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Monday, 28 February 2011

Facing our deepest fears

Three days after that fateful meeting with my sister, Coran and I are waiting anxiously to discover what if any, the fall out has been for her care team. As anticipated, it did not go smoothly at all, and we finished up going our separate ways. When she visited our house just after Christmas, she sat at our dining room table, after we had cooked her a lovely meal, and quite brazenly, without any shame at all, stated in her own words that she did not care who she hurts as long as she got what she wanted. I must admit that that knocked both of us for six, as up until then, I had not realised in quite such stark terms, exactly what we were dealing with.

On Friday then, when Coran asked her if she remembered having said that, she repeated it vociferously and in much more angry and defensive tones. She has a habit of leaving the room when we say anything that is too close to the truth, and in this way, not facing up to the consequences of her actions, therefore nothing ever gets reeolved. Ths time, when she got up to leave, we told her that if she walked away from us, then we would lwalk away from her - forever. She immediately sat back down. However, when challenged again, and after repeating our words to the effect that if she left, so would we, this time for good, she upped and left anyway.

In that moment she made a choice, a choice as to which of her fears was the greatest; the fear of dealing with her issues and what that might unleash, or the fear of losing us - the fear of dealing with her stuff was evidently much greater, for that is the choice that she made, and like all other choices in life, it was hers to make. It saddens me that it had to come to this, but as I previously stated, the situation as it was was completely untenable, and a change of some sort had to made.

We offered her a a carrot, a way out, but in the end, she chose the stick, a stick with which to beat herself up, for make no mistake, in making that choice, to walk out of our lives and not to confront her stuff, she will now be forced to do that very thing that she feared the most, for she will realise in no uncertain terms that this is the bed that she herself has made and she is the only one who can unmake it.

She may not face it in this life, and I may not see her again in this life either, but she will have to face it at some point, and I will see her again, if not in this life, then in another. I comfort myself with the knowledge that in a parallel life somewhere else, this has already happened, and she is a happy and functioning member of society. In making that choice though in this life, she can no longer blame us, or anyone else, whining down the telephone, expecting us to solve all her problems, and come running to the rescue every time she is lonely and afraid. No, she is now on her own.

We have said to her care team that we want no further contact from her in either written or verbal form, and that if she turns up at our home in a taxi, intruding on our peace, we will call The Police. This is the only language that she understands. I am sorry in some ways that it has come to this, and upsetting as it was when it all happened, my consciounce is completely clear - I did everything in my power to help her and she thwarted us at every turn with no intention of moving from where she is. That is the choice that she made, and so we, being unable and unwilling to support that situation any further than we already have, made the only appropriate choice that we could in response - to walk away so that she can find herself once more. In so doing, we have set her free, and also ourselves.

Friday, 25 February 2011

A month of change

Almost a month has passed since I last wrote on this blog, and so much has happened both in my own world and the one at large, that one hardly knows where to begin. The big thing happening at the moment is of course in the Middle East, with the unrest that started in Tunisia in the middle of January, and has toppled the Egyptian regime, gradually spreading throughout the region.

Reports in the British and indeed world media, have been a curious mixture of fear and incredulity, for we are indeed witnessing in these troubled times, the unfolding of a new era in history, as the old ways collapse in order to make way for the new. Freedom is after all the most basic of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom to choose your own Government and your own job, and freedom to be who you wish to be. There is still however a long way to go before the women in some of these countries achieve the same freedoms as men, and this I suspect will be the next battle to be fought.

For many all the major decisions that affect their lives are still made by men in the name of religion, and ultimately no matter how much the style of Government may change, until religion releases its stranglehold over the masses, it will not be true freedom at all, for everything that people do, think and say is ultimately shaped by their beliefs. Until those beliefs change, then nothing else will, not really.

I then sit back and observe from a detached perspective, and send light to the situation in the hope that this will take place - as indeed it will, for it is only a matter of time. The people are becoming increasingly tired of this way of life and are beginning to realise that true freedom comes from within. If you want to create change, then you yourself have to be that change, and it begins as always with your beliefs. Change your beliefs, and everything else will fall into place. By the time this is over, I predict that Saudi Arabia will be the only fundamentalist religious country left.

On the personal front, it has been confirmed that the Olympic Road Cycling Race will be going through our village, and indeed, half the county. What makes our village of Box Hill different is the fact that the athletes will not just be passing through, but completing multiple circuits around the area - nine times for the men and twice for the women. They are obviously a lot fitter than I am! A meeting with representatives from LOCOG, Surrey County Council and other officials has been arranged for this Wednesday at this Village Hall, and I get the feeling that it will be pretty packed! The District Councillor has reserved 12 seats in the front row for the press, of which I am of course a member, as Editor of the Village newsletter. I will then be taking a rather large notebook with several pens and a camera and hope that my hand can keep up!

On a more personal front, I returned on Monday from a week long sojourn on the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel. This was my first visit in more than 18 months, and the longest in fact that I have been away from the island since I first visited in June 1995. It was strange in some ways to go back, and it did feel different. If I am honest, I was a little unsure right up until the actual morning that I went, but once I got in the car and began the drive to Hartland, and the lighthouse began to come into view, all the doubts were erased. By the time I got to the heliport and saw the island standing out there on the horizon, I knew that I was doing the right thing.

I have changed a lot in those 18 months since I last went, and even more so since I volunteered and applied for that job on the island, almost 2 years ago to the day. I am glad in retrospect that I did not go to live there, for I can see now that I wanted it for all the wrong reasons - I thought that being on the island would solve all my problems, when in reality all it really did was create another set. The irony is that it led to the best, most rewarding job I have ever had, where I am about to start full time. I still then have a lot to thank the island for.

While I was there I experimented with the video camera function on my Ipod, and I am hoping that some of the footage that I shot may be good enough, with some editing, to put on YouTube. Coran and I plan to go through them in the next week or so, and see if we can amalgamate the best bits together.

This afternoon though, we have a meeting with my sister that neither of us are looking forward to at all. I get the feeling that this might well be make or break. It is time for us to stop pussy footing around and sit down together and be really honest about what happened last summer, as is has become clear to both of us that she is still not taking responsibility and either does not or cannot understand the impact that her actions had, and why we took the action that we did. Our relationship with her, as with other people, has to be based on mutual understanding and respect, and that means give and take, with each having the opportunity to express their own point of view, without fear of guilt and recriminations. This so far, she has not given us the opportunity to do. Today then is her last chance to give us that opportunity and to listen to us. If she cannot or will not do this, then it has to be the end, for it causes too much pain and disruption and is no longer in either of our interests to continue in this way.

I have let go of as much of the guilt as I can, although I suspect that there is always more. Coran is though a great supporter and is behind me all the way on this, as he always has been. Ultimately he is the one that I share my life with, and he has to be my focus and priority. This is not about being selfish, but about doing what it best for all three of us. I only hope that my sister can understand this, but we will see.