Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Suicide is painful

This post has a wonderful outcome Suicidee did not die!

Last night my 16 year old daughter witnessed a young man kill himself.

She was out with a friend celebrating her friend's 18th birthday. On their way home, in the early hours, they crossed a railway bridge. On the other side, perched up on the wall was a young man shaking and rocking. Daughter and friend didn't know what to do and didn't want to speak to the man in case anything they said made him jump or fall.

They called the police and waited across the road. The police arrived and tried to talk the man down but he became more distressed so the police backed off a bit. The police continued gently but the man was shouting how he had lost everything and lost his girlfriend. The young man turned towards the road and crouched down and looked for all the world as if he was going to get down. In a moment he pushed himself back and fell shouting "I just want to die".

We don't know for sure that he was killed but the sight of the man's crumpled body across the train tracks haunts my daughter. Along with the image of him crouched and going backwards off the bridge.

She is coping much better than I reckon I would. She is exhausted and now sleeping. Apparently she had phoned us during the night but we didnt hear the phone calls and messages she left. She felt the need to speak to us. I just can't believe it and want to hug her but she's not the cuddly type - not with me anyway. I want her to live and experience life but I'm not sure I really want her or anyone to go through this.

Daughter is in shock and just doesn't know what she feels. She's numb. She wonders that if she didn't call the police whether the guy might have changed his mind and gotten down. Life is full of "what ifs".

How awful the young man felt the need to take this action - that things were that bad. Goodness only knows how his ex-girlfriend will feel once she knows. Then there are the police officers who tried to talk him down. And then there are people like my daughter and her friend who do not know this man and yet have been included in this moment in time.

It is a terrible situation and my heart goes out to my daughter. I'm sure she will be OK given time. We've talked and tried to reassure her that there are no right answers but she certainly did the right thing by calling the police.

Very sad all round.

Original Comments:

Carol said...

OMG that is just awful - so traumatic for your poor daughter. What a terrible thing to have to go thru.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:26:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Would it be worth phoning the police to ask? I should imagine that not knowing makes it worse. If the worst came to the worst, its almost certain to be in the local papers inside the next week?

I don't think the police send unqualified people out to potential suicides, and I don't suppose that someone intending to finish it all could give two hoots for authority or a uniform, or even a crowd if there was one, none of which matter if you're dead, so there was nothing else there to make him more inclined.

She did a wonderful thing. Others would have chickened out, convincing themselves it was none of their business, or that someone else must have already called. You must be so proud of her.

If it helps I know a girl who supposedly OD'd, and fell, shaking, from the science room stool to the concrete school floor, still fitting, and was rushed to hospital. The number of senior school girls who one by one later confessed they had been seriously contemplating suicide until her episode, was unbelievable. In a weird way she got thanked for saving people's lives and making them count blessings.

I dont for a moment imagine your daughter needed this as a wake up call, but who knows how many young people her harshly gifted, new appreciation of life will touch? Maybe even someone in the crowd she was with.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:50:00 PM

Ally said...

I don't think I can say anything wiser than Cheryl has. I think she's right, you must be very proud of her for stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility. Like mother, like daughter x.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:19:00 PM

Pookie65 said...

I know in my heart that YOU will say exactly what she needs to hear. Furthermore, a mothers hug is worth a thousand words.

Such a sad thing to read.

Sending thoughts & prayers.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:31:00 PM

Le laquet said...

Oh ~ poor baby!

She really doesn't need to have gone though that at her tender age!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 11:37:00 PM

MrsDoF said...

What Cheryl said goes double from me.
When I was 17, my aunt slit her wrists. Her daughter (my cousin a year and a half younger than me) found her mother semi-conscious and blood all over.
Rather than call the ambulance, she called my dad. He wasn't home.
My cousin didn't want anyone to know about the shameful scene, and begged me to come be the one to drive them to the hospital.
I wrapped a bath towel around her arms, my cousin and my aunt in the back seat, me with only a 5 month old driver's license, racing against time and blood loss.
My aunt spent 4 months in a Pysche ward. But then she got a bit more education and found a job she loved as an LPN.
Your daughter is very brave and she did the right thing to call the police/professionals.
If I had to do it over again, I should have insisted on emergency vehicles. It would have made stoplights and intersections easier.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:01:00 AM

mrshellonheels said...

My heart goes out to your daughter. How awful for her. She did the right thing. My prayers are with your family.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 5:29:00 AM

Writer Mom said...

Very sad.
And may never make sense.
She's got a good couple of shoulders to lean on, though.
Let us other parents know what seems to help.
And a hug for YOU. You must be aching to take away all of her fright, you wonderful mum.

I go to sleep very thankful tonight.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:09:00 AM

doris said...

Thank you everyone for your support and thank you Cheryl for some excellent ideas. Good grief MrsDoF, you have certainly been through a lot!

I sat with daughter all evening watching TV and just small talking. Out of the blue she suddenly burst into tears and that was the first time she cried and I was able to hold her. I went to bed eventually but it seems she has stayed up all night, yet again, playing computer games. On the one hand that is good for the mind to be blotto-ed by games and on the other it does nothing for a regular routine and getting off to college today. At least she's smiled at me this morning.

Yesterday she did say that it puts things into perspective so I reckon that already some sense is coming out of it.

And yes, I am proud of her and told her so. She is shocked that cars drove past and just beeped their horn and carried on!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:07:00 AM

Sparkling said...

That is such a sad story.
Suicide is certainly painful. It's desperate and thoughtless. How does people get in to such states of despair?
They say most suicides are calls for help. Unfortunately the suicidals don't always realise this and end up killing themselves and hurting the people around them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:09:00 AM

Anji said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Please tell her as the days go by it will hurt less and less. When I was 17 I witnessed a drowning, Time is a great healer. It is a shock when you come across someone who wants to end their life. Hugs to you all

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:02:00 AM

Jo said...

