I’ve been hanging out with teenagers, guess what, “Grown ups”? We’ve been getting it wrong!

I’m always hearing that we adults don’t understand the kids today. Kids today have it so lucky compared to when we were their age but they don’t appreciate it. What’s going on with them? Why do so many young people seem off their heads? Bloody teenagers.

So the first thing is I feel UNCOMFORTABLE writing this post admitting to having spent time with teenagers. For the most part these have been 16+ (upto about 22 so this is really about this age group of “young adults” rather than teenagers). Why do I feel uncomfortable admitting this? Because as a 29 year old male, people will automatically assume that I am up to no good. What could I possibly want to hang out with young adults for?

IT MUST BE SOMETHING SINISTER!

Think again, please. If you thought this you need to know that you’re a victim of social conditioning and you need to seriously think about that.

So this has been over the course of the last year. Not the whole year, but definitely large sections of it. I’ve done the parties, I’ve done the hanging out in town and the sitting around in parks.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that the reason we don’t understand young people today is because we SEGREGATE ourselves from them because of age.

“You should hang out with people your own age” sounds good in principle but how on earth are young people going to learn from their elders if their elders don’t spend time with them.

How are young people expected to behave like adults when we distance ourselves from them and treat them like children while expecting them to be adults?

Do we have any idea, as a culture, how exceptionally ignorant it is to think that young people have nothing to teach us?

I’m only about ten years older than most of the group I’ve been spending time with. What I’ve learned is that most of these people feel disillusioned by the immediate adults in their lives and detached from the world of adulthood that we are so forcibly chucking them into.

So to the questions like: Why are young people today the way they are?

The answer is: Because we grown ups create the conditions that encourage them to be like this.

Self harm in young adults is SKYROCKETING since I was a teenager. Not only has the proportion of self-harming young people risen dramatically but the openness of which they show they self-harm has radically changed. It is COMMON and ACCEPTED. ‘In my day’ in a group of fifteen young adults maybe 3-5 would be self-harming, but then maybe only 3 would openly admit or show it. Consider what you know of today, of the young people I generally meet it seems roughly 7-8/10 are self harming in some way and openly admitting to it. It’s definitely better not to suffer in silence so I’m in some way glad they’re often so open about it (or maybe I’m just easily trusted). But it seems like a generally accepted thing now. It also seems the education around self-harm is delivered in a less than productive way, young teenagers interpreting that other young people self-harm BECAUSE it brings them feelings of relief or life. It never actually occurred to me to self-harm until someone else suggested it would help my feelings of numbness and inexplicable loss, I never did though.

Furthermore… and there is a lot to this subject and I don’t think I’ll get the order right in terms of relevance… it’s all relevant.

Some young people can deal with the intense academic expectations and can flourish their way through life. SOME PEOPLE can do this. Not all.

Think about it.

At age 11 children are heading for their SAT’s. Over the last decade there have been increasing reports across different media platforms concerning 11 year olds getting quite upset and even sometimes having panic attacks and crying due to the prssure put on them by SAT’s. Why on earth are we telling 10-11 year olds that they must do well in SAT’s in order to be successful and happy in later life?

Within 2-3 years of SAT’s we’re expecting young people to make LIFE DECISIONS! “What do you want to be when you grow up? Think carefully now! Choose the lessons that suit the career you want to go into! This will shape your life!” – SO never mind that girls are going through a plethora of physical changes, boys are getting hit like a truck by testosterone and both genders are experiencing mind boggling emotional changes and just about all of them experience identity crisis’ several times through their teenages. We also have to put all this life long pressure upon them.

Within 2 years of making this first set of life choices, we again expect them to make more. Actually by the age of 16 we are expected to know who we are and what we want to do with life. At 16 just about every person is struggling with finding their place in the world. Where they feel accepted. Guess what? It’s not with you grown ups because you’re expecting so much of them. Is it any wonder young people just want to spend time with their friends? Is your teenage child being rebellious? This is actually entirely because you failed to register their humanity and are not supporting them or nourishing them in the way they need. Maybe you feel you are and they’re rebelling anyway – you need to overcome your ego because you’re still wrong and you’re not trying the right things – “trying hard” means absolutely nothing if you’re “trying” the wrong things.

