Monday, 27 July 2015

Day 27

Happy 40th Birthday Michelle.

My journey is at an end.
Thank you all for joining me.

'...there is no such thing as an ending, just a place where you leave the story...' Mrs Connelly - 2nd Marigold Hotel. 

I'll let Michelle have the last word ;-)

Trudy + Michelle  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Day 26

As I look back on this journey, I find myself re-thinking why I started this.
Was it therapy?
Was it to help others?
Was it to find closure?

All of the above. But it was also a huge learning curve. I found out so much more about myself and others then I ever imagined.

I had many people say to me, how brave they thought I was. I didn't think I was brave for doing this. I  just wanted to finally write it down. I figured it might help others.
Along the way as I dove into the realms of my memory (its amazing what you can dig up when your not even trying), I made a pretty cool realisation.

On week 4 I wrote this:............

  • 1st Born (breech birth!  says alot about my character ;-) )
  • Strong willed
  • Independant
  • Bolshey
  • athletic
  • Leader 
  • 2nd Born
  • Patient
  • Quiet
  • Book Smart
  • Compassionate
  • Can eat like a horse!
That was my sister and I as kids. 

Life changes you. You grow up, learn new skills, become influenced by others around you (good or bad), and your character changes. 

Today I coach kids in a different country. I am my own boss. I strive to learn a new skill each year to move me forwards in life, and I try to live life to the fullest.

If I had to write down how I am as a person now it would be:
  • Strong willed
  • Independant
  • Bolshey
  • Athletic
  • Leader
  • Patient
  • Quiet
  • Book Smart
  • Compassionate     = ME
This journey taught me a valuable lesson, my Sister has been with me every step of the way. Over time, she has instilled in me the qualities that made her such a wonderful person.
I can pinpoint each time I learnt these lessons. They were not 'given' to me until she felt that I was ready to accept them. Granted my traits still far out weigh her's, but i am learning ;-)

So really, I'm still very much an identical Twin, you just can't see my other half, but I can certainly feel her.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Day 25

Today Im surrounded by love, laughter, friends long standing, new friends, memories and family.
Who needs anything else?


Friday, 24 July 2015

Day 24

This is going to be really hard to explain, but I will do my best.

I woke up one day and something just felt different. I felt like I was weightless.
No pressure on the shoulders, no pain in the heart. No tears, no fear. Just pure joy.
Its a weird sensation when everything becomes clear. Like a veil has been lifted. I could use many expressive descriptions, but unless you experience it, there really is nothing that can explain the sensation. I felt free.

I've decided that I want to do something special to remember my Sister and to help others in the process. Yes its taken 27yrs to get here. But I'm here.

Thinking about a charity or scholarship fund in memory of Michelle. Her life meant something. I have come to realise that now.
This life event made a difference to so many.  I can use it to help others going through the same thing, then it wont be a life lost in vain. I need to bounce this idea of someone, get some clarity.

I have amazing new friends in Canada that have a great way of looking at things. Brainstorming with my Scottish GF we decide on a charity t-shirt each year. The funds will go to a different charity each year that best represents what she stood for.
As always, I have asked for the input from her close school friends and some family members for help. As ever they step up to the plate and are amazing.
They have come up with some charities that they feel best remembers her.
My job now is to design a t-shirt (I already have an idea), and to research the chosen charities.

I have a fire in me, and it feels amazing


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Day 23

Im sat here at home (UK), trying to decide what to write.
I'm surrounded by family photos with over 70yrs of history.
If I close my eyes, I can see the old  burnt orange corner sofa that used to fill our living room.
The sofa cushions that where balance and used for tents.
The coffee table that we would both hide under when listening to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, fearing that those big metal machines would appear over our garden fence.

I look around my neighbourhood ever changing and see all the places that we used to visit.
Camps that would be made in the summer, Parks that were played in.
Bike rides that we made. There is a large Royal woodland close by that we would walk around many times and play hide n seek in. Those woods have changed over the years, now when i try to find 'our walks', they have all been deforested.

While here I will go and 'visit' my sister where she lies with her Nan, Aunt and Grandfather.
The Crematorium is still the one place where there seems to be a veil of sadness that covers you as you pass through the gates. Its hard to feel happy and light when your surrounded by so much sadness. But I know this time and in the future, it will not last. A veil has lifted.

I never stay long. The memories a both good and bad. Michelle and I would play around the pond area while visiting our grandparents, that is no longer there.

They say time mends all pain. It kind of puts a great big water proof patch on it, that allows you to get back out there. Your never truly healed. You've adapted as a person. You have become stronger. You have more understanding and empathy. You see things in a new light. Living LIFE actually means something.  If that is what experiencing heartache makes you, then can it really be so bad?!


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Day 22

My journey is nearly over and as I look back I wonder to myself, Why did I never go into a great depression? Why did I not go off the rails when given free reign to do so?
Why am I still standing when so many others fall?

I've never been on medication. I never saw a shrink. I never took drugs, smoked anything, got into trouble with the law. The only thing that I did do to have any control over my life was to succumb to an eating disorder. Thankfully that was short-lived.

I think the saving grace that I was fortunate to have was an abundance of support.
Sadly as we get older, move away, get jobs, new homes, new lives, we lose contact with those that we grew up with. Those that we could tell anything too.

