If tomorrow never comes – 2

“If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes”
From If Tomorrow Never Comes sung by Garth Brooks.

I heard the song this morning and thought back to an earlier post I wrote in February 2012 – four years ago, really?

And now another love has departed this life (read died) and more than ever I know that we have to tell those to whom we are close, how much we love them.  Actions tell us/them but words are very powerful

So today please tell your family and friends how important they are to you.  When The Architect was dying, when he was in the final coma, I told him how much I loved him in words and actions.  I helped bathe him, change his bed and just as importantly, always had his favourite music playing quietly in the background and constantly reiterated how important he was to me and how much I loved him.

We are told, or I was told by the caring staff at the hospice, that hearing is the last of the senses to go, so I tell myself he heard what I was saying and heard his music.  And of course, I felt so much better having done this.

I’m becoming maudlin so I’m off for a walk with a friend in the open air and sunshine.  More tomorrow.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around
in the daytime and falling in at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna St Vincent Millay

American lyrical poet and playwright.
1892-1950  
Gilda Radner

Honesty

All day Sunday, following the meeting with Sandy and Cathy, Barbara thought about what she was doing and the ramifications. She didn’t think it illegal to take on someone else’s identity, but she wasn’t sure.

 She had told no one of her plans to impersonate the other Barbara, and really she didn’t know what she expected to get out of it other than a ready made family. Well that was a huge thing wasn’t it? And if she convinced Sandy she would then have to convince the rest of the family who might not be as ready to believe as Sandy. She decided to sleep on it and think it through tomorrow.

But on waking the next morning she was no closer to making sense of what she had started. She wished she hadn’t sent that original email and wished she could take it back.

She turned on her computer as she was having breakfast and she saw there was an incoming email. It was from Sandy and she asked questions that Barbara feared. She didn’t know the answers. Oh, she could make up stuff about growing up but of course, there were other family members who could be traced easily. Oh what had she got herself into? And how to get out of it?  Why had she ever started to convince somebody that she was somebody else? 

She could just refuse to answer the email and turn her back on Sandy and her friend Cathy. Or she could make up the answers to the questions. But what if Sandy decided to come in to see her at her rooms or worse still, at the office. Then the game would really be up. The name on the flat/rooms was hers not the other Barbara’s and at the office of course, they knew that the other Barbara had died. 

She hadn’t thought where this thing was leading when she sent the original email. And was she really being fair to Sandy? She realised after meeting her, that she had opened some old wounds and they wouldn’t close easily. Sandy had kept this secret for many years and now at least one other person knew of it. And no doubt, Sandy’s son had been informed and how was he reacting? 

As she got ready for work she pondered on the problem. She didn’t know who to talk to about it. There was a young man with whom she had lunch on occasion and so she decided to talk to him about it today. She copied the emails and as soon as she arrived at work she called him and arranged to meet him at one o’clock. 

All morning while trying to work her mind, kept going over and over what she had done and how  was she  going to handle it. One o’clock eventually came round and she was now worried at how her friend, James, would react to what she had to say. 

Greeting her with a smile and a friendly wave, James was already seated in the café when she arrived. “You don’t look very happy.” he said. “Is something wrong?” Barbara suddenly found herself crying and blurting out the problem to James. He put his arm around her and tried to comfort her.

“Let’s order coffee and something to eat. You’ll feel better when you have some food inside you.” was his advice. “ I suppose you haven’t eaten anything at all today” 

So with the food ordered and the coffees in front of them, he asked her to go over the whole thing from the beginning. 

“Well, you’ve got yourself into a bit of a mess haven’ you?” and “How are we going to get you out of it?” he said. 

Barbara was pleased to hear him ask that. She felt that with his help she could put this right or if not right, make some amends. 

The food came and they spent the next few minutes eating; the only conversation was about the food. “This is good” and “How’s yours?”

 “So now let’s look at what you’ve done” said James. “You’ve sent an email purporting to be somebody else. You’ve met with the woman once in the role of this other Barbara, but I don’t think you have done anything illegal. It’s not a very good thing to do, and it’s not particularly honest and the impact on this woman, Sandy has been great. But you can get out of it.”

