Fly Away Home
Over the weeks that followed Sabryna and Michelle came over and we chatted and shared things between us. They were a tower of strength. Ken was sometimes around but kept himself far. I had started attending their church more often. It was so vibrant, the music, the preaching, the people. It was where life was.
Going to that church made the weeks that led up to my break to Trinidad easier.
Ken had agreed to drive me to Heathrow Airport. I had big hugs and kisses from the children when they left to go to school. I was going for three weeks but I had promised to call them often.
It was time for me to leave and Ken wouldn’t get up. He just sat there in the living room. Getting upset caused my speech to get messed up and I was trying hard to stay calm. He just sat there, looked at me blankly and told me to take myself! Was he really serious? It was now over the time I was meant to leave home and I was panicking. ‘Ken you can’t do this, you promised, Sammy is on her way and I carrrrn’t miss myyyyyy flit’ great, my speech was slipping again, I started to cry and tried speaking again through the tears but it was pointless. Ken stood up and came in my face ‘duh duh duh duh dadadadauhuhuhhu gugugu duhduhduh SHUT UP I SAID I’M NOT TAKING YOU, TAKE YOURSELF’ I was in shock, he crossed the line. How could he take the mic out of my speech like that? How much awful could he get?
I rang Sammy and through tears and broken speech, she eventually got the drift of things. She doubled back and came and got me. Refusing to come in, she blew her car horn and I came out. We were on our way.
The flight was difficult for me at take-off and landing and I was in tears… a mixture of leaving the children, the vertigo and what Ken did. It was good having Sammy with me, she was livid at Kens behaviour, but it became more and more apparent he was going through some sort of breakdown. My mum was going to see to the children while I was away so I felt rested they’d be ok.
I called when we arrived and Ken refused me to speak to the children and I just broke down. Sammy took the phone and gave Ken a piece of her mind and made him aware that he wasn’t making my road to recovery easier, just delaying it.
The time away was a Godsend and I was able to really meditate and eat fresh grown food, go to the beach and just relax on a sunbed. Aunts and cousins looked after us both. I tried a couple of times to call home but each time Ken just shut me down. Finally mum got the children on the phone for me. They were having fun with school friends in the playground and enjoying their grandmas cooking.
Ken called out of the blue in our last week, he said he had five buyers wanting to see the house… why was he trying to provoke me? How could he put up the house for sale without me? Sammy said he was lying and just being silly. I was tired of this childishness and I told him to go ahead and let them view it then. Its not what he expected to hear and he began shouting. Sammy came over to me, she took the receiver from me and hanged up the phone. I saw how accepting Christ was the best decision I made. I hung onto God with all my strength
I celebrated my thirtieth birthday with Sammy and some cousins. I had a small glass of wine but because I hadn’t touched a drink in months due to the high intake of medication, I felt a little giddy straight away. Alcohol was strictly not allowed. I believe it was God slowly taking away the dependency on alcohol and instead depend on Him. If I didn’t have those TIAs, I think I would’ve had a major problem with alcohol by now.
I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going back to fight with Ken anymore.
Arriving back home, I had a mindset to work at making sure the children were ok and well.
Ken told me the mortgage company had given us four months to sell the house or it would be repossessed. He admitted his behaviour was unacceptable and apologised. Things were not normal but there was a peaceful truce.
There was an evening Ken must’ve got the realisation that we were losing our family home and wanted to stop the process of selling. But I didn’t want to hear it, it was much too late. He gave up when I got sick and deliberately stopped working properly or pay the mortgage to spite me like it was my fault I got a stroke. He needed to look long and hard at himself to see the depths of how deep the stress was in bedded that made my body shut down. The damage was too far gone, we had no way of paying our debts, bills or mortgage, money owed to everyone could only come from the sale of the house. ‘It’s too late Ken, You stopped paying the mortgage and broke multiple promises of amounts to pay. The house is beyond saving now, so get used to the idea we are about to lose our family home. Either they take it and we are consumed by debt or we sell and free ourselves from that pressure… and of each other! I think we need a time of separation; this is no life for us and its unfair for the children to live like this. I want them to be happy, right now we all live on eggshells.’ I walked away, I was not about to stay and await another argument or fight. Ken just sat there with his head in his hands. Because of his actions we were losing our home and I felt resentful towards him.
After a few disappointments we finally got a buyer for the house. There was no chain so it was an easy ride. Due to us going through a legal separation, the profits of the house would be split 60/40 in favour of me as I was keeping the children. Ken went into a fit of rage on hearing this as he wanted it to be straight down the middle and as usual things were thrown around the room. He picked up one of his speaker boxes to drop on the floor, it was like watching Dr Bruce Banner turn into the incredible hulk! ‘KEN STOP’ he looked at me still holding the box and I could see the fury in his eyes but at the sae time saw deep sadness. He rested down the speaker box and hung his head as he sat down and rested it in his hands. Part of my heart softened, and I wanted to reach out, but it was too late, we’d gone to far to turn back.
The papers were signed, and we exchanged, the house was sold.