I have found over the years that those of my friends that have or are suffering with depression have lost contact with those people that were always there for them. They have lost that belief in themselves that we all had as kids (hopefully).

FRIENDS Really are the life blood of any healing journey.

While I am not making light of this and there are many other factors involved with those that are going through hard times. We all need to know and understand that if you even have a handful of people that you can call on anytime, it makes the journey and the healing that much easier.

I've been thankful to find 'new' friends in Canada that I can go to if I find im in a moment of weakness (which thankfully doesnt happen too often now).

So while my story may nearly be over, and I have innate strength in me to survive most things, I urge all of you out there to take a moment to really think about those people in your life that are stronger then you, that YOU feel you could talk too. Trust me, it will help and its cheaper then therapy.

T + M

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Day 21

I no longer feel like i fit in. I've had an epiphany. I'm going to go work in Canada as a youth Tri coach.
Maybe if i get away it will get better. Maybe i will finally find myself.
At least in Canada no-one knows me. I can be me.

I choose to celebrate a birthday with a small group of my Lifeguarding friends that I meet pretty much the first month i landed. They knew a bit of my story, they didnt make too big of a deal. Just a nice pot luck and a cake. Still pangs of sadness hang over me knowing that I will never get to celebrate with my Sister physically by my side.

I miss home alot being in Canada. I've moved here alone, but for Miss kitty (Tippex), she is my companion, the only link that i have to my UK home.

Im thankful for Skype and FB. I get to keep in contact with all those friends back in my hometown.
One in particular has taken it upon himself to remember Michelle for who she was... an amazing, funny, loving friend.   When I found out about this, I must admit I did cry. But more so for the fact that even after so many years, there were still people that thought of her in a big way. I even showed both my parents and sisters. How can you be unhappy when you know that your Sister had such an impact on so many?
Without any nudging from anyone, he has built her a FB page.

Why?  I'll let him tell you why.

S Story

A few years ago i started a memorial page for Michelle,

Not because to create some sort of Facebook shrine, But to celebrate the life of a bubbly, lively joker. In alot of way's how people see myself.
As Children, its all to easy to not look underneath, and why people do what they do.
Hopefully sharing memories of Michelle throughout her time at EP, May in some way allow everyone to establish that really she was richer in friends then perhaps she ever knew.

I hope by bringing people together in one small area of the internet both Trudy, her family, and friends can find some comfort that even with their Tragic loss, that really in her short life, she HAD found enormous happiness and love for her life, after all why would somebody laugh and giggle as much as she did??

I was Lucky Enough to be in Tutor Group B throughout EP, Im sure the likes of Mr A and Mr S should they cast their minds back remember Michelle in some shape or form, probably alot like me in the sense she was larger then life. She had much to give and in her short life she gave it, normally to the point where her cheeky-ness would make us giggle. I Personally was shocked when Michelle left us, but i still have clear memories of her all these years later which must be a testament to her character.

Know that we are privileged to be here, but the privilege is to have known the ones who are now gone, If life had put a time limit on our time with Michelle, it's obvious she was too Gentle for this life, The good may die young, But the memories will stay till we are all old and grey.

Much love to Trudy and Family

And Across the Skies Michelle xx


Monday, 20 July 2015

Day 20

Im sat in the middle of a field bawling my eyes out. Even more so then when my Sister died.
My Nan has passed away from a Stroke which she never woke from.
I'm studying Performing Arts at College and in my last term. Huge end of year show that i am the Stage Manager for. I'm running the show.

I've spent my time off during rehearsals reading her The Sun newspaper. They say talking to people can help. Im there everyday with Mum telling Nan whats happening in the world and answering back as if we were having a conversation about the stupid stories.

My Nan was like the best Nan ever. Michelle and I got away with alot when she would babysit.
'Just an extra 30mins please'. Begging to stay outside till it became dusk.
She loved watching the movie 'King and I', everytime at christmas that was the movie to watch. After the Queens speech (of course). And she would always bring the best Apple and Mince pies. Home-made.

Everytime we ever went to Nan's the box of toys and colouring books came out. This was a box of toys that were probably too young for us (a metal board with shapes, fuzzy felt, cars etc..), but we loved that box. It was ours. If we weren't colouring, we were making pictures.  I would always try and draw my Nan a huge picture for her kitchen door on flipchart paper. I still have some of those pics still. Then there was the endless bowl of Wine Gums.....

This pain that I'm feeling feels like an anvil on my stomach. I don't feel like I can breathe.
How many more people that matter to me am I going to lose??
Now is the time I just want to disappear. Just go for a walk and never turn back. Just like Huck Finn.

The only thing that makes it even a tiny bit better is knowing that Nan will be with her Husband, her Sister and her Granddaughter.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Day 19

I didn't do alot for my 18th. I didn't want too.
However I couldn't disappoint my family for the last Hoorah!
Arranging a 21st without your better half aches a bit. I say 'a bit', its been 8yrs now.
The memories are getting harder to remember. It's getting easier to talk about her to others, though I still hold back alot of the details. The anniversaries are still tough though. Small steps.

Mum is going to head to France to pick up wine. We've got a dear friend of ours to be the DJ.
I made only two stipulations if we were going to have a party.
1. Its going to be a block party. No hall hire.
2. I want the chef Tony that we used to annoy as 8yr olds to make the cake.