 “How” she asked.

Well, the options are, do nothing and hope that Sandy leaves it at that and doesn’t try to find you. Though I think that’s unlikely from reading the emails. She seems to be very keen for you to be her long lost daughter.” 

“And the other option?” she asked. 

“Well that is you send her another email saying that you made a mistake. You are not her daughter and you are sorry for any hurt you caused. You didn’t intend to hurt anybody and you hope that she is successful in finding her real daughter. Or words to that effect. It’s not going to be easy but I think this is the least you can do. You might want to tell another lie and say that you have been looking for your birth mother through several avenues and have now connected with your birth mother after all”. James sat back and finished his lunch.

 Barbara thought about what he had said and realised that the second option was the only one that would allow her to get out of the situation she had created. It wouldn’t be easy but it would be the only honest thing to do.

 Thanking him for listening and understanding she left James at the end of lunch feeling happier than she had all morning. Now she knew what she had to do. She would spend some time thinking of the words to use in an email to Sandy.

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.”
― Virginia Woolf

 

 

Questions

After she  left Greg. Sandy drove slowly around the streets on her way home  She thought about Greg and how lucky she was to have him still in her life.  So many of her friends had acrimonious divorces and didn’t speak to their ex husbands.  She knew that she and Greg would always be friends, and they had Ian and his boys as a further connection.

She also thought about what he had said, and about the email she would send to Barbara once she got home.

So engrossed was she in her thoughts that she almost missed the young cyclist who came barreling out of a driveway.  She shook herself and concentrated on the road the rest of the way home.

After making a pot of tea she sat down and wrote the email:

“Dear Barbara.  I was so pleased to meet you yesterday.  It brought back memories of a time that wasn’t happy for me but I was glad to see the outcome of those times.

Of course, I should like to know more about you.  You were a little vague dear about where you lived and worked and of your life when you were young.  Do you have any relatives, cousins, aunts or uncles, and if so, do you see them still?  So many unanswered questions.

Perhaps you would like to answer some of them in an email before we make plans to meet again.

You must understand that this whole thing has come as a shock to me after  it having been kept secret for so many years.  It has brought to life old wounds and feelings and  I need some time to collect myself.  I also want to make sure of my feelings towards you.

I do hope you don’t think I am distrusting you. It’s just that after so long there are many questions.  And I’m sure you have an equal number of questions to ask me.  Please feel free to do so and I shall do my best to answer them.

Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Regards, Sandy”.

She read it and rewrote it a couple of times before she sent it.  She didn’t want to upset Barbara but of course there were all the unanswered questions and evasions looming in her mind following yesterday’s meeting.

She copied it to Greg and then she rang him.

“Do you think she’ll be upset?” she asked him “Or will she understand that I’m just  being careful?

I’m just so scared that if she isn’t who she says she is, I’ll have been taken back to that terrible time, with all the wounds reopened for nothing.  I really do hope that she is my daughter.”

“I know you really want her to be your daughter but there are things you need to consider.  For instance have  you thought about  how she will fit into the family yet?” Greg asked.  “She certainly can’t think she could just turn up and become one of us or could she? And we need to find out what Ian really thinks about this development and the impact on his life and his family.

“He is our son and has been brought up thinking of himself as an only child. Imagine how he is trying to cope with a the possibility of a half sister coming into his life now.  And let’s remember that he is already upset that we never told him about your other child.

“I think that after you receive a response to your email, we should phone him together and discuss this as a family.  What do you think?”

“I think that’s a great idea.  I knew I should talk to you.  Thanks. I’ll call you when I hear from her” She said, putting down the receiver.

Then she sat thinking back to the time when she had become pregnant with the girl and the worry unhappiness then.  It was so very different to the time when she had become pregnant with Ian. Then it was all happiness.  She and Greg looked forward to the birth of the child, not knowing or caring whether it would be a boy or girl.  They just both knew that this child would be welcomed by both of them into their loving family.  And so it had been.  They showered their only child with love in a safe and secure family environment.  He knew how much he was loved.

