The day I have been dreading, the day that I have put off for 30 years, it has happened, and I survived it.
Things were changing on the way to the airport. I had built myself up so much it was crazy. I decided that day that I would stop smoking when I arrived. I have needed to for a long time, but it has been a nice comforter whilst going through this. I’ve tried to give up on previous occasions, but never succeeded. This time I figured that If I could do this, tell my family, then stopping smoking would be a doddle, so that’s that, no more smoking.
I had the late flight; it didn’t arrive until after midnight. The whole family came to the airport to meet me, they always come in force.
There is a long journey at the other end, not helped by diversions and a closed service station!! Who even knew they had locks on the doors? Needless to say, when we arrived home, we were all pretty exhausted, and I was feeling rather emotional and fragile.
My Dad and Brother had a big hug off me, and they went to bed at around 2.30am. My dad is 81, 2.30am is a really late night!!! My brother works hard all week, and that’s 3 hours before he normally leaves for work!!! They were pooped.
My Mum and I sat up for a while, and I felt sad seeing her so happy to have me home when I knew that it may not last.
I had decided previously that I wouldn’t say anything on the night I arrived home as it would be late. The following day we would have a nice Sunday together, the last supper of normality if you will, and then, when my brother was at work on the Monday, I would tell them. As with all of the best laid plans, this isn’t what happened.
As my mum gave me a hug goodnight, she held me really tight, she kissed me and said she was so happy to have me there. The tiredness and the emotions got the better of me and the tears started to fall. I couldn’t stop. She held me, asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t say, this wasn’t my plan! I kept sobbing whilst she held me, saying that if I told her, it would change everything. Well obviously she wasn’t going to bed leaving it like that, so she insisted I tell her. It all came out. The name, the neighbor – Twat face, when it happened, how he had taken advantage of a sick pre-teen, why I hadn’t been home, the ill health, why I was there now, why I couldn’t do it on my own any more. She just held me.
“It’s not your fault” she repeated over and over whilst she held me tightly. She held me close, she smoothed my hair, she let me cry and didn’t shush me once.
When I had run out of tears, she told me that it would all be OK, and that we would deal with it all tomorrow, and that I should try and sleep. My mind was thinking ‘I wish’, but my body had other plans, and with the help of a tablet, I slept better than I had in months.
When I woke in the morning, the rest of the family was already up. I left my room, and walked in to the kitchen. My dad was there making coffee.
“Coffee darling?” he asked. I couldn’t tell if he knew or not. Then he gave me a kiss good morning and gave me a big hug. I still wasn’t sure. My dad always gives me the most amazing hugs that leave you in no doubt that you are loved totally, deeply, and unconditionally. I wish I had remembered that. He asked me how I was, and he had a tear in his eye. I guessed then that mum had told him. He was incredible, and after our hug, he said that Twat Face was a bastard, but we would get through this as a family. That was all I needed to hear, and couldn’t believe that all these years I didn’t think they would be able to cope. They are obviously devastated, and sad that I have gone through all of this without them being able to help. They would have liked to have helped me through, but all the time I was trying to protect them. How silly. Silly nit (short for nitwit) is what my father called me.
They didn’t crumble, they didn’t collapse in grief, no one had a heart attack from the shock, in fact, none of the things that I had imagined in any of my scenarios of how this would play out happened. They were sad, but they were strong, they were understanding, they were loving, supportive; I just couldn’t have imagined a better way. Even when our eyes filled up and we were emotional, I was still incredibly proud of my family, and felt overwhelmed by their love.
My brother was angry, he was so upset and wanted nothing more than to drive his car through Twat Faces’ living room, but we managed to talk him down, explaining that we were not that kind of family. We had clear consciences, and as a result, we would heal. His conscience would be heavy, he would have to live with what he did, and that we were better off being us than him. He will get his whatever way this plays out. As this was still a ‘secret’ within the community, if he were to get hurt by my darling brother, the story would be that the poor old pensioner up the road, the one who has a licence to give Communion in Church, who gave piano lessons to children way back when, and visited the sick, was beaten up by my brother, and he would look like the bad guy. Yes, gives communion in church, you heard it right. Visits the sick – yep, St. Twat face, but so did Jimmy Saville, so don’t be fooled.
I decided to go to church with my mum that day. I didn’t want to leave her to face him alone. Although he wasn’t due to give Communion that day, he would still be there. During the service there is a part where the congregation offer peace to each other. Everyone shakes hands, and I needed to make sure that my mum didn’t shake him by the neck.
It came close, but that’s another story…