My grandparents house was symbolic of constancy, dependability and love. There were many symbolic things that I now look back on with fondness. My brothers and sister were allowed to walk to the second lamp post with my grandad when he went to work in the morning before running back to my grandmother's welcoming arms. The tiny kitchen which only allowed for a single occupant at any given time was a testament to my grandmother's culinary prowess. English food was never particularly adventurous, but her meals were tasty and nourishing, if predictable. In fact, the predictability was also strangely comforting.
Truly special people bring out the best in us. They inspire and encourage us to be more than we thought we could be. They raise our vision, our hopes and our enthusiasm for life. At least that has been my experience. When I make friendships I do so with my whole heart. I've never been very light-hearted, although I laugh a lot, but its not at all the same thing. Relationships, for me, have a deep meaning that penetrates my very soul. Although its resulted in me being hurt a few times I still feel very blessed.
As a young woman my mother was talented to the point of being gifted. She was something of a perfectionist and strived for excellence in all she did. She is still the voice in my head urging me to the same high standard. Unfortunately her mental health deteriorated through my teenage years and when I was 14 she committed suicide. The years leading up to her death are some of my most painful memories as I watched helplessly as the mother I loved turned into a drug addicted, vengeful monster one moment and an insatiable hypochndriac the next.
Living with a delusional drug addict is a horrible experience; as was seeing her die. My emotions were mixed once she had gone. A large part of me was just relieved that the nightmare was finally over. However, this feeling was peppered with guilt for not feeling more grief, fear of a future filled with responsibility for my siblings, and grief at the knowledge that the mum I hoped would return one day - not the one messed up by drugs - would never be able to return now. Singing at her funeral, which fulfilled her final, wish brought some comfort.
The best thing that happened to me during that incredibly painful time was that my father met someone special. The relationship didn't last, but I met a wonderful friend as a result. There are very few people who have had a profound effect on my life, but this friend did, and as a result of us recently being reunited, he is again. He was my confidante, best friend and a soul mate through stormy times. Although our lives have taken very different paths he is once again a cherished friend that lights up my life today.