Tag Archives: Cancer

The True Magic Of Christmas

13 Dec

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This enchanting, charming, beautiful house is located at 25A Hayes Lane Bromley Kent. The family who live here have been showcasing their ever growing collection of Christmas lights for some 25 years now?

Why?

Well, its all done in the name of charity. The festive home owners have helped a number of charities by putting on a spectacular Christmas light display in the hope of raising funds for those less fortunate, national and local charities and even children with special educational needs.

I first saw the house earlier in the week when I was asked to collect my son from school due to illness. Of course it was the middle of the afternoon so the lights were not yet switched on. With that I decided to take the children back tonight for a closer look and let’s just say we wasn’t disappointed!

The house is absolutely smothered in twinkling fairy lights.You will find an assortment of Santa’s displayed on the roof top, as well as a range of giant snow globes and a Santa loaded hot air balloon.

If that’s not exciting enough, the front garden has been totally transformed into something of a magical winter wonderland that leaves children bedazzled.

The first thing that catches your eye as you approach the house is a beautifully lite mini Ferris wheel with a host of festive faces upon it (Santa and a Snowman included)!

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Nutcrackers and toy Soldiers line the pond area while further along the grass the scene of a nativity really blows you away with festive cheer.

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Everywhere you turn, every inch and every corner, you will find something to amaze you. A beautiful wishing well and a life size moving Santa. Colourful wooden trains, talking elves and more.

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As you walk about exploring your surroundings, traditional Christmas tunes can be heard playing through mini speakers. They even have a special red post box just for posting letters to Santa.

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Here’s a little video I made to try and capture just how lovely the light display really was.

As I stood looking at the amazing display that has brought families from a far to see it, I realised just what a truly amazing thing the family living inside are doing for others. The surrounding communities get the privilege of visiting with their children while many charities are indeed lucky enough to benefit from such a place.

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I noted the television flashing in the window and realised that the family were probably sat indoors doing what you or would be doing… only just outside their window, their home was now something of a tourist attraction. But here they are for their 25th year… Seriously how amazing is that? That means these guys were putting smiles on the faces of children while raising essential funds for charity since I was 5 years old.

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I dunno about you guys but I think whoever is living behind door number 25 must be a pretty amazing family.

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As a mum to a child who benefits from such kindness (as you know little man has Aspergers and special educational needs) I just wanted to spread the festive cheer and if possible get those who are able to visit the house to do so.

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Children will not be disappointed. We drove 3 miles to see the lights and would of driven further if needed.

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Sadly, this is in fact the last year that the family will be transforming their home into a beautiful Christmas winter wonderland. So… Wouldn’t it be amazing to finish this lovely tradition on a high? I would love the family to make a lovely large sum of money in donations for this years chosen charities. I plan to go along again before the end of this jolly festive season, so I can give a little more! I haven’t got much but I know every penny counts.

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So, are you local to Hayes Lane, Bromley? Have you seen the magical wonderland? If yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t yet visited and are within traveling distance why not pop along and help make this a beautiful end to a magical tradition.

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Peek A Boo

23 Nov

A beautiful blonde two year old toddled around the house, she giggle excitedly as I removed my hands from my face to shout the words “peek a boo” Her laughter electrifying, my love for her magnified and displayed on my face in the shape of a smile, so big it left little room on my face for anything else.

But then she feel ill and my smile melted, replaced with a thousand tears of heartache… Tears too heavy for a 10 year olds cheek to carry.

Cancer robbed her of many years of childhood, in its place was chemo, Radiotherapy and missed birthdays at home. Her bed not slept in, her duvet untouched. Her home a side room on a children’s ward, that despite the balloons and teddies galore, it wasn’t home… It was just a room for a child to poorly to be home with me, her big sister, playing peek a boo.

Yes… The diagnosis of cancer was nothing but bad, bad luck! It couldn’t be avoided! There was no one to blame!

My mother, devastated, told the doctors they must do all that they can! If that meant medicines that saw her thick beautiful golden locks fade away, then so be it!

