Mum and Dad used to make running the home look simple. Trust me when I say that it isn’t.
My first job once Nan and Granddad had driven
off without seeing me was to find some clean bedclothes so that I had somewhere
to sleep. But of course since the heating had been turned off the clothes
cupboard wasn’t warm and so all the bed clothes were cold and slightly damp
feeling. So I put them on the drying
rack in front of the fire to air and warm through while I wrote down the list
of jobs that I needed to do. And so it went on for several hours; every routine
job seemed to take an age and before I realised it was tea-time.
Ah, no food in the
house. Food shopping had been Mum’s area so off I drove the superstore. I never
realised that food was so expensive! Who needs meat anyway? Cooking I could
manage so I had a decent tea before looking again at the massive list of chores
that needed doing.
The garden was a mess.
It had been designed to be low maintenance because neither Mum nor Dad liked
gardening but low maintenance doesn’t mean zero maintenance. I never did master
this part of running a house and I think the neighbours used to fret a bit at
how untidy it was.
I went to bed fairly
early and it was such a pleasure not to have to worry about Granddad coming into
my room without knocking. I remember walking around with nothing on feeling
And then I started to
cry. Almost my first real, let it all come out, cry since the accident. When
people talk about floods of tears they must have been thinking about me. I just lay on my bed bashing the pillow as
hard as I could saying again and again to Mum and Dad, “Why did you have to
leave me to face all this crap on my own?” This wasn’t some silly game, this wasn’t some
horrid phase with a clear end point, this was how it was going to be for as far
into the future as I could see!
Eventually I calmed
down. And as I lay there thinking I realised that I had a simple choice. Force
myself to be a grown-up long enough to finish all my exams and go off to
university or give up on all my dreams by being weak and feeble. I knew I didn’t want to go through life
wishing, if only I had done this, that or the other so that first night really
was the first day of the rest of my life.
It was what they call a
steep learning curve for the first few weeks. My aunt came over to help me with
some paperwork jobs that I had no idea how to start and she brokered a “peace
treaty” between Nan and Granddad and me. Basically we ignored each other and
agreed never to discuss what had happened when I was living with them. This was
an agreement they broke later on and this will be part of a later blog entry.