2 years later again. Young people are expected to make the choice for university or work. And the intensity of the expectations here rise almost to their peak. Nevermind that they’ve just reached what we expect as the age of “Adulthood” and “responsibility”. Nevermind that they’re still just trying to work out what the heck is going on with the world around them and where their place is. Nevermind that they’re often emotionally screwed up because WE ADULTS don’t encourage them to be whoever they want to be but do try to enforce our own expectations upon them. As a parent do you have any idea what it’s like for your kid to know you want them to be one thing but they really don’t feel that? It doesn’t matter if you’re aggressivly enforcing your expectations or passively doing it, you’re pressuring your child TOO MUCH.

When you plant a seed do you water and feed the plant and let it grow or do you sit there day after day making sure it grows in straight lines?

Another thing we adults do so terribly is assume we know it all. We’re afraid of young people seeing us fail or not understand. It seems to be some matter of pride. Isn’t the goal to teach our kids how to be stronger and wiser than us? Shouldn’t the future of humanity be BETTER than present? We pretend we know the education system and because the schools and the newspapers tell us that young people SHOULD do all these things above, we blindly support this belief because the fact of the matter is: We don’t have a clue.

The majority of people I know who directly got what they wanted out of Uni were people who didn’t go to Uni till their late 20’s or beyond, after they’d had some time to explore life as an adult and really get a feel for what they wanted in life. The majority of people I know who went to Uni at 18 years old, didn’t get what they wanted out of Uni but did have a great time drinking, drugging, hanging out with friends and a debt.

Beyond Uni, young people are then expected to be independent. That’s right! So you’ve been forced into doing all of this stuff and then you’ve got to go out in to the world on your own and be successful. Achieve satisfaction on your own. Is it any wonder why a lot of people today can’t bare the thought of being single? Independence is scary and anyone truly independent has had to struggle alone to do this. We are human beings, we are fundamentally programmed to love and be loved. Being independent is adverse to this but because we teach our young people that independence is the right thing, we find ourselves scared and alone but also hating ourselves for not being able to do the so-called “right thing”

Speaking of drink and drugs (which are one and the same so from here on when I say ‘drugs’ this INCLUDES alcohol, the legal status is a mere technicality and a sham). Drug use is going up too. Younger people are doing drugs at a higher ratio than before. I’m sure you can find some statistics about this somewhere but I rather believe that these will not be accurate but you will find it rising. Many young people who do drugs are not comfortable with admitting it to any so called grown ups. With my own past experience of drugs when I was younger and observing young people doing drugs today, I feel very secure in saying I know what the allure is here. Get ready…

The absence of the LOVE and LIFE they (and we all) need.

See when you take drugs, be it drink, ecstacy, LSD, cocaine, ketamine, etc, you get the different sense of euphoria of course, but more than that you feel GOOD. You get to feel carefree. You get to feel NICE and especially in the case of things like ecstacy, you get to feel a sensation not unlike LOVE, which can have a huge effect if you feel you’re lacking that in your life. Maybe you just don’t feel accepted in your stable world and you don’t feel good at home. But when you snort a line (or something) with your friends you get to feel GOOD, COMFORTABLE, ACCEPTED, HAPPY, UNDERSTOOD and all at the same time.

So anytime you feel like telling anyone at all to simply “not do drugs” you’re basically telling them to relinquish one of the only times in their lives where they get to feel how they actually should. The only time their instinctive emotional needs are satisfied together.

There’s one last subject on this matter that I want to approach. This is a VERY sensitive subject and I expect I’ll be getting some flack for this one because I am going against a lot of peoples beliefs here. This subject is depression and anxiety in young people.

Depression and anxiety in young people.

I’m going to write it again in case you didn’t get it the first two times.

DEPRESSION and ANXIETY in YOUNG PEOPLE.

I suffered from these when I was a young person and also through most of my adult life, I’m still working through a bit of this even today. What’s absolutely preposterous is the almost insurmountable lack of understanding of these things and young people. We have fallen in to a VERY destructive process when it comes to depression and anxiety and the people hit the worst are teenagers. So you might be a parent of a teenager or maybe you’re a teenager reading this. Suffering from depression and/or anxiety? The obvious action is to see a doctor. I already know what the diagnosis is unless you’ve got a doctor who’s got their head screwed on correctly. They told you that your “condition” is a symptom of a “chemical imbalance” in your brain. This is the DEFAULT explanation for most doctors. I’ve been through this myself and I lost count a long time ago of people who’ve been told the same.

