Here are some memories that have floated around my mind for the last 25 years.
I don’t think I’ve shared many of them with anyone. They have felt too small, insignificant, or embarrassing to say out loud.
I hope that by sharing them, they might dislodge slightly from my mind and lose some of the shame and awkwardness that has become attached to them.
By writing them down I can also see them for how awful – and in some cases faintly, blackly, comic – they are. I’m not surprised that they are hard to forget.
- Listening to a boy in her class tell me that he was happy she’d died as he had always hated her.
- Being told by a girl in my class that ‘all the mummies thought it was very strange’ that I hadn’t cried when everyone in my class was told that she had died. ‘Don’t you care?’
- Being in the classroom when everyone was told that she had died, after having said to my teacher that I’d rather not be there. And the wave of horror when I realised what was about to be said.
- Having to listen to our next door neighbour sing a chart-topping song with my sisters name in the title on karaoke. Repeatedly.
- Being told that my parents will be feeling really sad, so I should be on my best behaviour.
- Shaking the vicars hand after the funeral and thanking him for a job well done. Seemed like the right thing to do, but it still makes me cringe. I was ten.