I think thats a fair trade.

It was in all fairness a great party. Lots of family and friends from afar turned up. Even from Canada.

But in the shadows, someone was missing. Oh well. No more BIG birthdays. I dont have to do this again.


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Day 18

In the UK, you celebrate birthday ages of 13 (teenager status), 16 (legal for some things), 18 (supposedly and adult and legal for way more), 21 (Now your on your own!).

Its my 16th in a few weeks.  I'm going to make Michelle a birthday card. Handmade is so much better.
I'm sat in my homeroom at school, free period. Supposedly we are to study/do homework in those 'spare' lessons, but no-one ever does.

I've decided to copy an outline of Michael Jackson feet free hand.  I love drawing. I want to take my time over this, make it really nice.
All of a sudden someone has swipped the card away from my hands and is waving it about the air. I don't know who this student is. All they are doing though is making fun of me making a card for my Sister who happens to be dead!
I'm getting upset, all I want is the card back and to be left alone. I wasn't making any trouble, they wont give it back.
From the other room and the room that I'm in, my friends S + P go after the kid. Give him hell and get my card back.
It's alittle too late, I'm crying and just trying to make people understand that I want to be alone, make my card. Is that too hard to comprehend.  She may not be here, but she still deserves a 16th Birthday card. Its an important Birthday.

My Sister and Dad are holding a small Birthday tea for me. She has made my favourite meal, bought a cake, got me some sparkly wine and bought an amazing Gold heart shaped ring for me. I'm being spoilt, I know I am.  So why aren't I truly smiling. Its a fake smile. The excitement of opening gifts is not there. I don't want to be here.

Its getting too much to pretend. As she lights the candles on the cake, I explode at all of them.
'I dont't want to celebrate my birthday's anymore. Its not the same.'

I know that I've hurt my sisters feelings and most of all my Dad's, but I don't have it in me to celebrate anymore. It doesn't seem fair or right. There were two people born on this day. We should both be here to celebrate.

I don't want any more Birthday's!


Friday, 17 July 2015

Day 17

I hate that saying 'Everything happens for a reason'!
What's the reason behind losing a child??? No parent should outlive their children. No Grandparent for that matter.
My Nan is my world and we were/are her's.  How do you explain such unfairness?

What amazes me though is how much someone can leave an imprint on you even in a short space of time.
My friends are showing me that in so many ways. Michelle has made an impact.
They remember her unwavering Love of all things Michael Jackson. Her laughter whenever K1 would do her impression of Chunk from the Goonies.
Her constant asking of K2 to do her impression of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.

C has given me a 2 heart necklace in silver as a memory of my Sister and I, plus the most amazing poem from one of our favorite movies.

From our playdate V.

Even with all this support, my heart aches and my mind is losing all memories of Michelle.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Day 16

The first year is nearly up.
First birthday alone. First Christmas alone.

Slowly coming to terms with it all.
Things are going back to normal.
I still have exams to do, athletics to compete in.
Sport has become my salvation. If im not running, Im doing Martial Arts.

I need to say Thank You to so many people at school.
Even if they didnt say anything, they still had an impact on me.

A card!  That will work. Simple, to the point.
A Thank You card from My family to all those that sent their best during this trying time.

Some asked Why?  after a year did I say Thank You.  Others (that got it), just said 'Thank you' themselves for the card. 'Happy to help'.

Why did I wait a year??? It took that long to get out of the initial darkness. That all encompassing fog that covered my brain.  I can safely say that I learnt nothing at school that year. I remember very little.
I had a big bike accident once. Decided to use my face as a break. While at my Nan's I thought about what Michelle was going to say once I got to school. I was about to shout out to my Nan this statement, but inside something was telling me that it didn't sound right?!  Something strange stopped me from telling my Nan I couldn't wait to talk to Michelle.
Later I found out I had a nasty concussion. (that would explain why I couldn't remember the full walk to my Nan's house). Hmm! the brain has a weird way of protecting you.

But things are becoming clearer.
The first step in what will no doubt be a long journey.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Day 15

 The hoopla has died down. The newspapers sensationalized the event as much as they could. Not a chance. Mother had the legal department of the company that she was working at, draft up a statement. Yeah! Arseholes, try making this into something more then what it actually is.
I never understood why famous people hated the paparazzi, at Michelle's inquest I got a first hand glimpse of how people just doing 'their job' can turn from a human into a vulture just to get the next best thing happening.  Well NO-ONE gets to diss my sister.

Its been a few months, I'm going through the motions at school, I actually have no idea what im learning at this moment, I'm just attending classes.
The teachers are treating me differently. I've vented at one in particular (really wanted to punch his lights out, make him feel all the pain that his inflicted on my family and I).  No detention.
They don't even know what to do!

At times it all gets to be too much and I just leave classes.
The library is my safe haven, my place to still feel her around. This was our 'secret' playground.
 Its calm and peaceful.

I have one thing though that is keeping me sane. FRIENDS!  and lots of them.
They are there for me, even when I don't know that I need them.

A poor 2nd year student got the brunt of my friend L for saying something out of place. I'm glad she got to him before I did. At this moment in time, I'll fight anyone. I really don't care.