If radiotherapy meant she may just have a mild learning disability in the future… Then so be it!

If it meant she may never have children of her own… Then again, so be it!

At least she would still be with us, breathing the air that I breathe! She would still be there to play peek a boo, to hold hands as we grow up! To stand beside me on my wedding day… to drink tea & grow old with me . She is my little sister and there was no questions need answering! She just needed to stay here with me…. And she did!

She did just that, she fraught the cancer that was attacking her little body and even though she was left with a mild learning Disaibilty… Every other possible scenario evaporated, and I mean every one of them!

You see, almost 3 years ago, she gave birth to the daughter we had always suspected she would never have because of the treatment she underwent. Suddenly it felt like god could not be more giving when he gave her the beautiful gift of a daughter, one that she adores.

Finally bad luck had been banished or at least I thought it had… We all did.

That sister of mine who had already been through so much now found herself in the hands of evil, as she became the victim of domestic violence. Love was blind, she struggled to break free because of love, control and power stood in her way.

She was under his spell but eventually broke free for her child’s sake.

Needing help as a new mother and a single one at that, with the council not offering her a home and the prospect of homelessness and possible conflict from her partner she reached out for help in a direction that would only later turn out to be the direction she should have avoided at all cost.

The Social Services!

Only now has her true nightmare bargain… this evil is worse than any cancer! It is one we are powerless to stop it!

From a cry for help to a cry of pain as the Social Services (SS) announce after a year or so of involvement, that they want to take her daughter away… Assess the family as alternative carers if she doesn’t agree, or those carers fail the assessment, an interim order will be shougt and that little girl would be so wrongly snatched away from a loving family home!

Now… I can imagine what you are reading this thinking! SS don’t take kids for nothing. I used to think the same! I honestly never needed to think about it much! I’d read in the paper about targets and bonus, that of forced adoption and secret family courts… But it wasn’t part of my life and I guess my ignorance didn’t want me to think such evil was possible.

I assure you they do take children away from loving parents who have committed no crimes, and this is how…

RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE!

Only now will you understand why I talked about my little sisters cancer! Not because I was crying out for your sympathy vote but because its a huge contributing factor!

Because my sister has a mild learning disability the SS used this to their advantage. She isn’t slow… Hell no, but sometimes she is too compliant for her own good, especially when those doing the pushing are those she thinks she should trust… An authority figure!

Then something happened… something that had my sister flee to them for help and protection but instead she got blackmail. Alone, confused and emotional having just been the victim of abuse! Getting her to agree to conditions on a child protection agreement with that of a signature was like scavenges swarming its prey it was Profoundly immoral and malevolent.

To then set her up in a flat, just so they could monitor her every move while pretending to be there to support her is unthinkable but true. All the time notes were made, notes containing events and points that didn’t even ever happen! With unannounced visits who was there to witness this, who was their to be my sisters witness. With my sister unaware their was even an issue till recently, she failed to tell me…. I only wished I knew these things sooner.

Now they state that my sister, (who I can say with my hand on the bible, is a great mum) May not be able to meet her daughters needs in the future… Because her daughter is advanced at almost 3 years old! They therefore state she may became too cleaver for my sister to parent!

As if it could get any worse… Another reason given for their actions was that of my sisters past abusive relationship which she was sadly the ‘Victim’ off. It seems that falling in love with a scum bag and falling victim to domestic violence now makes you a concern worthy by the SS! Apparently if you have been in this type of relationship the SS can state with confidence that there “Maybe” a risk of emotional abuse in the future! And in the UK “Maybe” and “Future” is good enough!

My sisters cancer and abusive relationship means they won’t be giving her the chance to be her daughters mother, despite this enormous love she has for her that is so powerful only a parent can ever understand it.

She was set up to fail! Parenting class and support were a parenting assessment conducted by those from SS! As a result 60 pages of lies can be found filed under her name.

