I am Rose; I come from a small town and a big family. Often when I meet somebody for the first time, I discover that I am distantly related to them through my father’s family. In those moments, I am my Dad’s daughter. I often joke with my friend’s that I shall never marry a local guy, so that I won’t accidentally marry a distant cousin.
I am proud to belong to my Dad’s family, I am proud to be known as his daughter. I have his surname and his blue eyes. But that’s where our resemblance ends. I am a miniature version of my mother, and a combination of her parents. Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet school friends my mum has not seen in 30 years, see family members who I have only met a handful of times, and watch their faces as they first lay eyes on me; my mum in her twenties.
My mother and I dress the same, and we have similar personalities. We love period dramas, tea-rooms and the theatre. We’re both a little cheeky, and daring, and we both value family and friendship above all. A month before my mum passed way, we went out for lunch, where we both shared secrets we had as teenagers, and we discovered we had more in common than we’d ever known.
My sisters both inherited a great deal of their personalities, as well as their looks, from our Dad.
When I was 18, my Mum faced redundancy, with the alternative being a temporary secondment in a town 4 hours drive away. My younger sister had just entered her rebellious period, when my mum moved away to live in B&B’s during the week. She came home for weekends, but it wasn’t enough. I was struggling with my A-levels, my sister was getting into trouble with the local lads and my Dad was desperately lonely without his wife. My Dad and my younger sister entered into a war that would continue for months, and my best friend spent most of his time at mine, helping me referee. My Dad began to depend on me more and more. Our new relationship started innocent enough, but over time it became intense. In my mother’s absence, I became my Dad’s new wife. My younger sister went off the rails with her new boyfriend, and my Dad got upset with me for not disciplining her properly. I was now required to attend all family events where my mum was absent and sit with my Dad, with the adults. When I returned for Christmas after moving away to the city, my Dad was angry with him for abandoning him.
Our relationship continued this way until my mum’s first cancer diagnosis. That’s when everything changed.