behaviour and begin to understand the reasons why so much abuse was delivered. Of course there is always more to a story and every person that I write about here has their own past that shaped who they became and how they behaved.

For now – just for now, I am tired of being the one that understands, the one that justify’s the one that clarify’s…

It was moving day. I was riding my blue and yellow, hard wheeled little bicycle along the pavement dinging my Magic Roundabout bell. I remember my father hollering at me to STOP because I was heading straight for the road.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Or else!

My daughter was invited last minute, to a sleepover last night.

Driving home after drop off, I could feel the anxiety slowly building inside. Just the thought of staying on my own in the house all night long was enough to set an old, out of date, pattern off – Full swing.

I pulled the blinds and shut the curtains in the whole house; the evening was still so bright.

I shut the doors to the bedrooms, dining room and kitchen leaving a space that felt enclosed and safe.

I live in a bungalow.

I turned the light’s on in the hallway, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, lounge and my bedroom.

They remained on all night.

Unable to open the windows for air, the heat from the summer evening was unbearable so I stripped off naked and stayed that way until 2.55 am having watched 6 parts of “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

Sleep was not an option until I could no longer keep my eyes open.

When I was a child I can remember going through a stage of being very frightened to go to sleep in the dark. My father was strict and there was a ‘no nonsense rule at bedtime “or else!” – after saying our prayers I would wrap myself up in my thick yellow eiderdown, leaving a tiny whole to breathe.

Then I would pray some more.

Dear Lord

please forgive me for the sins that I have committed
please keep
Mummy Daddy Paul and Ashley safe
don't let anything happen to them
please take this itching down below away
thank you

Amen


I had the most horrendous internal irritation when I was small. It seems like I endured it for a very long time. I tried with every effort to describe it to my Mother and the Doctor and being so little, neither seemed to understand it or me.

That prayer was recited for many years, well into adulthood. I literally could not; not say it, just incase!

My Mother worked at a local factory five nights a week for 10 years.

I was 3 years old when she started.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

The Door

My parents bedroom door – 2019

The Door.

This Door.

This ugly old stained Door.

The significance of this Door, throughout my life has been heartbreakingly, paralysing and as I sit here writing with tears streaming down my face, the powerful erratic emotions are stil very evident.

There is always choice.

The next part of my story is about a 13 year old little girl called Shellie, a nickname given to her when she was tiny and a little girl that I know oh so very well.

The enormity of that night which my younger self experienced, led to living a life very much unprocessed and coming from a place of fear;

A life of struggle.

A life of inner turmoil.

A life of self abandonment.

A life of self punishment.

A life of resisitance.

A life of feeling a failure.

A life of feeling ashamed.

A life of rescuing and…

An incredible awareness of other people’s pain.

An openess to meet people where they are at.

Authenticity.

Unbelievable insight and knowledge.

Deep connection.

Overwhelming love for others.

Forgiveness.

Gratitude and…

Grace.

For her… this is all for her to honour her strength, resilience and bravery for against all odds and alone, she saved her Mother’s life that night.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip 2019