If she goes to court and she loses, she will be silenced! Her freedom of speech removed by the secret family courts. If she tries to speak she will be jailed! The gag will be forced in her mouth.

How is this still happening in Britain in the year of 2012? How can somebody take a child based on a report of maybes?

How will my little sister who has already been dealt so many heartaches and battles take on one of this scale… She is constantly in tears and cannot eat or sleep… Just how can she fight this.

Her little girl should be beside her, breathing the air she breathes, holding her hand…

My sister should be the one she plays peek a boo with!

This video will open your eyes to a system built on money and targets… One that removes human rights, data protection, freedom of speech and worse children.

Lastly if their is anyone who can help please do contact me please.

Mum you’re my inspiration in all that I do!

18 Mar

So, today is Mothering Sunday, a day to show your appreciation to the woman who carried you, gave birth to you, loved you, sang to you, taught you invaluable life lessons and nurtured you from the day she laid eyes on you!

Although, I’m a mother to three amazingly wonderful children, who have so lovingly surprised me with mini rose brushes and melt in the mouth chocolates, as well as some impressive home-made cards, I’m actually posting today, more so as a daughter than that of a Mother.

I’m thankful to my mother for so many things, more than I could possibly put into words! She, gave me a wonderful childhood, and although at times life was difficult, mum never let anything beat her. It could not  have been easy to discover your 2-year old daughter is riddled with the evilness, one better known as cancer! Yes, my baby sister had leukaemia (Cancer of the blood) and although at 10 years old, I knew this to be bad, it’s only once I had my own children, that I could truly appreciate how much that must have frighten and sadden my mother.

Mum has always been an inspiration to me, she’s the type of woman who doesn’t have a bad word to say  about anybody, even if they are #@•## holes. This is simply her way, one of her many beautiful qualities!

Growing up we had ups and downs, ones I guess mothers and their teenage daughters everywhere could easily relate too. Yes, I was a bit of a rebellious one at age 13, though in my defence, My challenging ways were sorted before they had started (well, that’s not exactly true, It was for a period of one year tops…. honestly)!

At 17 years old I fell pregnant with Little man (aka A boy with Asperger’s) giving birth to him on the first day of October during the year of the millennium! I was now 18 years old, an 18-year-old mother in fact. 

Regardless of such a reality, I wasn’t exactly your “average” 18 year old, I’d already lived and worked in Greece at age 17 and at this point, had been in a relationship a little over 3 years. Of course I worried that my mother would disapprove, think that bit less of me! Though this wasn’t true, mum supported me, she had faith in me, just as she continues to on this day. 

If any of you have followed the blog from the beginning, some 3 plus years now, you’ll understand when I say that for the first few years of my son’s life, all was well! Little man was a good baby, a great toddler who never had a tantrum, Boy did I gloat. Little man spoke early, he spoke well, he met milestones and even exceed a few. He was potty trained by his second birthday and seemed to be the type of child you only heard about in dreams.

Sadly most good things come to an end and although I had noted concerns by the time Little man reached 4, no one really actually listened. It really hit a peak shortly after his 7th Birthday when he displayed the meltdown of all meltdowns, hitting me with a metal pole in the process. This almighty meltdown seemed as if it was sent to make up for all them years without a tantrum. His sleep pattern, well more appropriately “lack of sleep pattern” was at a high, he became an active school refuser giving me my first taste of what life with the AWO (attendance and welfare officer) on your back was like! I guess people found it hard to digest, no, correction, believe! My son could go a whole 48 hrs sleep free, I’d wake up in the most unusual of places, laid on the stairs, on the toilet and quite shocking stood at the ironing board! I was so, tired and had no say in the  process, despite being his mother I failed to improve the situation! Black baggy eyed and rambling to myself on a daily basis, I considered myself to have reached that point, the one referred to as  “Madness”

My mother has been a rock throughout, attending the numerous meetings with professionals, supporting me throughout my battles to obtain the services, educational or otherwise that Little man has needed to progress! No matter what life has thrown in my direction, My mother has been there every step of the way! 

