It was the day of my mothers funeral, I had been living on her sofa for the previous three months , as a breakdown in a relationship had lead me there. The council gave me two weeks to remove my mothers property and vacate the bungalow, as they told me that there was no duty to rehouse me because I was not living with mum for twelve months or more. I was in shell shock as her death was a gradual progression into poor health over a four week period.
It was totally unexpected and my head was in bits, I couldn’t think straight and I began to make a series of bad decisions.
All the memories my mum had accumulated over the years were destroyed by the landlord, as I just couldn’t face sorting it out, and besides I didn’t have no money to pay for storage. So there I was entering the church after just handing the keys in to my mum’s home, I was in denial about my situation, my pride was in full swing, and when people asked if I was OK it was “yes I’m fine” that I answered. Truth was everything that I’d known to that point had gone. Even before mum’s death my relationship, job and home I had recently watched slip away. I remember standing at the funeral with no emotion as my mind, heart and soul were empty. It didn’t even occur to me that at the end of this somber day I would have nowhere to rest and reflect. All my friends had families, and I was determined not to be a burden on them, even for a single night. So I began to walk straight from the church, it was mid summer so it was a quite mild night. I got onto the disused railway tracks and I headed for Cheshire. Going into auto pilot I estimate that I covered between thirty and forty miles that night, ending up back in my hometown the following morning. My mind was trying to process everything that had just happened in my life, and I was searching for a reason to stay alive. It was using the public toilets that morning to have a wash where I found my new routine. Mentally I was holding on to a thread, but to be able to use those toilets every morning to wash and compose myself, was a way of keeping normality in my life just for a couple of minutes. The last few possessions I had left, I was carrying around in a carrier bag, nothing special, just a spare pair of trousers, a jumper and a pair of socks.
I was trying to hide my situation from everybody who knew me, as the thought of shame was giving me anxiety attacks.
I refused to tell my ex partner as I didn’t want her to stop me seeing my children. This was the first night of many, and after five years of hostels and sleeping rough, I finally began the journey into recovery. I used to be a very angry person, because I felt the system’s in place that were mean’t to stop me from becoming homeless didn’t work for me, and constantly jumping through hoops to prove my position to the state made me ill mentally. I’m now not angry and the scars I’ve acquired from homelessness are beginning to heal, I am now processing event’s with a clarity of vision, and talking about them with like minded people is helping in my recovery.