Finding a place in a sea of people- An open letter?
"As a child, the family I had and the love I had from my two parents allowed me to go ahead and be more aggressive, to search and to take risks knowing that, if I failed, I could always come home to a family of love and support." -- Tiger Woods
My mother, Wendy, first went into hospital when I was just 6 years old. As a child I was no stranger to being picked up from school by my Grandparents, my aunts or uncles or even occasionally family friends however, I could never be prepared for the sheer volume of love, compassion and support that these people, amongst others, showed once Mum passed away.
I've never considered my family to be an incredibly tight knit family. I know families where parents and children tell each other everything, and honestly, I'm glad my family is not like this. I think that, mainly due to Mum's condition and, eventually, her death we have grown to be more of a support network for each other, incorporating not just our family but also a wide spectrum of friends. I'd like to talk in particular about a certain few who have meant a great deal to me over the years.
I would like to begin with the Thomas family. Although I am no longer as close as I once was to this family, at the time of Mum's death William and I were inseparable. I remember on the morning that Mum died, Dad and I went round to their house and, whilst Dad explained what had happened to Will's parents, Will and I went into the garden. As a large part of my life had completely disappeared during the night I had this impression that the whole world around me would change, it was therefore a great relief to me when nothing changed in my relationship with the Thomas'. I don't think we ever dwelled on Mum's death and if we ever discussed it, it was only very briefly. For this, I am very appreciative. It meant a great deal to me that I could look to this family for solstice in a very difficult time.
Secondly, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Askew family. Although I did not know them at the time of Mum's death they have been an immense part of my life ever since. Their family has become like a second family to me. I know that I am always welcome in their home if I am in need of anything and I know that they like having me around. Although they never knew Mum they know a lot about her; they understand the hole that she has left in my life and they know that although Mum can never be replaced, I have grown to be someone that she would be very proud of. They have provided me with sanctuary. The support that they show me, as well as my brothers overwhelms me and I don't think I could ever thank them enough.
All my beautiful friends throughout the years. I thank you for making me laugh, smile, cry and slap the floor like a seal. I hate to think of the places that I could have sunk to after losing Mum but it never came to be. You have been the most amazing people to me, thank you.
Julie, my Godmother. Although we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like she has eventually got the hang of emailing. Without her the past few years would have been much harder. To have somebody who knew Mum well and to whom I knew I could always talk openly has been a great help. You know that I am thankful.
To my grandparents. I know how hard it is to lose a Mother. I cannot fathom how it is to lose a daughter. We have leant on each other for support over the past 8 years, we have grown even closer than before and I love you. Thank you for all you have ever done, and continue to do, for me, I am eternally grateful.
To my family; my Aunts and Uncles, my Cousins, my Grandparents, Great Aunts and of course the newer additions to our family. You have been so helpful to my Brothers, my Dad and I over the past few years. I know that your love for us is akin to our love for you. You can never even imagine how grateful you are for the things that you do for us.
My Brothers, Christopher and George. Our experiences over the course of Mum's illness and since her death varied greatly however, it is only the two of you who can truly understand the way that I felt and that I feel. Thank you for always being there if I need you. I am always here if you need me.
You have all brought joy and happiness to my life, a life that could very easily have taken a different course. What I'd like to say to anyone who ever finds themselves in a similar position as I once found myself is to find good company, firm support. Friends with whom you can laugh and people who love you. Don't dwell on the past too much. Don't lock yourself away and think of what could have been. Go out, smile, and celebrate the wonderful life that your loved one lead.