I know I’m incredibly lucky, not everyone in my situation is as lucky to have this degree of support! I’m blessed to have such a wonderful family and I hope that my children grow up to appreciate my mothering ways as much as I do appreciate those of my own mothers!

This is for the woman who thought me the beauty and benefits of good honest value’s ! A woman who showed me how to look at the world and make it my own, a woman who loves me whatever happens, someone who has always believed in me no matter what! This is a woman I owe a thousand thank yous, a woman I admire for her hardworking ways, and sheer positiveness however testing life becomes  …. A woman I’m dead proud to call my mum! 

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MUM

YOU’RE THE INSPIRATION IN ALL THAT I DO  XX

 

Are you making your child feel worthless?

24 Feb

Interesting figures released today, show that anger is the biggest issue driving young people into counselling.

A survey, out today, which was conducted by Relate counsellors, reveals that the most common reason why young people need counselling is because of issues with anger, followed by self esteem and not getting on with parents*.

Children from all walks of life come to Relate for counselling, and official figures show that as many as 54% of these children are there to deal with feeling’s of anger! This was closely followed by issues of low self-esteem at 44% whilst 43% felt as though they were not getting along with parents.

Sadly this research also revealed that nearly three quarters of young people said they felt stressed at least sometimes, with nearly a third saying they felt stressed often or all the time.

The research highlighted:

A massive 64% of young people are depressed or suffering with mental health conditions.

Girls are more likely to be stressed than boys 37% of girls said they often or all the time felt stressed compared to 24% of boys.

It showed the great increase in family break-ups to be as much as 41%
Whereas as many as 23% were stressed as a result of Parents having mental health conditions, where’s 21% were stressed as a result of today’s pressure’s within social media.

What is greatly upsetting, is the shocking statistics that were revealed as, counsellors warned, ‘Being criticised by parents’ is the most common thing that left as many as 82% of children and young people feeling worthless! This was followed by ‘not having anyone to talk to’ or ‘being bullied’ 45% and ‘not getting encouragement from teachers’ 40%.

As many of you already know, Little man easily falls into depressive modes, his self esteem has been moderately damaged due to the treatment and discrimination he entailed whilst in Mainstream school. The fact that Little man has Aspergers Syndrome makes it that bit harder as he has them “typical” difficulties of poor social interaction, a very black and white thinking style as well as the tendency to sometimes act on impulse and say things that others may consider to be “Inappropriate” this therefore doesn’t make him the most popular child in the playground. The fact that Little man has problems regulating his emotions, as well as being able to put what his feeling into words, he hasn’t been so lucky to be able to benefit from such a service.

As a child, I dealt with my own host of mental health problems! I was suffering greatly from OCD and spurts of Bulimia, and this of course resulted in my own depression, which as child, seemed far harder to deal with. Once My little sister was diagnosed with Cancer age 2, things did become much harder and this did result in a short course of counselling.

My point is ‘Counselling can be a great lifeline for these young people. In some cases, having someone to talk to, can really mean the difference between life and death!

Relate has over 70 years experience and are doing a fantastic job to help some 15,000 young people, highlighting their findings to bring more awareness to the rising number of young people dealing with some of the above on a daily basis.

Checkout the campaign video below

Life as a sibling of a child with Cancer

9 Feb

I know first hand what happens to a family when a child is diagnosed with Cancer!

Life crumbles in an ineluctable manner, the world you’re living in changes forever!

You wake each morning to the realisation that this is reality! You’re powerless to make it stop, this frequent perturbing feeling that overcomes you, so powerful, you could vomit.

There’s no warning, you don’t get a say in it, it doesn’t matter that you’re hurting, that it’s causing your family to fall apart all around you… its Cancer, there’s no simple answers, nothing is no longer simple, your inferior to its powers as it goes about damaging all that you love in a pervasive manner.

You see, it’s not easy being 10-years-old, the older sibling of a child infested with Cancer, a 10-year-old filled with befuddlement, yet knows enough to understand the seriousness of the situation just by seeing her father cry!