Will this get any better?
I feel like I'm already forgetting how she sounded?
What she was like.
I play back all the times that i was horrid to her. Could I have been nicer?  Could I have been THAT sister that was the protector more?
Was she happy having me as her sister?

Guess I'll wait till i see her again to ask........


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Day 14

Back to school. Can I blend in? Can I hide?

The looks are still there. Sideways glances, hushed whispers.  I feel alone, but I know in the back of my mind I'm not. She's apart of me. What does she sound like? What was the last thing we said to each other?
The mind is a jumble. Like a black hole. The Bermuda Triangle. Stuff is going in, but its getting lost.

I know I'm not alone. I can feel it. Keep reminding yourself.
I can feel the closeness of something else?!  In the background, just out of reach. There, if i need it.


K's Story... cont'd

The day of Michelle's funeral was the day the world stopped making any sense,13 year old kids don't just die surely? Maybe the ones who have accidents or terrible illness yes,but your best friends can't die they just cant.

On the day i remember getting dressed in black looking very smart and ladylike, but still feeling like a child on the inside.
When the hearse arrived there she was in that wooden box, she was really dead and I couldn't deny it was like being ripped in half. It was so sad with all the weeping and crying but I still didn't really understand what was going on because it was in comprehensible to me even though I knew she wasn't coming back.
After the service I remember staggering up the path to a couple of my other friends because I had never been to the crematorium before and had no idea how I was supposed to get home, they pointed me in the right direction I remember walking home in the rain I couldn't see a thing through all the suffering and the crying. I don't even remember what I did when I got home.

 The following week I had to go back to school on the same day as Trudy, I do remember that day all the sympathetic looks and the slightly curious looks but no one would actually ask us directly what we felt.
 I guess it was really hard for people to know what to say we were all teenagers, we were kids and we didn't know what to do, for a few months afterwards I was very protective of my seat in the class because I had most of my classes with Michelle and I couldn't bear the idea of someone else in her place. Half of me was so angry but the other half of me was so sad and I still don't know which part was ruling my head.
I was quite amazingly mixed up and the level of grief never really seem to abate for a really long time, for a long while I never thought I could be happy again.
The problem was back then no one really discussed grief or death with children, it was a very much keep calm and carry on situation, I'm glad now that school has changed so much kids have counselors and people they can talk to but we didn't.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all had it so hard, we were just young people completely rocked and shocked by someone dying that was the same age as us. Now we are all grown up but it still doesn't make any sense maybe it never will. But the most poignant memories we have of Michelle are the times we spent with her, her wonderful loving nature, her whimsical side and the ability to make everybody laugh even in the worst situation. She really could make anything funny! And of course had devoted love of Michael Jackson.
Maybe we will not stop grieving but we will not stop loving and cherishing either, maybe some birds are not meant to be caged because their feathers are just too bright



Monday, 13 July 2015

Day 13

I'm in my town's biggest florist on the top floor of the indoor shopping Mall. (Sadly the shop is no longer there).
Just walking around, looking at all the amazing flowers. I've choosen my Rose and Snowflakes (Gypsophilia).  Next I need a bunch of the most stunning flowers. I pick a stem from all the ones that catch my eye. Nothing matches (my Nan is a florist, she would laugh at my choice).  This is how I'm going to remember my sister. Colourful, unique, and very Bright.

Some of the neighbourhood kids have gone around our block of homes and tidied all the gardens, weeded and sweeped. I found out that one of the Mother's had asked the kids to do it for Michelle but really she had wanted to keep them busy, keep their minds busy. It was such a lovely thing to have been done.

I've never liked tights or stockings and now I HAVE to wear some. Well I've put a hole in the only pair of tights Mum had for me, looks like its stockings. Urgh!  And Black!  Why Black??

We have a neighbour in our house. She is staying behind to prep food and make tea. 

I've never seen so many people in one place. Our local crematorium can hold about 100, they are all standing to the sides on the footpaths, in the gardens, everywhere.

As I walk in the only person i seem to notice is my Brother-in-Law A. His a very tall guy, but today, he seems so small. Hunched over, eyes down, drawn, broken.
Alot of Michelle's school friends are here. The most important ones i later find out, were told not to attend. That saddens me. All of her male friends stayed away. Classmates, laughing buddies, trouble-makers ;-)  but I know that they would have been there in spirit.

I hear MJ as I'm walking down.  Then I realise, I've forgotten my Rose. It was for the top of the coffin. Its been left on the side in a vase.
The Reverend that we got out of retirement reminisces about the times she saw us in Brownies and Guides. She is so well known in the community. She seems to make it a bit easier. Personal.

I'm glad the ceremony is finally over, the curtains closing put the final confirmation that its done, its real, there is no coming back. I am alone. A single Twin!

Outside are some of her friends, Two of them come up to me and I so clearly recall S saying 'Look after you'  and I just reply 'I will. You cant get rid of me that easily'!?!?!

Home to a house of family, friends and so many memories.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Day 12

We can't have a funeral yet!
'Accidental death' requires a full autopsy and investigation.
How much longer will this go on for?

I can at least be confident in the knowledge that she has a donor card.
I wonder how many lives she will save?  (UK blood donors webpage)  (Canadian Blood donors webpage)

We've asked our local Commissioner out of retirement to do Michelle's funeral.
She has known both of us a long time through being the Brownie/Guides lead Commissioner for so many years. I couldn't think of anyone else that i would have trusted to oversee the funeral.

