"Give it time" "times a healer" "it will get easier"
Yes for some, but not me. In fact I think it gets worse I feel like I'm forgetting Mark, his voice, his jokes. My step dad was far from perfect I know this, some have tried reminding me of the bad things, maybe to make me angry and so it hurts less, how could I possibly forget the good and the bad.
So here we go, mum met Mark the lovely, fun caring father figure I needed. He was a train driver and worked shifts so I got to spend so much time with him. He loved us all my mum, me and my nan and we all lived together. He had a great relationship with nan and spent time with her while mum was at work and I at school. Mark and nan would go to the pub for lunch or stay in and watch an old film!
Mark was an alcoholic and had manic depression. He was also suicidal. This is where the bad comes in.
Mark would drink and drink a lot, and we didn't always know. Often when he took his children home he would pop into a shop for his drinks to help aid indigestion...these miniatures were in fact neat alcohol, no wonder he didn't share with me! I never told anyone, why would I it was a drink for indigestion!
When Mark was drunk he became aggressive to the point mum would hide all the knives and get in my bed, this was usual, wedging up the bedroom door so he couldn't get in. But we loved him and he had an illness, we understood that the drunk monster was not Mark, we wanted to help him get better. Mark had a few stays in rehab. One was a beautiful rehab in London and I was allowed to visit him there. The other that I can remember was a terrible rehab that he eventually discharged himself from, I wasn't allowed to visit in this one. Mark wanted help, he wanted to get better he loved us and wanted to spend as much time with us. Before he died he was actually doing really well and I was and still am so proud of him for really trying.
I cant tell you the amount of times Mark went missing and we thought the worst had happened, or the times mum and I had to try and rescue him from rivers and boat yards, the sound of the boats rattling in the dark still sends shivers down my spine. The nights we sat up calling him, listening to how distressed he was, trying to make sense of where is was so we could find him. The times the police would return him from his car with the exhaust turned inside, or his motorbike recovered from the river. Thankfully all of these times he came home.
We had some great times too, a great family holiday, a caravan in Hastings mum and Mark, my first boyfriend and me, and Marks two small children. It was the best. We all had fun and all the troubles were gone. We did it all, crazy golf, bbqs and the dancing in the club in the evening. For this week everything was normal no depression or suicide.
Mark liked to cook and treat us, one night nan was at the pub for crib so Mark cooked for mum and I....banana chicken curry and rice, to this day I can tell you its the worst thing I have ever eaten, I have no idea where he got the recipe but hopefully someone has destroyed it now! This was the candle wax night. Mark asked "do you know how to put out a candle without blowing it"? no...so Mark sucks all the air around the candle and it goes out, clever....until he gets the giggles and blows back into the candle and the wax explodes all over his face and in his eyelashes! Good job he was drunk or that would have hurt. I still cant look at a red candle without laughing!
Then it comes to marks final day with us. I come home from school and I'm struggling with my maths coursework, Mark sits down and tells me it will all be OK, he is always here for me and will never leave...these were the last words he ever said to me and I would give anything to hear them again. Soon after mum comes in from work and looks at Mark, have you been drinking? that's it yes he had he storms out taking a drink with him. He had been dry for a few weeks and then he had started but he was on medication that would make him so ill if he had a drink, we were really worried.
This night we didn't get all the usual calls, we didn't know where he was, we phoned his friends and family and to be told by his sister "oh not again I cant deal with this I'm watching Eastenders" I hope she feels guilt every day. Mum needed her help. This night I slept like no other so at peace, I didn't keep waking up to hear if he had come home scared of the state he was in or if he was going to hurt mum. I slept like a log. He was dead and I didn't even know. I feel guilty everyday since that while he was lying there I was sleeping. That evening he went my boyfriend came around and to cheer me and mum up and he invented his fart aerobics, we lived in the same village and would come round most evenings so often knew or helped to look for Mark or try to cheer us up.
The next day at school in sitting in English and my boyfriend phones me, he never phoned me while at school. I call him back straight after lesson, "oh its nothing don't worry, see you later" I knew something was wrong. I get off the school bus and there is my boyfriend waiting for me...this never happens. As I walk down my road I see my cousins car, why is she here today?
I know what is happening, I know my dad is dead. I walk through the door and I'll never forget the faces of mum, nan and my cousin. Mum takes me to my room and tells me Mark is dead. He was hit by a train and the damage to Mark is so horrendous I cannot tell you. I try to say that it cant be him. He would never throw himself under a train, he was a train driver he wouldn't do that to another train driver. I cry for what feels like forever and then I have to face everyone.
My boyfriend at the time was amazing he spent the whole day making tea for my family and the police. He picked me up and kept me going. He was the one who stopped me trying to take too many paracetamol or drink vodka straight from the bottle at fifteen. He saved my life and I really don't think he knows that. He was a rock to me and mum especially at the funeral and for the months after. I owe him my life.
Marks death was an open verdict. Many, including his family believe it was suicide. I am 99% sure it was not suicide. He had tried more times than I can count but this time it was an accident. The diver that hit Mark said he saw something fall from under the platform and then a person scramble out and tried to get back. The driver couldn't stop, he just shut his eyes. It turns out Marks bottle rolled out and he tried to get it and get back.
Mark is at peace, he is no longer fighting his own demons. His troubles from being abused as a child. Being an alcoholic, manic depression and struggling to accept and feel love and part of a loving family.
I hate the fact he left us but I love Mark and always will, he was my dad.
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