Sunday, 6 September 2020
The Turning Point
I thought I would give you all a little peek at some of the work in progress, this Sunday 6th September marks 23 years since a pivotal point in my life, it was to be marked with pain, loss and suffering. It was however from the wreckage of this my previous life that I emerged and strove forward.
So here is a little extract from Falling Upwards detailing the events of this day 23 years ago. This is just the draft but I thought I would share it with you today...
Then my world fell apart.
It started a week before when I came downstairs early morning as normal with Dion and Sam, I flicked the telly on so that Dion could watch the normal morning kids cartoons, which most of the time was Teletubbies at this hour. And I went into the kitchen to make a bottle for Sam.
I came back into the living room and Dion was playing with toys and oddly not paying attention to the TV which was unusual, There on the TV was a picture of Princess Diana on black background, that’s odd I thought. They normally only do something like that when someone has died. It was 31st August 1997 and of course as the world was to learn later that day princess Diana had, in fact, died in a Paris car crash overnight.
While Diana’s death did not have a direct effect on my life, her funeral procession was to become the backdrop to my own personal tragedy which was about to strike. A week later was the official funeral service with all the pomp and circumstance that only the British State can do. Emma had gone to her mums with the kids as usual for a Saturday, this of course was normally when I would indulge in my little hobby. Not this week, as I had a job to do. We were going to remove the wall between the living room and kitchen to make it more open plan, and in order to do this, I had to remove the radiator from that wall and reposition it.
So I had the service on in the background as I drained and vented the heating system. I was about halfway through when I got a phone call. So I clambered off the floor and grabbed the phone it was unusual for someone to phone, I wondered if it was Emma phoning to say she’d forgotten something or inviting me up to her mums for something. No, it was Win.
“It’s your mum… she’s gone”
The Hollywood cliche at this point would have had the phone crashing to the floor and me standing there motionless, but it wasn’t the phone crashing to the floor it was me, I just collapsed on the ground, and sobbed uncontrollably. I had known mum was ill, I knew it was cancer and I knew that it had spread from where it had originated in her breast. Due to the way that Emma had effectively isolated me from my family I just wasn’t aware of how bad it was. Nobody had told me that she was dying. Now she was gone, and I had not had time to say goodbye. Little did I know at the time this moment was going to be the catalyst for a massive change in my life that wasn’t even on the radar at this point. I somehow managed to finish the conversation with Win over details and everything, then I just collapsed on the sofa and lit a cigarette with shaking hands.
I was lost. It was like something had just opened up and sucked everything in. The one person in the world that had always been there, the one person that had always been in my life, when everyone else had come and gone, was now no longer there. I don’t know how long I just sat there smoking one cigarette after another. Watching the funeral, it came to the part where Elton played the rewritten version of his famous tribute to Marilyn Monroe. For months afterwards and even on odd occasions to this date, that song will set me off thinking about mum.
At this time I was living in the St James part of Northampton and just five minutes walk up the road was the roundabout that the hearse carrying princess Diana would go-round as it turned up to the road to Althorp park which was the home of her brother Earl Spencer and where she was to be buried. I hadn’t intended to watch the procession as it went past but given what I had just experienced I thought I had to. So late afternoon I set off and walked up the road.
The pavement was already three or four people deep when I got there, lots of people had flags. I felt oddly detached from the group, consumed within my own grief, I now found this national outpouring a little grating. I stood there in contemplative silence, then I became aware of a slight increase in the general noise of the crowd and then looked to my left to see the motorcade coming down the ring road. It passed by, turned at the roundabout and disappeared up the road towards Althorp. I turned back home and waited for Emma to come back from her mums.
She arrived back around 7 as normal, and as she came in I said.
“It’s my mum, she’s dead.”
“So what, what’s that cow ever done for us.” Came back the reply. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard, how could she be that callous and uncaring. I wish I could have really let fly at her for that remark but, as was usual I just internalised it, but this was a pivotal moment, with those words echoing around in my head later that night as I lay in bed next to her I realised that our relationship was finally over. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to achieve it yet, but I knew I had to get out from there before it dragged me down. Going back to Win would not be an option there was absolutely no possibility I could go back and live under that roof again. I had almost begun to despise this woman, I didn’t know it at the time but I now know that she was seeing someone else at the time and may have been for some time.
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