This is the story of Vicky, a woman whose life came and went, possibly insignificantly to some, yet not for me. Her life had meaning and purpose.
Her name was Vera. She wasn’t keen on Vera, so went by the name of Vicky. I met her when I was about 11, when she started work in the same office as my mum, and they soon became fast friends. She was 10 yeas older than me, 10 years younger than my mum. She would come for tea about once a month and she and my mum would go dancing. Sometimes my sister and I would go to her house for an overnight stay, we had such fun. And I loved her.
Vicky was married to Ian. They married when Vicky fell pregnant at a very young age. She called her first born Janet. Very soon two more little darlings came along, Geoffrey and Peter.
Vicky Was Like My Big Sister
When I was 13, I was considered old enough to babysit, so every Friday night I would babysit three lively littlies, praying they would go to sleep so I could curl up with their Wolfhound, Mitzi, on the comfy sofa, and watch whatever I wanted on TV. I used to get 50p and taxi fare home. I was rich! At 14, I was asked to mind the children every day after school and all days during the summer holidays, I got £5 a week – Vicky’s wages bought me fashion clothes, shoes, makeup, deodorant, cinema trips and so much more that I couldn’t have got from my mum on her single parent income.
By this time my mum had left her job through illness, and my sister and I were sent to stay with Vicky for weeks at a time when her illness was bad. Vicky and I would stay up late, like two teenagers, talking about boys, friends, school, her work, my tricky relationship with my mum, she just listening when I cried, even telling me about her relationship with her husband. Her trust in my young self was touching. This was especially marked one time when they split up for a few months; she got herself a handsome boyfriend. More babysitting, more money for me. And she never once took sides, she always remained fast friends with my mum, and fast friends with me. I loved her, she was my big sister.
Life Throws Curved Balls
Fast forward 10 years, Janet was 16, rebellious, very pretty and a wonderful singer. She ran off with her boyfriend’s band, touring in a tin can of a van, singing her way around the UK. One night, the tin can was totalled, and Janet nearly lost her life. She was paralysed and brain damaged, lucky to survive. Vicky and the rest of the family’s world turned upside down. After a few months in hospital, Janet came home. There had been a huge compensation payout that enabled Vicky and her husband to buy a bigger house to convert for ease of access for the wheelchair. Vicky gave up work and became Janet’s carer. I never did go round, by that time I had my own little one, a job, a home to run, a burden of a husband. I didn’t have time. And I loved her, and I often thought about her.
As the boys got older, Vicky wanted more. So she and her husband bought a Guest House in Cornwall, they ran it together and looked after Janet between them. I never did get to visit the Guest House.
Her husband became unwell, and they sold the Guest House and moved to a little bungalow. By this time, Janet had made a remarkable recovery, she was walking, doing the odd singing gig, and had a place of her own with her boyfriend. She still needed some care as a result of the brain injury, which was provided by Vicky.
Vicky’s husband passed away, and she started to come up north to visit family, we often met up at my mum’s. Stilted conversation, small talk, quite unsatisfying. And this woman had been my rock during my teenage angst. And we were both very busy. We drifted apart.
Years passed and I got a call from my mum that shook me to the bones. Vicky had cancer. She is a fighter, she can beat this. I love her, she can’t leave me.
By this time, I was in my mid-forties and had semi-retired as a result of a breakdown. I was working evenings. The time had come to ask for time off to go to Cornwall to say goodbye to my big sister. I booked my coach ticket, I was going in two days. My mum phoned, don’t go, she said Vicky’s son rang her to say she is too poorly. I was devastated. The next evening at work, I went outside on a break. The early evening sun was settling for sleep, I looked up at the clouds, the most beautiful woman’s face appeared, smiling, content and at peace. And I knew, Vicky had passed away, this was her soul saying I love you, and I’m okay. The time was 8.45 pm. At 9.15 pm, I received a call from my mum. She told me Vicky had passed. I know, I said, at about quarter to nine. She’s happy, Mum. And we love her.
Julie Williams is a seeker, a sleeper slowly waking up after single motherhood and walking the treadmill in corporate. She is a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a dog servant, nature lover, Earth keeper, energy worker, tarot learner, erstwhile Shamanic novice. And sometimes, none of the above. Sometimes it’s nice to be still, silent and do or be nothing. Likes driving her car, playing on the swings, talking to trees and doing daft dancing round the kitchen to catchy beats. She has a facetious sense of humour and works really hard to keep a motormouth in check. Favourite people are those with compassion, and a clever and crazy sense of humour. Second to all dogs of course.
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