Saturday, 7 September 2013

Leaving school and back to an empty house!

I remember the evening of June 26th 2011 so well. It was the night before my final exam and I decided that I had done as much physics revision as I could cope with and that if I don't know the material then I would never know it! I also recall thinking that if I didn’t get the grades I needed it was because I just wasn't good enough. I had given my final year at school all that I had to give.

I expect that almost everybody has vivid memories of finishing their final exam and so counting as having officially left school. As I walked out from the exam room I was intercepted by the Head of the Sixth Form who took me to see the Head Teacher. They said all sorts of nice things about me and told me that I was going to be awarded the Overcoming Adversity prize at the Celebration of Achievement event held in September.

Before I left I made a final visit to the Sixth Form Block. None of my closer friends were around to chat to and I already had a curious feeling of detachment, even remoteness, from my school days.  I had been focused on those pesky exams for as long as I could remember and I didn’t know what I was going do with all the free time. I left the school via Reception meaning to say goodbye to some of the people there who had helped me. But the long queue of people waiting to be processed meant I didn’t bother. I just gave the long-suffering staff a wave. It felt so strange walking out of the front door and towards the car park for the last time; especially as I could see that there were still lessons going on for most year groups.

I sat in the car for a couple of minutes just to postpone my final departure. I know that as I drove off I said something like, “Mum and Dad if you are looking down at me: Remember what Juba says in Gladiator "I will see you again... but not yet... Not yet!"

One of the hardest jobs I had to do in the time between school and university was sorting out all of Mum and Dad’s possessions. Going through their clothes wasn't nearly as bad I had thought it was going to be but I'm glad I had a former school friend with me to help. Some stuff I threw away but I took all the nicer items to a local charity shop. It did feel strange walking out of the shop leaving behind so much of what had made Mum and Dad look the way they did.

I also sorted through the books and magazines that they had collected over the years. I kept a few, including the ones they were in the middle of when they got killed, but most went to a different charity shop.

Finally all their more personal possessions were listed so the family could have anything that I didn’t want for myself. I kept Mum's engagement and wedding rings - perhaps for me to use myself when I get older. I also kept all the photos and a few recordings that had Mum and Dad's voices on.


  1. One of the hardest things I've had to do was sort through Mama's things after her passing. The fact that we were estranged did not make it less difficult. It had to have been doubly hard for you, Sally... my heart truly goes out to you.

  2. Thank you for bothering to read AND then write a comment. It is much appreciated.

  3. You're very welcome, Sally. You know, your writing is helping me with mine... reading of all you have been through and continue to face every day... and then to write about it... to bare your soul for any and all to see... your courage is inspiring.

  4. I didn't have to go through Dad's things because Mum did it. It must have been really difficult. You're very brave.