She's asked us for a few more details on Michelle that she doesn't know.  What Michelle liked, her character, quirks etc...
My input is to be the music. I need to choose a piece for the procession in and out.
This sounds easy but is going to be so hard. What Michael Jackson tunes do you choose?
Which are suitable? Will I ever be able to listen to them again?
I've choosen 'One day in your life' and 'Leave me alone' to finish.

There is a viewing to be held for family before the funeral.
She Died March 17th, the funeral has finally been booked for 11 April. (My Mother's Confirmation day was this date in 1961).

She's dressed in a blue Satin dress with some sort of lace collar.
She looks like she is dreaming. Serene and beautiful.
I can't touch her. I don't want too. I just want to look.... remember her.

Peaceful at last. Alone.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Day 11

Yesterday I mentioned the stages of grief. I can safely say I'm at the end of my journey because I have choosen to share my story.
I never realised the impact my Sister had on others in her short life. But over the many years I have found out that even for a short life lived.... she lived it and made an impact.

V's Story

Memories of that awful time seem to drift like clouds passing overhead, some forming recognisable shape – others more fleeting.  Happier times include playing in the square with My Little Ponies, Michelle’s utter devotion to Michael Jackson.  The both of you, walking everywhere with your hoods up; Anne of Green Gables and early Jackie Chan movies.  Michelle sitting at the bottom of your Dad’s stairs getting ready to go out and finding a bra up her sleeve!

Then I remember the Saturday morning, my parents sitting me down and asking questions about whether I had seen Michelle the previous day.  I don’t remember exactly how they told me she had died.  It still baffles me that it happened; still doesn’t seem real, even after all this time.  I remember very confusing feelings at the time – complete shock, sadness and, I suppose, feelings of guilt.  She had been just a few houses away.  Could I have knocked for her?  Could I have stopped it?  To have been so close by but not known anything about it seemed so wrong. 

I don’t remember the first few days at school afterwards, other than an announcement to the year group in the hall.  Then I remember the funeral.  I remember where I sat, what I wore, where we went afterwards.  The service made it real for me.   I have a feeling I avoided you.  I don’t think I even looked at you or your family.  I felt sure I couldn’t even begin to understand what you were going through.  What could I say that could bring any comfort after such an enormous loss?  Who was I to talk to you?  I regret that.  I regret not just saying sorry and taking the lead from you.  It just seemed so BIG.  So big I didn’t have the emotional skills to deal with it, or rather how to deal with YOU.  I wish I could rewind and hold you tightly.  Tell you how sorry I was.  Tell you that I could only imagine the pain you were in.  Offer anything I could that you might have needed.

Something I DO remember very well was the most beautiful dream I had some time after the funeral.  In my dream, my Mom called up to me that someone was at the door.  I came down the stairs to see Michelle and your Mum in our hallway.  Michelle said she just wanted to say goodbye.  We hugged.  Then she left with your Mum.  When I woke up, I felt so peaceful, so calm.  It felt wonderful and comforting.

I have been teaching for about 16 years, and a year hasn’t passed when I haven’t talked to students about losing Michelle in such a tragic manner.   Something good can come from something so devastating.

So, without the benefit of time travel, Trudge, I will just have to live with saying this NOW,…..….

“I am REALLY sorry for your loss.  I can only imagine how painful it has been (and still is) and if there is anything I can do to help – you just need to ask.”


Friday, 10 July 2015

Nothing seems to be flowing today.
So today I leave you with a great link that I found.

Schools today have Counselors to help guide students through grief and life.
At the time i went to school, we had none of that.

What I did have though, was a network of amazing friends that I could go too if I needed to vent, talk or just be with.

One boy in particular would allow me to just turn up on his doorstep, a total blubbery mess. His parents would answer turn to their son and say 'the dog needs walking'. And away we would go for about 30mins. Him just listening, me just ranting on.

Again, here was someone that just stepped up to the plate and somehow knew what to do and how to do it. I credit his parents for probably helping guide him.

Never be afraid to talk to anyone if your feeling overwhelmed, upset or depressed.
There will ALWAYS be someone with very broad shoulders and great ears.


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Day 9

Seems we're heading into school anyway. Need to go see Mr T the Head Master. Not sure why, but guess there are some things that need to be sorted.
Why do we have to go in early? All my classmates will still be out, they wont be in their classes. Guess I could sneak in, maybe they won't see me.

Who am I kidding?  The only way to the Head Masters office is through the playground past both main buildings. Its just opposite the library building that Michelle and I would live in most days. Got to LOVE books, they can take you away from everything.

We have to park in the visitors parking and head down the side of the gym building. I wonder if we sneaked through the gym we could go out the other side, no-one would see!  However as students we've had the fear of God put into us, anyone caught sneaking the short-cut would usually get caught by Mr W, his voice could be heard all over the school if he caught you. So most of us go into robot mode. That's exactly what I did. Though hindsight, im guessing if WE had been caught, we would have been let off.

Mum's in front of us and K and I are behind, no words being said. I really don't want to be here. I've spent a weekend just surviving at home with close family. Thankfully they dont ask too many questions. They 'get it'.
My friends are 13-14... they won't 'get it'. And really why should they. WE'RE BLOODY TEENAGERS!

