I have some difficult news to share this month.
Sadly, my daughter Kathy has had to start legal proceedings to dissolve her marriage. As a family we find it bewildering to understand how someone can change so much after the formality of vows and moving into a new home, but for possible future legal reasons I cannot say much here on a public Internet site. Our close friends do know the exact reasons and circumstances.
Kathy has returned to live with us, although I have mixed feelings about that as I had just started getting used to the convenience of having a spare room and being able to get into the bathroom! She has elected to reinstate her maiden name, and has bravely put the bad experience behind her.
I am so very proud of her - and so sad for what might have been. All I can do is support her, help her rebuild her life, walk with her into the future and in the meanwhile, help her grieve. But then, is that not what Mothers are for?
For those who have the early editions of Pirate Code
, would you mind altering the first sentence on the very first page to read: "Author Helen Hollick lives in London with her husband and adult daughter." Then blank out the second sentence which refers to a son-in-law.
Thank goodness for the quick-change ability of Print On Demand; the typeset will be altered, and no more original copies will be printed. I remember reading about a famous author who dedicated a novel to his wife, only to divorce under heated circumstances soon after publication. Being a bestseller there were thousands of copies printed which stated "to my darling beloved.." Morale of the story? I don't think I'll include any more "about the author" pages!
The worrying thing about this situation is that since the break-up I have heard from so many of our acquaintances who have had a similar experience. From what I have now learnt, one in four women fall victim to domestic violence and/or abuse and bullying, often the cause is drink or drugs, and the abuse rarely becomes apparent before the wedding; in other words, once "possession" has been achieved.
Symptoms, apart from the physical ones of actual violence, include utter denial of anything being wrong, with the abuser finding fault and making destructive criticism; manipulation to gain control - not allowing the woman to see family or friends, attempting to stop her hobbies and interests etc. Control over her money and actions, threats, especially against children and pets, and general harassment.
The abuser often denies responsibility for their actions by placing the blame for everything on the victim and attempting to make the woman - and others - believe she is solely at fault. These abusers are often those who were themselves abused one way or another in childhood, but that is no excuse for continuing and perpetuating the abuse, be it verbally in the work place or physically at home.
Bullying is vile. Domestic violence is unacceptable and, in the UK at least, illegal. Of course it is not always men abusing women - the opposite is also known - but on the whole it is men who make the lives of women a misery, purely because of their greater size and strength.
If you think you or a friend need help, link here now
to Women's Aid, who we have discovered are extremely supportive and helpful, or Hidden Hurt, a site that has detailed information and lists all the UK National Helpline phone numbers.
If you are outside the UK please Google for 'Domestic Violence'. I'm sure the information you need will come up.
The hurt and disappointment in another person's behavior and choices is bewildering, and often hard to understand, but the ability to move forward through another door, and close one behind you, comes from not being blinkered to the truths of your own failings and immaturities.
Maturity and wisdom, and the ability to accept and understand the choices of others, walk hand in hand with being totally honest and at peace with yourself.
We are not judged by our actions, but by the consequences of the choices we make. We are all free to make our own choices; whether they be for good or bad, and in understanding what were the wrong choices we made, and in subsequently attempting to make the right ones.
Real freedom comes with turning away from the influence of others, and making your own choice.
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On a lighter note; I have managed to get a few "must do" jobs done. Cupboards have been sorted, the duck house re-floored, and twenty-five rather spindly copper beech hedge saplings planted in the garden. I'll post a photograph when they appear more like a hedge, rather than the boney array of sticks they are at present.
Good fortune does not change men, it merely unmasks them.
I have always wanted a copper beech hedge. They look so splendid in the autumn, but our previous garden, being half the size of a postage stamp, was never suitable. Here at Number 32 we have a long garden which is somewhat, err, "rustic" in appearance. The hedge will look wonderful with the wild roses, honeysuckle, ivy and the generous supply of weeds; ahem, I meant wild flowers!
Our dog, Rum, made a choice of his own the other day. Fed up with mooching around the stable-yard in search of elusive mice and rats, he decided to take himself off for a walk. All well and good, but we wonder how far into the 6,000-odd acres of Epping Forest he would have got had someone not spotted him gaily trotting down one of the sanded horse rides. Fortunately this person called Kathy on her cell phone and reported he was out on a jaunt, all on his oncey.
Had Rum been carrying a stick with a spotted, knotted handkerchief over one shoulder and wearing big boots I would have been convinced he was off to London Town to audition for a part in the pantomime Dick Whittington and his Dog.
Poor Rum, he was very disappointed to discover that the part was written for a Cat.