Sunday, 21 July 2013

Support networks - part 1

There are two types of support networks, practical and emotional, and if you have lost both your parents trust me when I say that you will need both.

I was unlucky in that immediately after the accident it genuinely seemed logical and best that I went to live with my Grand Parents. Apart from anything else they lived nearby so if I moved in with them I would not have to change schools; which as I was in the middle of my AS course was seen as being a good thing.

Had they been normal in every respect, which God knows they were not, my GPs would not have been able to meet my emotional support needs on their own. For a start they were two generations older than me and had been brought up when things were genuinely much harder than they are now. Emotion and empathy were not part of their make-up and it meant that all the mixed emotions I was feeling were a complete mystery to them. Their idea of supporting me was to forbid me from talking about my Mum and Dad and punishing me if I did!

The Mother’s sister was ready, willing and able to support me but my GP’s, for reasons I never understood, were against this and the weekly phone call that my Aunt and I exchanged was very closely monitored by my Nan.

If it hadn’t been for the Head of the Sixth Form I would have been in serious trouble. She was a star, an angel. She had a senior pastoral post plus a substantial teaching commitment yet she still always seemed to be able to find time to help me. I would arrive at her office in a frenzy of stress and sadness and she would get her hankie box out and help me through the day. One day at a time was what people told me to do and one day at a time was the only way I could cope.

My school friends did their best to help. Of course they did but they had their own lives to lead and it wasn’t too long before I realised that sharing my problems with them was potentially driving a wedge between us and so crying, or even looking sad, could only be done in small doses.

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