Life suddenly becomes a waiting game, one minute you’re out playing with your friends, the only worry you have, is what time you need to be in for your tea, next, you’re suddenly worrying whether that thing your mother refers to as “Cancer” will allow your baby sister to live another day.

When my 2-year-old sister was diagnosed as having ‘Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia’ it was if time stood still, yet those around me continued on with life in the same way they always had. You, your family, are unable to look to the future as your apprehensive at what that future may hold!

Life becomes dark, really dark, regardless of the sun that’s actually shining, your world just remains a shadow of lingering darkness, there’s no longer the sound of laughter throughout the home, just this scary vibe of the unknown. Your mother tries with that false smiley face, she does for your benefit, yet you know inside she’s crying as inside you’re crying too!

I sit by my sisters hospital cot, I take her tiny bruised hand the one covered in sticking medical tape to hold the plastic tube in place, in my head I beg God “Please don’t take her away from me and my family”

She’s so weak, looks so fragile, yet she looks up at me with her big blue tired eyes and still manages to show me her beautiful smile. My whole 10-year-old body is swamped with emotions of both love, sadness and fear, yet I don’t know how to deal with it… I just don’t know!

There are day’s I’d sit on the stairs listening to my mothers sobs, the ones she would let out when she thought no one was around, her heart breaking for her tiny little daughter fighting for her tiny life… as a mother powerless to make it better, I can only imagine how she must have felt.

Relationships broke down between a mother and father, both on the same side, yet both dealing with life’s evil turn in their own way.

With each milestone my sister made, another blow sat waiting. Finally discharged from the hospital, she would all to often be whisked back to what was now her home just a few hours later. A simple cough or sneeze could make her so very poorly, yet I yearn to cuddle her, wrap my arms firmly around her and hold her tight.

A shadow of her once lively self with every beautiful blonde hair no longer upon her tiny head she just braved everything life throw at her! Embarking on a long whining road of Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, Infections and endless doses of antibiotics, month after month this little girl refused to give in, she just kept on going.

That beautiful 2-year-old toddler is now a beautiful 22-year-old woman with her own beautiful 2-year-old blonde blue-eyed daughter!

This journey may have started some 19 years ago but I’ll never forget what its like to be part of a family where a child has Cancer, a life threatening illness that took ahold of them so suddenly… I never thought my story would end like this, I honestly thought that my little sister would fly off & play with the angels, yet here I am telling you this, sharing this ending that I will forever and ever be thankful for.

My younger brother ‘Joseph’ (then 7, now 26) with my little sister ‘Rachel’ shortly before diagnosis

I was inspired to write this post to share my experiences of being a sibling to a child with Cancer, by the lovely Nickie O’Hara, who blogs over on the blog Typecast. Nicky is a mother who can relate to my own, therefore doing a wonderful job in helping the “CLIC Sargent” (a charity supporting children with Cancer) to raise awareness of its Yummy Mummy week which commences on the 10th-18th March 2012.Click here for info on Yummy mummy week

By posting a selection of blogging prompts over a 4 week period, Nickie hopes to get us as all joining in and doing something yummy, by choosing a prompt, blogging about it and linking up on a Thursday… This is week two and I was inspired by the prompt “ Yummy post: What happens to a family when a child is diagnosed with Cancer? How do Siblings, parents cope?”

To check out the other prompts, gain more information on the awareness campaign or the Yummy mummy week, visit Nickie over on Typecast where you’re also be able to read many more post supporting this worthy cause.

Just a little girl (part 2)

23 Aug

Just a little girl (part 2)

This is a follow on from the post, ‘Just a little girl (part one)’

OCD was now a big part of my life. I can only describe it as a nomality.

As a ten year old child I found it far to powerful to battle. In many ways it made me who I was a paranoid little girl.

Though the fear of fire still gripped me, I now had a far greater fear, “Death” No one told me that the cancer within my little sisters body had the power to take her life! I just kind of knew! This petrified me and practically sent my OCD into overkill!

