As I got ready for bed, thoughts of my parents were heavy on my mind. How they’d loved me, cared for me and tried to understand me. Their life had been so much different from mine. Their challenges were food rations and surviving the second world war. I was born in the late fifties. When I hit my teens there were different challenges to face, all involving temptation. Free Love, drugs, rock festivals, sounds selfish doesn’t it? My parents survived the second world war and I survived the free love and drug epidemic.
I’m sure my mum and dad never slept while I attended these events. A handful of my friends died from drug overdoses. Many jumped off bridges or from windows after taking LSD and imagining they could fly. Hey, I tried things, who didn’t, but luckily I don’t have an addictive personality. I could, quite easily say NO, and after a few experiments, I did.
I lay down in my bed, knowing I wasn’t going to sleep, so I picked up my iPad and began to read. I couldn’t concentrate. I was saw lights dancing and flickering on the wall outside my bedroom door. It looked like candle light. I was about to get out of bed and take a look when I heard a gentle voice. I closed my eyes and imagined the face of my Grandma. Wow, I hadn’t seen that face in over thirty years. I smiled, she was a character.
“Remember when we walked across the fell from Butterknowle to Cockfield? We saw your granddad by beck, he died before you were born, but he still watches you. We both do.”
“Grandma, I’m in America now, how do you see me?”
“We’re always with you, and your mam. Don’t trouble yourself anymore about your past. It’s behind you and you survived. Your mam was no angel pet, and she knows it.”
“I can hear you.” It was my mum’s voice. I heard laughter too.
“Remember Gordon?” My grandma said.
“The boy I went to school with when we lived on the fell?” Laughter. “He was nasty, he used to torment me.”
“You soon fixed that Ethel. Shall I tell your daughter what you did?” More laughter. “Alright I will. Your mum grabbed a handful of his hair from the top of his head and spun him around like a top. Took most of the hair from the top of his head in the process.”
My mum joined in, “He squealed like a pig and ran all the way home. He never bothered me again though.”
“No, but I had his parents to deal with.”
I heard laughter from both my mum and my gran. It felt so good. Alice and Ethel together again. The came back to cheer me up.
The laughter faded and I knew they were gone. I wondered if they had come to take me with them. but I slept well that night with a smile on my face, and woke up the next morning ready to meet whatever life threw at me. I knew I was never alone, my family may have faded into the background, but they still watched over me. They’re probably behind me right now, reading this and laughing. I hope so!