Anyway, on return to Hampshire I was greeted by bad news, I went straight to see my friends in L. when I got back, and JM had said they would be ok while I was away, but when I went to see Anne and her husband, Anne told me she had cancer. The cancer she died of in January this year after just over 5 years fight with it. 5 years of prayers and worries.
(This was written in 2011).
It was December, I had been offered another tied cottage job, at ******, I moved there, it has similarities to the previous job, and differences, the handyman was honest and not an alcoholic, and the place was in much better repair than the last one, the head gardener was full of himself and was not a quiet old fashioned type like Ted, but this head gardener got cancer and died very rapidly while I was there.
The cottage was an old well house and you could feel the well underneath, and the cold, and the house felt haunted and unhappy, the lady was massively demanding again, and had health problems, her husband was away in London a lot, there was a small flock of rare breed sheep, two dogs and a vicious old cat, my job was gardening, including the vegetables, assisting with the sheep and pets, and caretaking during their frequent trips to their farmhouse in Wales , it was even more difficult to get things right for this lady, and my self esteem was lower than ever, but at least the well house and its garden were smaller And more compact and therefore easier to maintain, though there was a problem with the boiler that cost me a bit. In this new job I also avoided letting JM be involved, and did not even tell her my address.
(Hence the emails that you see between me and JM in Jersey stating that she feels privilaged to have my address!)
Christmas 2005: I was alone, previous Christmases had been with the names redacted, and JM and family, I think there was a Christmas with the Hypochondriac couple, but this Christmas everyone was away, with someone else, had family with them, and so I was alone, I felt so sad, but the saddest thing was that my friends seemed to have forgotten to even ask where I was for Christmas.
No-one cared, I felt utterly and completely alone in the world. Then my brother rang and invited me, I did not know if I would really be able to make the journey from Hampshire to North Norfolk and back with snow forecast there.
It would be a long drive for me. I was going to go on Christmas day itself if I did go because I was on caretaking duties until then, on Christmas eve night I did not want to go to L. church and see FM and feel upset, even though SL. was hoping I would, so I went to S. church instead, JM’s curate was doing the service, JM had made best efforts to get between me and her curate and cause problems, but I wasn’t interested in that, I just enjoyed the service and felt sad at the same time.
Afterwards E and P.M spoke to me, they had their family with them for Christmas but kindly told me I was welcome to ‘pop in’ over Christmas, that cheered me no end, but being autistic and more concerned about boundaries I was not sure when or how to ‘pop in’ and I didn’t in the end.
Then I went back in church, JM’s curate asked if I was alright, I was extremely wary of talking to him, but I asked him to pray for me, he asked if I was ok and if I had somewhere to be for Christmas – and this is what made such a difference! Most of my friends hadn’t asked where I was for Christmas and here was this guy I didn’t get on with asking me where I was for Christmas! I told him I thought I had somewhere to go, he said I was in his prayers, and he gave me a hug!
There we were in the churchyard at 1am on Christmas morning and this man who I usually ran away from was hugging me and praying for me! In his hug and concern I felt that Jesus was hugging me and showing His concern and forgiveness also, and I was repentant of being unfriendly to the curate, and I looked at my life and wondered how I could be a better Christian, I went home thanking God and feeling better, but I was crying, and my cat cuddled into my arms and purred and kissed the tears off my cheeks.
The Christmas was one of violent rows between my brother and his wife, at one point she picked up the cordless phone and threw it, smashing it and making me hurtle out the back door.
I came back on Boxing Day or the day after and I was ill, it was snowing on the way back, and the traffic on the M25 was terrible, it took many hours to get home.
After Christmas I wanted to get stuck into this Christianity thing, the Christianity thing that caused my least favourite curate to hug me and pray for me, JM got silly about this, having not heard what had happened properly, and decided that I had gone from hating her curate to fancying him, I certainly didn’t I still had the strange flashbacks when I saw him, but I asked him if he had time to talk to me, I wanted to know how to be a Christian despite all my problems, I wanted to be able to call myself a Christian, which I didn’t because of my lack of love and trust and my behaviour.