Oh Doris, your poor daughter. Like others, I think Cheryl has said it really well.

And like others, I saw someone die too once - in a road accident, right in front of me. Two young men in a car just ahead of me crossed onto the other side of a dual carriageway and had a head on collision with another car. I tried to see if I could help while the ambulances were coming, but they died right there. No-one ever found out why it had happened.

I was older - an adult - and though it was terribly affecting, the shock of it did actually bring the 'shutters' down on my emotions, numbing them while what I'd seen sank in. Sounds like your daughter has had some of this too.

Her youth will give her the strength to absorb, reflect on and deal with this. She did the right thing. Of course she did. And you're a lovely mum, so I'm sure you'll help in all the right ways.

One little thing - if he did die - there could well be a coroner's inquest and your daughter might be summoned to give evidence. The police will decide. Don't mention it to her...and it probably won't happen for some time...but keep it in the back of your mind?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:22:00 AM

lydia said...

There's not much else i feel i can add except that my heart really goes out to your daughter. i had cold chills just reading it, i can't imagine what she must be going through. but time is a healer and i wish you all the best.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:39:00 PM

Sassy said...

I feel sorry for your daughter that she had to see that. I tried to commit suicide once. I spent 4 terrible days in the ICU. I can say I understand those who take their own lives, but I also understand...it will get better and your life is precious. You want the pain to stop, not your life to stop. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother like you!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 9:35:00 PM

doris said...

Thank you again to everyone for your kind thoughts and sharing your own experiences. I had reckoned that the images will lessen over time but hearing from others who have gone through seeing other's death experiences is encouraging.

Of course this will also bring up thoughts or experiences of suicide. Thank goodness you survived Sassy and now realise that your life is precious and that there is hope out there. I had an incredible dream at 16 that put those particular dark thoughts out of my head forever.

Update My daughter went out last night to meet up with some friends, in order to try and get back into normal things, but I had to go bring her back less than an hour later. Seems her elder male friends are not so mature or understanding and tried to belittle it and to get her to pull herself together and not be so miserable. They assured her it wasn't a tragedy but if such and such a football team had lost 3-0 then that would be a tragedy! I couldn't help laughing at that but I think it was utterly callous of them.

She says she keeps getting flashbacks. I've contacted the police and will be speaking to them again tomorrow to see if I can find out the outcome for the chap and any counselling they suggest, if it is needed.

I am a bit scared that she isn't handling this at all and it will leave such a big impact.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:31:00 AM

Growing Up said...

Poor Girl. To have seen that happen i really hope she can put this behind her. My heart goes out to her.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 5:13:00 PM

ella m. said...

poor kid......I know you'll take excellent care in helper her heal though.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 8:57:00 PM

Astryngia said...

Where have I been? So sorry I haven't kept up with your blogs for a while - where did the time go? what was I doing? It seems only yesterday but clearly a while back...

About what happened this night - one thing is true and that is we just don't know all the circumstances : the seeds for this moment were probably sown very early on in his life, perhaps (the research now suggests) even in his genes! So 'if only' and 'what if' would have to go back a long, long way.

And there's also a question : why are we programmed to prevent other people from doing what we don't want them to do...and why do we want them not to do it? Huge questions but it may lead to a perspective which lessens the sense of responsibility.

Or not. What a challenging situation for you all.

Friday, February 03, 2006 12:30:00 AM

Monday, 30 January 2006

BT Step-Family Ad

Many TV adverts bug me with their negative attitudes of people wanting to out-do others or being mean and selfish by not sharing "the product" because it is so wonderful. So it is always refreshing when there is a nice ad out.

The latest is becoming a series from the same advertising house that gave us the Yellow Pages ads (cutting niece's hair); the charming Dulux paint ads (we'll match your colours to some plasticine model); and the Guiness wild horses ad but I don't like that one so much.

I remember back to the 1990s when they first started to include black and Asian people in ads in a non-sensational and obvious "we are including the token black" way. Although non-white people appeared in ads before then, that was about the first time in the UK that non-white people were presented in ads because they were people and not because it was aimed at enticing a black audience or trying to show how cool the company were for having non-white people in their ad. (I could be wrong about the dates but this is what I felt.)

Families have been portrayed differently over the years. The OXO family ads come to mind. They were good to a point and then they seemed to be making a point about different family structures as we moved away from the stereotypical 2.4 family structure and now those ads have been done away with altogether.

So the latest ad to wow me is the reformed family in the BT series of ads .... the guy who has met a girl, well a woman actually, who has two kids of her own. It shows his growing relationships with all three of them obviously assisted by the internet (provided by BT) to help with homework or finding love tunes. It is charming and gentle and doesn't present as obviously trying to make an issue of being a re-formed or step family. It just seems to be a mini-movie about a budding relationship.

There isn't conflict within the family, although the adults are finding it difficult at times to have moments together, and it isn't over the top wonderful happy families. The guy is handsome and amenable. He isn't shown as a bumbling fool.

There are at least two ads and this is the first one. I feel this series of ads deserves awards and to be noted. Of course I am biased having been a mother with two children and meeting the man of my dreams who has taken the time and care to develop relationships with us all.

Original Comments:

Writer Mom said...
Very sweet! And it's Colin Frissell from Love Actually (one of my favorite films).
*Gonna tell my ad man brother about this. He'll appreciate the feedback, I'm sure.
Particularly, reducing the bumbling male stereotype.
Monday, January 30, 2006 4:25:00 PM
Cheryl said...
Lovely. I agree, I really like this one - the Nescafe couple of its times.
They could really have fun with the kind of challenges that come up.
Been there too, Doris.
Monday, January 30, 2006 7:50:00 PM
Milt Bogs said...
My current favourite is a crummy Egg bank advert. The one with a family of guinea pigs. The part I really like is where the baby of the family rolls on his back on the floor. I can't stand the rest of the advert, just that bit. Sad really.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:31:00 AM
Pookie65 said...
What a great ad! Doris, you always manage to teach me something new every time I visit your blog -- which is just about daily, my dear.

