It was a while since I told D my plans and I was surprised to see he didn’t complain, he agree to keep the children while I left to go Jamaica for six weeks. At this time nothing sinister came to mind. I was just pleased that he was sympathetic to the fact I wanted to see my family again, this made me relax and in many ways he earned my respect that evening….
I continued with my job as a residential social worker, as well as my course in social work. I enjoyed my job in the home. It was a respectable job, and I had learn many new skills, which helped me to accept all the bad choices I felt I had made in my life. After all if I had not left home at thirteen years old, maybe I would not have been alone, Maybe I would not have had children, maybe I would not have been raped, maybe eventually mum would have physically abused me less, maybe. I Wouldn’t have met D, or Eric, or P.. Just maybe…
But like a frightened animal I left home and somehow I managed to walk into a maze and after all these years I was still struggling to be free. I was in fact running into walls some high some short and many of these bushes had thistles and thorns in each direction.
Although I didn’t see a bright future, I did see a future where the children were older and I would be free from my current struggles.
As I contemplated moving on with my career I knew that I was going to create a future for my children. For quite sometime I had felt that I was led by someone or something as the voices were always in my head telling me to press on. I never knew that I would eventually get to understand these voices; At times I felt that someone was talking to me and the feeling that I was here for a purpose was very strong indeed especially when things were going wrong.
Whilst at work I was becoming more involved with the disabled children, my role had changed and I would now plan the summer play scheme for the children , assisting with their hygiene by giving them baths and taking them out, I got along with all the other workers and being at work made me view my whole life differently. I was learning all the time and gaining new independence. During these times I was drawn into another world where the other employees would often talk about their lives at home. The holidays they had gone on or was going to go on. I can recall the first time I heard that one of the ladies were going to a place called Devon and that they would stay in a chalet. I can recall being filled with awe as I assumed they were upper middle class, until I realised years later that anyone could deposit on a holiday to Devon. It was actually just two weeks wages. As I write this I smile to myself at how sheltered my life was. After all growing up with no teaching from an adult sure caused me problems. I thought of myself as Tarzan in the jungle, grown up by animals, in my case the animals weren’t even around. I just grew and learnt from observation of the world around me.
I hardly had much to talk about, and so would focus on the fact that I had six children and I was under twenty five. I was unhappy my life was stressful but it was no use complaining. No one knew that side of me.
I never told them about D. I didn’t want to…
It was summer at the residential home and we decided to have a barbecue for the disabled children and their families. Whilst we were cooking the food for the children on the barbecue one of workers started talking casually about sending for their children to live in the UK, they mentioned immigration and the rules that were in place, as the conversation continued between the women, I overheard information about the visitors arriving to the UK and naturally I was curious. I knew why, but I didn’t say anything after all, what if none of my siblings would come over to UK. I heard about bank statements and reference and letters, it wasn’t that easy after all. I recall the knot in my stomach but although the conversation I had overhead had me thinking, it wasn’t enough to change my plans.
This was a starting point however, although I was surprised that you needed to do so much before sending for someone. I was a little worried to know that I needed a bank account with adequate amount of money this was something I didn’t have so what was I to do? The idea that my brother or sister would not be able to come because of money filled me with dread. If you recall, I had not told my brother that he was coming to the UK. But I still needed to make preparations. Selfishly I wanted my happy ending.
When. I reached home that evening I went to my neighbours house to tell her what I had heard but without question she said that she would ask her mum and sister to provide the bank statement or they would transfer the money into my account, when the time came. Yes me and my neighbour were close…That was the relationship we had. My neighbour and I. I really loved her.
Well I was beginning to look forward to a future where I was living in the UK with my own family and my children could have real aunties and uncle. The fact that I was now at college had a real impact and on how I saw the future. I was hoping also that this new found interest and career would help me out the maze I had created. I had started to envisage a way out especially as the future was starting to seem clearer. Strangely I felt that D would not be a part of the future, but I didn’t know when…
I spent many nights focusing on the pain I carried around, the fear of D that built up over the years, I looked at how my life had been ruined by the years of mental abuse and physical abuse and it left a bad taste in my mouth I knew I was going to work hard to climb out of this statistics of the abused woman. I wanted undo some of the bends that I had created in my life and although I was certain in my mind that I feared D…looking back on the moment of reflection, I was beginning to see a way out.
As the holiday got nearer I tried to remain calm, perhaps it was because I needed to be careful that D did not change his mind about keeping the children. I performed my duty well at nights, with a heavy heart but it was a small price to pay. I was married after all and I made promises on oath, for better or worse didnt I ?
The Christmas season came and went and although we made sure the children had what they wanted deep down I was miserable. I had hated christmas from as long as I could remember. Christmas always brought back painful memories sometimes I would lock myself in the toilet and cry whilst everyone would be in the living room having fun. I never fully understood why Christmas made me so unhappy…so emotional. Having all my children around I still felt lonely.
The day after Christmas my mood always shifted and that year I was smiling even more as I was nearer to my trip to Jamaica, I was nearer to my father and I was another step closer to having the family I craved for in the uk.
So the next stop was indeed Jamaica.