And when it became obvious that there would be no more children, they became a tight knit family unit of three. Sandy felt quite sure that if Barbara was her daughter, then after a short time to get used to the idea, Ian would welcome her into the family.  But what Val would have to say about all this, Sandy couldn’t begin to imagine.  The wife/mother-in-law relationship was certainly easier now that they lived so far apart, but Sandy always felt that Val looked down on her considering herself better than Sandy.  Well she would just have to wait for a couple of days and then after talking to Ian again, would see what Val’s opinion was.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday
because I was a different person then” said Alice
Lewis Carol – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Episode 11 in The Sandy Saga

Cathy

Since the meeting yesterday with the young woman claiming to be Sandy’s long lost daughter, Cathy had felt uneasy and had been wondering about several things. 

Most noticeably, the young woman hadn’t given many clues as to how she spent her days, nor did she say much about her family except that they were kind and loving.  She skirted around questions of her early life, childhood and schooling, although she did have several photographs that she had sent with an email and brought with her to the meeting.

Cathy had been a Nun for many years, and the decision to forsake her way of life, the vows she had made, didn’t come easily.  However, she had been part of an open order that had the Sisters going out into the community to work with the needy, the poor, orphans and the homeless.  One of the places to which Cathy had been sent was a centre in the East End of London that worked with women and pregnant, unmarried, women in particular.  They tried to find homes for these women and helped them after they had given birth whether or not they had kept the baby.

After many years Cathy decided that the life in the convent was not for her any longer.  As she said “After struggling for many months I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need a habit or vows in order to be true to myself.  But being a nun taught me that the most important thing in life, regardless of what religion you are is to be kind to people and to have a kind heart.”  So this is what she took with her into the world. 

And it was to this centre in the East End that she went with her people skills and her kind heart.  And it was there that she met Sandy and so became involved in this major happening in Sandy’s life.

Over the years of dealing with so many people, and particularly women, Cathy had become adept at reading people.  Her feeling about the young woman, Barbara, was that she was hiding something.  She didn’t think the woman was being particularly truthful and honest about herself.  She wondered what the secret could be and also how she could help Sandy.  Sandy was so keen to accept this young woman at face value that Cathy was concerned for her.  Was she headed for disappointment or was she, Cathy, reading too much into the unanswered questions.  Her years in the convent had taught her that when confronted by a difficult question or decision to be made, the right thing for her to do was pray for guidance.  This she did at the first opportunity.

Well she didn’t get a lightening flash with an answer but she did come away knowing that she must do all she could to protect Sandy.  Through her work at the Women’s Centre she had met a Police Inspector whose friendship and counsel she valued.  She had seen this man working with some of the abused women who came to the Centre and she knew that he was a kindly man.  She knew he would listen to her concerns without shaking her off and so she determined to seek his advice to see whether anything could be found out about this woman.  After all, the police had many sources of information available to them that was not available to the general public.

Cathy didn’t know Greg, Sandy’s ex husband, and so she had no idea that Greg had also decided to employ the services of his friend, the private detective.

Early the next morning she set about putting her plan into practice.  But first she had to talk to Sandy to see if there had been any further communication from the young woman.  Maybe all the questions had been answered and there was no need for her to  worry any more or to involve her friend.

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity,
it is about love.

Charity and love are the same;  with charity you give love,
so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
― Mother Teresa

Episode 10 in The Sandy Saga

Barbara

As she waited on the DLR (District Light Railway) station she thought how very easy it had been.  She was quite sure she had convinced the woman, Sandy that she was the long lost daughter.  And wasn’t it lucky that they agreed to meet at the Westfield Mall at Stratford.  That was only a five minute train ride away from her rooms in Plaistow.

She had taken particular care with her hair and dress, remembering how the other Barbara had dressed.  Not today the short short skirts, tight tops and high heels of her usual dress.  Today she was much more subdued.  Skirt and blouse with sensible shoes.  And very little makeup.

She remembered the day  she met another Barbara when they started to work together at the solicitors office in Holborn.  This girl had also been adopted and they spent many hours talking about their situations.  How she had been brought up in a variety of foster homes and how the other Barbara had landed on her feet having been adopted into a warm loving family.

