Week 45- A never ending story
Chris asked us to think of a story that we had never told anyone, to write it down and share it with someone
This experiment got me thinking this week about how every one’s life is a story. Their story. What a shame it would be if you went to the next world without anyone knowing your story. Our lives are a jumble of stories which grow with us, sometimes intermingling with other people’s stories which sometimes stay and become part of your story too. It was difficult not to think about death this week. Cai went to his great grandmother’s funeral on Monday. She was 98 and as a teenager had lost her Dad so she and her Mother had run the farm themselves which was unusual in those days. She was a strong willed and physically very strong. I then attended a funeral on Wednesday of an old teacher of mine and who years later ended up being my work colleague. He had a fiery spirit and his eyes would flash with passion and I liked him a lot. He made time for people. In school he was my careers teacher and he showed me a future of possibilities. On many occasions he told me to pull my socks up and start to take my exams more seriously, he used to say to me that if I didn’t I’d end up working in a factory and being bored out of my mind. He saw something in me and made me see there was a future in higher education and talked to me about choices, about courses that he thought I could achieve. He encouraged me to fill in some applications forms. At home there wasn’t much support educationally, in fact I don’t think my parents even knew I had exams, I was number six you see and they had been brought up in the war years where finding a job and quick was the way whatever your ability. He was friends with my parents and when I had a chat with my Mam about it following his death she said ‘ Oh yes, he did always say we had to send you to college, but we didn’t think anything of it as none of the others had gone’. One of my older sisters is naturally very clever and would have easily achieved a degree or higher, instead she went to the local ‘tech’ and became a secretary in a local company. I am happy to say now she is the Managing Director of that same company but what would she have achieved if she had been given some encouragement and wings as a teenager?
So thanks to you Mr L, I applied for that course and off I went to Manchester which was a big scary city for a girl who’s primary school only had about 50 pupils in it. To be honest I was more interested in the music scene of the late 80’s there than I was in ‘Business and Finance’, and having worked in Sainsbury’s evening’s and weekends, I managed to save my grant by living off my earnings and used my grant to pay for a flight to Sydney, Australia the June after my exams. In the centre of Sydney in the middle of the sky scrapers I worked for a company who imported wool to France. This was a country that gave me confidence where I met life long friends and I travelled and grew… but yes that’s another story.
Mr L’s story mingled once again with mine when I ended up working with him on my return to Wales following his retirement as a teacher. His daily stories in the office made the sales team laugh although I fear rather counter productive to getting any work done. When we said our goodbyes to him on Wednesday, his send off was full of music, with a full choir in place and his eulogy was endearing with stories of fishing and love of his family and so I learnt more of his story. This occasion was in stark contrast to my Uncle B’s funeral a few years ago. He was a bachelor, and had lived alone for many years. My dad once told me that his heart had been broken as a very young man and he had never let anyone into his heart again. His eulogy was read by a stranger who knew nothing of the man. The funeral was as cold and bleak as the weather outside that hilltop chapel. It’s the only time I have seen my Dad break down and cry, because you see no one knew his brother's story. I then watched a strange film last night called Captain Fantastic where the main character was trying to get his dead wife the funeral she wanted and not the ‘respectable and safe’ one her parents wanted her to have. It was thought provoking and felt like the theme of this week was of birth, life and death and the cyclic nature of our stories and the importance of sharing your story with someone if you are lucky enough.
I think I am an open book to anyone who will listen so I don’t think I have many untold stories. I’m happy to share little anecdotes of funny things that have happened to me but not always the dark things. I don’t think anyone knows my full story not even me I guess. As people I think the mind sometimes changes your stories from what actually happened to what you think happened. Sometimes to protect you from the horror but also to help you lie to yourself. Different people have different version of a story, which one is the truth? Sometimes we think we take the upper moral ground but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the truth, no the truth is sometimes the dark stuff, the underbelly, the stuff sometimes we can’t even admit to ourselves. For me the fact that B knows all of my story and judges me not but loves me still is something very special which I for one think is worth keeping hold of with both hands and a great basis for the rest of our lives together. Wake up has made me realise my story isn’t near the end its bang in the middle and it still has a few twists and turns in the plot yet.