Note this is a very personal story and is a very long read. All of the things said are based on what has happened to me. Please respect what I been through and if you do suffer from depression then you may feel worst.
Life is a game of chess I always thought and still do. No one knows what move will be made next and who or when we will be taken off the chessboard. This is my story about how depression came into my life. For some people it’s not easy to admit their problems. Maybe they are ashamed or too embarrassed to talk about them. I understand that fully now. No one can understand your pain better than you. However that doesn’t mean they can’t be there to hear your story or be there to comfort you.
I remember it clearly like it was yesterday. Rain falling down hard like there was a backlog of it. I ran into the hospital, asking where my girlfriend at the time was. Shaking like a leaf I found her. My friend who was with me calmed me down. How did this happen? Why did it? To make any sense of it, we will have to go back in time just a few hours. I was at work and my friend called me on my mobile. Problem is you can’t pick it up due to it been work and my lunch break wasn’t due yet.
He came into the shop and demanded to speak to me. Manger at the time was being a dickhead and told him he couldn’t see me and had to wait until I finished work. I heard his voice and walked upstairs and asked him what was going on. He explained. All I remember was me being in a state of panic and walking out. My manger was pissed off at me and even though he heard the story, he said I could wait until after work. I looked at him and walked out and said “call this my notice”. My friend drove me to the hospital and we went in. I couldn’t believe it.
My girlfriend was on her way to the hospital but had an accident on the way. Someone had knocked her over. She was only a few steps down the stairs. Someone pushed her and she fell to the ground. That may not sound so bad; however she was 7 months pregnant with our child. She was instantly rushed to the hospital. The anger and sadness mixed into one made me cry my soul out. I didn’t know what to say to anyone. All I knew was I had to see how she was.
When I got to her room I took a deep breath and walked in. She looked at me and was crying, she was swearing at me and if she could she would have thrown stuff at me. I was ordered out of the room due to me causing more stress to her. I later found out that the baby died. She died of a Stillbirth. I was lost again. Broken in half and felt like nothing mattered any more. She blamed me for it. Blamed me for not being there with her. At the time I accepted it. I took the blame. It was my fault.
My dream was over. I never told anyone about our daughter and wanted to keep it a surprise until she was born. I wanted to show everyone I was a dad. Me and my girlfriend at the time always wanted a child of our own. We were both near enough the same person, we felt like true soul mates. We clicked the first time we talked and became close really fast. When she told me she had something to tell me I didn’t know what to expect. And was scared she was gonna say she was leaving me. That wasn’t it at all. She was pregnant. I remember her sleeping in my arms so tight that night and both of us not letting go of each other.
However she was hiding another secret. She was married to someone else. She told me when she was 4 months pregnant. I didn’t know if I wanted to be with her after that. I felt betrayed. But then who wouldn’t? Why didn’t she just tell me from the start? She kept telling me she was leaving him and would be with me instead. It turned into an on and off relationship from there on. At that stage I started to question if she really did love me, or if she was just simply using me as nothing more than an escape route. Deep down in my heart I felt that it was love between us, and it wasn’t just simply a case of me been used.
So as you know I lost my daughter. It was one of the biggest blows to me. One that made me started drinking. I drank morning, day and night from a range of WKD, Jack Daniels; Southern Comfort … The list goes on. I didn’t care about my life at all; I just wanted it to end.
I stayed with my Granddad at this stage and whatever money he gave me I used on drink. He didn’t know I was drinking of course. But he soon found the bottles. He was pissed off at me and I broke down and told him why. I felt guilty as sin, and hugged him while we both cried. He understood why I turned like this but told me that there is another way.
Reinvent myself. Look towards a better tomorrow. I started to clean myself up. The cries for a drink were so loud they were deafening, but I had to leave it behind. After a while I found work in Safeway’s. Things were good and felt like a fresh start at last.
A few weeks later I got a text from mum saying she had something to tell me. I came home that night not knowing what it was. She lay in bed with the light been off, this is normally the way of mum having a serious conversation. One thing about her is that she won’t go to the doctors unless she is truly ill. It’s her pride; she has always been like this.
I sat on the bed and let her tell me what was wrong. I actually thought she was going to say her and Dad were going to spilt after so long. But no, it was something a lot more serious, she had breast cancer. I didn’t know what to say or do; I had wanted to speak to her about my problems. But how could I now? Knowing how ill she is? It was so bad they had to remove the whole left breast.
I couldn’t think at work and my anger and sadness got the worst of me. Each day I went to see her at the hospital. This one day was the worst, she was leaning forward out of her bed and I saw the needles in her back which made me feel terrible. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t do it, not in front of her while she is trying to be strong.
I went in the next day to work and was pale and shaking. The manger wanted to see me and to be honest it was the last thing I needed was some power tripping person like him. I saw him and his words made me so angry that I cried. And I quote “I don’t care if your mum is in hospital, you need to be here.” I notice a picture of a little girl in his wallet which he had out on the table.
