The bravest of the brave

Today I want to talk about my aunty. This may seem kinda boring to the rest of you, but I feel its something I have to do. Not that this will make any difference to her in any way, but in the last few months or so, I have noticed such a vast difference in her that I think writing it down just sort of validates her as a strong person, and hopefully will help her along in being the very strong & courageous person she is.

As a child I remember thinking how brave she was flying all over the world by herself as an airhostess, leaving her children and husband behind, she really did have to cope alone most of the time. Yet she has also always seemed so glamorous, and “put-together”. My step daddy, Kev, and I always joked that LouLou Bell is the sane one out of four sisters. She is the sister that all the other sisters look up to and go to for advice, and I have always wondered how she was so normal, despite being part of our family.

Together we would all be screaming and joking and teasing eachother, smoke and drinks in hand, passing on tales of woe’s me and feeling sorry for ourselves because of one bad event or another, and LLB would calmly console you, giving you enough confidence in yourself to know that this, too, shall pass, and that no matter how bad things got, there was always someone else worse off than you.

On a sensitive note, I went through a very rough incident a few years ago, and despite my mom holding my hand throughout my time of need, LLB was the one who really helped me as she’d gone through the same situation. We stayed in her beautiful home for the weekend while I recovered and it was she who suggested that I write my feelings down in order to help me deal with my reality of that time. Come to think of it, that was probably the start of my passion for, and dream of becoming an author of non fiction stories. I will never forget that weekend, or what I did to myself to get me where I was, but most of all, I will never forget how my aunt helped me through it.

In the last two years, things have changed drastically. I have watched LLB change physically, mentally and emotionally. She met a man, and she decided city life was no longer for her so she moved here, with the boyfriend. Seeing her for the first time in a long while, I hardly recognised her. Her natural hair colour was showing at the roots, her nails were broken, she was covered in bruises and the strong independant woman I once knew, was no longer. She walked on eggshells around her boyfriend and immediately we could all see the severity of her relationship with this man.

There are many events that I could write about to indicate how cruel and harsh the toll of their relationship was on my aunt, but suffice it to say, she lost her self image, had no confidence whatsoever and doubted every person who had ever loved her. Who could blame her? This man had abused her in the worst degree possible, and was continuing to do so. He would accuse her of sick and disgusting things and all she could do was cry. For months it carried on until one day, the police had been called so many times they refused to come out and help her. Shortly after this, a decision was made that she’d had enough.

Slowly I saw traces of my aunts strength coming back, in just the small things such as how she was prepared to drive a little scooter in order for her not to rely on anyone else for transport, or the way she made her home so beautiful and filled with a loving touch that is apparent to anyone who walks into it, the way her adopted animals adore her, follow her every move and present her with a gift each time she comes home in the form of a leaf.

Despite being threatened, begged, bribed and even forced to stay with her now ex boyfriend, she has stayed strong enough to go at this life alone and make something of herself once again. For the first time in many, many months her will to live and positivity is shining through. She lights up a room with her smile, and I know without a doubt that she will make it through this, if she hasn’t already. It makes me so happy to call myself her neice.

Loulou, you make us all proud, you are so brave and you’ve done so well. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and every other abused or unhappy person out there. You have proved the saying, ‘if its meant to be, it’s up to me’.

I love you.