I always think “it could have been worse”, I always think “worse things happen to other people”.
Then it happened, my twin sister was killed in a traffic accident. To say I was stunned would be putting it mildly. My world fell apart. I was fine until that first Christmas and then on the 23rd of December it all just landed on me. I went to bed and stayed there for about three months, I didn’t answer the phone or the door I ignored the post I distanced myself from my family, unusually for me I became totally self-obsessed.
The result of shutting myself away was that I lost my job. My family don’t really know how to relate to me anymore so now I stay away, you see I can’t get used to there only being one of me, when for my whole life it had seemed as though there were two. The result of losing my job was that I lost my house; after I was served with the notice to quit it all seemed to happen so quickly and on my birthday I was suddenly homeless. I knew a few people who worked with the homeless or the vulnerably housed, so I made a few calls got a room in a shared house which I lost because I had now developed the self-destruct button. That thing in my head that tells me that this is too good and that I don’t deserve it, that sooner or later it will be taken away from me, that it would be better to ruin something on my own terms than to wait for someone else to do it. The self-destruct button.
When I was made homeless I was suicidal for a while. I’d had the worst possible experience of my life and now I was homeless. I found myself staying at the Narrowgate Shelter in Salford, and although the staff there were as helpful and understanding as possible I was still homeless. And as time went on it seemed I would stay homeless because I had been shunted to Salford from Bury, and so was in an area that had no “Duty” toward me. I was in Narrowgate for only a few weeks but it felt like years. It was while I was helping another guest at the shelter to find a home that I came to the attention of the management at Narrowgate. He was an elderly man who was very clearly demonstrating the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and he was very clearly in the wrong place. So I picked up his case and fought for him to be placed in an appropriate place. From start to finish it took me less that a month to get him sorted out. But in that time people had noticed what I was doing and had started to fight for me, I had absolutely no idea what was going on until Barry called me into an office at the shelter one day and asked me would I be interested in applying to Homes of Hope, he seemed genuinely excited that this opportunity had come up so I applied, I had the interview with Gary and Gavin at King’s Church and got in. Oh, the relief I could feel the tension drain out of my shoulders as I took the call, hearing those magic words “we’d like to offer you a place in one of our houses”.
I’ve been here a little over six months now and find that I’m part of a strange little family, am finally getting the counselling that I asked for in bury. So I’m learning to cope with the grief I live with for my twin, so hopefully the self-destruct button will stay silent for a while longer. I feel secure enough to start looking at my employment options and can start to think about what it will be like when I leave my Home of Hope, and just like I did all those years ago when I first qualified and got married start out on a new life of my own again.
*The name of this resident was changed to preserve anonymity.