OK -- not to get off track but I have to ask WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? when a whole series of ads for femine hygen products came out featureing the mother/daughter routine.

The mother & daughter are either sitting in a cafe, walking hand in hand on a beach, gardening, cooking, or simply standing in line in a store. THEN....the daughter looks at mom and asks her "what do you do on those not so fresh days?"

The mother ALWAYS smiles sweetly and replies with something like, "Well, I use (product X)and (insert product endorsement)"

Doris, does this really, truly ever happen? I mean come on! I've always wanted to know the logic behind these commericals. It's either a faux bonding thing that the AD execs think the consumer is too stupid to believe or you females really do have such conversations.

Most teenage girls won't even talk to their mothers PERIOD. Much less about the "freshenss" (or lack of) they feel during their monthly cycle. Please help me out here.

I know that you of all people won't sugar coat the truth from me.

Hugs & fresh feelings from the other side of the sea!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:31:00 PM
She Weevil said...
What a lovely thing to say about your husband/partner.

I like the advert too: they certainly capture something of the quiet love that getting it right eventually brings.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:16:00 PM
doris said...
Writer Mom I guess that's how ideas travel - by word of mouth :-)

Cheryl Yes, the Nescafe couple... they were great too.

Milt I only saw the baby guinea pig last night as I had never watched it from the beginning and I can see what you mean... you are a bit of a softy :-)

Pookie LOL If my daughter asked me "what do you do on those not so fresh days?" I'd probably quip that I'd ask her to put her socks in the wash, or ask her what on earth she was talking about.

Sadly, I'm lucky to get within inches of my teenage daughter let alone hold her hand.

Sadly she refuses to let me chat, even superficially, about the Mooncup I gave her. I've tried to let her know how fresh I feel (!!!!) because it is that good but she does not want to know/hear.

My mother would not talk about such things with me and I wouldn't with her.

At least in my world, this sort of thing does not happen. It is a glossy ideal from the ad companies and I am not aware of a similar ad here. Such an ad would end up making me feel somewhat wanting in the mother/daughter relationship department.

She Weevil :-)

And moving on... something big has happened concerning my daughter and reflects, I suppose, on the good relationship we actually have. A blog post coming.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:26:00 PM
doris said...
Ella M LOL You are one of a kind and I'd agree it would be truly marvellous and amazing to have you represented in a positive and honest light!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:29:00 PM
ella m. said...
I don't think your biased, it is always good to see someone like yourself given light in the advertising that is becoming an ever pervasive part of Western culture.

I'd be doing backflips if I ever saw people anything like me in an ad for anything other than annoying angsty bands.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:32:00 PM
doris said...
That is amazing..... I seem to have responded to you Ella BEFORE you posted your message!!!!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:32:00 PM
Jo said...
Hey wow, yes you did Doris! Was reading your reply to Ella thinking 'Hmmm, have missed something...'

Great to see non white ethnic minorities portrayed in ads just as, well...entirely unremarkable, regular characters! BT does have a pedigree of doing this from time to time.

There's also a Pizza (Hut?) ad out at the moment which features a black family eating a pizza (some gag about maths). Fairly lousy ad, but good to see the casting (and if you look closely I think there's this old Chinese guy sitting behind them too!)

Despite the progress, getting companies to cast their commercials in this way can still be tough (you'd think it would be no issue these days, but sadly it still is). Casting people and directors in ad agencies don't 'overtly' discriminate, it's more 'institutional' than that still - with non white actors just being invited to audition less often, and predominantly white people being presented in casting reels. This avoids the potential 'difficulty' of a client choosing to turn down a black actor, for example, and 'worrying' that he/she will be seen to be racist in doing so.

But it is changing. I gather some European countries are way behind, and naked racism is far more obvious in this area - you'll be heard pushed to find any non white people in any ads at all in some countries. I once heard of a campaign that was being made in the UK to run around Europe, featuring black actors (for a very particular reason, the brand was using an oblique message about racial discrimination.) All was fine, till the French company saw the script and said they just couldn't use it 'because they would be firebombed'.

This was a few years back now. But not that long ago...
Wednesday, February 01, 2006 11:40:00 AM
Z said...
I think they'll find that in most families - it is time spent on the internet which prevents time being spent as a family.

Not always the case but you can bet your last penny that it is statistically speaking MORE the case. And this is the point of the whole advert - i.e. to show that the internet does not HAVE to drive a family apart.

But, yeah, it paints a nice picture.
Friday, February 03, 2006 1:48:00 PM
doris said...
Thanks Jo and Z. I'm sorry I have not come back to your comments and that is one of my faults.... once other stuff crops up then I seem to have moved on and am not in that head space at the mo.
Friday, February 03, 2006 4:32:00 PM
Astryngia said...
I already always think of you when I see that ad!!! :-)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006 12:33:00 AM

Friday, 27 January 2006

Volume Control

Son's eleven year old friend sat at the dinner table with us tonight. Small talk turned to his interest and aptitude with speakers. He takes them apart, re-wires them and builds them bigger and better. Mr Doris was able to take a great interest as being a child nerd he did similar and knows all about woofers and watts per channel and the rest. Conversation continued with Mr Doris expressing suitable awe about vibrations from the volume.

Young friend continued. He said, "you can really hear it at number 5".

Knowing that his house was near the top of a road I said jokingly, "and you live at number 48?" He looked at me blankly whilst daughter remarked that I was surprisingly fast tonight. I thanked her for her compliment and then proceeded to seriously ask him which number he did live at. "158" he replied quizzically. I was left stumped until the penny dropped and realised he had been referring to number 5 on the volume dial and not the house next door.

