Sunday, January 07, 2007


The TV counted down the New Year and everyone was poised, bubbly in one hand, party popper in the other, ready to celebrate. I stood behind the bar in a pub with people I hardly knew.

Ten... Nine... Eight...

I looked on, caught in my private world while others around me beckoned the New Year in with joyous voices. As every second passed my heart felt somehow lighter. No. That's the wrong word. Can a heart feel heavy and light at the same time? Is there a word to describe that?

I looked back over an incredibly painful year for my family and me, where the fine line between life and death was brought under scrutiny more than once and where the very fabric of our family changed forever. A year of freefall for all of us.

Seven... Six... Five...

I thought of my mum and my dad, of my sister and brothers, the complex and various rifts now formed between us, the broken trust, the devastation that mental illness can reek. Six individuals, now, rather than one family.

Four… Three…

Someone, another bar staff possibly, put their arm around me and pulled me to them. I pulled away gently. I wanted to welcome 2007 on my own and to make sure that 2006 was truly behind us. How can one year change things so greatly?

Two… One!

I closed my eyes. We had survived. Some of us only just, but we had survived. Time to rebuild, now. Time to put things back together. Not the way they were; that's not possible. But we can still find a new way, a healthier way perhaps.

I opened my eyes, picked up my glass and joined the party.