Closure of a Chapter

Tomorrow marks the closure of another chapter.

I am meeting with my IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Adviser) for the last time to close off my case.

I have mixed emotions thinking about the meeting. On the one hand it closes a chapter that was fraught with constant police involvement, court cases, case conferences, independent reviews, multi-agency meetings etc. etc.
But it also brings an end to someone who has had a major role in our lives over the past 14 months. It feels as if the safety net is finally being withdrawn & I’m to go it alone.

A new chapter is starting, but I don’t know where it leads. Whilst I know I’m ready, my first steps will be taken tentatively.

Since I reported my Domestic Abuse I have had 3 IDVAs (I will refer to them as S, C & J). It is C who I say goodbye to tomorrow. Whilst both S & C have had an extremely vital role in our lives, it is C who has worked with us for the longest period of 14 months .

S was the one who ultimately convinced me to flee my DV relationship & who tried her best to keep us safe, unfortunately to no avail. She was the one who witnessed my physical injuries in the aftermath of violent attacks & who drove me to either the SARC or A&E in order to receive treatment. She was the one who I contacted following a particularly violent assault when I was too afraid to phone the police. She was the one who came & sat with me for hours in A&E following a suicide attempt. She worked with me for 4 short months & did everything within her power to keep us safe, but sadly the system failed & when the time came for us to be relocated out of the area she handed us over to C, more at risk than when we first met. Whilst she was frustrated that our risk had been increasing, she was relieved & hopeful that our new life would provide us with the safety we so desperately needed.

When I first met C I had completely lost all faith in the system & refused to engage with the process. S briefed her on the complexity of the case & all the failings that had occurred & she certainly had her work cut out for her, firstly to gain my trust & then to slowly convince me to re-engage with agencies.

C has been an absolute rock during a tumultuous period. Throughout the past year I have met with her in person on a weekly basis &, at times when needed, spoken to her daily on the phone. When things were going badly, C was always there. She has attended every police meeting I’ve had, always insisting the meetings were held at her office rather than the police station because she knew how triggering they were for me. She has spent hours upon hours sat in the waiting room whilst I gave video interviews for the rape cases, holding me as I sobbed uncontrollably after each & every one. She attended every case conference & multi-agency meeting with me. She stood her ground & fought my corner with Social Services’ inadequacy; she attended the appeal hearing with the education department to insist on the girls being accepted into the same school & stood her ground when they tried to have her thrown out of the legal hearing. And she has sat with me throughout a 7 hour interview with the team conducting an Independent Review.

C has literally been my strength when I had none. She has seen me at my absolute lowest & provided comfort when I didn’t know how to continue. She has held me when I could do nothing more than sob, unable to find the words to speak. She has sat on the floor of my lounge when I had no furniture for her to sit on & she cried when I told her I no longer had to sleep on the floor as I had saved up & bought myself a bed.

She has watched me grow from the person who was too afraid to leave the house, to finding sufficient courage to visit her in her office & finally bold enough to accompany her to a coffee shop.

She has given me my life back …. or perhaps more accurately, she has provided me with my new life.

So tomorrow we meet for the last time to say goodbye & it will be a meeting of mixed emotions. This chapter is closed and a new one awaits.

Mother’s Day Thoughts

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

It takes science to be a mother. An egg, a sperm, some mixing of chromosomes, 9 months of development & hey presto you’re listed on a birth certificate as a mother.

It takes love, caring, nurturing, protecting & doing what is in the best interest of your child to be a Mum.

Not all mothers are good Mums and neither are all the great mums biological mothers.

It takes someone special to be a Mum.

Growing up I had a mother. A mother who knew about & condoned the abuse I suffered from my father (and others), telling me it was “his way of showing me he loved me”. She would often tell me to “ignore it & pretend it doesn’t happen”.
I grew up confused about how I felt about her – I loved her as a Mum but felt betrayed by her at the same time.

As an adult and a mother myself, my mother continued to be aware of & condone the abuse I suffered within my own marriage. On occasion she would witness my husband hitting me & punching me & her response would be, “will you just toe the line & do what you’re told, you’re ruining the day for us all”
Her attitude remained very much, “he’s your husband he’s entitled to do whatever he pleases – you do what your husband tells you to do when he tells you to do it”

When I finally fled my marriage my mother made it very clear that she did not support my decision & went as far as to tell my ex he could stay with her if he ever needed to. She also promised to tell him where we were living, as I had no right to leave him. She gave him her support.

That was the ultimate betrayal for me & from that day forward I no longer regarded her as a mum.

So yes, I have a mother but not a Mum. I have no contact with her & she has not been a part of our lives for the past 16 months. I will not be wishing her a happy Mother’s Day tomorrow.

I am a mother myself & whilst I am most certainly not the greatest Mum I hope and pray that I am indeed a mum to my two most amazing daughters. I love them, I care for them, I nurture them & I protect them in the best way I know how, and I most definitely try to act with their best interest at heart. I know I fail hopelessly at times but through all the mistakes I have made & am yet to make, I truly hope that they will always regard me as their Mum.

To all the deserving Mums out there I hope you have a most wonderful Mother’s Day