There was me thinking the volume was so loud that you could hear it next door at number 5! "You can really hear it at number 5" kept repeating in my brain and then me mistaking it for the house number instead of the volume, I couldn't stop laughing for most of the dinner. I was like the laughing man in the funfair in which you put a penny to make him laugh. My daughter laughed at my laughing, we both had tears coming down our faces and I had to keep checking with young friend that he really understood I wasn't laughing at him but at my own misunderstanding.

I'm still chuckling :-D

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...



(tagged you for a meme, for once 100% opinion and suitably anonymous)

Saturday, January 28, 2006 9:54:00 AM

Carol said...

That is so funny. I love it when folk misunderstand stuff like that. Actually, that is probably one of the things that makes me laugh the most - innocent misunderstandings :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2006 11:40:00 AM

Pearl said...

:-) And yet it worked as witticism.

That would be one super sub-woofer.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 2:46:00 PM

jane said...

It's so funny when we perceive something other than how it was meant. I can just picture you rethinking it throughout dinner. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006 10:07:00 PM

rashbre said...

Its great to be tipsy with humour in good company.

Of course Spinal Tap's amplifiers went all the way up to 11 and that was really loud, so living at a high address must have its consolations.


Saturday, January 28, 2006 10:49:00 PM

Pookie65 said...

Dinner time in your house sounds like such an adventure. Your children are going to have some precious memories to carry with them forever.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 1:42:00 AM

Anji said...

I have moments like that: They put me into another room.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 3:27:00 PM

Jo said...

Like Rashbre, I immediately thought of Spinal Tap's amps going up 'to number 11'...


Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:06:00 PM

MrsDoF said...

This made me think of Marty McFly in one of the Back to the Future movies where he turned the knob of the amp all the way up then the sound broke the glass of the windows in the garage.
It's so nice that your daughter caught on and that the laughter took a life of its own.
Having 11 year old boys at the dinner table is a guarantee for miscommunication and grins.
Nowadays, I miss those times. Be glad you wrote and captured the moment.

Monday, January 30, 2006 2:25:00 PM

Badaunt said...

I love that sort of misunderstanding. One time The Man was talking about some item of clothing he didn't like the colour of (it had faded, or something) and he was holding it up in front of himself and I told him, "Maybe you should dye it."

He was REALLY INDIGNANT, and it took me a while to figure out why.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 3:59:00 PM

Tip-toeing through the tu***

This post re-published December 2012


Looking out for sensitivities, being kind and listening, sharing, but most of all having to step through the minefield of feelings. Being careful of not mis-repeating what the next person said and yet having to be the conduit of information between widespread relatives.

Everyone is acknowledging how difficult my role is and yet I am still having stuff shat on me from a height. Either that or they give me space because of course I'm a busy woman. It is either/or.

At some point I am going to write a plea and give it to every family member. Suggesting that we draw a line under the past and find a way forward. Explaining that everyone has a different viewpoint of exactly the same situation and that each could be more compassionate and understanding of the next person's experience or feelings or opinions.

On the other hand, I could get a gun and put one of them out of their misery and leave the rest to get on with it!

LOL I'm OK but sometimes I get a bit upset by people's attitudes.

On the everso exciting side, two of my new found relatives have booked flights to come visit in a couple of months :-)


Carol said...
Yikes! I'd be nervous of two of them coming to visit Not at the same time? Could be explosive.
doris said...
Oh no.... the two that are coming are wonderful and most welcome. It is my other relatives I have concerns about.
Chandira said...
Sounds so very much like my family! My mum and all her idiot stubborn sisters and brothers. I want to bang all their damn heads together and I forget who the 'adults' are.. Though I guess at almost 34 I do qualify now. ;-)
Cheryl said...
doris said...
What a thoroughly ungrateful post of mine. I'm sorry.
Carol said...
Nonsense! You are the least likely person to be labelled 'ungrateful' I can think of!
Pearl said...
Ah, relatives curious folk. Our neighbour came home and found his boisterous sister (whom he had not seen in nearly 7 years) had talked her way into the building and was waiiting for him at the door with her baggage when he got home from work. Surprise few day visit. lol.
Writer Mom said...
The last five years, I've found myself drawn to the quieter family members...both mine, and my husband's side.
I was losing the battle of fitting in. Holidays were excruciating.
I think it started when I overheard an aunt murmuring something under her breath that I was thinking at the exact moment.
Something like, "These people are NUTS!"
I have close bonds with all of the outsiders now, and it's wonderful.
Friends IN the family...very nice.
I'm so happy to hear you're reconnecting with the wonderful ones.
Steve said...
doris said...
What a thoroughly ungrateful post of mine. I'm sorry.

I must disagree with you Doris I cant see you as ungrateful. The way I see it you are just having a bit of a grumble to a group of friends. It isnt malicious or hurtful just a grumble, we all do it and then look back and think oh i shouldnt have moaned about that but it was the right thing to say at the time.
doris said...
Steve Thanks for your philosophy - it helps! :-)

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Deck of cards in Wonderland

This post re-published December 2012

Things became distorted in the story "Alice in Wonderland". Things became large or small and did so before your very eyes. To the extent that I have read somewhere it is likened to the symptoms of some migraines and I know that my vision has been distorted and I've looked at my hands or body and they were "not of me" and felt larger or smaller in relation to the surroundings.

My life is like a deck of cards. Lots of events represented by each card. Sometimes the cards are reasonably neat and in a reasonable order in a pile. At the moment my deck of cards are spread out in front of me and they keep stretching and compacting. The last few are juggling round in order but these are minor but still a kind of a Eureka moment. "Oh, so that is why" or "so that happened just before that".

So much happened in my life in such short periods of time. I hadn't quite grasped that. Maybe it was more comfortable to spread it out in my mind but it explains why my younger life was quite so difficult.