If I could have a Super Power right about now, it would be Invisibility, or a Time Machine would help.

As soon as we head round the corner....

You know those Western Movies!? The one where the Good guy comes into the camera angle, but you only see his legs or back, background is the small town of scared people crying out for a hero. The first person sees him then slowly they all do, and all the chatter stops. The Tumble weed goes blowing by.

...... C is probably the first one to see me. Then K and the rest of Michelle's classmates. They are all lined up against the building waiting to go in. Along with the last person i want to see. Only C + K head over. Hugs all round, tears from them. I'm just stoic. I'm not going to show emotion. They don't need to see that. They need reasurance that things will be Ok. 

I see S from my class. His called the class clown for a reason. Can make everyone laugh, including the teachers. Today though, he can't look me in the eyes and the best I get out of him is a Hi.

Seems bad news traveled real fast. I've gone from being a fairly well known athletic student to having everyone know who i am.
For all the wrong reasons.

T + M

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Day 8

There's only a week left before March break, but im not going to school. Mum asked if I wanted anyone to stay with me for the next week, there was only one friend that came to mind. K!
She's known Michelle and I since playgroup, then we went to different junior schools and meet up again in senior school. Same class.

K's Story (edited)
I had been at my Saturday job when my Dad appeared out of nowhere to come and pick me up it was unusual because I normally got the bus, but I wasn't alarmed but if I had known what he was about to tell me then I would have been.
My first reaction upon hearing about Michelle's death of course was utter shock then shaking suffocating tears I could barely breathing there was a rock in my stomach, everything until the following morning is a bit of a blur.........

I don't remember much. Guess I'm in shock, disbelief, whatever you want to call it.
Bloody phone wont stop ringing. On the way back from B's this morning Mum had to stop in and see Nan.
Glad I stayed in the car ( I think).  I cant even remember when I next see my Father. All I know is that bloody phone keeps ringing and Mum has to keep answering it and saying the same thing. Well next time I'm answering it!
The next calls D, 'Is everything ok?'
My answer 'Yep everything is fine'
Next thing her Mother is on the phone. Bad news travels real fast Im finding out. So she asks THE question.
What can you say?? Can't lie, shit L had't to call everyone cancel a bloody party!
So I tell her the truth. Then all I hear is D bawling in the background.
See ya!

I'm glad K is here, she's keeping me sane. We're just shooting the breeze, chilling out, watching TV... laughing!
(I later learned from Mother, that hearing me laugh after a few days, she knew that everything would be OK. She knew that I would be OK. Eventually.  Guess Mother's do know best!)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Kids only have certain things on their minds as kids:
Does that boy/girl like me?
Can I get through today without getting bullied?
How much homework can I get away with not doing?
Hopefully Mr/Mrs doesnt ask me any questions in class!
What am I doing after school?
What am I doing this weekend?

Death does not come into the life of a 13-14yr old, unless its your pet or a grandparent!
I asked alot from my friends all those years ago. Stuff that we really don't have the life skills to do yet, but somehow, my friends stepped up and took control. 

L's Story (unedited, except for names)

It was Friday 17th of march, and I was turning 14 on Saturday the 18th. Having a large family my parents had said they couldn't let me have a party but my good friends Trudy and Michelle's mum had agreed to let me have a party at their house.  (what a legend!) I was so excited to be turning teenager I'd invited everyone who was anyone to come along.. I hardly slept that Friday I was so excited.

So, Saturday morning and I was a teenager and had been given my Bauer turbo hockey roller boots exactly what I'd asked for and was lacing them up to put them on, go grab my friend B and head round to Trudy and Michelle's house to get ready for the party when the phone rang.

I answered the phone (house phone - no mobiles yet) it was Trudy and Michelle's mum, she asked could she please speak to my mum. So I passed mum the phone and listened while my mum said things like "oh no" "I'm so sorry".
All my 14 year old head was saying was "the party's  off....

When my mum put the phone down, she turned to me and asked me to sit down, so I did. Then she said
"L, I'm so sorry. I don't know how to tell you so I'll tell you straight. That was Trudy and Michelle's mum (at this point I'm thinking...  Yes... Just get on with it I wanna go out on my new skates) and I'm so so sorry but you need to call everyone and tell them there won't be a party. Michelle has died."

It was as if the ground fell away. I didn't say anything for a few seconds then I said "how"
And my mum said she didn't know,  and I should get on the phone asap.

So I did.

I called everyone and explained the party was off and I didn't want to talk about why but they would find out at school.on Monday.

It was, and still is one of the most difficult and heartbreaking tasks I've ever endured - I was sobbing as I spoke,  I just wanted to go out and skate and scream and skate and skate........
To this day, this sequence of events is clear as a bell in my mind. I still remember what my mum was wearing when she told me.
And I still remember B's face at her door when I got there and relayed the news to her.... We were so young. So so young.


Monday, 6 July 2015

When I decided to go about writing a blog of a certain life event, I spoke to a handful of people. Mainly friends but also family. The answers seemed to all be the same. 'Go for it, but expect some backlash'.
Well if yesterday was any indication that I was doing the right thing, then Im ok with anything that anyone throws at me.
When speaking to family and friends we all just chat, no broken voices, no tears, just laughter and memories.
When I had the idea to blog, I suddenly thought, I never in 27 years asked Michelle and I's friends how they felt, what impact this had on them. So I've asked a few for their side of the story, just to help you the reader understand that family isn't just blood most of the time, and that REAL friends end up becoming family along the way.

