Our Mick

Through Facebook I have reconnected with my cousins Cressida, Elaine and Debbie. My dad Frank and their dad Ken were brothers but they rarely saw each other and as a consequence I believe we only ever met as cousins once. I recall when I was about 7 going down to Buckinghamshire to stay for a few days but my memories of the visit are very hazy, which on reflection is odd for me because as is becoming evident as this blog develops, my memories are generally very vivid. The most prominent memory I have is playing in the back garden. After several brief notes on Facebook I realised I hadn’t flagged up with them that Mick my brother had passed and as it is way due for me to add to the blog I thought I would share some of Mick’s story with you.

Our Mick was an alcoholic, something which many people could neither understand or accept. I both understood and accepted his addiction. We loved each other unconditionally and had an amazing connection. Mick was also a healer and had mediumistic experiences but always doubted these. I feel he wanted to believe but his doubts blocked a lot of it for him.
Mick was also an amazing Chef and was happiest when he was feeding people with his creations. Throughout his career he worked in some very prestigious Restaurants and had cooked for the Queen. Throughout his life he had moved from place to place, relationship to relationship, from the depths of despair to the heights of elation. He was never average at anything. If he was sober he was sober- if he was pissed he was comatose. If he loved it was for eternity. And he missed Mam every second of every day of the rest of his life.

He would slip in and out of our lives, sometimes being AWOL for years and then reappear to let us know he was still alive.

Around 2000 he got back in touch with us. He was living in a Bed and Breakfast in Morecambe, alongside other alcoholics and drug addicts. Me and Julie went to see him and he spoke about coming back to Barnsley and beating the demon within. His plan was to start to go dry and then come back home. He insisted on giving us a holiday before that happened and he saved up to take me, Pete and Julie to the Lakes for a long weekend. We had a wonderful weekend and shortly after that he moved back here. Pete and I went to fetch him and his total possessions fitted in the boot of the car.

At the time Julie was living in a rented property but was waiting for her house purchase to complete and her landlord had agreed that Mick could take over the tenancy once she moved so for about a month they shared the house. Once he had the house all to himself he threw himself into making it home. I used to love to go through and see him as he was so happy and proud of his home. I would get there and he would have plumped up all the cushions and got a stool ready for me to put my feet up. He would ply me with strong coffee and ask “Now Sissy are you all warm n comfy there?” We would sit and talk for hours having a laugh and a joke, mainly about the madness and cruelty we had endured as kids.

Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing and he had lapses where he hit the bottle at which point I would withdraw. I could support him sober but when he was on the bottle it was way too painful for me to endure. A few months later he would be on the phone to say he was dry and normal service resumed. He was rushed into hospital with a serious lung condition and underwent a barrage of tests and after a week was sent home on very strong painkillers to await the results. There was to be a meeting of specialists to agree what the lesion was. When he came out of hospital he asked me for healing and also asked me to teach and attune him to Reiki, which I did. By the time he went back to see the Consultant he was off all the pain killers and feeling great. His previous X Ray had shown up like “an aerial view of Berlin after the bombings” to quote Mick and when they repeated it, all that was left was a tiny scar where the lesion had been.

Mick had by this time fallen in love with Jane and out of the blue they were offered a Pub tenancy which they grabbed. They both threw themselves into the business and worked hard. In October of 2006 he again hit the bottle. he confided in me that his chest was bad again and he was sure it was cancer. By November he was out of the Pub, drunk into a stupor and homeless.

He was offered a bed in a hostel but refused to stay there as it was full of “drunks and addicts”. In January 2007 he got a council flat which I never saw. On March 23rd I received a text from him saying “Love you Chrissy”. 2 weeks later we received a phone message to say the police had been at the flat and on Easter Monday we were at the Morgue where Pete was brave enough to formally identify him. He had been dead since 23rd March.

At his funeral we all wore bright clothes. I wrote and delivered the Service myself and so many people have said it was the nicest funeral they ever attended. He had always said that he wanted On the Good Ship Lollypop playing as people left but I went against his wishes on that one and we had Fields of Athenry by Brush Shiels and I also added in Daniel O’Donnell Be Not Afraid. My Dad, who I had not seen for years sat in front of me as I stood at the Lectern to the deliver the service. As they played Queen’s Who Wants to Live Forever he muttered loudly enough for us to hear ” I wish they would turn this bloody music off”. We celebrated his life and confirmed our love. And I breathed a massive sigh of relief that he was right where he always wanted to be – with Mam

Be Not Afraid

You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.

You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters
in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.

If you stand before the pow’r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you, through it all

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.

Blessed are your poor,
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.

And if wicked men insult and hate you, all because of Me,
blessed, blessed are you!

Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.