And then there are days like the last few. For example I wrote my last blog on Sunday morning but by Sunday evening because so much ground was covered (or uncovered) I was sure it was a couple of days before.

I haven't responded to all the lovely words of encouragement, support and congratulations in my last post. I'm afraid I barely step out of my own blog these days and even barely step into it either. But I have been receiving the emails of comments. Thank you it has meant a lot and touched me.

So much to do - so many relatives to pass information and photographs and facilitate their own points of contact. It is truly wonderful, happy and emotional stuff. And so many people grieving for a death some 34 years ago and especially the immediate family who perhaps never grieved properly at the time and are now sharing.

So much healing.

And me too :-)


ella m. said...
I'm glad to hear that despite everything you and your family have been through, you all have still found enough hope to love and to start to heal old wounds. :hugs: Hope everything continues on such a positive path.
doris said...
Thanks Ella!

Each day brings something new in the email and each day brings a tear over something but mainly happiness.

And each day is so darned packed writing to this or that person, or speaking on the phone for an hour or so and tip-toing over the sensitivities.

But it is all positive stuff!
Pookie65 said...
Oh Doris, I'm at a loss for words. I read your past few entries and am just speechless.

You are an amazing woman with a wonderful husband and children. Add to this your ability to go forward given so many ugly things in the past and end up so happy. That just speaks volumes about your strength and enthusiasm for life.

God love you, hon. I am just honored to be able to call someone liek you my friend.
mrshellonheels said...
Writer Mom said...
Sadness, respect, hugs, and love.
Badaunt said...
It sounds like you are regaining an entire extended family, and a past. How exciting - and frightening. You are brave.

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Hugged in love

This post re-published December 2012

Following up from my last post I need to change my tone. I don't want to stay in the dark and negative because I lead a wonderful and charmed life now. Mr Doris has been extra amazing these last few days and has placed plates of food on my lap and cups of tea on my desk; given me hugs and encouragement; and just let me get on with my emails and hours long phone calls.

My aunts in the UK, and one in particular makes me feel all loved-up as she has helped me work through my issues. It can't have been easy for her especially as she was warming to my mother - her sister - but I ended up talking about the frying pan incident. We got off the phone in the early hours of this morning!

And then there are my wonderful friends and blogger friends. I really do feel hugged in love which I especially needed this last day or so. I am grateful for the messages that have reached out to me.

Yesterday with my mother (my parents) went spectacularly well. So much so that I am big-headedly ready to step up to the podium for my awards for extreme diplomacy; people handling; and loving care beyond the call of duty. My mother went through the mill of emotions and ended up over-drinking and blotto. She was incredibly happy and kept thanking me and acknowledging all that I had done in bringing the family together and it was wonderful and that it was me that had done all this and she was grateful. By the end of the day she was revising negative opinions about family members but I don't expect Rome was built in a day and so there is a path for her to tread. She may wake up today in a completely different frame of mind but I am not thinking about that. She accepted that I had contact with all her sisters and understood (at least she did yesterday!) that the key was that the time was right now but that were too many sensitivities before for me to say anything. She thought I had had a huge burden and likened this all to winning the lottery!

Yesterday was also amazing because it was the first time my little sister (a grown woman of 36) showed any interest in family outside of ours. That was an incredible bonus.

However, in the last 5 minutes before I left I had a quiet word with just my sister to clarify a few details and the whole thing for me went pear shaped. She made me "just say it" about what my cousin had said and extraordinarily she seemed to completely side-line it. What I heard was not even a shock in her voice for me (not that I was looking for gushing sympathy or anything) but I didn't expect to have her throw at me that I should understand what my mother had gone through herself as a kid and I shouldn't expect her to have sorted herself out. I am not sure even if that was what came out and I was terribly confused and very upset last night. My sister knew I was upset and hugged me a couple of times.

I expressed concern how much contact our mother had with my sister's young children and did she not see the abusive behaviour going on? It was as if I was bitching back and my sister insisted that my mother never hit them and I asked if the pulling, shoving, dragging and poking that sometimes goes on is OK? Into this already clouded issue I threw in my concerns for my niece and nephew and my sis assured me that they know that their grandmother is mad. As if that is OK then. She thought my nephew's foul mouth and violence was just symptomatic of the area they lived in! I hugged my sister a couple of times but in the end had to leave quite quickly trying to hold myself together. She telephoned Mr Doris to warn him and then she phoned me after I had got home but I still could not speak to her without crying.

After such an incredible and wonderful day I fell down a deep dark hole. A maelstrom and I'm trying to work out right and wrong. Bouncing between wanting acknowledgement like a child having a tantrum and taking the mature approach of understanding what motivated my mother.

Luckily the first half hour of the journey was on dark roads with little or no street lights. My son sat in the front seat scouring the Argos catalogue using the light of his mobile phone blissfully unaware I was bawling my eyes out. I had forgotten how well I could sob without being found out. Bizarre the details one thinks. Occasionally he'd express the merits of this or that skate board and which he would get, and then when he moved on to questioning gravity and other fine subjects I finally calmed down.

Whatever I have been through, I have broken the cycle. My son has the self-esteem of a giant and whatever young adulthood has to throw at him he has had a good grounding. My daughter is slightly different and I feel that I have some things to heal between us - and want to. But ultimately, she is lovely and is doing well.

Thank you World for the beautiful life I have, for I have been truly blessed. :-)


Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...
wow so profound. just droppin by. thanks
Ally said...
You are a pretty amazing person, Doris. [*hugs*].
Badaunt said...
Lovely. You are an amazing person.

(Maybe your son was questioning gravity because he prefers levity.)
Cheryl said...

We are all broken, fragile souls.
So did you, for one second, imagine you would come out of this to the cold light of day, seeing yourself as less broken than the rest? That you would see your own strength?

We all see it, I'm so glad you can too.