Somehow, this unlikely pair formed a bond.  Many hours were spent reminiscing and they each got to know the other very well.  They talked of so many things, and shared parts of their lives that they had never shared with any other person.  Then came the day when the other Barbara didn’t turn up for work and she heard that there had been a dreadful car crash the day before.  Barbara, her mother and father had all died at the scene.

She really missed her friend. They had been so much more than just work mates.  She started to read the Death Notices in the paper and so learned about the funeral.  The funeral was to be held in St James Church in Cowley where Barbara had been brought up. It was easy to get there by public transport.  She would walk to West Ham Station and from there take the tube, with one change, to Uxbridge then a bus to Cowley.  Having lived in London for many years she was used to travelling by underground (the tube) and could easily find her way from one line to the next.    The difficulty would be finding the church once she got there.  So she would  allow  herself plenty of time just in case she got lost.

She took the day off from work to attend the funeral, standing in the back of the church away from family and friends. Attending brought home the fact that she would never see her friend again.  She went home feeling very dejected.

And then after time she thought “Why shouldn’t I become the other Barbara?”  She knew many of the little details that made up the other girl’s life.  She knew about the search for her birth mother and the unsuccessful attempts.  She also knew that there was another lead to follow.  She had her friend’s notebook with all the unsuccessful leads followed and crossed out and there was just one more lead.  So she sent the email.

She regretted the action immediately, but then it began to take on a life of its own.  The response from Sandy, the meeting and promises to keep in touch.

“Perhaps at last I’ll  have a family to be part of.” She thought and “I’m not hurting anybody am I?.  Sandy wanted me to be the long lost daughter and I want to be her daughter.”

She thought this could well be a win-win situation. A smile lit up her face and her eyes shone as she began the walk home from the station wondering how soon she would hear from Sandy.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, 
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

Episode 9 in the Sandy Saga

 

Greg

Greg was a large, kindly, gentle man with grey hair and  bright brown owl like eyes magnified by the spectacles he wore.  Most often the spectacles were perched half way down his nose but without the spectacles he could hardly see a foot in front of him.  He was the sort of man people immediately warmed to and trusted. 

Having seen Sandy to her car he turned to begin the walk home.  It was a beautiful autumn afternoon and the streets of Islington were at their best.  Trees lined both sides of many streets and of course, the home owners in this borough took great pride in their gardens.  Well, most did.  There was the odd garden that was sorely in need of attention, but in the main they were well tended. 

But on his walk home today he took little notice of his surroundings. He had much to think about and knew that as soon as he arrived home Julia would want to know what all the fuss was about. 

Obviously, he would have to tell her about the child that had suddenly reappeared into Sandy’s life.  This was one secret he had kept from Julia as it really wasn’t his secret to tell.  But now she had to know. 

He worried about the effect this reappearance was having on Sandy.  Clearly she wanted to believe that this Barbara was her long lost daughter.  And certainly the girl had some information on where and when she had been born, but was she really Sandy’s child?

What could he/they do to confirm her claim was legitimate? He had a friend who had been involved in some private detection company but Greg didn’t know if he was still involved. He’d give him a call when he arrived home.  Although they had little to go  on, not even knowing where the girl lived.  But hopefully, they would have that piece of information once Sandy heard back from the girl. He’d feel better if he thought he was doing something to help Sandy.

When he arrived home Julia was waiting eager to hear just what had happened. He told her about the email, the meeting and the girl. She in turn, told him about the call from his son and the promise she had made that Greg would call him as soon as he arrived home. He knew  2.30 pm in London was 6.30 am in Vancouver but he also knew that his son would have hardy slept waiting for his father to call him. 

So he made the call.  Of course, Ian wanted to know how long Greg had known about this child given for adoption.  When had he and his mother discussed this and when and why had they decided to keep it secret from him.  Surely he had a right to know that he had a half sister somewhere in the world and maybe he might have wanted to find her.

 Obviously, Ian was very upset and Greg did his best to placate him.  He told his son that he was going to do all he could to confirm whether or not this Barbara was his mother’s daughter.  She had some evidence but here were also several unanswered questions and Greg promised his son that he would do all he could to get them answered. 

