NessA brief history. I divorced a few years ago now, my husband was an alcoholic gambler. We had two beautiful daughters who are now 18 and 21. The eldest went off to university and returned 3 years later with an honours degree. The youngest (being most like her father) hated me for divorcing her dad and chose to live with him. Four years on she has finally seen the light that her father stands in, for what it is...but this isn't a story about him...it's about her.
Ness was a gorgeously beautiful baby, she was happy. As she grew up she comfortably fitted the role of baby of the family by always being the centre of attention.She was funny, demanding and trying, but at her heart a good girl, always the first to throw her arms around you when you felt sad, always first in the kitchen to help with the chores, always the one with a happy smile and a joke, you couldn't fail to love her. She's a shortie and always been a little chubby, but with the face of an angel and she always had confidence.
I knew she was having troubles, living with her father. He would often get drunk and shout and scream at her. He would stay out at the pub every night, and she would be home alone (not good for a young girl). There was never money for food, because his bar bill was the most important thing. I knew this was happening. I got snippets of information from her facebook about how lonely and awful it was for her and every time I saw her I would tell her she could come live with me. I gave her money for food, and on occasion had to drive a 30 mile round trip to fetch her in the night when something bad happened.
Ness has anger issues and I am not surprised why. She stood by her father when we divorced. Not because she loved him more than me, but I believe it was because she was worried for him. In her young mind she thought she could change her dad. She was, afterall, the apple of his eye. If anyone could keep him away from drink, she thought it could be her!...but he was...and is, relentless in his selfishness and it crushed the kid. My urge was so strong to get her away from him, but she wouldn't come to me.
She wanted to stay in the area she grew up in. Maybe in itself, this was an attempt to hold on to normality when all our lives were turned upside down. He found a flat close to his favourite pub and I bought my own house and moved a good 16 miles away (the closest area I could afford). I cannot tell you how hard it is to watch your baby be so angry and distressed at you and not come to you when she is living in such intolerable conditions.
She inevitably fell in with the wrong crowd and got heavily into drinking and drugs...there was no point being heartbroken, I knew I just had to always keep the door open and be there when she needed me. I was fighting depression at the time, had got involved with someone who was treating me badly (history repeating) and I admit there were times when I wanted to protect myself from the trauma of the sadness and frustration that came with her terrible situation.
Just this week she and her boyfriend of six months came to stay with me. He is a good kid, but he has autism and other problems. I thought they were ok...you know...like happy but on Thursday night they had a massive argument at 3am and broke up. I talked to them in the morning and it was revealed that they are both smoking weed regularly. His behaviour became erratic and he was aggrivated and upset. Ness was crying and distressed. One thing I know is that weed makes the taker paranoid. He is paranoid and so is she. I looked at them both and told him to have his father come collect him as I just wanted to focus on my kid.
I spoke to Ness and a torrent of sadness, anger, shame, disgust and anxiousness came flooding out of her. She looked in my eyes and said 'Mummy please help me'. I bathed her and washed her hair. Her body is thin and pale because she has lost so much weight, her face is pasty and spotty because she doesnt eat. I fed her and cuddled her and let her talk and when she finally fell asleep with exhaustion I phoned her boyfriends mother.
Liams mother told me she and her husband knew he was on drugs, but because he has autism and problems that they had decided not to help him come off of them. I told her that I was sorry for her and for Liam but that I didn't want Ness to see him or speak to him again because if I was going to help her get clean, there would be no point her associating with people who still do drugs. It is devestating to have to say that because I know they have some kind of love and affection for eachother...but sometimes you have to make a stand...and my intervention was way overdue.
When I got off the phone, I wanted to cry my heart out. I wanted someone to comfort me and tell me that it was going to be ok...but as ever I have to cope alone.
I need to be strong for my kid and have told her it's ok for her to let go of the responsibility of her father and be a kid again. Today we are going to collect her things and she is moving in with me and her sister so we can help her.
She has cried for most of the night and I have had her sleep in my bed so I could just hug her if she needed me to. She crashed out about 4am, I think she is exhausted...I haven't really slept.
Today I am taking her and her sister across country to my sisters for the next 3 days...all girls together, safe and out of harms way for a while.
When the new week rolls around, I will begin the long hard process of finding her some counselling and rehab and then we shall just have to take things slowly.
I have made plenty of mistakes, but I know I am a good mother. I want my girls to grow up and know that they don't have to take abusive behaviour from men, that they don't have to feel responsible for someone elses destructive behaviour and that they do not have to smother the reality of life with drugs and drink. There is a purer existence to be lived...there is a way to live that is not harmful or hurtful to others.
I want them to be strong independant women, but most of all, I want them to be happy.