Sarah said...
*hugs* You are wonderful and amazing and we all love you, Doris.
Minerva said...
Dear Doris,
You show such incredible strength and honesty in showing us so much..and it sounds really, really painful..

Well done you for juggling so many different people, so many different realities - it isn't surprising that there is such a huge emotional comeback - be good to yourself.. You sound as if you deserve it,

Neutron said...
I have just started reading here so I don't yet know "the rest of the story" but 'breaking the cycle' is normally a very good start...
Astryngia said...
Siblings have very different experiences of their parents - not just cos they are different people but because they arrive at a different time in their family's history. Your sister's truth is bound to be different to yours - she simply didn't have the same experience.

If she escaped the worst of it, she won't have the same 'stuff' to process or even to acknowledge. Neither of you will understand the other if you think you are looking through the same lens at the same set of circumstances, cos you aren't.

And if she's still in denial, then stating facts won't reach her. I know that, having been in denial myself!!!

But you've planted the seeds with regard to her children, that's all you can hope to do.
Hugs as ever
Writer Mom said...
Incredible of you to think of the next generation...but then, not surprising. You're always looking out for others.
I suspect even if your sister tried coming across 'on top of the situation,' it put a flag up in her mind. How could she have the kids around your mother from now on without your voice of caution in there? You have protected your own, and bravely.

Astryngia's comment made me do some rethinking.
Thanks for the honest.
Your kids rock! (I am out of the skate lingo these days. "Rock" will have to do.)
Writer Mom said...
Honesty. Thanks for the HONESTY.
Reia said...
hi! i just wanted you to know that YOU have been like a sister to me after all i've been through. thanks for the support! you are really an amazing person!!!! :-) hugs!
Astryngia said...
PS And SHE had YOU!!!! What a difference that must have made to her experience : to have her big strong sister taking the flak, diverting it and keeping the world sane/safe for her - mentally, physically, emotionally.

All YOU had was the struggle, the responsibility (too soon) - and someone older than you ready to drop you in it. Dear God.

Congratulations on the journey you've made to where you are now in your own life. And thank you for making the world a saner, safer place for the rest of us, too - cos that's YOUR script, forever being re-played, Groundhog Day-style.

It's not a bad script for the rest of us (thank you!) but there are an awful lot of us in the world! Just don't wear yourself out. ;-)

You've unbunged a very painful time in your life - good luck with the working through.
Karen said...
I think you are a truly amazing woman *Hugs*
Jo said...
Well done Doris. Big, powerful, empowered Doris :-)

Take care of yourself hon.You've travelled a long way in a short space of time, take one thing at a time. Allow yourself the chance to feel what you feel...and only take responsibility for what you are feeling, not the way your sister or mother is reacting, or will react.

God I wish i had your strength on this 'mother' thing (mine too hated her brother/sister all their lives...no contact with relations etc etc...but I don't have the guts to tackle it, though I have had the chance.)
Ghone said...
You did better than me - I had to put the phone down on one of my sisters last week, was just so upset that I could even bare to talk to her...

Why can't you pick your family???
It's so unfair!
Helen said...
You are a blessing to those around you Doris!
(uh......you've been tagged)
jane said...
I'd have to say what happened between your sister & yourself are the different places you both took in a dysfunctional family. Sure sounds like you were the one mom took things out on. Sister somewhat excuses mom's behavior.
Anyways, you are such a big person to have been around your mom & been so loving towards her.
You're absolutely right Doris. You have broken the cycle & you can rest knowing that oneday your children will make wonderful parents, just like you.

Friday, 20 January 2006

Who's frying tonight?

This post re-published December 2012

Not for the faint hearted.

This is neither a cookery nor a funny post. After several wonderful and euphoric days re-discovering long lost family I finally got to speak to my cousin long-distance after about 33 years. Amidst everything, she recalled an incident of my youth which greatly disturbed her throughout the years. An incident I only half recalled but that bit that I do recall, it is with absolute clarity and remembrance. Something I had remembered through the years but it seems I had expunged part of it.

I was 9 and half years old. My cousin and I were sent out by my mother to buy baby milk. It cost $1.98 and she gave me a two dollar bill (some countries really had $2 dollar bills!). My cousin was nearly 2 years older than me and was taller and happy with golden red curls that flung carefree round her shoulders. She persuaded me to spend the 2c change on lollipops for us. I daren't and she found that strange because her family would let her spend the change. After a bit of badgering I decided to throw caution to the wind and to be brave. So we happily licked our lollipops on the way home. I pretended but inwardly was scared witless.

On our return my mother asked after the 2c change. I tried to fudge the issue but in the end had to admit what we had done. My mother hit the roof and she ranted and raved over this 2c and all I remembered was that it was an extremely difficult time.

As an adult and even as a child, I understood it was the principle of it. But nowhere do I understand the next bit which I had forgotten.

Today, my cousin told me that my mother then put a frypan onto the cooker and heated it up. She then proceeded to put my hand onto the hot pan as punishment. I don't remember this bit at all and yet I remembered clearly the first part of the event. I don't know if I was burned or to what extent my burns were. And yet, I clearly remember another incident where I (and my brother) were given burns to the hands as a punishment.

It is just so darned peculiar. Bizarre. Outrageous. Obnoxious. Disgusting.

It's done and what's done is done. It is the fact someone else entirely, witnessed this and years later can tell me.

Yeah, so I keep crying at the moment. I can't help feeling that this is the year when everything gets sorted. I have arranged to visit my mother tomorrow to bring news of this family and to finally confess that I had found her other siblings, my Aunts, but hadn't told her. I shall tip-toe around the fact that her own family had been terrified of her or couldn't bear her and so hadn't wanted contact with her. But times are a-changing. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The tragic things that happened to my mother in her childhood or her obnoxious behaviour throughout?