I never took chances, I couldn’t afford to miss a nightly prayer! I forced myself to continue with the rituals, over and over again.

Looking back, I can see why my, “Odd” behaviour wasn’t picked up by my family. Life was manic which in many ways made the OCD easier for me to hide! Yes, though OCD was a big part of my life, I still knew, deep within, that my behaviour wasn’t the, “Norm”! OCD may well have been a nomality to me, but it wasn’t for everyone else, it was, “strange, weird, odd, carzy and a little bit loopy” Did I see myself as a crazy child? Yes, I guess I did!

This was nineteen years ago, I didn’t have google to turn to. As far as I was concerned, their were no others like me. This fact a lone made it far harder to even comprehend telling anyone, so at this point nobody knew, (and if they did, they never said so)!

There was no discerment, I didn’t know why I made myself carry out what I knew deep down to be pointless actions. Yet, the OCD just obscured any practical thinking this ten year old had, leaving me relentless to it’s powers.

Despite my OCD and my sisters illeness, my childhood was a happy one. I loved that I lived with both my mother and grandmother. I remain close to my father despite him not living at home with us.

The years that my sister was seriously I’ll must have been the hardest and most tiresome in my mothers life. My mother had always worked & continues to this very day. Rachel was so sick my mother was forced to take leave. She was now frightened to leave her daughters bedside. Rachel’s care was now shared between three different hospitals, ‘Lewisham’ (our local hospital) ‘Great Ormond St’ (the London based hospital for very sick children) & ‘Barts’ (another London based hospital with a specialised Cancer unit). My mother didn’t know if she was coming or going.

Only now as a mother do I fully appreciate just how difficult a time this must have been for her.

I remember all to well the effects, ‘Leukemia’ had on my sister, who was nothing but a toddler when it struck. I was visiting her at, ‘Great Ormond St’ once, when she throw up all over me, resulting in me needing to go home wearing an operating gown, (which clearly displayed my underwear at the back)! Lucky for me, we wasn’t using public transport, (as we usually would)! My uncle was with us, meaning we would be going home in the car.

Another strong memory I have is my sisters, “sudden” hair loss. I remember this baby with beautiful, thick, floppy, White blonde hair. What seemed like over night, it was all gone leaving her with nothing but a completely bald head.

Children at school would say the most nasty things, like, “Hows your little brother?” I would often fall for it, replying, “His fine, thank you” only to be laughed at and told, “Not that brother, your little bald one”

I look back now and see that, “yes, they were just silly little kids who didn’t understand, but at the time, I just wanted to hit out at each and everyone of them!”

I do remember one particular occassion, my sister was allowed home for a few days (very rare) I danced with her in my mothers rooms. She was dressed in nothing but a nappy. It was a very warm summers day and I could her the children playing outside. I had no desire to join them, I just wanted to be with my sister. As we danced I told her I loved her, in my head I was praying for her not to die! That’s one of my strongest childhood memories.

As if our family hadn’t had enough bad news, things were about to get worse. Not long after my sisters diagnosis, my first cousin on my fathers side of the family, was hit with the very same cancer! I can’t remember how old she was, older than Rachel, just a few years younger than myself I think! This means she was 7 or 8 years old at the time. Can you begin to imagine, both my father and his sister were parents of two very sick little girls, battling leukemia. I will never forget my mother shouting at my father, “But they told us it didn’t run in families!” You have to agree, this seems like more than a coincidence, it was almost as if God had it in for us.

Well, I’m pleased to report that both my sister and cousin are now healthy young women, both each with a beautiful daughter of their own. Both fought the scary C word we all fear, both came out the otherside.

By the age of 12 and fast approaching a, “Teen” things started to go a little bonkers for me. I started secondary school, took up smoking and was fast becoming a rebel. The nights remained as bad as ever, so during the day I just wanted to enjoy myself, have some fun. For the first time in my life I noticed makeup and boys. I watched when the, “popular girls” applied their makeup, tied their ties shorter, while rolling up their skirts. This was what I was becoming! The toilets become my regular hangout, where I would smoke my way through lessons.