So they tell you this and then prescribe you medication. Fluoxitine, citalopram, beater blockers, SSRI’s. Now, I’m sorry if you’re sat their reading this and you’re currently taking one/some of these or maybe your child is, because what I’m going to tell you now is going to put in to question what a medical professional has told you. Someone you should be able to trust without any doubt in your well-being, has given you uneducated information and medication that’s ultimately damaging because you don’t (and never did) need to recover from depression with medication. But you’re probably coming to depend on it, especially at your worst moments. These things are messing with the chemical balance in your brain, your feelings of depression and anxiety while perhaps inexplicable at the moment are there for real, logical reasons.

Skip back to everything I’ve written before I started writing about depression. There’s what I’m trying to explain is what is wrong with how we are treating young people (and people in general). Depression and anxiety ARE NATURAL FEELINGS that occur when we don’t feel accepted, when we don’t feel loved, when we get hurt over and over again, when we don’t feel like we have a place in the world. Self-harm and drug abuse are modern day coping strategies for these feelings. Are you on anti-depressants? Have they stopped you from being depressed forever? Or do you have to top yourself up whenever you’re hitting low/anxious moods? If they’ve combated your feelings of depression and anxiety without you having to do work on your emotions then you must have stopped taking them by now and are a full and happy person without support of any kind. Well done for you I’m glad that the medication worked! 🙂 Chances are though is you’re using them to COPE day to day which means unequivocally that you have real, logical reasons to feel depressed and until you consciously address and overcome them with your thoughts and your emotions – the medication is akin to taking drugs. I thought about beating around the bush and sugar coating this paragraph but actually it’s about time someone says it like it is. Perhaps you really do have a chemical imbalance in your brain that forces you to feel depressed, unfortunately these situations are VERY far and few between for the sheer volume of people diagnosed as such. Here’s a question and some facts for you:

Question: Did your doctor do a brain scan/test of some sort to test for an imbalance?

-If no: they’re making an assumption based on you explaining your feelings and that you don’t really know or understand why you feel like that.

-If yes: This whole bit doesn’t apply to you then. I’m sorry your body makes you feel like this.

Fact: ALL emotions can be considered “a chemical imbalance”. Yep. Happiness is a chemical balance. Adrenaline rushes are chemical imbalances. Feeling loving is a chemical imbalance.

Please, for the sake of your sanity and your long term emotional status: Search within yourself for the reasons you feel depressed and anxious and directly address them as best as you can.

The main reason why this whole mentality around depression is so very dangerous and destructive is this: If you believe your emotions are out of your control then you will feel like you are out of your control. If you are out of your control, what control of your life do you have? Any at all? Think about it.

So grown ups. I’m going to continue hanging out with young people. I’m going to learn what I can from them and I’m going to teach them what I can too. I’m going to show them that being an adult isn’t so different from being a “young adult” and I’m going to treat them with the respect, honesty and courtesy that I’d show anyone of any age.

Quite frankly when I’m in towns I much prefer the company of young adults. For the most part they haven’t quite yet resigned themselves to the lives of repetition and boredom that the rest of us seem to. I don’t know if I get the most nourishing philosophical conversations that I need for me, but they definitely get to glimpse into the truth of “growing up” when they spend time with me.

But then what do I know. I think being a “grown up” is a lie that “grown ups” made to make younger people obey. The wisest person I ever met was 21 and we only have to look at the older generations in our government to see that wisdom and age do not come hand in hand.

I think I cracked phobias

At least for me.

I can’t begin to tell you what the last quarter of a year has been like for me. I think I’ve felt just about every bad feeling that could ever possibly felt. I’ve been as far as panicking in fear of my life, as far as I could ever panic, anyway.

Fear. I’ve been so full of it over winter it makes sense that now because of who I’ve become, I have learned a lot from it.

Over the last month I’ve noticed spiders. Big enough for me to usually be scared enough of to not want to go near, not big enough to have me hiding and involuntarily twitching. But I was distinctly noticing the absence of the very familiar irrational fear that’s present when I see them. I even removed one of said spiders just by getting it to walk on a piece of paper and then taking it outside. I didn’t chuck the paper, I didn’t get a saucepan (which is usual) to contain the spider on the paper, I very calmly released the spider outside and neither me nor her were in danger or terrified.

The next thing that happened was visiting my friend who has a very small, but very definite, snake. Norbert is his name, there’s a very proud picture of him round my neck on my facebook page. The first time I saw Norbert I wanted to touch him to make some headway against my phobia but I couldn’t and I got twitchy as per usual. It was really hard just being in the room and looking at him.