I asked him if that was his little girl. He said yes. So I told him if your little girl had to go hospital, you wouldn’t be here in work, you would be by her bedside. I walked out with staff members asking how I was and why I was shaking so much. I couldn’t bare to face anyone or answer the questions so I had my face covered in my hood.
Few days later I was told that she was allowed to come home, but also had to leave her bed by 7am. This was because they needed to free as many hospital beds as they could. I never asked her about the operation but was told they had to remove her left breast completely. While been back at home Mum never showed her hair and used my bandanna to cover her head, even after having a shower. I knew she was bold, but it’s not something you want to talk about or show either. Again this was Mum being proud and feeling vulnerable, which I respected and understood.
During this period of time mum asked me would I do something for her. I asked what she wanted me to do. She wanted me to cut my plats off. Truth be told I never thought about how much it must have been hurting her, knowing she had lost her hair and me walking around with mine. I sat down on the bed and she kept saying I’m going to do it and told her “come on do it already”.
After she cut one off I could hear her crying. She gave me a massive hug with the words thank you. Later that Same day I went to see my Uncle and asked him to cut it off fully. In a weird way I could still feel mum’s tears falling while this was being done. I smiled to myself thinking I’m doing this for her and until her hair grew back, I’d stay like this.
At this time I moved back in with mum and spent less time with Granddad. It hurt him knowing his daughter got ill, but I kept my word and gave her a hug and kiss from him. At this stage mum was getting pissed off at me for been home, but in my eyes I was looking after her due to the fact that she couldn’t lift things with her left arm.
If she did do anything like that then her wound would start to leak or as she called it “weep”. So I found a part time job which wasn’t far from home, the only problem was it lasted just a month. What didn’t help, and annoyed me, was been told Xmas eve was our last day.
The manager said sales weren’t good and that he had to get rid of 15 of us. I didn’t get paid until after my birthday (4th of January.) I was pissed off with how I was treated and didn’t really feel in the Xmas mood. Even worse, my parents were going to someone else’s house for Xmas, so I was going to be by myself. I didn’t want to ruin it for them so I stayed alone at home. I didn’t do much either way; I took it more of a day off and spent most of the day on the internet in chat rooms.
Dad said to me he had some bad news but would say it person. I came home from work and was ready to hear what he had to say. He explained to me that Granddad has been in hospital again. He told me that they have to put a tube up his nose to feed him since he could no longer swallow. The problem was he kept taking the tube out his nose and was sent back to the X-ray room to place it back in. They made the decision to make a hole in his stomach and place the tube there instead. If that was to go ahead, Granddad would later have to go in a home when he leaves the hospital.
Nan was already looking at some homes where he could stay and a new one was being built at Church Lane in Tooting (not too far for Nan to travel). As long as it helped him I was fine with it. It was more of a shock to hear it was that bad, but as long as he was okay that’s what mattered to me. When Sandi heard about it, she didn’t sound happy and caused some trouble.
Things seemed to calm down and everything was okay again. She went up to the hospital to see him with her family. I was too scared to see him. Too scared to look at him. I didn’t wanna start crying in front of him. I just wanted to act normal and joke with him like we always did. When I did go and see him at last, Nan was just leaving and she told me where he was. I walked passed him with Nan telling me I can’t miss him.
Looking at the bed was a man who looked like he was going through too much pain. My heart just sank and I almost passed out looking at him. Granddad was skinny. When last I saw him he had put on weight. I knew he was sleeping due to his pattern. One eye half open and his mouth open. I wanted to scream that’s not him. It can’t be. But my body was ready to shut down. Nan came back and said “let’s go”. I badly wanted to cry but not in front of Nan. I didn’t want him to suffer any more.
The image of him was burnt in me as a reminder, to say “please God take him”. Xmas day came and it was one of the worst one’s I’d had in a long time. Mum was been really pissy. Instead of helping or answering a question she would just give a cold look. Mum asked me to do Grace and I tried to but I’m no good at it. This lead to her being pissed off and just started eating.
To make it more of a Christmas feel, mum used a Snowman and Santa for Salt and Pepper. Dad asked which one was the salt because she used both. She didn’t answer of course, and instead looked at him with the cold look. I basically had enough and left the dinner table. I started to tie my trainers up with Mum calling me to come back and finish eating which I ignored. I walked out and went into Spar and brought a pack of Superkings and a lighter which was different for me.
I started smoking again and found myself walking to Victoria Station. On my way I noticed something written on the floor that hit me hard, it said Pray. I took this as a sign and started to walk to the river. Once I was there I did what the image said. I closed my eyes with my hands held tight and prayed my hardest asking God to take him now.
I knew my Granddad was in too much pain and I didn’t like him being this way. Four days later my prayer was answered and he passed away.
On Friday the 28th 2007 at around 9:20am Granddad died in his hospital bed. Even though I felt him leave. My prayer was answered I thought, and I thanked God for it. I couldn’t cry but I knew he had passed. I felt it that morning. Like he was hugging me or trying to bite my ear like I used to do to him. It was a joke between me and him due to Tyson doing the same thing to the other boxer. Either way I felt relived for him that now he didn’t have to suffer.