We started to pack and throw away things we didn’t need. The garage was full of baby equipment, bottle warmer and steamer, cot and Moses basket, an old children’s wardrobe, old bikes, toys etc. It was really tiring work and all the stress was making me tired and ill. Because of my health and inability to lift heavy things, our close friends, my brothers and Cam helped with the clearing out and packing. Ken was going to stay with his best friend, and I was going to private rent. I was too scared to buy somewhere else, plus who would give me a mortgage with no income except sick pay? I was out of work.
Bernell could not believe we still had so much baby things and laughed at our hoarding ‘wow was you planning another one’ she laughed and all I could do was smile, I had in fact wanted five children at least and a marriage of longevity, something like celebrating over twenty-five – thirty years anniversary. My dreams were dashed. I forced out a smile ‘awww Maria it will be ok, it will be ok, just thank God you’re not pregnant.
My ears pricked and a sudden panic arose in me. Ken kept sneaking in the bedroom every so often. I was heavily sedated by bedtime and a lot of quarrels were about him taking advantage of that. The tiredness, the feeling sick, what if I was? Nooo my mind was working overtime, God couldn’t play with me like that. It was Friday, I would just see over the weekend if my mind was playing tricks on me.
Friday night… Yep I felt queasy and very tired and my appetite had gone. Was this real though, or was the thought of being pregnant scaring me into a phantom pregnancy?
Saturday, we continued packing, the children were at mums. There wasn’t a lot more to do. The new owners agreed that I could leave a few of my things in the garage while I waited for the money to come through from the sale of the house to pay the deposit and rent of the property I was going to accommodate.
I was quiet for most of the day anticipating the nausea and tiredness to creep up by late afternoon. I decided to forget about it, to just concentrate on clearing the house. Sammy said the kids and I could stay with her until the house we were going to rent came through. Ken had refused to help me look for a place to rent, he simply didn’t care not even for the children’s sake.
By the evening all I could do was cry.
When morning came I went to the pharmacy before going to church and brought a Clear Blue pregnancy test. I got home and even my pee was scared to come down! Finally… and after the longest three minutes, there it was… a very prominent cross.
The children and I got to church, we were now attending there regularly, the kids loved it too. I paced up and down the reception waiting for Sabryna to arrive. We had become really tight friends and I confided in her a lot.
There she was, I ran up to her and grabbed her arm to pull her to the side. ‘Sabryna, something bad has happened, my life is over I don’t understand why God would do this’ I sobbed, like really sobbed… Sabryna was still recovering from me grabbing her so swiftly. ‘Slow down Maria what’s happening, happened, what’s wrong? Slow down.’ ‘I’m pregnant’ and with that I cried again. ‘Oh sweetheart is that it? Don’t worry my darling I know it is not the right time but God always has a plan.’ And that was the first time I heard of the bible scripture Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Sabryna hugged me telling me about God’s gift of pregnancy. She knew all about the sale of the house and Ken and I separating, she knew of the turbulence in our home, she knew everything, yet she said God had a plan! My crying began to die down, I needed that to come out. The tears was a mixture of everything that had bottled up within me and I now had release. She promised to be there for me every step of the way and the sisters in the church and the pastors would be there to support me and the children.
This pregnancy couldn’t come at a worse time, but it was here and one thing I knew without a shadow of a doubt, I wasn’t going to put it to sleep!
Staying at Sammy was quite cramped, but it was only for a little while. She was amazing and helped me with getting the children to school when she was on a late shift.
Ken had moved in with his best friend the other side of London and took the kids every other weekend to his sisters to spend time with them. It was strange at first but I was free of the fighting, tension, frustration, rejection, hatred and debt. I say hatred but I still loved who we used to be, still loved him to a certain degree. He was truly my fist and only true love as much as true as I could get.
Ken was devastated when I told him about the pregnancy, I was six weeks into it. Tears ran down his face, he had lost everything, and this would be the first pregnancy we would not share. He sunk deeper into depression. It was the summer holidays and Ken had promised to pick up the kids that Friday to spend a long weekend. As much as we had fought, he still tried to be a really good dad and the kids loved him so much. Tuesday and Ken called me to say he could not come on the Friday anymore. He had booked a flight out to the Grenadines and was leaving on Thursday. How long for? Just like that, but you promised the children.’ There was a long silence, ‘six months I need to get out I can’t cope, I can’t cope.’ ‘But what about the baby? You’re going to leave me to do this on my own, the children, labour, EVERYTHING? The panic I felt was mixed with anger. ‘Yooou SELFISH BASTARD I HATE YOU’ ‘ Look you’ll be ok, you have family, my sister Stella, she is always there for you and you got them church people who are always sniffing around.’ ‘Sniffing around, they are doing MORE THAN YOU.’ ‘Look Maria you’re gonna have to tell the kids, I CAN’T DO IT, I’M SORRY’… and with that he hung up the phone and I stood there dumbfounded.
