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Thursday, 24 November 2016

BROKEN

How do you fix a broken life? A broken family? A broken home? A broken house? A child's broken life? I have all those things that are broken and it would hard enough to find a solution to fix ONE, but to even contemplate fixing ALL these things, well no wonder I am depressed!

My broken house is something I need a lot of funds for which I do not have. I would also need help and assistance finding reliable workers, which has always proven near to impossible in the past. We are talking major and minor repairs which affect our everyday life and most people would not be able to live with for a long time without getting repairs done. For us, we have become accustomed to such an uncomfortable way of living that it is our norm and we have adapted, but that is not to say it doesn't cause us discomfort. Leaking pipes under the kitchen sink that causes stench in the adjoining cupboards. Rising damp in one part of the house and condensation in the rest causing mould and mildew on walls, clothes, cupboards, toys everything. Broken hot water taps in the bathroom and kitchen. Broken banister. Broken panes in windows. Broken doors. Broken door handles. Broken thermostat. Rotten and leaky roof over one room resulting in the worst damp and mould. Vent in bathroom that has mud seeping through from outside. Broken blinds that need to be rolled up and down by hand after climbing on top of the kitchen counter. Broken floor tiles and worn and even missing carpets. These are but a few. So we live in a house that is cold, damp, smelly in places, with clothes and other products that have been ruined my mould or smell of mould. We have to use cold water in the sinks and the shower can only be used if we heat the hot water much beforehand as our water heater/boiler is old, and so on and so on. I have asked the local government for a "healthy home loan" that is for helping to create and maintain safe and healthy living conditions, but I was refused on the basis that my needs are not high priority/high risk. Here are just a few images to give you an idea.


                                                   Damage from damp on windowsill.


          Carpet on the stairs was so damaged I removed it hoping to keep the stairs wooden, only             to discover the wood was in damaged itself and so it remains, awaiting new carpet.



          Mould on glass jars stored in kitchen cupboard, not the only thing covered in mould.



                                                              Rising damp damage.



                           Slugs and woodlice inhabit our bathroom (and living room too)!


                                                Dishwasher drain and sink drain leak.


                                              Mould on a coat stored in coat cupboard.


           Mould in living room and most of our other rooms, ranging from white to black mould.



                                                  Muddy "gunk" seeps in from outside.


As if that were not a lot to deal with, I have a broken family. People used to refer to a broken home as a home in which the parents had divorced. My children do have a broken home due to divorce, but not only are the parents divorced, but the father is virtually nonexistent as well as the grandparents. Our family is broken though for another more pressing reason. I have no parents, only one sibling who lives over 5,000 miles away and an elderly aunt who lives over 1,000 away (none of us being able to afford the travel to visit and my aunt is too old to travel), no partner....I only have my three children to call my family. So too my children only have me and each other to call family; however, my son has not been part of the family for three years. Though I am in constant touch with him, support him, visit him etc, my middle child has not seen or spoken to him in three years and so therefore there is never a time when we are all together. My youngest daughter has increased her contact with her brother and she often comes with me to visit him, They have also started contacting each other on their phones independently from me. Obviously with my two older children being estranged from each other, this causes many unpleasant and difficult situations. This also puts added pressure on me to constantly juggle my time and respect my daughter's feelings to not have contact with her brother. It too can create avoidable delays since I often have to ask my children to wait to be picked up from school for instance, because I have to take my son back home after attending an appointment with him. It would be much easier if I would be able to pick up my daughters from school with my son, then drop off my daughters at home and carry on to take my son home (his flat, our home and school are in three different towns and my son's appointments are all in my town and not his). Weekends, school breaks, summer, holidays especially Christmas are extremely difficult for me and very upsetting that we are never together as a complete family.



                                                    Christmas 2008, happier times.



                                                                        Easter 2009



Visiting my aunt 2009


Last summer holiday together 2012, tensions were strong.


Last Christmas together 2012


March 2013, last ever photo taken with all my children together, plus my half sister.

