My daughter has just met our Scot family for the first time. After a weekend of vicariously enjoying this new adventure in and for our family I got to thinking of the past. The ‘how the heck did I get here’ questions brought up memories of my youngest’s dad. I’ve often found that the most traumatic experiences are the places that bring the most blessings – ultimately anyway.
This stage of my life still fills me with deep sadness when I think back on it. It was a time of enormous emotional turmoil. My eldest daughter was in High School and going through those teenage storms we’re all so fond of at that stage. I was not coping at all and making every mistake possible when faced with an obscene workload and an unruly child. Added to that I had just found and met my brother for the first time. I was emotionally, physically and spiritually wiped out – perfect stomping ground for chaos to enter!
When I met ‘The Diva’s’ father I was running a restaurant and he owned a pub down the road. After closing up one night I headed off home and I was just entering my door when my neighbour popped his head out of his door and asked if I fancied going out for a drink.
It’s amazing how one’s life can forever be changed by granting the simplest request.
This picture has somehow stayed with me and probably will forever. I was through my door, I was home, all I had to say was, ‘No, I’m tired, I’m going to bed’, and my life would have barrelled off in a completely different direction!
I didn’t bother to empty my bag, I just turned around and went out again. My neighbour was feeling lonely and needed a chat. He told me that he had discovered a great pub that stayed open late……….
As we walked in I noticed this rather dangerous looking chap staring at me and for some reason he was oddly familiar. I thought I was imagining it and turned away. The next thing I knew there he was behind me saying ‘Hello Whelan’!
It turns out that we had known each other 20 years previously while still at school. Being demure and sweet as always I suddenly exclaimed, ‘Yes I remember you! Weren’t you really fat?’
Enter the Dodgy Barman! I can call him that because that’s HIS description for himself. That night we joked and flirted and when it was time to go we found that my friends car had been broken into (it was parked right outside the door) and his leather jacket had been stolen along with my bag which I had left in the boot for safekeeping.
Now the interesting thing about this incident is that for the first time EVER I had absolutely everything in that bag. Money, phone, library books and most important – my ID book.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a sign from the Universe, because within a few weeks of that incident I was indeed about to lose my identity and everything else that constituted ‘me’ and be brought within months to the brink of suicide.