Where were you … ?

I’ve just read a post asking “Seven/Seven: Where were you?” and also today was talking with mother of the girl I tutor about remembering where we were when … and listed various events that we remembered and talked of what we remember about where we were.

I commented on the “Seven/Seven: Where are you?” post and said:

I will always remember where I was on 7/7/2015. I was at home in Frome, home educating my daughter. My son had gone to college that day in Radstock. We were really engrossed in something when suddenly we both said “let’s put the radio on”. Neither of us will ever know why but we listened with shock as the reports unfolded. We are Christians and we just prayed and cried.

But also I remember clearly where I was when the Twin Towers were hit –

We were in our first week of our Family DTS in Paisley Scotland. I think it was the first time I’d left my kids for with someone to teach them since I’d taken Ben out of school. Us adults were in a church hall about 2 miles from the main house. Our base leader came in (the days before everyone had mobile phones) and said there was dreadful news. It unfurled slowly. We were on our faces in prayer. It was not just an awful time nationally but for me it was an awesome time realising the things I could pray and the strength I could pray with.

The death of Princess Diana is neither so deep or so inspiring.

We were living in Belfast. We had been there for about 10 months. I was helping out in the Sunday school at the church we had been attending for maybe 8 months. Someone came in and said “Diana’s been killed in a car accident.” Everyone looked sad. I didn’t say anything. I presumed this was someone they knew, someone who attended the church. I remember racking  my brains to think of any Diana’s I’d known. Thankfully I kept quiet and didn’t embarrass myself.

But it also brings back memories of where I was when I hear of things closer to home –

  • when I heard my Dad’s voice on my answer phone and I knew something serious had happened – my sister had drowned.
  • when my husband phoned from our friend’s house to say that friend had succeeded in hanging himself.
  • my Dad bursting into tears in the first ever house I owned to say my Mum had left him for the second time.
  • the colour of the train we were on when we picked up the message from my husband to say his dad was dead

These are a list of events where I can see and smell how things were, that have stayed seared in my brain, where everything is still so vibrant, where something has been capture. A moment in time. And yet there was a prompt on a

Did my childhood kitchen look like this?

Linkedin group I’m part of which this morning said “write imagine your 5-6 year old self and write about the kitchen in your family home.” I couldn’t remember. I know I’ve moved a lot as an adult but as a child we only lived in four different homes and I can only really recall the third house, where I lived from 10-16. I only remember the fourth house because I visited it twenty years after I’d moved out because new friends were living in it. How can I see snapshots for vividly and yet not remember even something vague from a place I must have gone in to over a thousand times?

It is said that memory is an odd thing and that we shouldn’t trust it that much. What is truth may not be fact. Yet those things etched in my brain that I have mentioned above I am sure that they are really true, that they really were like that. In fact there are certain

Maybe this just says it all from http://www.theyoungadultcaregiver.com

words or phrases that can send me right back there. Though I wonder if I spoke to others who were there whether their truth is the same as mine?

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Who Do You Tell?

Yesterday I was tutoring. My pupil lives on a large country estate. I had just stopped my car to sort out my dog’s harness

Last picture I could find of my sister

when a lady came out of the gatehouse and asked if I could run her to the big house as she’d locked herself out of both her house and car. She worked at the big house. She then said to me “I know you.” We did the ‘how old are you?’ question and realised that she went to school with my sister, me with her sister. She told me I looked just like my sister. For the five minute car ride back to the big house she was so preoccupied about being locked out she didn’t ask me about my sister. I asked her about herself hoping she’d ask how Carole was then I could have told her that Carole had drowned just over three years ago. I’m not sure how much more information I would have told her, but probably because I didn’t tell her anything was why I told a friend I met for coffee in the afternoon, that I hadn’t seen in nearly three years, the details and my suspicions. I needed to tell someone.

And I didn’t just need to tell someone about my sister’s death but I was stuck with who would care about me seeing this person? None of my family knew her. She was someone that actually I remember bumping into her years ago with my sister and her with her sister and we talked about how we’d been to school with each other. It could have been me she recognised. But there was no where I could go with this information. Who could I say that I’d seen this woman? I couldn’t phone or text my sister to say ‘guess who I saw today?’ There are so many things when you live a travelling life, a disjointed life, that there is no one to pass things on to. I think of my husband’s uncle’s funeral and there were many of the same people who were at his dad’s funeral, but also people were asking about people they all knew. No one other then my sister would have known or cared about the connection. It is one of the things about grief that no one tells you – the who do you say things to that are only relevant to you and the deceased.

So who do you tell when no one else is interested?