Day 6

I'm kinda getting a little pissed now at Michelle's home teacher. Just because I was a horrid student to him last year does not give him the right to keep having a go at my sister. It seems every day I'm seeing her get marched to the Headmasters Office and all her classmates are saying she has done nothing wrong. I want to kick his arse...literally!

Well we have something to look forward to this weekend. Our friend L who we've both known for a long time is turning 14. Her Mum wont let her have a party at home so I asked Mum if we could do a joint b'day party/house party at ours. Michelle came over to help with the invites and to sort music. Granted L has a totally different taste in music to both of us, but has agreed to allow 1 or 2 Micheal Jackson tunes.
I need to make sure i pack away anything that can get broken, seems something always gets trashed.

Its friday night, why am I being woken up??
B says something has happened to Michelle, Mum's with her but he needs to take me to his place, then he will be heading back to the hospital.
Im in my P'j's its dark out and Im climbing over a fence.. am I sleepwalking? Nope, B is there with the van.
There is something in his tone, his voice is not right! Is there something that he is not telling me?
Im a Twin, I can sense if something is wrong. Can't I?  Why would it happen now, if its never happen in all my 13 yrs?  I think she's ok.

Did i fall asleep? Im not sure, but all I know is that Mum and B are back.
Its still dark, its definantly the morning, but early.
Do I want to know?
I've been on the sofa since I got here, Mum comes and sits opposite me on the table.
Sometimes you don't have to say anything to know that something is bad, but you need to hear it, just to make it real. If you dont hear it, its ok.
Mum's looking at me, she doesn't look 'normal', then she just says the words that I really already know are coming.
'Michelle has died!'


My life just changed in the blink of an eye!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Im finding my talent in life very early on. Guess I need to thank my Mother for this.
She's dating a guy that's big on Judo, so guess what, we're both doing Judo with his kids too.
Its ok. I love the ground work, not the grappling so much. Not sure Michelle loves it at all, but its keeping us fit and Mother is a big advocate of exercise (she was a high school top swimmer and also got the chance to train with the Olympic squad at Crystal Palace).
We're dancing on Saturdays, Im starting to run at a club and Im enjoying it.

What would be a really cool idea would be if Michelle and I got into movies or TV or stuff. We're unique, scientist always seem to want to find out what makes us tick. Films are still trying to catch up with making an actor 'look like' he has a twin.... why not use real ones?  Might have to run this by her.

Granted since hitting senior school (high school for all the US/Canadians), things are changing.
I'm doing great at athletics. Running for my school, county and club. There trying to get me to choose a distance, but i cant decide. I love 100m, 200m 800m and x-country. I just love to run!
Michelle is getting more like Father and its annoying Mother. She's quiet, only speaks up if you really piss her off. Is so in love with Michael Jackson that if you say one bad word against him... oh boy!  (which is fun when the rest of the world is in love with Bros, Five Star, Duran Duran and Wham!)

Give me Michael J Fox, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery any day of the week. Star Wars is rocking my world too, just wish I could get the toys that go with the movie.  I'm not even a teenager yet and I know exactly what i want to do with my life. I'm going to be a Stunt - Person or a Phys Ed teacher.

Michelle is moving out. CRAP!  I dont like it, but I know its what needs to be done. Mother and her cannot live in the same house. They butt heads too much. I do too, but im far stronger then Michelle to be able to retaliate or just take the punishment. Michelle is the sensitive soul. If there's a heaven and hell, I'm Satan, she's the Angel!
Feels weird, not to see her everyday.  But she pops round sometimes, I go to Dad's watch her scoff down 4 slices of toast and butter. I don't know how she frickin does it. Eats like crap and is skinner then me. Doesn't exercise. Damn genetics!

We still get together at school. Practically spend all our time in the library. If there is anything that we majorly share in common, its the love of Books. Ever tried to find the longest word in the dictionary?? We do! You can really blow peoples minds when you come out with a 36 letter word and know its meaning.
We do crazy arse stuff like that. I love those moments. Our own world, our own language and no one can get in. There is only one other set of Identical twins at school C + A. Think Michelle has a crush on C.
I like this boy called G, his a twin, but fraternal. He has a sister.

Life is ok. School sucks! Cool thing is, I'm right next to Michelle's class room, we look in each morning and try to wind each other up.  Good Times. Just like Junior school. 

T + M

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Did you know that the state of Ohio, US has a town called Twinsburg?  Each year in august for 3 days, twins of all races, ages and nationalities converge on this small part of Ohio to celebrate being a very unique individual.
I say individual because although we looked very much alike, we were nothing of the sort.