I can’t exactly tell you that I intended for these phobias to be going away like they are. I haven’t consciously done anything with this goal in mind since the first time I saw Norbert as described.

But what I can tell you is that about two weeks ago I felt once again the fear and anger I felt when I was child and all that horrible stuff was happening to me. The feelings came back to me in such a flood I felt like I was losing control. I was so afraid I started imagining he might even break in to where I live now to kill me. I couldn’t think straight but I knew I had to wait it out and let the feeling calm so that I could think straight and work out what I had to do.

When I calmed down I realised what it was I had to do: Face him.

Not right away. When I’m ready. I have to try to see if he even understands or remembers any of what he did. If he has any remorse at all. He might not. I’m ready for that possibility. That’s ok. The only important thing is for me to face the greatest fear I’ve ever had. However terrified of snakes and spiders I’ve been, they’ve never been as scary as the idea of him, or the idea of facing him.

So I think that’s it. Maybe my phobias even stem in some way from this greatest fear of mine. Maybe my mind interprets them as being less of a threat now that it’s realised there’s something bigger that’s been locked away deeply for 18 years.

I’m filling myself with love and I’m releasing the fear.

I can’t wait to see how I’ll turn out.

Edmund Jones, the Joker of the Forest.

I’m a couple of months late writing this now. I couldn’t bring myself to face my feelings about you, Edmund. That’s why I didn’t come to your funeral. I could have come but I was scared and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I still rather don’t!

You are my hero. My real life hero. You’re the hero who I got to meet, know and grow up with! When I think of all the people I’d most like to be like, you’re right at the top of the list, the list has very few non-fictional people which means you bested the likes of all the superheroes too.

I’ve finally just read the letters you wrote before you left, it took me a while. Asides from not wanting to say goodbye I knew that reading whatever it was you had to say would have me questioning my own behavior at present. Or perhaps I mean, you made me face myself just by being yourself. Which is you, you’ve been such a loving, positive, honest person, there may have been times in my past where I was becoming a dishonest person, you helped me back on the right track even though you didn’t know it.

I actually questioned my existence when you left. I hadn’t heard from you in a few years but I knew you were off somewhere being amazing. I had been intending to come find you and go adventuring with you. We would have taught each other loads, we would have had the best laughs echoing the length and breadth of every valley we came across. And we’d have probably went our separate ways at some point before bumping into each other again in the farther future for more shenanigans…

So maybe I’ll come looking for you anyway, and maybe you’ll come looking with me. You’ll be with me forever and you’re the voice I choose for my conscience. Which is rather difficult for me right now because you’d find it amusing how much I’ve lied to myself this year, so now my conscience has your laugh and your voice. Great! Well at least nights on my own will be more interesting now, haha!

Love.

PS: I feel I could write a legion more about you but I’m not going to. I think I’d like to use my voice and my eyes when I talk about you. I don’t know if any amount of text will do you justice and I’m not even going to try.

My depression story

This is pretty much an exact copy paste from somewhere else but I felt it was worth putting here. 🙂

Our society was the biggest factor to my years of debilitating depression. But I didn’t actually work that out till I was well on my way to recovery. Discovery of this then rapidly accelerated my recovery. I had childhood abuse reasons for depression too but I actually managed to have dealt with these in my teens. Here’s my story to explain why.

Other than the abuse I received as a child I was actually really lucky. I was born in a city but when I was just three my mother moved with her partner to an abandoned cottage way out in the country, no electricity, just about all the freedom I could possibly want, I could wander and explore and utilise my imagination in any which way I wanted to.

School was very hard for me. I was raised very differently to all the other kids who had money, electricity, smart clothes, an easy bath every day. Which all meant I didn’t fit in and was largely not accepted, I was bullied for most of these reasons at some point. So as a teenager I tried very hard to get away from the lifestyle choices of my mad mother and become accepted with everyone else. Indeed when I was just 16 I got my own apartment in the local town. This was really when the depression started to set in. Try as I might to fit in with the social norms I slowly found myself being drained of happiness. Not to mention I was really missing love and acceptance in my life. I had really good and solid friends by this point but at the end of the day I was still returning to my apartment to spend the night on my own, romantic relationships filled some gaps but them ending just escalated the overall loneliness. By the time I was 18 I found anthetamines and cannabis and I marveled at how they made me feel happier and more love than anything else in my life ever had. I never took anything highly addictive like cocaine and I must stress I wasn’t addicted to drugs, I was filling up an emotional gap in my life which I wasn’t entirely aware of doing, at the time I thought I had just caught the drug addiction that everyone always warns about.

