I have always known that I would need emotional or practical support if I was going to get over Mum and Dad being killed and I would like to think that I have always welcomed into my life anybody who wanted to help me. I have been lucky that loads of people of different faiths or of no faith at all have supported me on what became a long and rocky path.
The only people who have offered help that wasn’t help at all were an evangelical Baptist counsellor (suggested by the local vicar), an American lady I met through Facebook and my Mother's closest friend.
Mum's friend was the saddest of the three. The two of them had been best friends for years and I knew her, her husband and her children really well. She had spoken to me before and immediately after the funeral but after a couple of weeks of providing really valuable support she seemed to lose interest. Her emails got shorter and shorter and the delay between me contacting her and receiving any reply got longer and longer. I still see her in the town, she shops in the same supermarket that I use, but even four years after the accident she still cannot bring herself to have a proper conversation with me.
The evangelical Baptist was only ever on Granddad’s side. She actually supported his right to beat me on biblical grounds. Her main interest seemed to be trying to get me to see the error of my ways. What I wanted and needed counted for little or nothing. She wanted me to have a theological debate with her and her colleagues and to give up almost everything that made my life half way bearable.
The third of the three was as recent as August 2013. I had an exchange of emails with an American lady who had contacted me totally unsolicited. She approached me as a mature (good), lady (better) and experienced (crisis hot-line) person. She said “there was nothing that is too much for me to handle” – (perfect).
I feel I gave her every possible opportunity to share her relevant knowledge or experience with me but she didn't seem to want to do this. So exactly why did she, as she claimed several times, “reach out” to me? It felt as if she was putting her church at the centre of the process rather than me and that seemed a horribly cruel thing to do!
Her first email was on Monday, by Tuesday it was a Bible Study course that was being promoted, by Wednesday it became clear what religious group she belonged to, by Friday I was feeling pressurised to meet with members of her church and by Saturday she had researched in detail exactly where I lived. This was all rather frightening if I’m truthful.
Overall I know I have been extremely fortunate in the support I was able to access but sometimes I do wonder exactly what was going through these three people's minds!