There is no doubt she had an extremely violent father. In fact my cousin was staying with us as her father, my mother's brother, had commited suicide. Reasons unknown but possibly the memories of his own violent past were too much. And here, within days of the funeral she was being barbaric to her own child.

I don't know. I shall no doubt be the wonderful daughter tomorrow, as ever, and do everything to help her. Contact with her beloved brother's family is significant. I'm not sure if I am angry with her or if it is even helpful.

I'm writing this because if I say it here then I have got some stuff off my chest and cleared the decks a little.


Ally said...
I can't think of anything remotely constructive that might help - only, I think I would feel the same way about it helping to write some of it out; and that I hope tomorrow goes okay. Look after yourself.
doris said...
Thanks! :-)
Astryngia said...
It's the expunging that's so darn bewildering - how can we 'forget' that such terrible things were done to us. But we do...The person who was once the most important in the world, who was once 'our world' on whom we were totally dependent...better to forget than believe we were bad enough to merit the treatment. And yet we continue to help, to protect, to...hope...? (Why?)

doris - what a bitch she was. I think you give her too much credit in saying you understood it was the 'principle'. If it was the principle of the matter then the punishment would have fitted the crime.

What a maelstrom of feelings must be bubbling under right now.

If you are driving tomorrow, please be safe. You matter. And you deserve better than you got. But what a magnificent person you became as a result. :-)
Writer Mom said...
Oh dear lady...you really got me.

By being the good daughter, you've broken the cycle. History of family violence is definitely the recurring component of child abuse. She was bad, her mother was worse...But if YOU break it, the curse is broken. Still sucks that SHE couldn't have broken the cycle. Why? Why oh why.

Changing the subject a bit, this touches another nerve of mine. Concerning repressed memories. My son had surgery at 20 months...it was traumatic for all of us. That day, they gave him some sort of potion that was supposed to keep him from remembering any of it.
He was recently diagnosed with autism...and I can't quite get that day out of my head. Up until that summer, he was off the charts in development.
Jack does everything fantastically well--except communicate (getting much much better...but slower than kids his age)...His recall is the problem. Asking him what happened yesterday...only this month (at age five) has he begun to cross the wires in his brain and make it happen.
I had a friend who used to tell me she couldn't remember ANYTHING before the age of seven. I always worried about her. Had something terrible happened? She suspected it, I could tell.
This topic...traumatic experiences causing memory loss...it's very important to me.
All the more important is for people to realize children grow up...These actions have consequences. Of course, if child abusers were rational enough to think ahead like that, they wouldn't hurt their children to begin with.
Sorry for taking up all the space, but you spoke to me tonight.
I wish you well.
(hugs from over the pond)
Cheryl said...
Wondered where you were and if everything was OK.

birdychirp said...
that's so sad. Am thinking of you
decrepitoldfool said...
Amazing story, yet all too common. I imagine many people you know have had similar experiences but cannot remember or if they do remember cannot talk about it. You do everyone a service in telling the story.

I will be thinking of you - your 'sorting' will surely help.
Ghone said...
Thinking of you also... x.

On another matter - so you think your blog is better than mine? Eh?
(have a look at our current Blog Explosion - Battle of the Blog rankings!)
Jo said...
Doris :-(

Hugs hon...noticed the lack of posts and worried a bit about you...

(strangely I have just posted about my mother too - before I read this).

This is a terrible story hon. Just horrid. It does you great credit to break the cycle of abuse, as others have said, and to talk about it. Astryngia says what I would say too...

I guess from what you have said before, she would simply deny having done such a thing if you confronted her with it now?

Though what would be the point I guess? Unless you wanted to end your relationship with her - which you might.

I wonder how your day went?

Thinking of you :-)

Badaunt said...
That your mother - that anybody - could do that to a child is horrible, and sad.

I wonder if she remembers, herself?

Memory is so strange. When I get together with my brothers (which doesn't happen very often) and we talk about things from our childhoods I always find it disorienting. We remember the same events so differently. Also, they remember things I don't remember at all, and vice versa.
doris said...
Thanks everyone! I have written a follow-up post.

Writer Mom The repressed memory thing is interesting and I hope to discuss it further especially in the context of your son. Your mentioning about the medication has, excuse the irony, stirred a memory about something related to my time working in a children's hopsital but I'd have to think about. Not now thow!

Ghone Eh? What are you on.... :-) But no doubt I shall dive in at some point and hope I won't be too late for your moment of glory! :-)
Carol said...
Doris, I'm appalled. How could the person who should have been loving you so dearly have done such a dreadful thing to you? This seems to be the Year of the Child Abuse Memories for me and mine. I'm so sorry this happened to you. (((Doris)))
jane said...
I want to say so much, yet I don't know what to say. Nobody but you knows what you're feeling right now, so I'm not even going to try & guess.
What I will say is I'm sorry anybody ever hurt you. Knowing who you are now amazes me, Doris. Just know I'm hugging you.
Anji said...
I'm speechless. I suppose you must have blanked it out.
You seem to have come out of it a lovely person.
mrshellonheels said...
((((Doris)))) I am so sorry you had a childhood like that..so horrible at times that you had to totaly block it out. Mine is simular you know. For me, all I can do, is acknowledge that it happened. That it was a part of my life, and then move on. Blogging has helped me with that. We can't change the past, but we CAN shape the future : )

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

All change

This post is actually written 24 June 2007:

8.20am Wednesday 18 January 2006 is the day my life changed again. I received a simple and short email from a cousin responding to a search message I had put out on the internet some couple of years before. Family with whom I had close contact as a child, and who had meant so much and we had experienced a lot together, were at last in contact. After 34 years. It doesn't sound like much put like that, but it really was. Not just a big deal for me, but for them - each of them in their different ways and also for their wider family in this country whom they had never met.

I am not re-publishing many of the posts from this time as they are too deep, too emotional and in some a bit too distressing. In another way, those posts can never do enough justice to the utter joy that was experienced as well as the painful memories.