It wasn’t until I was 22 that I allowed myself to quit that life. By this point I was intentionally homeless, it didn’t make sense to be on welfare for a home I never would spend time in. I had cash in hand work to pay for my food and drugs and I was always welcome to stay at numerous places. I was a very energetic, fit and sociable, depressed, drug user. I was not a dirty mess that vegetated in a scummy apartment with clothes smelling like piss, I helped people out and did triathlons and fun runs for charity because I could. I was also not a thief or anything else stereotypical of drug users. I knew a lot of people and all of them were happy to see me, actually this was the happiest time in my whole depression. So at this time, as I say, I allowed the people who cared about me to convince me that I had to stop. So I packed in the drugs and got myself on welfare so I could get an apartment, the cash in hand wasn’t enough to achieve this. Once I had the apartment everything went downhill rapidly.

I felt forced into the prospect of going and getting an every day job doing something I didn’t want to do, working for someone who doesn’t care, working with people who are only really your friends at work while serving people who look down on me. Every day. Every day? Something in my brain told me that that life wasn’t worth living. Why in the hell am I supposed to spend my life doing things I hate? Because that’s just the way it is. That’s just the way things are. Deal with it because everyone else has to and also children are starving in Africa so get over it, your troubles are nothing. I tried the antidepressants and they made me feel unnatural, I got a very light effect similar to one of the drugs I used to take, which felt counter productive to stopping drugs. I was also very aware of feelings that did not feel like mine. This all felt very fake and dishonest, I was also not happy with the huge list of definite and potential side effects, chief among them being “may cause suicidal feelings”.

So I got stuck into MMORPG’s. For two and a half years I spent my life inside various virtual worlds. I’d be roaming the lands questing. Fighting mythical beasts. Saving and aiding fellow players/humans. That virtual world had more worth and fun than anything I could see in the real world around me. My welfare was changed from jobseekers benefits to disability allowance for depression and anxiety, and I just sat there having fun and interacting with people. I slowly stopped caring about the world around me and that includes myself. My teeth are damaged forever from neglect and sometimes I’d cry when I woke up because I was awake. Reality no longer was good for me.

Fortunately by this point, age of 25, my mother was not so mad and I not so angry at her. I called her up one day and through tears of desperation, smelling of sweat, grease soaked through my hair and teeth as brown as beavers I told her I didn’t know what to do. I had considered suicide but decided I would never be so cowardly (Edit: This isn’t a judgement that anyone who commits suicide is a coward, in many ways it has to take a sense of courage to take any life, especially ones own. For me I felt like suicide would be giving up, which felt like cowardice at the time). If mother hadn’t driven the 150 miles to collect me in her van to live with her, I don’t know where I’d be right now. She didn’t know how to help me, but I did. I just wasn’t capable of administering the help I needed without help.

I decided the next best step to getting on some sort of track was to get back into college since that was the last time (almost ten years before) that I had any sort of direction. College started about ten months after mother rescued me from my pit. I found the interaction with lots of other humans on a daily basis really empowered and encouraged me. Infact when I started the two year course I didn’t believe for a second that I’d make it past winter holidays without quitting. The support of my fellow students and tutors kept me going. By the end of the two year course I had all sorts of friends and was easily able to engage with life and people, happily, without the need for drugs to provide artificial happiness. I’d even found myself a job that felt like a second family which made serving people who don’t care,  a bearable issue. By this point I was able to force myself to be happy with this monotonous lifestyle. I could be happy with it. I will be happy with it. I can be happy with it. All the while knowing that it wasn’t straight forward to stay on that level of happiness, I had to deceive myself on some levels in order to stick at it.

But then a miracle happened. A rainbow family gathering happened right on the outskirts of the town I was living in. All sorts of travellers and hippies from all over the world came to live in a field for a month. Every single person there treated anyone with the same respect as they would a brother or sister. They accepted anyone, whoever they were and wherever they came from. I visited them during the day when I was working evenings and mornings. After 5 days I quit my job because I could not miss that experience, not one second of it, it was only going to be there for another three weeks.

I had planned to return to normality after they were gone. But in those weeks I listened and observed. I learned that real freedom is possible. I experienced feeling love, unconditionally, by hundreds of people.

So when the gathering packed up and everyone went to where they were going next, I packed my rucksack, took my last 10 of pay from the old job and started travelling around the country.

