My story begins many years ago, before I was born in fact.
I was the only daughter amongst two brothers growing up in the countryside in a lovely house with my beloved Grandma living only a few doors away, to the outside world we were the perfect family. My brothers were typical mischievous boys and I was the swooty, sometimes bratty sister.
My first memories of my Mum were of this glamorous dark eyed, dark haired woman who was prettier than any Mum in the School, she was there every day to pick us up from School, sometimes she was forgetful about stuff like costumes for Xmas plays etc but other than that everything seemed fine.
When I was about 11 things began to change, Mum was often asleep when I got in from School and she would slur her words, tea wasn't ready and her makeup was no longer perfect. What was going on? I didn't sign up for this! I wanted to go out and ride my pony or play my cello not deal with Mum having a bad day!!
One day I came home to find the Vicar there and Grandma waiting, Mum was being put into an ambulance, they said it was her 'nerves' I kept looking at the veins in my hands and thought surely hers were fine this morning, my younger brother had wet himself so I took him upstairs and changed his clothes and then Grandma said it was time to go. Go? Go where? I wanted to go riding and do my homework, I stood rooted to the spot and that was when I first witnessed mental illness.
My Mum was sectioned after an overdose of valium and drink, how could she? Selfish bitch!I began to hate her in that moment, she was messing up our perfect world, she had upset my little brother, my Dad was beside himself and she had everything she wanted,why would she do this to us!!?
For six weeks she was kept in the dreaded D Block, I went to School every day and never told a soul my shameful secret, my homework began to slip, I got detentions, teachers would ask what was wrong and I would lie to hide my awful shame.I hated her, she was ruining my life. I sought sanctuary in the stables with my ponies hiding from the world or playing the same sad tune for hours on my cello.
When she eventually came home our relationship changed, my rebellion grew, she had made me suffer and I wanted her to know what it was like, I still went to School but stopped being the model pupil. I still played my cello, somehow that haunting sound reminded me of what I'd lost and I knew its sad melodies made her cry.
As time went on things didn't really improve, she saw specialists but her drinking increased to keep up with the greater demands from three teenagers, she was never there for School functions, not because she didn't want to go but because I was embarrassed that she would show me up in some way so I'd go alone and not look at the audience.
The family had a shock when I was almost 16; I collapsed at School and was taken to the GP without my parents being present,he coldly that I had a heart condition. I went home and announced it calmly at tea watching for her reaction, after all this was her fault; she had done this with her dramatics and stupid nerves! She was hysterical and my Dad started to cry, I ran to my Dad and put my arms around him but when she came to us I pushed her away, I didn't need her before and I didn't need her now, I had a REAL illness, not some dramatic made up story about a bad childhood and mental illness! Ha!I trumped you at last Mother Dearest!
Trips to specialists and Doctors ensued with Dad and Mad Mum always present, I pushed every button I could to make this journey as painful as possible, when I was told I couldn't do sports I went out and won first place in 3 events and the battle I fought against my Mum in my head continued daily, I went out drinking, she could do it and so could I been even more so, her mental illness became more desperate and she started to make up stories about cancer and suchlike, I didn't see these as a cry for help but as a way of snatching all the limelight which pushed me further.
When I was 18 I fought so much with her that I left home and stayed with my then boyfriends’ parents, a few months later I was pregnant with my now daughter and we bought our own place. I told my Mum over the phone who went into her usual hysterics, what about my career, studies etc, after all I was 19, how would I cope? I calmly told her that I'd do the opposite to her and then I knew everything would be fine!
I became ill through the pregnancy and spent quite some time in hospital, Mad Mum and Dad were there for me every day but still I didn't see it and would still punish her with little digs etc, she was still mad after all and until she stopped it I would not let her in.
When my beautiful daughter was born my parents once again were marvellous, her problems continued but she seemed better and focused on Laura and adored her. When Laura was 4 months old underwent major heart Surgery and Mum was meant to help care for Laura but she couldn't cope and my Mum-in-law stepped in, once again she had shown me that the nutter couldn't cope and I cut her off for months refusing to speak to her or let her see Laura even when my parents begged me.
My relationship was a stormy one and eventually as an escape from that I let my parents in and we muddled along for the next few years including when I split from Laura's Dad.
My Dad got sick and they gave up the big house and moved closer to a town etc, I would see them quite a lot and Laura adored them both but she was very close to her Nan and equally my Mum adored her, Laura loved her unconditionally in a way I'd never been able to.
When Laura was 9 Dad dropped a bombshell, he was leaving Mum, he had enough, he couldn't cope anymore, the very thing we had all escaped from he was left to deal with and her anger and frustration was piled on him daily, his health was getting worse and what time he had left he wanted to spend in peace.
I immediately took his side, my younger brother took my Mums and our older brother just didn't seem to care either way, he'd suffered enough and he didn't want to know.
Some months later Laura and I moved to Wales with my partner who am I now happily married to and is Laura's Dad as he adopted her. We were happy in our new home and eventually Mum came to terms with 'losing' Dad and she got on with her life and he moved on with his.
Then about 5 years later I got 'the phone call' the one we all dread, Mum had a massive stroke, she was dying and her liver was failing, I drove home with Laura in tow knowing that I was racing against the clock and prayed all the way back (some 2 hours) that she would hang on for me to say Goodbye.
When I got there all my family were there including Aunties and my Dad, Mum was slipping away but I couldn't let go, it was too soon, she was 58! I ran through corridors shouting for someone to help her, my Dad tried to physically restrain me but I was possessed, when the Specialist coldly told me there was nothing he could do I screamed that he was a liar and it was because she was an alcoholic and mentally ill that they were treating her like this, I insisted they at least give her a drip for fluids and he agreed. She woke 3 hours later very confused but said hello to Laura and clung to her hand,I called the Dr back, he told me this sometimes happened but she would die, again I spat at him that he was a lair. She lasted another day and then another, after 3 months she was ready to be realised to a Nursing Home, although this wasn't what I wanted it was better than death and she wasn't drinking.
For those few months in the Home she was my Mum for the first time in my adult life, we laughed together, cried and I finally told her I loved her. What a happy ending but sadly it wasn't to be.
She made such great progress that they decided with adaption’s she could go back to her flat, she had a lodger who had a drink problem living at her flat but she assured us it would be fine, she was fine. With a heavy heart we moved her home and as the weeks went on the late night phone calls started, she was drinking again and the mental illness made her accuse us of all sorts, I couldn't go this again and I went to see her one last time and told her not to contact me and I never saw her again.
She died in hospital a year ago aged 64, she hung on for 3 weeks ( I'm sure she was waiting for us) but her lodger/parter told no one she was dying until the day after her death. Even after all that time I would have rushed there again to be with her one last time but he denied all of us that chance.
We found out she was dead through her half sister and we didn't even get to go to her funeral as he kept the details from us. She didn't have a hymn or reading or her favourite song played like we'd talked about when she was in the Nursing home. I have nothing of my Mum, I never got to tell her it was okay, I finally understood and I loved her because you see that’s only part of the story as at 17 my darling daughter was hit with mental illness and chronic depression but that’s another story.............
Thank you for taking the time to read my story,I know it goes on a bit but cutting bits out meant it didn't make sense, as a child I despised people with weaknesses and mental health issues, after all they could stop it at anytime, it wasn't like a cancer chewing away at you although actually it was only I never knew till it was too late to stop the rot...........