At the tender age of 4 my world fell apart.
My father decided that after having an affair, he was leaving my mum and moving in with the 'other woman'. It was eventually decided that myself and my sister would stay with my mum. At first I didn't notice any change except my mum seemed much calmer and I wasn't getting told off all the time.
Every Sunday my father would come to the house and collect us both in the morning, around midday. We would stay at his house with the 'other woman' and her two children until about 6.00pm (usually after the Muppet Show finished). This went on for a couple of years until we moved house to stay close to my grandparents. After that we only saw him at Christmas and Birthdays. It was hard on my mum because the only day of rest she had was on a Sunday when he came to collect us. The only other time would be when I would get too out of control for her and she would ask my granddad to collect me. I doted on my granddad and there was a joke in the family that if my granddad stopped walking suddenly, my nose would go up his bum!!
At about the age of 10 I remember running home from school. It was my birthday and daddy would be there. I turned the corner into my road and slowed down. No car. I walked in and went to bed. I had my very first migraine that day.
The next day I did the same. Ran home to find no car. My mum started making excuses for him such as perhaps he's on a training course or perhaps the car broke down.
Christmas came and went. Then in July my sister was sure that he would come as it was her birthday. She was his favourite. He wouldn't miss hers. He did. Only then did my sister realise that he was not coming back.
The years passed without mark. We got on with our lives and my mum re-married to a wonderful man who I now call Dad. When I was 18 I decided to track down my Grandma. I remembered that the family owned a hotel in a village about 15 miles from where I lived. I found it without any problem. I remember walking into the hotel and asking the gentleman on reception if she still lived there. He asked who I was. I told him. He looked shocked. He was my uncle.
After introductions to another member of the family I was taken to a care home near by as Grandma could no longer climb the stairs. I met Grandma was taken back by the fondness she showed me and the love that was there. I stayed for about 2 hours talking and bringing her up to date with the whole family. It felt good.
When I got home I told my Mum what I had done. She wasn't cross, more that she wished I had talked to her in the first place and she would then have helped me in tracking Grandma down.
It was soon arranged that both myself and my Sister would go and see her. We did. My sister found it very hard and decided that she couldn't cope with seeing her again. Too much hurt still lay inside my sister. Being older than me she had more memories and couldn't let them go.
I decided to write to Grandma to keep her informed of what was going on and the fact that I had bought a house and moved in with my boyfriend. No reply.
A few years passed. I went to the pub with my mums boss. There he was. I stared him out for most of the afternoon. Not able to say anything knowing that anything I did say would have been hurtful and wrong to say.
I was walking to the loo when I heard my name called. I stuttered then carried on walking. I recognised the voice it belonged to the man that I once called Dad.
That night I received a phone call. It was my Aunt. She phoned using Grandma as an excuse saying Grandma wanted to see me and so did my half-sister. I said I was going on holiday and would she phone back in just over a weeks time. No phone call came. I started to get angry at this time. Grandma had received the letter, yet I received no reply. My Aunt obviously decided to keep the letter, for what reason I don’t know.
In between all this happening, I had also decided to make contact with my cousins. Two girls. I thought it would be best to speak to their mother first. Do all the ground work that way. All was going good there.
Then disaster struck. Not wanting to go into too much detail, I was hurt yet again by that side of the family. I telephoned my cousins mother and told her what happened. She was very sympathetic. Listening to everything I had to say. I told her that I couldn't allow myself to get hurt again and that I thought it would be best if I didn't telephone again. She agreed to keep my telephone number as I asked and she also agreed that she would telephone me if anything would happen……
I kept a discrete distance from the family. Every now and again phoning my Grandma's nursing home to see how she was. All was good.
On Easter Saturday the Queen Mother died. I felt sad. All I could think about was Grandma. I picked up the phone and dialled the nursing home’s number. I did not know it would be for the last time. Grandma had died in the February. No-one had told me!! I felt so angry. So sad and above all, broken. They had truly forgotten about my sister and I.
In a rage, I telephoned my Uncle. No reply. I telephoned again. No reply.
I found out what happened to Grandma and phoned the Undertakers. They were very good. Advising me that the family had gone on holiday.
I thought I would write a letter. I posted it. One week passed, two weeks passed, then three. No reply. I tried the number one more time. It answered. I didn't know the voice and gingerly asked for my Aunt or Uncle. The lady at the other end was very nice and told me that they had moved out some 6 months before.
All contact lost.
There is nothing more I can do. If I saw anyone from the family now, I would not be a nice person to know. My mum brought me up to be kind and courteous with morals and family values. If I saw them now this would not show.
When families split up please, please, please think of the children. Never let them forget who you are and never, never, never forget them. It hurts.