Wednesday, 13 May 2009

My Mother. (part 1)

I thought I would tell you about my mum.

Grab a chair, are you sitting comfortably?

I don't want you to think that she was this terrible person, but I have to say right here at the beginning, Mum had in many ways a rotten life and while I did know a fair bit about her while she was alive, I only really learnt more about her after her death. I can now understand her much better and have in fact put the record straight for a number of people who passed the buck on to my Mum. While my relationship with her was very rocky,(she always favoured my brother) I will not tolerate injustice towards my Mum.

Do we ever really know our parents, they say that our children are only on loan to us, but I have come to believe that this applies to our parents as well.
If you are very lucky, you do get to be close to them and maybe you are then lucky enough to really get to know them. I wasn't that lucky, but I have grown to know and understand why.
I only wish that, I had this understanding of her before she died.

Mum was born in 1939, she would have been 70 this July and I don't really know terribly much about her early years.
However what I do know horrifies me, to my very core and for me explains a lot about her and the way she was.

Mum was born to a large family of 9 and very poor parents, by the age of 3, she had been placed into a children's home, along with all her brothers and sisters. This continued until she was 16 and then she was on her own.
It wasn't until after her death that I found out the reason why. Basically I came across a letter in my own file at my doctors. Now the letter was actually written by a specialist about me, in 1968 and I was 4 1/2, in which he is discussing my behaviour. Don't worry turns out I was normal.

However, there is a paragraph in the letter about my mother in which it says.....

"Mrs X is very unstable and the root of her troubles lie in her emotionally deprived upbringing. She herself was rejected by her Mother at a very early age. She tells me both her parents went to prison for cruelty to their own children. Interestingly enough Mrs X's own mother also preferred boys to girls-the girls were rejected and the boys were over protected and spoilt"

At first it rocked my World on a number of levels. I had always known that my Mum favoured my brother Roy ( not a problem really as he is such a great brother, he's my hero, even to this day) but seeing it in black and white was a real shocker.

Then, the line "Mrs X herself is very unstable", now I don't entirely disagree with this, I do think that my Mum had a terrible time coping, after all she had no-one except my worthless father, (I will tell you more about him at a later date, but trust me worthless is not a strong enough word for this man) a man who beat her and abused her.

So, by 3 my Mum had been rejected by her own mother and father, been cruelly treated by them both and dumped into a children's home, it all so transpires that most of her siblings were scattered to the four corners of the U.K. In fact she never actually meet all of her siblings.
Mum was also shuffled from foster home to foster home. Where we do know she was further abused.

Then she turned 16 and was suddenly thrust into the World alone. This area of her life is even more sketchy and I know even less. One thing my brother and I know, is that she meet a man, had a relationship with him and conceived my brother.

Poor girl, must have thought that she had finally found someone to love her and a home, they were I know living together. Turns out, he was an older married man and the second Mum told him she was expecting, he was on his toes and running straight back to the wife.

By 17 she had given birth to my brother, again this is sketchy, but this was 1957 and Mum was in a mother and baby home. The Social Services tried to take away my Brother and luckily, as it would turn out for me, years later, Mum got wind of this and took off with her then 3 week old son. With no money and nowhere to go.

Where she went and what she did, I do not know, but I do know that she went on to meet a man called Peter. He was in the Army and I know they married very quickly, she then gave birth to a daughter Lynda in 1959 and then another son, Anthony in 1960. Mum and her husband lived in Aldershot in Army Quarters and in 1960, not long after the birth of Antony, the whole family was shipped out to South America, to what was once called British Guyana. (Now known as Guyana after being granted Independence in 1966.)

Mum wasn't in a happy marriage and much has emerged since her death and along with what Roy knows and I know, plus a massive pile of paperwork, I have managed to find out that she meet my own father, who was in the same regiment as Peter, by all accounts (I have meet Peter, so was able to talk to him about it all), they were close friends. Peter had already started to beat my mother

My mother began an affair with Albert (my father) and as her marriage collapsed around her, the beatings got worse. I found Army paperwork, that stated she and her 3 children were repatriated to Aldershot, on the grounds of health and safety by the Army themselves.
I think the plan was to get my mother away to safety. However the Army sent her home to Peter's parents....a big mistake as it later turned out.

Again, a lot of what happened is some what sketchy. Peter followed her home, as did my own father after both of them were discharged from the Army. I have no idea if this was a normal discharge or not.

This is where Mum's life then took an even worse turn.
Peter's parents, by all accounts did not like Mum and in fact idolised their son, who in their eyes could do no wrong. His mother was particularly mean to my Mum, an admission Peter gave to me a few years ago after He was confronted about the truth.

It is fair to say that while my mother was not entirely blameless, for the things that had happened to her, there should have been someone on her side. Just one blooming person.

What happened next is even worse and I can not even begin to work out, what this must have felt like for her then and for the rest of her life, but she did once say to me that she learnt then, that she could not trust and rely on a single living person, something which stayed with her for the rest of her life.

But I think for now, I have said enough.

Have you ever seen the film "Cathy come home" well I don't doubt that my Mum's life was very much like that and for quite some considerable time. There is a scene in the film where Social Services take away Cathy's children, for me this is a harrowing scene as it is very close to home for me, but it is mostly because it gave me an insight to what happened to my mother upon her return to England.

As it is rather harrowing for me, I will leave it here for now, but as I have said, don't see her as a terrible woman or for that matter blameless, I certainly don't, but she was with out doubt in my mind a victim of her circumstances and lack of support.

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