When I got home from work, mum told me she had something to say. I told her “I already know mum, he said bye as well”. I stayed in my room thinking. Soon it was gonna be New Year and soon I was off to Singapore. A holiday I had booked ages ago. The funeral was the next stage of plan. What should have been smooth sailing turned into nothing more than another family argument. Lies started to spread like wild fire towards Sandi and her boyfriend.
Lies like they wanted my Granddad buried somewhere else in London, but not only was it far away, but he would not be alone. What I mean by that is he would be buried with 2 other people in that same spot. Who started these lies? Nan and Uncle Ian did it in order to destroy a happy life for them but we’ll talk about them a bit later though.
This didn’t sit too well with all of us and in the end we told them that this is not allowed. It got so heated that he was almost banned from the funeral itself. The same night I told mum of the outcome of what would be done. Mum started laughing and soon started to cry. I asked why she was laughing but she never told me. It was time for the big day and the arrangements were in place. He was to be buried where Nan choose and she mainly had it how she wanted it.
I really did want Dad to come but for his own reasons he didn’t. Understandable, people say goodbye in their own way. Just like people pray to God while not going to Church. When we got to the church mum broke down in streams of tears. It’s been years since they did see each other and Granddad really wanted to see mum once more. Every time I would leave his house he would always say “Give mummy a big kiss for me.”
Everyone went up on stage and said a little speech about the big man. At the time St. Clair came along to the funeral and he was going to sit at the back. Mum objected to that and told him “no you are coming to sit with us as the family member you are”
I don’t remember my speech but I do remember wearing a cowboy hat which my Granddad used to wear whenever I saw him. Whatever I said made a huge impact on everyone because they came up to me hugging me and crying.
Uncle Ian wanted to talk to me but I was too destroyed to talk to him or anyone. When we went to bury him I saw Mum crying her eyes out and I hugged her tight. She couldn’t face him been buried but I told her I’m going upfront. A small speech was said and the first rock was thrown in. I stood there looking down at where he was and said a small speech in my head. I thanked him for everything, from being there since I was born, to the point of watching me being reborn. I took the hat off and gave it one final kiss and threw it down with him.
Here Granddad, I got this as a final gift to you :). I admit I wanted to cry but I held it in. My uncle hugged me and said that was a very brave thing you did there lad. I’m sure he is smiling back at you and wearing it now. I nodded I didn’t want to show my tears. What he means to me and what he always meant to me was that there is always a bright side. The smile he had, the laugh, the white beard. Everything about him made me happy. That was the man I wanted to remember, and that is the image that will always remain with me. We went to the aftermath where I tried to be strong and tried to put a smile on everyone’s faces.
My cousin Sandi didn’t want to be there because of the beef between her and my Nan. Also the fact of how her boyfriend wanted Granddad buried was a major thing. Mum told her off and said this is much her day to remember Granddad as well as everyone else. Her family stayed and we got to have fun talking to everyone around us. It was like old times in a way, with me and Rashellee chatting and messing about. The event was coming to a close and each person left at different times.
During this time period Nan was becoming mentally unstable by saying Granddad wasn’t drinking his tea. It was a sad time and I could see that she wasn’t over his death at all so I tried my best to play along for a while. I used to go in the room and drink the tea which sometimes was way too sweet or I would throw in the sink. Granddad had a gold ring which we wanted to keep but it turns out that Ian had already taken it and left us all with bare bones of what was left.
Mum wanted a picture of Grandma that Granddad used to keep by him in a gold frame. Ian sent it to mum but instead of giving her the whole thing, he folded up the picture and sent her it by mail. This pissed mum off to high hell and to this day never forgave him for doing that.
Later that year I started to breakdown. The pressure of everything finally got to me. I was again looking to end my life. I prayed so hard to God that if tomorrow doesn’t bring me any good then accepts me to be with my Granddad. I even wrote a note out and everything to explain why I was doing it. The next day I started speaking to a woman online from a website called Tagged. Me and her were going back and forth with messages until we both started chatting on MSN.
It was then I saw something that was special about her to me. She was a single mum with a little boy not even a year old who was upset. But for the 1st time in a long time, I wanted to protect someone. I wanted to protect the smile she had on her face and not let it fade away. I asked her to allow me to do so and watch her and her son grow up.
She accepted it and we started going out and since that day I have never stopped protecting her. No matter how bad an argument we may have or how pissed off I was with her. Missy and her child were my future and the dream I now want to protect.
Whenever I felt low, I always think of his smile and then I realize what I’m fighting for. A future for him. I may not be his dad but one thing for sure; I’ll always love him like he is my own. But as time got we soon fell apart and I was left alone to find myself. Years have past and I look on now of the former me and how much I changed. I’m glad Granddad told me to reinvent myself because now I’m stronger than ever. I am Pepz the 3rd.