I have been biding my time, waiting to tell my story! So one day I decided to read it out loud, to my eldest Son and biggest critic, Stephen. Once I finished he simply sighed and said; “Mother what are you waiting for”? “Why have you not shared your story with the world and why on earth have you stopped writing”! I was quite taken back, I had not expected that response, thinking my Son would tear my story to shreds, telling me I should give up writing but as I just mentioned the opposite was true.
So throwing all caution to the wind and knowing my Son as I do, I thought I better get this sorted or there would be trouble to pay. So here goes an insight into Pammy’s Journey of Faith, Hope and Freedom.
I suppose I should start by confessing I am not as brave as I would like to be, or indeed out of sheer respect should be, and I am ashamed to say that on occasion, whilst not out rightly denying the existence of God, I have not always had the courage when questioned “Are you a religious person,” just like Peter, I faltered and mumbled about spiritualism and belief in some power. Hastening to add I am not a religious fanatic, and church is not my favourite place. May my God forgive me, and try to understand my fear of rejection and more importantly safe.
I have tried to fit in with this era’s apathy towards God, and have tried to disguise the way, that I feel and indeed know to be true, that He still exists, and only He knows why He, still cares. So as recompense for my sin, I PUBLICLY DECLARE MY BELIEF IN GOD, and add that, without His good grace, I would be long dead.
I know what you are thinking, “I wish I hadn’t started to read this story, it’s not for me.” you are wrong it is for you, just you, and millions like you. If you take the time to read on you will discover a person, an ordinary person, who still doesn’t know what they are doing or why, someone who without help was lost, frightened and alone, a female, with a females strength, emotions, and poverty, this not being the least aspect to deal with, moreover the worst. A battle was about to commence, a battle with my soul, a battle with the world, and a battle for survival so the least you can do is read on, it may help you one day, and if it helps one person then I can rest, because it has to be said.
I have often wondered whether it was my fault, that my marriages did not work, was it something I did, or did they just tire of me, was I too ambitious, did I expect too much of them, was it that they could not keep up with me, or was I too horrible to them, the old saying the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, keeps ringing in my head, and I have more or less come to the conclusion, that I could not, nor would not, make a slave out of myself, to please the male.
I blame my mother for this as I was influenced by her and her alone when it came to how to behave towards men, one did not succumb to their every desire. I think now looking back that she meant in the bedroom, I thought she meant in the kitchen, because the bedroom unlike her, I was very happy in, so I didn’t bother to trick them into believing they could not live without me nutrition wise. Anyway I believed in my sexuality, more fool me and I have to say whilst sex can be mind-blowing for us all, encouraging us to believe that such intimacy can only be achieved between us and our current partner, it’s best to think again , and realise the world is full of people looking for sex, only the cook can see to the stomach in his or her own kitchen.
It matters not, any more, and whilst I need to mention the abuse, the constant criticism, resulting in a total lack of self-esteem, I will keep it as brief as possible the sun is shining outside, and God is in his heaven and I am at peace, mind you that is after 15 years of isolation, celibacy, and a struggle, you may ask what triggered it all, when I can forgive mistreatment for myself, what I could not nor never will endure is the abuse of my children, and believe me you must not either.
I often felt uncomfortable in my second marriage, he was after all only their stepfather, his attitude to my children was annoying, he nagged my daughter against my wishes, she retaliated strongly, my daughter was the only one still at home, my two sons had long since left home and both had their own lives, one in college and the other in the RAF. There was constant friction in the home, the fact that she was a teenage girl with tantrums, did not help. I blamed this difficult age and allowed this to temper my resolve and I conveniently convinced myself that all would turn out well. That was before my eldest son came home for his holidays from college, and announced quite the thing that he had discovered many things there, but mainly that he was gay. I hoped it was a phase and he would grow out of it, but of course it wasn’t, this added to the nightmare for me.
I could describe in detail what followed I am convinced my partner was homophobic, I already knew he was a racist bigot, but I think to give an overall view is sufficient, you can imagine the rows, name calling etc, every day. I was told to get out of his house, then when I started to pack, begged to stay and he never meant it, the problem was we had really loved one another in the beginning, and I believed our love would see us through, but he didn’t feel the same way anymore.
I actually stayed for several years, putting up with the rows, trying to make a good home for us all, and some of the time we were fine.
After one nasty row where my husband confined me to our bedroom screaming abuse at me, he threatened me, yelling “that once it became known about my filthy gay son, people locally would throw stones through our windows and call us all names”. I realise now that actually these were his fears, not mine. I was desperate, how could I convince this bigot that times had changed, and although all our local people, would not wish this for their own child, they would have compassion rather than hatred.
I decided to do one brave thing, so with fear clutching at my heart, I went on the train to London, to appear in a television programme all about the parents of gay children and how they coped, I would announce to the world I have a gay son, because I am not afraid of that. My gay son is beautiful, he is intelligent, and has won award after award for his horticultural skills, he is handsome, strong, drug free, doesn’t even smoke, but best of all he loves me truly.
So I went on the early morning show, I was terrified, funny thing so was my daughter waiting patiently for the programme to begin, she told me when I returned home of her fear for me, “ It was awful just waiting for you to come on I felt so nervous for you I started shaking I hope you do not have to do this too often” “ so do I “ I replied.