It was during this time, that I started to pay attention to what I ate. So much talk amongst the girls involved the topic of, “Diets”

Looking back now, this scares the hell out of me. Yes, I don’t want my own daughter who is eight to worry about her weight at this crazy age. As 12 year olds, we were far to young to take on such issues! Yet here we are in a day and age where girls as young as 7 (maybe younger) have been known to have body hang ups. This is something that causes me great sadness!

Me, I was a stick, (so to speak). I was a healthy child, a girl who could eat what she wanted yet remained naturally silm. Some of the girls, who I wanted to mix with, the ones I were convinced were the, “In crowd” openly discussed how they made themsleves throw up after dinner, how it was a win, win situation, you could eat what you wanted and remain silm… For fuck sakes, we were just 12 years old! By the time I was almost 13 I was doing this regularly. This was despite the fact I knew I was thin, I didn’t even think I was fat! Yet, it was now more then a habbit, almost an addition. Worse, Bulimia now mixed in with the OCD resulted in an explosive combination. Combined, the OCD now controlled the Bulimia. Life was about to hit an all time low.

The last part of my story will follow soon. Just a little girl (part three) will be the final post which concludes my story. Please return to find out the ending.

Note the story has been written to raise awareness of some of these issues, why highlight why I have an understanding of some of Little mans difficulties. Although I don’t have Aspergers, I do relate to his OCD behaviours and is over anxiety.

Just a Little girl (part one)

4 Aug

A smiley little eight year old girl with golden blonde locks in pig-tails could be seen darting about in the summers evening sunshine with all her friends. Her eyes were so big and so blue, her massive smile lit her whole face causing her eyes to twinkle, her laughter, it was electrifying , her giggles infectious. She had many friends on the street in which she played and lived along with her Mother, Grandmother, Little brother and baby sister. She was truly loved by all, such a care free, happy child. 

 But once all the children had been called in for tea, bath and then bed, the Little girl could no longer hear the giggling happy voices of her wonderful friends, but that of her own thoughts, the ones she felt convinced would drive her insane.

 At bedtimes she would pretend to sleep but wait anxiously for her mother to go to bed just so she could finally do what needed to be done. Her mother would sometimes stay up far to late, but more than not the little girl battled her bodies urge to sleep, It had to be done, or she would be punished, Yes, she would be punished by God.

 Finally she would hear her mothers footsteps coming up the stairs, first she would go to the toilet, followed by the bathroom to wash her hands, face and brush her teeth, finally the bedroom door would click shut and the little girl would wait a few minutes allowing her mother time to fall into a peaceful sleep, then…..

 On her little tip toes, and ever so quietly the little girl would creep down the very creaky old wooden stairs, first stop, ” The living room”  

 Right… Ashtrays first, next plugs and sockets. With her little fingers crossed she would count,” 123, 123, 123, quickly uncross her fingers, then crossing them again she counted 123, 123, 123! Six sets of 123 but if added together they made the number eighteen! She didn’t do it once or even twice but six times, six times for each and every plug socket in the living room, kitchen and hall way. 

What in the hell was this little girl counting for, and in this strange way at such a ghastly hour?

Its like I’ve said, she was counting plug sockets! Is it that hard to understand?

 Some items in the little girls house needed to remain plugged in, the freezer for one! This bothered the Little girl she needed to sleep, how could she sleep knowing the freezer was left plugged in? What if their was a fire? It would be all her fault! Ignoring the urge and the thoughts that bombarded her head she sneaked back up to her bed. “Did I check that the gas rings on the cooker where turned off ?” she asked herself! She knew her Grandmother always made sure she turned the cooker off and she was almost certain she had checked it and counted it just as she had with all the plugs and plug sockets and that of the ashtrays. What if she was wrong and the cooker blow the house to pieces! It would be all her fault she would kill her family! It was far to much for an eight year old to deal with so for the second time that night she quietly made her way back down the stairs but didn’t just check the cooker, she rechecked everything in the same way she had before.