So you can see from above, a broken home, a broken house, a broken family. These are contributing factors to my broken life and of course my son's broken life. I need not go into detail about my broken life and the other contributing factors, such as losing my mother, ill health as a child, loneliness, bad marriage, unemployment and my unfortunate last relationship, since I have discussed them at length in previous posts. However, adding to the list my children not being together, my household in disrepair etc, it is all too much to consider. The feeling of being overwhelmed by ALL these issues as grown and grown and been there for so many years, I do not know what to do about it. A big factor of course is that I have to think everyday how my son went from those images above to this:



He is alone, excluded from society and his family, both his immediate family and his extended family. My ex husband has a virtually non existent relationship with his children, and yet on those rare occasions that he does make contact he expects his children to be complacent and unquestioning. He never hears what they are saying to him, especially when his son speaks to him. The grand parents are not much better. There was a time when they seemed to have a preference for their granddaughters, not having much time for their grandson. Now the opposite is true. They went for a few years of  having near to no contact with any of them. Now they make contact with their grandson, but not at all with their granddaughters. The last time they saw my youngest,she was 7, she is 11 now. They saw my middle child 2 years ago for 10 minutes in the streets of London when my daughter took her exchange partner to do some sightseeing. They now see my son every couple of months! However these visits must be due to some sense of duty or guilt, yet that does not seem to be equally felt for ALL the grandchildren. My son was visited by his grandparents this week and they said they will not be able to see him over the Christmas holidays, for reasons my son forgot but he thinks it was because they will be busy. His father phoned him last week and since my son was drunk at the time he answered the phone, which he would not normally do if he saw it was his father calling. His father said he can see him Dec. 20, but no suggestion about having his son over for Christmas, which he has never done since we separated 10 years ago and more importantly, never since my son was told to leave home. This will be the fourth Christmas my son is not part of the family, two Christmas he was homeless, and NEVER ONCE has his father or grandparents taken him in over Christmas. I have had him over for a Christmas meal, but with my daughter "hiding" in her room and therefore I can not have him stay a night or two. However, there are no reasons stopping the rest of the family from taking him in for a few days over Christmas and yet there has never even once been an invitation. My daughters have been included in "their" Christmases before but not a good many years. This makes them feel unwanted and more broken.

My son had me on the phone for 2 hours last night, from midnight to 2 a.m. because all of his brokenness came bursting out of him. One of the things that bothered him the most is being "cut off" from his family and not being allowed to come over when he feels like it regardless of the fact if his sister is home and for her to be a part of his visit. He misses his family, misses the "old days" and wants to be together again. I agree with him, it adds to my brokenness as well. I can understand how this happened, yet my son can not. I fear that if they ever agreed to sit down together to discuss their feelings my son would get angry and aggressive which would only fuel my daughter's reasons for keeping him out of her life. 

He has not continued in education, has been homeless, slept rough in the winter, been in hospital numerous times, has a criminal record, has had a drug problem since his mid teens, has no friends, no social interactions, no family interactions, believes his sister hates him, no work prospects, anxiety and depression, in temporary accommodation, living on benefits with no hopes or dreams for a future and does not want to exist. He had an emotionally abusive and also emotionally absent father. He is full of sadness, regret and painful memories. He is broken and appreciates that we all are, yet he wants me to help fix it and I want to fix it because that is my job as a parent, but I can not fix any of it.

Before hate, anger, damage and bitterness set in.

The photo above represents a time before drugs, before chaos, before self harm, before we broke completely. It does not represent a perfect family of well adjusted children, my son was being regularly insulted and shouted at by his father and his sadness was already there. My daughter was living with the consequences of her club feet and constant medical care as well as a father who shouted at her often. My baby girl was still innocent and pure cuteness. If I stepped in then, and made real changes maybe it would have prevented some of the terrible things these children have since lived through. We can not go back unfortunately, and of course I would like to look forward, but have got to the point where I can only see this existences continuing until it ends......