For several weeks Mary needed me every moment in the day. I slept close to her in bed so that I would be there for her if she woke up. She would call out for me even if I went out of the room in the daytime for more than a few minutes. Her doctor gave her strong sleeping pills, yet she still woke up frequently. Curiously enough she was constantly falling asleep during the day.
Mother’s constant presence caused more trouble. She soon became jealous because I gave more attention to Mary than to her. She showed no sense of sorrow for the loss of her son.
When someone commits suicide there has to be an inquest. Mary’s doctor told the authorities that she was not well enough to go. Mother was there at the time: “I’ll go! Which coat shall I wear?” I felt disgusted. How could any mother behave in such a self-centred manner? I knew I must get her away from Mary as soon as possible. Her mother, my grandmother was about ninety years old. She was nothing like her daughter: quite the opposite She was fit for her age and her mind was clear. Her second daughter, also very well, lived with her against her will because she thought her mother should not live on her own and she herself needed a home. I wrote a letter to them to ask if they would have Mother to stay with them for a short time. One of the things I had to do was to find two separate flats so that Mother and Mary would not have to live together. They agreed grudgingly.
We were very lucky because the man who was in charge of the allocation of rented property in Harlow had himself suffered from a difficult mother so he knew what it was like. He was very helpful. In a short time he found two small flats. That was just the beginning. Mary’s flat needed to be cleared out and the contents removed to the two single flats.
Luckily Mary had good friends in their flat close to her own. They offered us the use of their second bedroom whilst the new flat was being prepared. But nothing could be moved yet until Mary
showed signs of getting better.
I saw at once that I should have to stay in England for at least two months. All these changes took time and we did not know how soon it would be before Mary was well on the way to recovery. I sat down and wrote a letter to Bob telling him the situation.
As if I didn’t have enough on my plate I received a letter back from him that upset me and made me very angry. The gist of it was that I had never intended to stay for only two weeks. My brother’s death was just an excuse to get away from him and the boys. If I wanted a divorce I could have one.
I was too angry to get upset. Anger leads to action not to depression. It actually gave me more energy to do all the things I had to do. All my feelings about never having had a supportive childhood came to the front. I thought, mistakenly, that Bob knew me well enough never to have considered I should have engineered such a base plot.
Again with hindsight I know that he just did not have the understanding and insight to see what a difficult situation I was in. That letter affected the way my marriage went and my ultimate decision to decide for a divorce twenty years later.
Mary was a member of an amateur dramatic society, one of several in Harlow. They had got together to produce a special Christmas entertainment. They suggested that I bring Mary along, even though she was still far from well. As we sat there, the doors of the hall flew open and there stood four big men, one with a beard. “Who is he?” I asked Mary. “That is Charles Nyman”. Mary wanted to get married and have children, but so far the two men she went out with did not suit her, with reason. I looked at this one and I said at once “Now that is the sort of man you should marry!” How did I know? I sometimes think I have a touch of the second sight.
Charles was very concerned about what had happened. It was clear that he liked Mary very much. From that day on he kept a close eye on her and shook her awake every time she fell asleep. When I finally felt Mary was well enough to cope he said to me “Don’t worry. I will take care of her.” About two years later they married and had one daughter and three sons. She is now a grandmother. He died too young at the age of sixty-seven. His last words to me were “You will look after my little girl won’t you?”
Everything turned out all right. Mother came back to her new flat. I stayed with Mary, helped her to decorate her new flat. For some weeks she lacked physical coordination and concentration then she gradually recovered all her faculties. The time I was there seemed to go on forever. I felt that I had been there for years. However, no good things last forever, nor do bad things. I was so pleased to go back from the English winter to the sun of Venezuela and my dear little boys. They were overwhelmed with delight. So was Bob, but I hadn’t forgotten about his letter.