Luckily Stella had encouraged Ken to come and see the children as he would cause them too much pain if he tried to just vanish. He told them he was going on a long holiday to see grandma and granddad and would be back before they knew it. They were all in tears, it was a sorrowful scene and I cried too. Not really for me but the children and this new baby.
Ken left, I was on my own.
Weeks flowed into months. We settled into our new home and the kids were in a good. The children’s school was a bit of a distance, one bus to the train station then two stops on the train. The heavier I got in the pregnancy, the more difficult it got travelling until it got to the point I just couldn’t do it anymore. Nadia was now in charge, she was ten years old and very sensible. They knew the route and I had to let them travel on their own. I was still too sick to be allowed to drive.
Sabryna was right, literally nearly all the church helped out, took me shopping for groceries, took me to doctor and hospital appointments, picked us up for church and dropped us back after fellowships. Sabryna happily agreed to be my birthing partner when the time arrived for me to give birth, so no I wouldn’t be on my own, and she never stopped encouraging me and was always there if not in person then via the phone. She had first joined the church as a single parent, her boys were not Winston’s, so she knew first-hand the stigma I felt. The church was Pentecostal and did not believe nor teach sex before marriage.
I got more independent and grew as a Christian the more I listened to sermons the more I was able to reach back in my past and forgive acts of abuse, rejection and negativity thrown at me. I noticed something miraculous too… The joint pain ceased, I was free and healed from Fibromyalgia. There is no cure for that in modern medicine but in Jesus I was healed. It was related to unforgiveness and bitterness and my healing came gradually as I had gradually buried past hurts.
I was a new me, still talked funny but I was getting easier to understand. I even started to teach myself how to cook again. It wasn’t cordon bleu, but it was something and the children were finally eating MY home cooked meals. We made it. We were overcomers.
It was two months until Ken made contact again. He sounded much better and dare I say a lot like how he was in the past early days. He had come out of the worse of the depression and mentally more back to normal. We were able to talk civilly, and the children enjoyed his calls. I told him about the baby’s growth and how the church and Sabryna were supporting us, this saddened him as he knew they were doing what he rightfully should be. I also told him that Sabryna was my birthing partner so I wouldn’t be alone. It was to be his first child he wouldn’t be there for. There was a long silence, ‘No. I’ll be there.’ He said it as if he truly meant it but how?
I was thirty-seven weeks when I went into labour. We were at a gospel concert and all of a sudden a pain suddenly kicked in. Sabryna happened to see it happened and grabbed our coats laughing saying there was no way my waters were going to buss out here. Winston dropped us to the hospital and took my children back with him. I cried, I wanted Ken deep down and Sabryna knew it, she was so good in comforting me and as promised she called Ken to tell him I went into labour.
After a few hours I had not dilated and the midwife said it could be the Braxton Hicks preparing my body for labour and said I could go home, false alarm!
Win came to collect us and took me home. Sabryna didn’t like how I was and for precaution decided to stay with me. It was the next day that the contractions begun again. This time they were stronger, and no way could this be Braxton Hicks. They were every ten minutes apart. Sabryna held my hands and allowed me to squeeze them when the pain of the contraction came. Then just like that the pain faded. The midwife checked and said I was four centimetres dilated so it was happening but slowly. It was another half hour and the pain kicked in again. This time I needed the Entonox. Th gas and air concoction was a Godsend and left me in a natural high with each bout of pain.
The door opened and Sabryna grasped. I saw a silhouette of a man but I was too spaced out to see clearly. ‘Hello, I told you I’d be here… ‘Ken!?’
Sabryna gently let go my hand and smiled at me, ‘you see, God always has a plan! Ken come, you need to do this, I think she needs you.’ She looked at me, ‘You ok? I can stay if you want but I don’t want to be in the way, its ok, we’ve done this whole journey together, this is the last relay, let me pass the baton to Ken for the last leg.’ She kissed my forehead and told me to call her asap after the baby was born, she would be waiting. She went up to Ken’ well done’ she said, smiled and left. It was just me and him.
It was hard to talk with the pain, he told me not to think about things now just concentrate on the pain and labour. Somehow him being there made me calm. Our baby wouldn’t be the odd one out after all, her daddy was present for her birth.
Three hours later and she was here, six pounds four ounces and healthy. Asian curly hair and ever so pretty. Ken looked at me and said sorry with tears in his eyes and kissed me gently on the lips. ‘Thank you’ he whispered
The children were ecstatic when they saw their dad and nearly forgot they had to see their new sister. If I could think of a season that I felt like it would be Spring. New buds, new flowers, fresh mornings, early bees humming, birds singing and beautiful butterflies fluttering their wings against the light breeze. How wonderful for them as you really stop and think, they spend the first part of their lives as ugly creatures crawling on their bellies, then they go through a transformation and at the opportune time, the right time, they break out of their cocoon and fly.
Could this be it? Did we just break out of a cocoon? An enclosed space of hurt, betrayal, rejection, loneliness, pressure and suffocation… were we now free?
Only time will tell what was to be. If God had a plan, His promise was it was not going to harm us, S to Him I decided to put my trust.
My wings are out!