After brief chats with Val and the boys they said their goodbyes with Greg promising to be in touch again as soon as there was anything to tell.

 Next it was a cup of tea with Julia attempting to answer more of her questions,  and then the call to the friend who had been at one time, involved with a detective agency. 

As expected the friend was out on Sunday afternoon but he left a message for him to call.  Several hours later the phone call came.  He told Greg that he was still involved with the detective agency and would see what further information he could gain about the young woman. Thanking him, Greg rang off.

 Now Greg had to make a decision whether to tell Sandy that he had involved his friend.  He knew she wanted answers to the questions and felt sure that she would agree with what he had done. He phoned her and she did readily agree.

 Before they rang off they agreed to meet once Sandy had a response from Barbara to the email she had just sent. After that they could determine their next step.

“Cherish your human connections –
your relationships with friends and family.”
Barbara Bush – wife of the 41st President of the United States, 

George H. W. Bush,

This is episode 8 in the Sandy Saga.

 

 

Ian

Ian put down the phone after saying goodbye to his mother.  He told her he loved her, but in a mechanical voice with none of the love he felt for his mother, in it..  He had heard the phrase “reeling from shock”  but now he knew just what that meant.

He had trouble picturing his staid and sensible mother as a ‘flower child’ of the “Swinging Sixties”.  And yes, he was having trouble forgiving her for keeping him in the dark about this unknown ‘sister’ for so long.  But of course, he didn’t know the conversations she and his father had about whether or not to tell him about the child.

He had to speak to his father but when he got through to the house in Islington he was told by Julia that Greg was out meeting Sandy.  She said she was a little worried at the anxious tone in Sandy’s voice when she had asked Greg to call her, the phone call from Greg  to say that he would be delayed until after lunch and now this call from Vancouver.  Her mind was running in all directions.  Had there been an accident? Had somebody been hurt?  Was somebody seriously ill?  All these questions and more had been plaguing her since the voicemail message of the day before.  And Greg had been next to useless saying”I don’t know any more than you” and “We’ll find out when I meet Sandy.”  Well at least with this call from Ian she knew that all was well in Vancouver.

Ian didn’t want to discuss this matter with Julia preferring to leave it to his father to decide how much, or how little to tell her. So after a very brief chat on how the boys were getting on and whether she and Greg would visit that summer he hung up after asking her to have his father call him as soon as he arrived home.

He was a very sensible young man and had always  been known for his calm manner and the way he had of seeing his way through problems.  People trusted him and went to him for help.  But this was totally outside his ken.  His eyes, so like his mother’s, showed how worried he was.

Then after putting down the phone he saw Val looking at him waiting for some answers.  After telling her his father would call him later, they sat down to discuss this turn of events in their lives.  For the first time, Tony doubted the wisdom of packing up and moving the family to Canada.  He even thought that if Sandy had come with them this Barbara person would have found it almost impossible to track her down.  Canada was so big and such a long way away from London. They had asked Sandy to move with them but were secretly pleased when she had decided to stay in London.

“Will you have to go to London to meet this Barbara?” asked Val.  “Your mother might need some family support”.  “Probably not immediately” replied Ian “Father is there and will always be ready to support her in any way.  Aren’t we lucky that it was such an amicable divorce?  Imagine how awful this would be if they weren’t speaking to each other and mother was on her own.”

For the next couple of hours they kept coming back to the subject, trying to imagine how Sandy was feeling now that this event from her past had come to light after so many years..  No doubt she had blocked that time from her memory – but how?  How had she lived with this secret for so long?  Only Sandy could answer that.

So Ian waited for his father to call. He looked around this bright spacious home and compared it to the garden flat his mother lived in.  There was nothing wrong with her flat but it certainly lacked the space he enjoyed and the lack of sunshine was a big drawback.  But she seemed to be happy with her life.

Meanwhile, back in Hackney Sandy was working out the words for the next email to Barbara.

In time of test, family is best. ~Burmese Proverb

 

 

Trusted Advice

The call to Ian was without a doubt the hardest phone call she had ever made.

