I’ve always been the quiet one, the introvert, happy at home with my family and a few close friends,. I’m ok with that but it does seem to irritate Stephen at times, who is the complete opposite. Although in recent years he too relishes the moment at the end of the day when everyone has left, that we can lock the door and retreat in to our little sanctuary.
As a child I always had a best friend rather than a group of friends. It was the same when I went to Grammar School. I was mortified as I was the only girl to pass the 11+ that year which meant I had to make this transition alone and how I hated it. I was tall, geeky and an only child plunged into a massive grammar school where I felt totally lost and overwhelmed. Again, I made a few close friends and remain in touch with them to this day. I always remember as a naive 15 year old being encouraged to go into the local off licence to buy some cider for some ‘ friends’. ‘Go on’, they encouraged, ‘you are tall and you look older’. So like a fool I went ahead only to be closely followed by a member of the local constabulary. Oh the shame of it all! Marched through the village, closely followed by the Bobby, most of my friends scarpered apart from one, who followed in the shadows of this huge Police man, not really wanting to be involved but not wanting to abandon me. I arrived home to be greeted by poor nan who I remember to this day, was bathing my baby sister. I was given a severe talking to by the policeman and I slunk off to my bedroom waiting the wrath of my parents. I remember sat on my bed with a black cloth over my head, so so embarrassed. I needed have worried about my parents though – my dad thought it was very amusing and told me next time I wanted cider, he would get a bottle – he was just cross I’d trusted these ‘ friends’ who lured me into their trap. My mother never said much, my nan was a bag of nerves as we’d never have a policeman in the house before. A salutary lesson learnt, some friends are actually the proverbial sheep in wolf’s clothing.
So now in my 50s I have still only have a few close friends. My forever friend is Ann, whom I have known for 25 years – we worked together and have shared all of life’s experiences together, both good and bad. Ann has always been there for me and I value our friendship greatly. I have made friends in more recent years with a neighbour who has talked me out of many a gloomy place on more than one occasion. I have a few other friends who are rarely see but I know are there for me if needed. Facebook changes the concept of friends – yes I have over 300 ‘friends’ but in reality the majority of these are just superficial acquaintances . In fact I have totally scaled down my social media involvement as I find it too intrusive during difficult times like this. Conversely though I am a member of a forum and the ladies on there have become ‘cyber’ friends and have helped me through the past two years. My involvement on that forum inspired me to do this blog so they can keep up with the nitty gritty ( and very boring) parts of my journey.
Family – my close family are very supportive – that is my husband, daughter and her partner, and my sister. My sister is a lot younger than me and I always mistaken as her mother, I’m used to it now. She is not a talker and so I don’t really confide in her as I think she finds it difficult. She is very angry at what has happened and feels I have been completely let down, I’m trying not to share her feelings as I can’t afford to. We don’t talk much though and if we do it’s mainly about the boys, my nephews. I talk to my daughter, her partner and of course Stephen, they have to work hard to keep me positive. I honestly don’t know where I would be without them.
The rest of my family apart from a few cousins, are probably unaware if the seriousness of this – I don’t think I was forgiven for my mother having to go into care, only one of my aunties said ‘ you had no choice’, I’d waited years to hear that and I broke down. It’s so hard, we all have our problems like most families.
Hard times will always reveal the true colours of friends and family