I couldn’t think what to write for this week’s prompt but wanted to post something.
At first, I thought I would share some words about one of my kids who is a young adult but has suffered from anxiety, particularly in the winter, all her life. But I have written a bit about that before. Then I read Floss’s post. It resonated with me. I experienced all sorts when I was a child. My dad was a good-looking-wrogen. My mum tried to do the right thing and ended up having a mini breakdown when I was 14. Being self-absorbed I didn’t notice what was happening. But thinking about this made me realise that mental health issues are all around us and children may experience adults in their life having problems. Or, they themselves may have feelings they can not fathom.
From the outside, many families may look ordinary, or appear like a perfect family, without a care in the world. It was then I remembered Dee and her kids.
The Perfect Family
I always tried to be the normal Mum at the primary school gates. Never wanted to stand out for my kids’ sake. However, the alternative mums gravitated towards me and we formed a small group so if one of us was late or had a problem, another mum would be there to collect the children. We lived in a-joining villages.
One day I picked my two up from Dee’s house and when we got home my youngest said to me.
“Dee was crying in the kitchen and Pete was holding her saying it would all be OK.”
Dee and Pete appeared the perfect couple. Both beautiful with three equally beautiful children. Their small home was comfortable and trendy. I’d envied them. But I was on the outside.
I diplomatically questioned Dee about what my child had seen. She was hesitant, saying it had been a bad day. Naturally, I was concerned about my friend but was also worried that my kids would be confused in such an environment. I made sure I was the one looking after them. Twice a week I also took home two of hers. This way she could have some much needed alone time.
On the other days, her husband started turning up at the school and we became friends. He began to confide in me. Dee was not at all happy, and probably suffering from depression. He explained she had always had a delicate mental disposition but family life had suited her. Everything appeared fine until a few months prior. Then, she started drinking. He was beside himself as after a binge she’d occasionally bring home a strange man. Drugs were involved too. Pete was doing all he could to get Dee the support she needed. In his heart, he knew he’d have to move out soon and take the children.
He moved out. She kept the children and as weeks turned into months, and months into years the situation worsened. Many of us tried help but with young families of our own, it was difficult. One day she attempted suicide in front of her children, was admitted to hospital and the kids taken into care
Pete was settled by now, had his own place and a well-paid job. The children had seen enough so he was desperate to have them live with him. Social services wouldn’t allow it, they said he would have to give up work. He argued that it was not viable for him to leave his job and could arrange childcare options for when he was not home. But apparently, this idea was not satisfactory. The children were only allowed to visit at weekends.
Years rolled by and nothing got better.
This is just a true tale of what appeared to be a seemingly perfect family. Looking back I wish I could have done more. The kids are older now and attempting to make their own way in the world. I hope they’re OK.
Header Image from Pixabay