The friend of my Mother. The one who took me on trips to London as a child, who stayed late on Friday nights laughing and drinking with my parents, the one who still nostalgically calls me ‘Witchy poo’!! My Aunt who is not my Aunt. She is also the one who never had children of her own.
My recent relapse has also caused my family to relapse back into their old behaviour, back to the ‘pull yourself out’ of depression, ‘everybody suffers pain’ and the familiar ‘maybe it’s all in your head’. I find myself battling alone. As I contemplate a voluntary stay in a psychiatric hospital to get away I remember that not everyone in my family feels this way. My Aunt will understand. She answers the phone happy and cheerful as always and is so compassionate to me as I tell her yet another cyst has burst this month and I cannot cope. She tells me how amazing I am, how well I have been to deal with both physical and mental pain. She lets me talk for over an hour and tells me to ignore anyone who does not understand.
We talk about fibroids and cysts, bleeding and not bleeding, about hysterectomy pro’s and cons. We are open and frank, honest and brutal. I need to talk about my pain. My Aunt agrees to accompany me to hospital for hormone and blood tests. If I want to see the Psych team she will be there.
She arrives in the morning hugging and kissing me. She brings me to the doctors and then to hospital to take blood. After she treats me to a fry up, I feel faint so the meal is welcomed. My Aunt asks me if I am up to walking around and a spot of shopping, I agree to the welcomed distraction from my pelvic pain. My Aunt links my arm and we walk around laughing and giggling over fleecy pyjama bottoms and how our hormones have ‘changed us’ from sexy women in negligée to female honey monsters!
Before she drops me home she takes me for a coffee and asks me if I need to talk to someone, do I need company, a change of scenery? I am honest. I tell her no. Spending the day with her has been exactly what I needed. To talk to someone who didn’t judge me or tell me everything will be OK. Who understands the life that lies ahead for me is a difficult one but I will make it, as she has made it.
As I hug my Aunt goodbye I hope she knows how much she means to me, I hope she knows that I appreciate all she has ever done for me, aged 2, 8, 18.. 34! She may not have children of her own but she will always have me.