The curate didn’t sit down and talk to me, not surprising, JM was giving her opinion of me to anyone caused them to not want to sit down and talk to me. But AD, one of the new input into the church, and the new Reader, was charmingly delighted to sit down with his wife and talk to me about Christianity and their journey in faith, I was delighted, they are so lovely, and even when I saw AD. more recently he greeted me with a joyful and friendly handshake, though that was a few months ago, so the diocese’s message of condemnation may well have reached him now.
AD and his wife became people who I would sit with in church, people I could talk to, it did not become a friendship where I went round to their house, apart from the fact that I went to mission support group at their house, Jane Fisher would be round there with her gun if I did that now – the diocese have a policy banning abuse victims from clergy homes and excluding them, either of my abusers would be welcome to mission support group, but I would no longer be allowed.
Anyway, AD asked me if I would like to be Mission Contact for our Missionary in South America, I was delighted and Honoured, I never got very far with that due to going away to college.
Anyway, the hypochondriac couple were also very big in the mission support group, but when my relationship with them broke down, that didn’t affect us in the group, I do not know if they talked to the D’s about me, but if they did it did no harm, church position holders tend to talk about their differences with people, because unlike the Catholics they are not taught it is harmful and sinful, it was when they talked to JM or their daughter in law behind my back that harm was done because they were given incorrect advice.
Basically if a friendship has problems, it can either be resolved through talking, or ended, gabbing behind someone’s back solves nothing and wounds the person involved.
JM admitted that they had talked to her, and I told her for the hundredth time that she was breaching confidentiality and causing me problems, she was my ex-counsellor and she not only talked about me behind my back and without my permission, but she shared details with FM and her mother, which as a professional she should not do and which caused them to stick their oar in too and humiliated me.
I redid my baptism, I wasn’t happy about FM and the F’s being my ‘sponsors’ for the original baptism, none of them were ‘upholding me’ and FM had abused me. I decided to invite everyone who was really there for me at Christmas apart from the curate, ie no-one, I baptised myself from the water of the sea, and then in extreme co-incidence my brother rang, we talked and he asked if I knew that my sister lived just up the road from where I told him I was, I said no I hadn’t heard from her since she divorced and the flat was sold, I only knew she was managing fast food shops and killing herself with work.
My sister had returned to her gardening/labouring career and had bought a new flat, in this old area where we had lived as children and always loved, My brother phoned her and asked if I could go and see her, she was waiting outside, drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette, she was a smoker, her situation was bad, she kept being rushed to hospital with heart problems and her neighbours were hounding her and she had been assaulted while living there, she was depressed.
But she made me welcome, heard about my baptism and said a prayer for me and gave me a cross and a little card thing with a saying about the cross on it, she said she was my Godmother now, and we laughed, but I didn’t think she would stay in my life, so I never told my friends I had a sister, I ended up calling her my ‘fairly odd mother’ after the cartoon ‘the fairly oddparents’, and I told people she was my Godmother or ‘my fairly oddmother’, rather than give them the idea I had real family around me if she wasn’t going to stay around, I feel bad about this now, guilty, I should have been honest but I guessed that she was going to move on and lose touch, I really didn’t have faith in a member of my family.
But we had fun, we drove along the motorway listening to songs we liked on top volume, we went to the chip shop and asked for a large sausage and giggled ourselves silly, but I worried about her and her heart problems that kept landing her in the hospital, and her scary neighbours, I worried.
She was trying to sell her flat and move closer to her work, but having no success, and she was depressed, then suddenly it all changed, she met someone at work, she moved in with him, she married him, she had a baby, I was happy for her, it all happened quickly, and it meant I saw less of her, but what mattered to me was that she was happy and her life had come right, so I lost the usual time I had with her, and in the end I did lose her, we had differences, she had a temper worse than mine at times, and with the fall outs of the family around Dad’s death, and what happened to me in Jersey, which none of my family understoodI did lose her.
I continued delivery driving, and also started getting tax credits, my hours were 12 per week plus caretaking in return for the house and £66 per week, so I should have been better off, only I couldn’t manage money or my spiralling debts, which were made worse by bank charge upon bank charge for not having enough in my account to pay bills, I would be charged and then they would charge again if that charge bounced and would not wait to present the next one, I was so hopeless at communication and could not afford the 0845 numbers to people who would not help anyway, so it got worse and worse.