I know the meaning of existence, I’ve done it for a year. Believe me, it has to be existence, because it isn’t life, what I have done for the past year one cannot call living..
Years gone by
Two years ago, I lived in South Africa. I had my whole life ahead, a future to look forward to and lots of plans. The man I’d lived with for 10 years (lets call him Mr Almost Right) As I was saying, Mr Right, myself and our five children were moving to the UK.
The Brady bunch
My daughter is 24 so after travelling the world for three years as first class cabin crew for a middle east airline. She was coming to London. She never really got on with Mr Right, her being a feminist and him a chauvinist, well they just couldn’t live happily under the same roof
Many years ago we went though a period of children moving in and moving out. Instead of trying to make things work they ran away to their other parent. My daughters father passed away when she was a baby so she was not as lucky as the others – and bless her, she tried her best to make things pleasant but she is very protective of me and every debate or little tiff would really upset her.
Mr Right and I always stuck together, we used to joke that it was the parents vs the children. We had agreed fairly early on to put up a united front and not allow the children to play on our weaknesses – as children from divorced homes sometimes tend to do. We stuck by each other and respected the choices our children made. We knew they would come back, well lets say we hoped they would come back and they did.
Another wee little conflict area, apart from the alcoholic binges, was his parents – they really didn’t like me. I was English, catholic and their son was in love with me. No problem for most people…..most.
Deciding to leave SA
After going through robberies, a hit and run which wrote off my car and being hijacked at my gate at gunpoint by three black men, we decided it was time to leave our beautiful, beloved country. We were going to leave South Africa. We had planned for two years to move to another country. It took us about 6 months to decide by a process of elimination, which country to go to. The UK was not my preferred choice, I wanted to try Australia or New Zealand.
The deciding factor was Mr Right’s parents were living in Northern Ireland and they are getting old and his mother was not well at that time – so Northern Ireland it was.
Those left behind
Prior to leaving South Africa we went through a terribly difficult time with my ‘step son’ he was rebelling and really just trying to get his dad’s attention. He really chose the worst time with the move and all involved looming. Well this teenager went right off the tracks and I wont go into detail but he ended up expelled from school, living at a friend’s house and refused to leave South Africa. We thought he might have had a mind change at the last-minute, but he didn’t – this was not good.
So in the few paragraphs above I have outlined 10 years of my life with a family as dysfunctional as most others, okay perhaps ours was a little bit more so than others.
The heart of the matter
I outlined all this very briefly and unemotionally – but trust me, the relationship I had with this man was anything but unemotional. I have hated him more than I have hated anyone else in my life…. and I have loved him more than life itself. Before I go further, I want to change that last sentence to present tense. That one little sentence which has held me captive for 10 years in South Africa, a year and a half in the UK, and probably forever more.
Our world fell apart
Moving to Northern Ireland in January last year was tinged with bad luck from the beginning. Leaving my parents in South Africa broke my heart, they were my voices of reason. So when all the stress involved in moving began to get too much we both (Mr Right and I) didn’t compromise and everything fell apart.
Leaving the Emerald Isle
In May last year my sons and I took the ferry, with 10 boxes of personal belongings most of the boxes were my sons instruments. We moved in with a cousin I hadn’t seen since I was twelve-year-old. Within a month I had arranged a house, furnished it and enrolled my sons into college to further their education. I am thankful to the government for much of this even though I had to desperately fight tooth and nail every step of the way for anything and everything. When I look back I think that a divine intervention created all the obstacles to keep my mind busy and avoid my dropping into a heartbroken depression – well, that and the fact that I really had to keep a brave front for the sake of my boys. Their lives had also been torn apart.
Thank goodness for my sons
So I went through a melt down, it has left me broke, alone, scared, unmotivated, disinterested and sad. I have no job, no prospects, I have a health condition which has grown rapidly worse. All of this and still I can proudly say that I manage to put a smile on my face every time my sons walk in the door. In a way my kids have saved my life, without them I think I would have fallen to pieces.
Living in Limbo
The love of my life still lives in Northern Ireland. His son will be coming to live with him later this year. We still chat on the phone, email and text messages. Both of us find it hard to say goodbye. We know our love is strong but we also know we cannot be together right now. We have taken a celibacy vow until we meet again, we will have to reassess then what to do. We trust one another emphatically and can therefore live apart yet together in heart. I don’t know how long this will last but I am happy with this arrangement for now.
Now I have a little voice inside me, deep down inside, telling me to get my life back together again, to start to live again. It’s telling me to look for work, find my true independence, make friends, focus out – focus out, stop focussing in. Look at all the life and beauty (not that there’s much of that where I live) but Iam minutes from the sea, where there are some of the most beautiful and expansive beaches in the country. Explore, learn, get excited, be interested, give myself to the world and take back my life.
So, my friends – I’ve been knocked down but I’ll get up again.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life, wish me luck!