I would like to share my latest “Musing” with you today if I may and I must warn you in advance that it has nothing to do with food or cooking.
Here is what I know and this is an undeniable part of real life that we unfortunately cannot hide from and for which we have to learn to deal with every day of our lives.
A young man will go through many stages in his life, all of which will be pivotal in creating the person he is going to portray to his wife, children and to the people around him later on in his life. Many young adult men, whether we like it or not have volatile hormones and a terrible testosterone abundance which drives them crazy. This burden ensures that they have sex on their minds every minute, gives them an erection for no apparent reason, it ensures that they look at every girl with reasons that are not exactly the most pure and the constant media, music scene, fashion and movie industry all contribute to ensure that all they want to do is have sex.
I want to talk open here whilst speaking candidly and say that many of these young consenting adults (I say many and of course I do not mean all), will tell their girl friends at the heat of the moment, anything they think the girl needs to hear to ensure they take their clothes off. Of course we all understand that the girl should say no and encourage the boy friend to wait until they get married, but if we think this is always going to happen then we are living in a fish bowl or in Disney Land.
They go though this stage of unknowing lack of respect for women due to ignorance, immaturity, lack of knowledge, uncontrollable urges and the primal need to mate.
I remember living through my twenties and enjoying every second of my bachelor life, although I would like to feel that I showed respect to all my girlfriends I have to admit here and now to the whole world that, as a normal young adult male, I never thought I wanted to marry all of them.
After my soul mate and I were married, Beatrice came to me, asked me to sit down and told me we were having a baby. I was very happy, at 39 years of age, yes 39; I had finally managed to start a family after meeting the woman of my dreams. There I was 9 months later inside the operating theatre after finding out our angel was a primary breach, watching the doctor slice open my best friend’s tummy and pulling out this miracle of life by both of her feet with their fingers, I remember crazily comparing it to the way you would pull a couple of beers out of a crate.
An hour later, after holding my daughter in my arms I finally travelled the full circle & for the first time the penny dropped, my eyes welled up and my mind opened wide to the concept that all the girls I had dated before were actually someone else’s daughter. The realization of placing myself in their father’s shoes would haunt me for years to come and only by treating my wife and daughter with total respect and with the love and kindness they deserve would I make amends for my personal perceived past mistakes enabling me to move on with my life.
Then, when I felt that life was progressing in the right direction and that I was coming to peace with my memories and finally starting to learn what a real man was, I read in a magazine or a newspaper about this new movie coming out named “Lovely Bones” and as the movie is not out yet I went and bought the book to have a read.
I have seen a lot of scary movies when I was young, “Halloween”, “Friday the 13th”, “A Nightmare of Elm Street” and the rest, but I can tell you now that as a loving father who would put his life on the line for his daughters, these stories pale in comparison to the chilling “Lovely Bones”.
Here’s the thing, whilst most of the other “horror” stories are scary, they appear to be not real and when you walk out of the cinema whilst scary inside you never think for a second that Freddie is waiting for you round the corner. “Lovely Bones” is very different as this is real life, the actual story line happens every day and the extremely scary part is that if you let your guard down for a second, Freddie might actually take your daughter away from you.
Beatrice and I have two lovely daughters, but if I may I would like to open my heart and my very private life to you just for a fleecing second. We had a family tragedy; 5 years ago we were having a son, after naming him Bradley and talking to him every day whilst he was growing in Beatrice’s tummy, he passed away at birth when he was almost full term.
Bradley had but just 3 weeks to go before the big day and we went for our normal routine final check-up only to receive this dreadful nightmare news that I would not wish on my worst enemies.
We took our eldest daughter out of school for a while so that we could get through this terrible loss together and when she went back to school they asked her to draw a picture to show what she had done during her holiday. The teacher called me to go to her class after she had gone home and she showed me the picture that she had drawn.
The picture was a picture of her holding her mummy’s and daddy’s hand in a cemetery and the words at the top announced, “This is a picture of me, mummy and daddy saying goodbye to my brother” I took the picture from the teacher, said thank you and instantly walked back to my car with the intention of driving back to work, but instead I sat in the car and cried for an hour.
I had a whole bunch of mixed emotions of anger, guilt and the terrible thought that my young daughter had to learn the hard lesson of loss so early in her very young life.
We struggled through unimaginable grief for about 2 years before the pain begun to subside, whilst the pain will never go away and we will carry the grief forever, only by supporting each other did we manage to get through it together. The biggest issue I had personally was the thought that as a father I should have done more to help my son, the guilt was something that I struggled with heavily; constantly going to his grave to aplogise begging for his forgiveness and although I still have the same thoughts, whilst still horrible are now at least manageable.
I am only telling you this to place on record that I do understand loss and that I am in a way regrettably somewhat qualified to try to understand what it must be like to lose your child in such a fashion.
So, after going through what I went through as a daddy, when I tried to place myself in the father’s shoes and I tried to imagine the pain and the unimaginable feeling of guilt, I was unable to come even close to what a parent must feel after living through such a terrible nightmare and to have some monster take away their angel.
Lovely bones forces us to rethink our conventional thought process that the next door neighbor is someone with whom we can trust, the “leaving the house keys with them whilst we go on holiday in case there is a problem”, or telling the children that if you are not home in time and the house is locked “go and stay with uncle next door and wait for us to come home”.
I have lived next to my neighbor for 3 years now and whilst he is lovely, “Lovely Bones” forces me to ask myself, how well do I actually know this man, as he is now 60, what did he do for the first 57 years of his life and I have come to the realisation that the fact is I don’t know anything about him at all.
Trust me, I do understand that we cannot wrap or daughters in cotton wool, we cannot be over protective so they feel suffocated, learn to hate their child hood and grow up hating us as parents, but reading “Lovely Bones” has definitely changed my perspective & thought process somewhat and ensured that I will make an even bigger effort to keep an extra eye on my two princesses.
When I sit by their beds at night and look at my girls sleeping, it’s extremely hard to imagine any person in their right mind who would even think about hurting them never mind doing so, but the fact is that there are people out there who would do exactly that.
We cannot teach our children to be scared of everyone, we can not teach them that they cannot trust anyone and we cannot teach our daughters that all men are only out for one thing, I know that I really do; but somehow we have to ensure they know that real monsters do exist and we unfortunately do not always know who they are.