  • 1st Born (breech birth!  says alot about my character ;-) )
  • Strong willed
  • Independant
  • Bolshey
  • athletic
  • Leader 
  • 2nd Born
  • Patient
  • Quiet
  • Book Smart
  • Compassionate
  • Can eat like a horse!
We grew up in a house where our parents separated, and we stayed with Mother. This was hard at the time as we wanted to be with our Father. Thankfully over the years he always moved to a house that was close by so that we could visit whenever we wanted and also see our other sisters.
I grew up with traits very similar to my Mothers, whereas Michelle inherited the more docile traits of my Father.
Summers were spent together either at my Mums work places getting into trouble or outside, getting into trouble.
We were separated at school. Though in junior school with an open planned layout I always found a way to get my sisters attention during the day, just to make sure she was ok.
Lunch-times were spent together walking around hidden in our coats playing ET. Well our version of it anyhow. Or when it was particularly wet or cold, joining both coats together and becoming 'invisible'.  The scoop of the imagination when you get to share it with another is so cool!
Swimming in the pool we would go 'Treasure hunting', between peoples legs, sign language, pretending that we were searching for some long lost treasure ship or chest.
Outside in the woods, building camps, fishing for minnows, making fairy gardens. The fun was endless with a buddy to do it with.

They say Twin DNA is very similar but the genetic traits can end there. The few times that we were together at school we would argue. Whether on a school trip or actually a shared classroom.  But that's the point. WE can bitch to each other, WE will sort it out and then be best friends. But if anyone ELSE attacks my sister, your head is going to roll!  Two against one is not an even fight, even if Michelle was the more docile one. Im her sister, she is the only one allowed to shout at me.
There were a few times that I still remember that I didn't like myself for the way I treated Michelle, but Sister's do horrid stuff to each other. Really though, Sisters or Brothers should be there to protect each other, support each other and always be around for each other.

If anything has shown us through history, that can not always be the case. Though a Mother's instinct is to protect her children, that does not always happen.

T + M

Friday, 3 July 2015

Day 3

So its seems that Mother is indeed watching. They see all. I was born 7mins before my Identical Twin.
She emailed me a copy of  my birth certificate. Parents hate being wrong ;-)

So questions that i get asked as an identical twin
1. Can you feel what the other is feeling?
2. Are you Psychic?
3. Do you have the same fingerprints?
4. Do you know what the other is thinking (see Q2)?

and the list could go on. In answer to all those questions and many others.... NO!
The only time i knew what my sister was feeling or thinking is if I asked.

However, you ask my Mother the same thing and it will be a totally different story :-)

This 'toy' was an ally for us as kids. Its kind of amazing what you can do when you have your own language (just look at those cute Twin Youtube videos) that no-one but you and your Twin can understand.
As any parent will tell you, never trust a quiet child.

Many times we would have one of us stand on the bricks and the other would push the trolley to the front door. The one on the bricks would grab the handle and turn while the other pulled the trolley away from the door.
One time in particular we got out of the house and ended up by our favourite pond which is about a mile and half away. We know this as Mother had a rude awakening from the Police Officer that bought us home.  LOL!

So you wonder what Twins can get up too..... LOTS!

And don't even get me started on the name badges, changing clothes etc. We were always dressed exactly the same but would occasionally have a different coloured cardigan on or a different style of the same outfit.  We had been known to change name badges in Kindergarten to get out of trouble. In end Mother dressed us in different shoes. I had the T bar shoe and my sister had a simple rounded shoe. Later on in life we even shared Boyfriends. Yep the things you will do for a sister.

The only redeeming feature that defined each of us as my Mother said, was our hairline. My Sister has a double crown. 

You can have so much fun with a sibling, but its not all fun and games.

T + M

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Day 2

So how do you start a story?
Do we go the fairy tale route, 'Once Upon a Time'?
Do we go the movie route, fade to the future, person over a keyboard looking at a screen of words then fade back several years?? (Sorry i was thinking of Stand By Me right about then).

One thing that you must know about me from the start, I'm a HUGE movie fan. HUGE! As you will find out later its influenced me a fair bit.

So we'll start like most things, from the beginning:
I was born in July 1975 to two awesome parents who were not expecting kids as fast as they got them. LOL!
My father was on his second marriage, already having two daughters.  When he meet my Mother they expected kids eventually, what they got was another TWO girls.

I am one of TWO (if the picture didn't give it away, that's the punchline right there).
I am the first born of Identical Twins. My Sister came along supposedly 7min later, but if i recall from the birth certificate its more like 4min???? I have no idea, I had no idea of time at that moment.

So there you have it, a story about TWO people who look the same!
I wonder how much FUN you can have when there is someone else out there that looks EXACTLY like YOU???  Hmmm!  I wonder ;-)
(don't ask me who is who.... even my Mother has issues. I think I'm the less grumpy one! Though then again??)

T + M

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

I have a story to tell. Its a story 27 years in the making. It's a journey that has taken me personally, 27years to reach. Why now? After 27yrs something just clicked. Like those lightbulb moments that you see on the cartoons.  I'm not quite sure of the exact moment but I suddenly felt a huge weight being lifted. 
So for the next 27 days I am going to take you on a  journey with me. It wont be an easy journey, but I hope that you will join me, learn something, and possibly even reach out to someone that may need a little reminder that LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, and FAMILY are some of the most important things that we can have in this world.

What is this story about?  Its about a young gifted girl. Its about Strength, Love, Friendship, Perseverance.

I'm no writer, but this story will be from the heart, from experience and no 'real names' will be mentioned.

I hope to see you along for the ride. It could be funny, it could be sad, but it will always be honest.

T + M