(I know she was like that, and I loved her anyway, but it was infuriating)
Every time I tried to talk I was interrupted and talked over, I was so tense and deflated and desperate to get away that I never made further contact with that couple, and felt quite upset, I had liked them at the church in town, but with JM speaking for and about me to them, I couldn’t be me and garden for them, and this is how it was with me and JM, she took over, and this was the opinion of a many people in her benefice, she takes over, but doesn’t have the time to follow up, she specialises in ‘taking pity on troubled families’, raging to the council about them, involving herself deeply, not always a bad thing, but there should be boundaries, especially in cases like mine where I was made into a replacement Sally and she tried to make me have Sally’s character and tried to be my voice, it goes too far, and she lets people down, she let me down in a very wide variety of broken promises and half-done things. I will tell you some more later otherwise I will mess up the continuity of this writing.
While I was in the sheltered house I started to try really really hard to improve myself and progress, I wrote to the tutors at college who I hadn’t got on with, I apologised for my side of that and tried hard to explain that some of my behaviour was in reaction to things, and that I hadn’t meant to upset anyone, I could not explain things like sitting in one place for hours staring at nothing, because I didn’t know why I was doing that, and early on I wasn’t even completely aware of it.
I also wrote to JM’s farm owner friends, though they were not that deserving of apology. The two tutors who I hadn’t got on with both left the college and emigrated to different countries within the few years after me leaving the college (not because of me), and when I went back, my other former tutors were nice and friendly.
My Emotional behavioural problems are always in reaction to things, inappropriate as they may be, I am never random, but things upset me or I behave in certain ways due to triggers, and at the beginning of this journey and indeed for most of it, I have been unaware of my behaviour being in reaction, or even being so extreme in other people’s eyes, only aware of my own distress, but I have been ashamed and I have been slated, I NEVER randomly pick a quarrel or run away in a panic with no reason, I am always doing it in reaction to something.
I decided with help, and references from friends, to return to the college to do evening classes in Horticulture, I was interviewed several times as they vetted me for suitability to return and do a course, I was accepted and they chose an advanced level of course for me, they now accepted I was ‘special needs’ and not ‘troublemaker’, and as I left the college to walk home after one interview, the eccentric counsellor passed me in his old car, and stopped and asked what I was doing, I told him and he offered me a lift to L, which I accepted, he did the same again next time he saw me, we were ok. We shook hands. He isn’t there now, he went to live in his girlfriend’s county with her, one of the reasons I found it hard to respect him was that he had two children with his girlfriend but was not married her, and according to one member of staff he had stolen that girlfriend off another member of staff. Which I thought was pretty awful, and wondered how he could be a 'counsellor', but he was just a tutor earning a bit of extra money from basic counselling of students.
There were an inordinate amount of deaths in the community during the time I was there and onwards through the years I have been in contact with L, painful deaths, untimely deaths, deaths of people I have known and shared food and conversations with, I haven’t seen anything like this stream of deaths anywhere else in my life: when I arrived in L, the churchwarden had just been killed in a plane crash on a Christian mission to Kosovo, then a young man who JM had been training to be a reader, was killed in a motorbike accident, his granddad died a while later, the late churchwarden's mother died of cancer, An old lady from the home died, another couple died, they were old, but they were characters, the lady used to drive through the village so slowly in a very old car, I was at their house once and she showed me round and said ‘This is Mr. ******’s bedroom, and this is my bedroom’, I thought this was rather old fashioned and sweet.
Another couple died, our youth/prayer and praise leader had a heart attack and died in his forties, one of the hypochondriac couple’s neighbours died and I can’t remember which one so I won’t name them, one of A&R’s extended family died of cystic fybrosis, ****** *****’s Mother, Jean died, JP died of a horrible cancer, WW died and his wife G died more recently, JM’s dad died, **** *****died, ****** ****** died and I think one of the ******’ daughters commited suicide, but I am not sure, **** died, ***** ***** died, I think ***** and ***** died, ***'s friend **** who lived at C. died, the old couple up the lane from JM died, did *** ***** die? ***** ***** died; *****died, and did any of the *****'s die? yes, ****’s Dad died, his name was **** and I did some gardening for him, for some reason I ended up doing welcoming duties at his funeral, then her husband, **** got an aggressive cancer and also died, ******* died and ****** ended up in an old people’s home, and there were two suicides, one of those was ***** ******, and I said to JM ‘why are there so many deaths, and is God punishing us?’ she said something about apples falling off a tree or was it leaves?
Because of my background I was worried in case all the deaths were a curse, and I worried in the early days that it was my fault, I really worried, I thought I was cursed because of the women who lived next door when I was a child (who my parents said were witches who cursed us), I told JM and she said the best thing to break a curse was a blessing, and she blessed me.
More recently **** *****died? A. died, and CF died, lots of people I knew and most of them not really old or infirm, some were young and bright and had so much to live for. So most of the people who I knew in L. are gone, it is a village of ghosts. I mean, lots of other people died and were buried in the benefice, but that is normal in a community, what was not so normal for me was all these church and community people who I knew, spoke to, was used to, died. The only thing it did for me though, was take away me terrible fear of death, which came from my parents and how they made death out to be such a terrible frightening thing.
But all the same.
In some ways I was even closer to the deaths and problems in the community because of being close to JM, she would talk and worry community problems, would take me to church services, would take me to the hospice and hospital to visit sick and dying people, she put me on her insurance to teach me to drive the car, but she let the insurance for me lapse without telling me at one point, and I was hurt and said she should have told me, I then paid for her to redo it because I so wanted to learn and I found learning with an instructor too difficult and intimidating, but I used to drive JM to the hospital or hospice in Southampton then, one time a deer leaped out over the bonnet, I was shaking for the rest of the day, it didn’t harm the car though.
But in some ways JM also excluded me from the community, telling people inaccurate things about me, not passing on cards or messages from people in the community to me via her about things, for example the youth leader left a letter with JM for me about a community event, JM didn’t pass it on, this kind of thing happened a lot, the most upsetting thing she promised and did not do was when I was doing my ‘duke of Edinburgh award’ a bit late in the day, JM she would find a way of including my work in the community and church as my volunteer part of the award, and so she took my award book from me and kept it and kept it, so nothing else got recorded or signed off in my book until it was getting too late and still she didn’t give the book back, one day when she was getting something from her desk drawer, I saw my book hidden under something, and later, in tears I fished it out, I couldn’t get an extension to do my award and I was getting too old for the age limit and I couldn’t arrange any other volunteer work, I felt so let down, that award could have made such a difference to me with my lack of background, it would have shown I had some worth.
Another problem I had was wanting to be in the choir, wanting to be like A. and *****and people, this was when David Brown had taken over from the legendary Muriel (who was very bad tempered)and become a paid Organist and choir master, JM said she had had to give him lunch to persuade him, and David and ***** Brown became part of the new, sad L. Church, David was impatient trying to teach me choir, and my dysphasia which I could not explain to him, meant he could not teach me because I was too slow for him in singing the notes he chose and I was getting flustered and confused, so I asked JM to explain to him, and she didn’t and eventually I left a note to him saying why I could not do choir, and asked JM to give that to him on Friday rather than me trek over from where I was still living by then, but again she didn’t. So David did not know what was going on.
Now David crosses the Street when he sees me, because as with ***** and others, they only know JM’s side of things. (his wife became one of the clergy team there and I was maligned to her of course).