A year or so had passed since then. During this time, our families were moving on slowly with their lives while we were also still adjusting to things. We still had our hard times, but each day was a baby step.
James had moved away to live with a girlfriend, Max and I were back in school and despite everything that had happened, we managed to successfully pass our GCSE exams. That period was very difficult as both of us were trying to help each other out and sometimes, our emotions would get the better of us..(understandably). But yes, we did it. Mum was so proud of us. She stayed in touch with her brother, Frances, on the phone regularly and other family members. Music also helped her through too. She felt a strong connection to some artists and really listened to their lyrics. It was a bit of a surprise because she was never a musical person, really. But it felt somewhat therapeutic. She continued to be strong for us. She said to me once that if it wasn’t for the sake of us, she might not have been around anymore.
My heart was in my mouth when she said those words…
Mum had to deal with Max and I going through our teenage years. Oh, no we weren’t rebellious! But her having to put up with our emotional ups and downs. Max, of course, wanted to have conversations that he longed to have had with Dad. But instead, Mum had to now take on that role. In a way, she had to play the role of Mum and Dad (and that couldn’t have been easy for her either)…
After we got our GCSE results, the three of us discussed in the kitchen about what we plan to do next; whether to stay on in sixth form or go to college. Mum advised us to stay on until we decided. Of course, I still had my dreams too… and that is another part of me that some people still don’t about until now, (which I will also mention later on as I write this blog.) We had great support from our teachers and friends, and both of us became mentors for the Year 7’s who started school. We were mentored ourselves while were were studying our GSCE’S at the time, so this seemed like a good opportunity for us and become good role models for the school.
It was a challenging year or so and we tried our absolute best. There was times where we felt like hitting a brick wall. But we managed to pass our A-Levels and had to make a tough decision on our career paths. We had some idea but thought it would be best if we start working first before we knew exactly what . Mum agreed but still wanted the best for us, (like any parent would). She was very proud of us and how far we had come.
‘You kids keep me going’, she said. ‘Dad is looking down and he’s extremely proud of you. I know he is..’