So that's that then!

Thursday, 12 January 2006


For Writer Mom...

Gran's on Bran Piffle and spice

Piffle means:

  • To talk or act feebly or futilely.
  • Something that does not have or make sense
  • Foolish or futile talk or ideas; nonsense.

I'm happy with any of these similar words:

balderdash, fiddle-faddle, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality, blabber, prattle, twaddle, gabble, gibberish


This doesn't mean that anything I write is not true. Just that I do not pretend this is some heavy and serious political blog and sometimes I want to just be silly. I think I'm that! :-)

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...

Oh I do like twaddle.

And hokum,

and claptrap and hogwash!

Thursday, January 12, 2006 6:36:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Forgot baloney!


Thursday, January 12, 2006 10:16:00 PM

Jo said...

You've been watching that tv prog haven't you? I've wanted to but it's always clashed with something that The Governess of The Remote needs (needs not wants) to watch...

A few favourite words include:


Why? Who knows...

Thursday, January 12, 2006 11:32:00 PM

Writer Mom said...

Thanks, Doris!

And now that I've opened up my Webster's, I see that my dictionary gives the same definition.
Incredible. I am one lazy American.
Guess I was hoping it was UK slang for kinky.
Ah, well.
(gotta go change my description on my blogroll for you now.)

Friday, January 13, 2006 3:36:00 AM

doris said...

LOL I love twaddle too.

I find Apostolic too scary - too high church. Plinth?!!! I wonder what level your mind is at Jo? That's cos I think of kitchen unit plinths rather than great marble edifices for statues! And laminate? Have you just done up your kitchen?!

Cool Writermom! I didn't realise you had done the description thingy. They are like a secret treat to read :-)

Now about the kinky thing.... I am honoured. Thank you, thank you! :-)


Friday, January 13, 2006 10:11:00 AM

Anji said...

I like twaddle, but my favourite of all time is Bullshit (sorry)

Friday, January 13, 2006 10:22:00 AM

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Mahogany Juicer

1. Today I realise that I love the word mahogany. It is a rich word that rolls around and off the tongue exercising it along the way. Visions of deep rich wood rubbed to a sensual smoothness.

2. Bought a very low-cost juicer today at the supermarket and just made our first real juice using one organic: apple; pear; orange; carrot and one passion fruit. Am looking forward to using it a bit more and experimenting. I can see why it is cheap and that the pricier models probably get more juice out. Still, with some crushed ice, it is delicious. I saw a recipe online for apple, ginger and pineapple. Hmm :-)

Original Comments:

Cheryl said...

Did you watch Balderdash and Piffle?
I'm with whatsisface - I like 'Mellifluous'.

Jealous of your juicer!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 3:07:00 PM

Annie said...

I've just got a juicer too. Mum got it as a Christmas present the year before last and hadn't used it. I bought a bag of cheap mandarins & we juiced them yesterday. I'm not sure that the energy and washing up involved is worth it, or at least not very often. The kids will probably love it though.
Having given up all my other drinks I'm now very keen on pure squeezed orange juice with ice. Champagne tastes and beer money as usual. I shall have to get used to Tesco Value juice I think!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:55:00 PM

Annie said...

Having seen the first hour of Celebrity Big Brother I can't bear to watch any more. Are you watching it? I thought Barrymore's entrance was a bit cringe-making.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:56:00 PM

doris said...

Cheryl I didn't see this week's episode. Was side-tracked by, er, other stuff! "Mellifluous" now that is a beautiful sounding word but it isn't pictorial for me .... I dont "see" it.

BTW I get the words "coat-hanger" and "umbrella" mixed up. I think it is the hook on the end which has gotten confused in my picture dictionary of a brain. Ha-ha! My brain is a picture dictionary but I bet Cheryl that you've got the entire Encylcopedia Brittanica in yours ;-)

Cat I agree with the washing up and mess bit of it.... but I thought the combination that I used actually gave me a buzz. Like it was a power drink. I took particular care to go for organic stuff as I used the skin (but not the orange skin!) and just "know" it had to contain lots of vitamin goodies. Certainly an easy way to get them (apart from the washing up!

As for BB - I notice that if I hadn't have been side-tracked last night that I might have missed Balderdash and Piffle as it conflicts with BB. I'd probably have given up on BB for the Balderdash though as I was excitedly anticipating last weeks episode but was a tad underenthused by it.

We all, kids too, could barely watch the cringing entrance of Barrymore. It was like, get over yourself. Most excruciating and I reckon ill-judged to have him in. I know one shouldn't be treated as guilty but.... for the family of the man who died in the pool it must be awful. I have still been watching and I'd have to say it has gotten more cringeworthy. I like your Profile pic :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:13:00 PM

Skytower said...

Another one here that had a juicer for Christmas, and it is great fun - especially coming up with the weirdest concoction possible. But yes, the washing up is a right royal pain - especially the little metal juicing part itself, which is impossible to completely clean without a nailbrush.

Makes lovely drinks though!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 12:44:00 AM

Ally said...

I've gone down the 'very cheap blender' route, because got distressed at chucking out all that fibre :).

My fave smoothie at the moment is:

1 tin co-op peaches in pear juice
2 bananas
1 apple
small pot of live yoghurt
dessert spoonful of honey

Makes two large portions :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 6:53:00 PM

Writer Mom said...

Dear Doris...please tell me what is Piffle.
I admire your juicing.
I wish I would get off my bum and use the rice cooker/vegetable steamer every once in awhile.

Send recipes! I like fruit more than vegetables!

Thursday, January 12, 2006 5:35:00 AM

Milt Bogs said...

We've had a couple of juicers. You can drop a whole apple, orange or lemon into the current one. I guess it would also accept a guinea pig or two. At the moment I still have all my fingers.

Thursday, January 12, 2006 9:37:00 AM