 Some nights the little girl did this some eight times or more. Sometimes she woke her mother or was unable to face the fight with that of her own mind so she would unplug the freezer, much to her mothers horror!

 When that little eight year old girl crawled back into bed so tired she could hardly keep her little eyelids open she would force herself to pray to god, asking that he kept a long list of family and friends safe! To end her prayer she crossed her little fingers and counted in the same way she always did. Yes, sometimes the little girl did this six times, other times she thankfully feel asleep on the first attempt (Thank goodness).

 This all started when the little girl was just seven years old, when she first see the TV advert,”Wake up get a smoke alarm!” She had the images of that brown Leather Chesterfield sofa turning into an inferno of black smoke and bight red flames when the cigaret fell from the ashtray! She had the images permanently imprinted in her mind. How could she ever forget what she had seen fore the little girl was sat on that very same sofa! 

 It was just an advert on the TV right! But that Sofa was the same design, even the same colour… Did that mean the same thing would happen!

 Life went on quite normally around her. Days, months and years passed in a haze and when that Little girl was ten years old her world changed for ever. 

 “Where’s mum and Rachel”  asked the little girl when she found herself at her mothers friends house alongside her little brother. Rachel her little sister was now two and a half. She hadn’t been well lately and that worried the Little girl. She was told her mother would be back soon, but she had a horrible feeling. Then sat on the stairs she heard her mummy’s friend crying, she was on the floor crying.

 Some days later the little girls mummy told her that her baby sister would need to stay at the hospital as she was quite sick. No one said how sick! Yet neighbours and friends knocked on her door and brought flowers, people visited and hugged mummy as she cried. I’m sorry was the words she always heard. Her daddy who just stayed over at weekends seemed to be staying more often, everything was suddenly different and confusing.

But the Little girl wasn’t stupid! This Little girl was wiser than most ten year olds, she knew this was bad. 

 Her mother wasn’t at home much anyone and her grandmother and sometimes father looked after her. It felt like a life-time when finally her mother told her she could visit her little sister.

 As she sat with her mother and brother she took in her mothers words, trying to make sense of it all! “Rachel’s very sick and because she’s very sick she has been given special medicine to make her better. The medicine is very strong and this makes some peoples hair fall out.” Her mother struggled to get her words out… The little girl asked, “Mum, has Rachel had the medicine, has Rachel got no hair?” The mother who was trying so hard to hold back her tears, shook her head, “No, she doesn’t Claire”  

 That’s right, the little girl was me! My baby sister had cancer (Leukaemia, known as cancer of the blood) and my mother was the bravest mother in the world.

 I remember looking at the little toddler playing in the hospital cot in a side room at the hospital, I remember the look of fear in my mothers eyes every-time the doctors came to speak with her, my father stood at the window weeping, the sounds of her screams with the needles and injections that she soon become accustomed to!

 I had OCD, through at the time it had no name, it was just normality to me!

I was ashamed and hid this somewhat oddness that was now a massive part of my life and would be for some year to come.

 When my sister became ill my own life was turned upside down forever! We were not a religious family yet I’d prayed for the safety off those I loved since I was seven years old. I had tried to protect them but I must have failed. Only now a woman with my own children, I know it was at this time I took my OCD to a whole new level.

 This story can’t be told in one post so I have decided to tell it in two maybe three parts. My reasons for sharing this is to give you an insight into the real me. We all know I’m a mother of three, one with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, but I want to show that although I’m not on the spectrum there are many demons that my son faces and I not so strangely can relate too. I’ve had my own difficulties held against me by Little man’s old school… Many tried to question my own past health issues for those behind my sons. But I’m not ashamed of the child I was and the mother I am today. I just want to show that with in this story. Please if you have enjoyed part one then look out for part two to find out what happens next.  

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