Everyday now I decide what I do. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow or next week and I didn’t know what I’d be doing today. All I know is that I get to spend as much, or as little, time with/meeting people. I have more people I love than I know what to do with. Every day is a different horizon. I’m well loved and I get to live by my own rules.

I’ve never been happier. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but of all the people I spend time with, the ones who are locked into 9to5 jobs are bored and just accept things because they feel they have no choice. The people who do what they like are the most happiest and inspiring people I’ve ever known. I can only believe there’s an obvious reason for this.

We’re meant to live free.

I work when it’s necessary like helping out, chopping wood for my fire so I can cook my food, that sort of thing. I’m just adding this bit really because I know someone will want to suggest I’m lazy and don’t want to work. I have no problem with working, I’m not strong and fit because of magic. I just can not and will not work for the machine or anyone’s expectations. This is the only life I’ll get and I will live it doing things that make me happy, not what people tell me I ‘should’ be doing.

After all, no one consulted me about if I wanted to be alive. It’s my right to be happy and not ordered into file and rank. I’ll never be depressed again.

Mum met her Mom.

As much as I’ve been going through some profound internal and external changes in my life this year, so has my mother.

Briar was born in Canada in the late 1960’s to my grandmother Edna, who was in her mid-teens at the time. The socially determined “best thing” to do in those days if your child had a child at a young age and without marriage prospects to the father: Was to have your child give their child up for adoption. So that is what happened to my Mother and Grandmother. Briar had a few different families she was fostered with until she was eventually fostered in England about ten years after her birth. During that first portion of Briar’s life she was not treated appropriately, I only know bits and pieces as she’s never really opened up to me about the details but suffice it to say that for a very, very long time she often seemed to regress to the emotional states that she experienced then, often reliving the trauma she felt. One example of this would be that when I began to grow tall, into a man, if I were to be moody or arrogant occasionally (like a lot of teenagers do from time to time) she’d feel threatened by me even though I would not be necessarily directing that energy at her or necessarily because of her, her feeling intimidated would tend to push her towards lashing out or becoming very frightened and sometimes hysterical. Indeed some of that still lingers in some ways but she has grown emotionally stronger in the last years especially after her fiance passed away and my sister has been in care.

She’s been in contact with her mother and sister very rarely in the last few years since she located them and this year it occurred to me that perhaps the biggest step she could take towards healing herself would be to actually go meet them in person and also face some of the ghosts of her childhood that have been still clinging to her. The thing was, on Briar’s part, was that she wanted to meet her Mom and family so badly that to try to achieve this would be potentially setting herself up for the biggest let-down in her life if it didn’t happen. Which, I feel, for her would have been unbearable, so for her own sanity she chose to accept that she was never going to be able to meet them. I had originally planned to finish college this year and work my bottom off to save up enough for her to go, I then realised that this was going to be a ridiculously hard thing for me to achieve and actually, if I had taken that route then I feel that time would have not waited that long for Mum to meet her Mom. So I set up a fundraiser site and wrote a brief story about the situation, Edna has needed a lot of health care for a while and there was some question to how much time she had left. And it happened! Many many wonderful people donated to this cause and within two weeks we had got enough money for Briar to fly to Canada! There was some paperwork things to sort out and she needed a bit of convincing still that she needed to go sooner rather than later (jobs and bills be damned!) and that she needed to go on her own (there wasn’t enough for me to go with her like she wanted but also I really felt this needed to be her journey) but she went! It was nice that I was the last person she got to see in England before she was on her way, I’d been travelling and this last meeting was pure fluke, or the universes plan I might say.

So she met her foster-brother from her childhood at the airport and her foster-cousin, they went to visit their old haunts and memory lanes. She stayed with her sister and nieces (my aunty and cousins, who are beautiful), she met one of her brothers, her aunt, her grandmother (who sorely regrets the decisions made at the time of Briar’s birth and has given her a ring from her grandmother) and of course her Mother, Edna.

In the time Briar was there she got to take a role of ‘Big Sister’ and ‘Eldest Child’ which is a very new and unusual feeling for her. She got to help care for Edna and even sat in on a meeting about the support Edna was receiving and was able to provide some constructive input. Edna had an awful lot of things to tell Briar and did tell many, but sadly due to her condition she often fell asleep mid-sentence. When it was time for Briar to leave for the plane home, Edna really held on to her and did not want her to go.

The next day, Edna passed away.