After the initial pleasantries were over Sandy launched into her story.  She blurted it out quickly.  How she had left her family home to go into the big City – London.  And how she had met with a group of people who quickly became her ‘friends’.  It was more difficult to explain her being involved in free love and then eventually becoming pregnant.

It became easier to tell about meeting the priest and the subsequent stay in the “unmarried mothers home” followed by the adoption.  As Ian tried to interrupt with questions, she ignored him and went on with her story.  Culminating with the meeting on Saturday that followed on receiving the initial email.

Having told him all that, she sat back in her chair absolutely emotionally wrung out. She felt exhausted, as if she had run a mile.  And now it was time to answer her son’s questions.

At first there was no voice at the other end of the line.  “Are you still there darling” Sandy asked.  ‘Yes Mother” came the deep voice of her son, that was now faintly tinged with a Canadian accent.  He then asked the expected questions.  How long ago?; Who was the father?; Had she never tried to find out what happened to the child?; Did his father know about this before they married; What was his father’s reaction?

She answered these questions as well as she could but in a very timid voice quite unlike her usual voice.  And then Val, Ian’s wife came on the phone wanting to know whether the woman had children; was she married; what was Sandy going to do now.  

And Sandy realised there were even more questions that Barbara had either left unanswered or skillfully evaded.

The phone call ended with love from both sides and promises to be in touch again soon.  Sandy said that she would call again once she’d had another meeting with Barbara.

The first hurdle over.  Now to meet with her ex. She had arranged to meet him at their local pub.  She prepared carefully, taking care over her dress and her makeup.  Greg had always been conscious of the way she looked.

As soon as she entered the saloon bar she saw him sitting at a table by the window with an open newspaper at his side and beer and a white wine in front of him.  He had seen her drive up and so was up on his feet as she entered the room.  The smile on his face told her he was happy to see her and the welcome in his eyes told her she would always love this man even though she couldn’t live with him.

They embraced as friends and sat down.  After the usual small talk “How are you?” What have you been doing?” etc he then asked her why she had wanted to see him.  So she filled him in with all the happenings of the previous week, starting with the initial email, through to the meeting the day before.  She told him of her delight at meeting the young woman and how she was convinced that it really was her daughter.  But she also told him her concerns about the unanswered questions.  Where did she live, how and with whom?

Of course, his first question was had she told Ian?  She told him of the phone call and the questions raised by both Ian and his wife, Val and their promises to be in touch again soon.

Greg, her ex, decided that they needed more time than that for just a pre-lunch drink and suggested lunch.  She readily accepted and he went off to tell his partner where he was and what he was doing.  The split between Sandy and Greg had been amicable and when he became involved with Julia she was naturally introduced to Sandy.  So there would be no problem with his having lunch with Sandy.

They ordered from the bar menu so that they could continue sitting at their table and talking over the situation.  Greg felt it important that before meeting Barbara again Sandy should get answers to the questions she had.  They talked round and round this subject until it was eventually agreed that Sandy send an email to Barbara telling her how happy she was to have met her and also asking the questions.  Once she had these answers Sandy would meet Barbara again, with Cathy if she were agreeable, and get to know her a little more.  Sandy felt very relieved that another person was helping her make decisions.

They then talked of more mundane things, work, their grandsons in Vancouver and how well they were doing, when, if ever, Ian would return to England, when Sandy planned to visit Canada again, etc etc.

So it was with a much lighter heart that Sandy left the pub on that sunny winter afternoon.  She drove home with a smile on her face, singing along with the radio much to the amusement of the young men in the car next to her at the lights.

Tomorrow, she thought, was another day….

“Trust your instincts, and make judgments on what
your heart tells you.

The heart will not betray you.”
― David Gemmell, Fall of Kings

Related :
A Pregnant Pause; Looking for Answers; Decisions Made;
Saturday’s Meeting
; Opening the Box

 

 

 

Opening the Box

On the way home Sandy and Cathy discussed the meeting with Barbara.  “Well I think that went well, don’t you?” Cathy asked. As Sandy didn’t respond immediately she looked over to her.

“Is everything alright?” she asked.  “Is something bothering you?”.

