Everyone has a moment in time that they revere more than any other. A memory so enduring that you can recall the most singular details with intimate clarity. Sometimes that cognitive imagery can feel more like an affliction than justifiable periods of elapsed time worthy of retention. Some instances can even unduly define the course of a year, curtailing the prospects that might otherwise have been interpreted favourably if a more affectionate memory were associated with that gentle expanse of time, thereby associated to a far more promising start. People retain radically differing ideas on what constitutes as a substantial bad year, depending on the individuals perspective. It’s all relative and deeply personal. Many consider 2016 to be an exceptionally bad year for a number of political or contrite reasons. For me though one of the most difficult years of my life occurred in 1997, prompted by a monumental event that transpired nearly 20 years ago to the day; the day my parents split up.
I don’t think people truly respect just how receptive children are even at a tender age. Though I never physically observed my parents arguing I could sense an ambient hostility around them, generating a vacuous atmosphere devoid of any gentility. They both made a concerted effort to conceal the collective ire they shared for one another from my sister and I to ensure we maintained some consistency with our lives, but even though I was too young to define what exactly was different I just got a sense that something wasn’t right. I was still in primary school at the time – I don’t know what the American equivalent is but I was about 9 or 10 years old. It was a Sunday when things really escalated between them. My mother was absent for most of the day, owing to some feigned illness that conveniently prevented her from being in the same room as my father. My dad had cooked dinner for my sister and I (he never cooked dinner!) and allowed me to play on the SNES for most of the day without any limitations (again, never happened). The following day was a school day so my sister and I didn’t go to bed too late, yet I didn’t sleep comfortably.It was late in the evening, or early in the morning if you want to get technical that I remember being startled by my parents arguing downstairs. As a kid I was never very good at confrontation and I certainly didn’t know how to broach such a volatile situation. But in the end I decided that I just wanted it to stop! I made my way down the stairs tentatively, attempting to suppress the sound of my feet as I made awkward strides towards the living room. When I entered the room my mother’s rage was palpable, yet tempered by her tearful demeanour that had remit further as I approached. With my father’s bags packed he informed me that he was leaving. Needless to say I cried myself to sleep that night.
At first I thought it was something that I had done, which is a natural reaction when you’re that young. I even resented my mother for a spell, purely because I was angry and she was in proximity. Though it was clear that the only person at fault was my father. Well him and the home wrecker my adulterous father felt compelled to dishonour his marriage vows for. Who also happened to be my mother’s best friend (formerly now). Honestly no one did betrayal quite like these two. There are a retinue of choice words I’d like to type to describe their wanton cruelty, but I wouldn’t want to waste valuable asterisk let alone time to do so. Despite this duplicitous act, as well as inspiring half the marriages in Westoros my mother prevailed, taking assertive action to preserve the solidarity of our divided family, with the aid of friends and relatives, most notably my Aunt Violet. Her presence commanded the admiration and love of the entire room. She was a shining beacon of hope and serenity that captivated every family gathering. She possessed an incredible talent for healing your spirit with just a few gentile words and a soothing embrace. The world didn’t seem so cynical when she was around. My girlfriend and I even christened our daughter Rose Violet to commemorate her incredible contribution to my families lives. My mother had endured a torrent of heartbreak when my inexcusable father left, but Violet contributed so much to my mother’s emotional rehabilitation, placating the severity of any crippling bouts of depression she suffered…..making Violets sudden death all the more gut wrenching. Besides the collapse of her marriage, the death of my Aunt was the most traumatic incident for my mother. She was her confident, her muse. The one person she could rely on for advice and comfort. And she was gone. Her sudden illness and subsequent passing was a significant blow to the equanimity of our family. But we recovered, eventually. My mother possessed a far greater strength than even she knew she had, and her indelible passion for life and extroverted inclinations that had always imbued her with formidable resiliency to the adverse whims of the world had paid dividends. It wasn’t always easy but nothing worth having ever is. It wasn’t until I became a father that I truly appreciated just how courageous my mother was at raising two children, with little resources by herself. Just how much has to be sacrificed in order to sustain a functioning and above all happy home.
You see the most important people in my life are women. My mother, my girlfriend, my sister (to an extent), my Aunt, my Nan, my daughter. Each and every one of these women has contributed something to my growth as a son, a boyfriend, a brother (to an extent), a nephew, a grandson and a father, nurturing the rudimentary principles that are a rooted contributor to my faculties; to be a good man, or at the very least a better man than my father. They ensured that I experienced a childhood furnished with memories well worth preserving. Allowing me to encapsulate significant moments in my youth that I can readily recite and distribute to my daughter, to you guys, to anyone that will listen with gratifying clarity. I have been provided with boarding, food, the necessary tuition that has adequately equipped me for the highs and lows this world has to offer, as well as support when I was being an insufferable teenager with delusions of my own significance to the world. Ensuring a habitable consistency that couldn’t have been achieved without the herculean commitment of the women around me. They are and continue to be the reserved, often understated pillars of my life and the heroines I’d most wish to emulate.
Who are the most important women in your life? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.