“I’m probably just being silly but I wonder why she didn’t tell us where she was living.  We heard a lot about the house in which she was brought up but nothing about where she lives now”.  Sandy worried.  She thought it strange that Barbara had omitted this from the discussion.  Also when asked what she did for a living, Barbara had quickly and effortlessly it seemed, changed the subject.  So what was she hiding?

When they arrived at Sandy’s house it was agreed that they would meet again in a couple of days so that Sandy could get her head around what she had learned and where she wanted to go from here.  She had so many decisions to make but the main one was when and who to tell of this new development.

She went inside and hung her coat on the hall stand.  She stood looking at the stand for a while.  It had always been part of her life it seemed.  It had stood in the hall all through her growing up years.  She could remember her father standing in front of it, adjusting his hat and tie before going out for a drink with his friends.  Her mother always put on the bright red lipstick there and she always looked in the mirror to check her hair before opening the front door.  Then when Sandy’s mother had to move into the retirement home, the hall stand came to live in Sandy’s hall.

But delving into these memories was only a way to put off making some decisions.

Of course, Ian her son would have to be told before anyone else.  Though goodness knows how he would react to this side of his mother about which he knew absolutely nothing.  And what of Val his wife?  How would she react to a mother-in-law who had a child before she was married and had given it up for adoption?

Sandy had never talked to her son about her life before she met his father, and certainly had never told him how she had been involved in the Swinging Sixties.  Oh he knew about that era – who didn’t, but how would he feel about his mother having been part of it?  Questions that could only be answered by calling him.

 She checked the time in Vancouver and was pleased to see it was only 6am there and so far too early to make a call.  So she could put that call off for several hours.  Perhaps after the boys had finished sport and the family had lunch would be a good time to call.  But would any time be a good time?

So that decision made, she called her ex husband.  Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon and he was out,  Probably at the football which was his passion.  West Ham was his team and they were playing at home to Arsenal.  He wouldn’t miss that. 

So she left a message on voice mail for him to call her when he got in.  She thought she would suggest they meet for a pre lunch drink at the local pub tomorrow, Sunday.  It would be easier telling him about Barbara face to face.

Now who else would she have to tell?  Her mother was in a retirement centre drifting in and out of dementia.  Should she even tell her?  It was so long ago and it would probably disturb her.  No.  That decision was easily made. She wouldn’t mention the meeting when next she saw her mother.

So who else to tell.  Her bridge friends – no, they were more acquaintances than friends although they did she each other each week and exchanged tidbits about their lives.  And if/when it came out, as it obviously would, they would be hurt that she hadn’t told them. 

So she decided to make a list.  Always making lists was Sandy.  She was methodical and said that once she saw the scope or scale of a chore written down in list form, she could get her head around it.

So Ian, her son was at the top of the list, followed by her ex-husband, her bridge friends, Grace her next door neighbour with whom she was quite friendly and of course, her closest friend Julia would have to be told.

But none of these other calls would be made until after she had spoken to her son and her ex-husband.

The question of what Barbara was hiding would have to wait for another day.

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and
the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama

 

From Strength to Strength

“You gave me strength to stand alone again
To face the world out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity”
You Needed Me sung by Anne Murray

Today’s post is all about me.  I heard Anne Murray singing this song on the radio and these four lines jumped out at me.

Family, friends both in the real world and in the blogosphere have given me the “strength to stand alone again” after the sudden death of the Architect.  So thank you all.

Have you read Sara Henderson’s “From Strength to Strength”?  It and the follow up “The Strength in Us All” were given to me  by my sn on his father’s sudden death some 18 years ago  

Sarah tells of her early marriage to a gung-ho American entrepreneur in the 1950’s, his infidelities in Hong Kong in the 1960’s, and finally, upon her husband’s early death, discovering he has left her virtually bankrupt on a million acre property in the Australian outback with 3 young daughters to raise alone. The book delves into her struggles to prevent the bank foreclosing, but much more than that, it tells the story of one woman’s courage and will to go on.  So with this example I picked myself up and went on with life.  And I’m doing so again now.

If you haven’t read these books I suggest you get copies.  Both are available at Amazon in print and kindle form.  Enjoy.

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson

Thanks