There is a love between family that can never be broken and I thank God for this. I myself was as I said terrified, I was looked after very well, spent the night in a posh hotel with a lovely meal, all paid for as a guest on the show, I can remember thinking gosh with all this attention, perhaps they are expecting more from me than I thought, I didn’t sleep much, but I really felt fear when the head of the Women’s Institute ended up sitting opposite me for breakfast at the studio, oh dear I had always admired these women, whatever was this lovely lady going to say, on the show, I felt convinced that they would be anti gay, what she actually said was that countrywide they all felt that all love was sacred. I was so relieved they will never know just how much, I was then able to have the courage to defend my son and denounce any form of discrimination.
This quietened my partner down considerably, all I received was praise from the local people for my courage appearing on national television, many of them knowing my partner knew exactly why I had done this, and encouraged me to stay strong. I felt much better for a long time and a little harmony descended on our home.
Of course it wasn’t to last, after many wearisome nagging sessions, I started to feel quite shattered by it all and one evening after another blazing row. I went for a bath and with warm water round me, sobbed and cried out loud to God and asked Him” Why have you done this to me, presented me, of so little courage a gay son and a bigot for a husband, I cannot go on this is too much to bear I love my son” after a moment a silence seemed to descend and a voice came all round me “I love mine, and they crucified Him, I know your suffering, fear no more.” Peace descended on me, I felt different calm, detached so much so that when my partner came back drunk as usual hurling abuse. I simply got up and escaped through the bathroom window and went in my car to the bottom of the road out of sight, and slept there.
God had spoken to me, sent me my very own Guardian Angels to watch over me, I was privileged and I would fear no more.
The very next day I went to my mother’s house, picking up the local newspaper on my way, Why have you got a paper “she asked “Because I have had enough and I am going to find somewhere else to live” I replied and this is where my story really begins. When I opened and read down the ads column there it was, my new home, my breath seemed to stop and time stood still, I recalled the time that I had taken part in a business course, for some time I had been working on my arts and crafts and found that I was particularly drawn to egg crafting this is different to painting eggs it’s the ancient art of carving eggshells into beautiful ornaments, similar in design to the famous Faberge Eggs.
I had some success with these and was finding out the best way to market them, besides whilst I was making these I could ignore all the tension at home. The lecture wasn’t really relevant to me that day and my mind wandered I found myself staring at a stone cottage outside the window, “You are going to live in a chapel made of stone“, the voice that often spoke to me chose then to tell me, I jumped and tried to carry on as normal in the lecture.
I pondered on this afterwards but could not come up with any answers then, and then some months later I was in a car up north with my children, my eldest son was driving, my younger son his wife and baby were in the back, we just happened to drive past a church for sale, “look there’s a chapel for sale, maybe we could buy it, let’s go back and have a look” I said “Whatever is the matter with you mother” my son said “ it’s a church” “I know, let’s go and look” “Are you seriously suggesting we should buy a church to live in and where pray are we going to sleep in the pews” they all roared with laughter and I had to admit put like that it did sound strange, “But I’ve been told I am to live in one, and it will be made of stone” my exasperated gay son in his usual flamboyant way replied “You get weirder every day I thought I was supposed to be the weird one, just forget about it” more roars of laughter emanated from the back seat. “Well you’ll see one day , I will live in a chapel, and it will be made of stone you will eat these words“.
I smiled at the memory of that day when mothers voice snapped me back into the present, “ What are you smiling at,” she asked kindly staring at my face. “I’ve found it, my new home, it’s here right here where God told me it would be only yesterday, while I was in the college.” “ You are all right aren’t you darling I have been very worried about you lately, you seem so thin,” Why don’t people say what they mean, what is it about the truth we are all so afraid of.
I now look after a special needs person in fact several, I spend my time teaching them to paint, Kath is my main student, I spend the most of my time with, who is supposed to have communication difficulties, but often comes straight out when presented with something new or strange and say’s “are you cuckoo,”? Perhaps mum should have just come out and said it. But she didn’t, she just supported me as always with a few sideways glances, I didn’t find out till much later just how worried for me she was. I am going to ring about this place” I said, I was so excited I went straight to the phone, and was told to contact the owner and given the number, so again I phoned, I was told very matter of fact to go and view it, the key was under a stone by the door.
I don’t believe this, I’ve been told to go and see it, just like that” I said “Oh good I really fancy going for a drive” mum replied, well it’s not possible I’m afraid” I said gloomily, there’s no petrol in the car, and I’ve no money” “ well that’s not stopping us, here’s the money, let’s go what have you got to lose” dear mum always there, “Nothing I replied Nothing at all” So off we went, the hasty instructions I had been given, didn’t explain the facts that we would be travelling along country roads climbing higher and higher, round bends, through woods, and would seem like the end of the world, sheer isolation.
I could feel my heart sink the further we went into the countryside, mum went very quiet, I thought we would never find it, then suddenly there it was, not quite what I imagined it didn’t look like stone, or a chapel for that matter, just like a long cream house with two long windows, on the one end, the other end looked like a cottage, it was empty, so we precariously approached the door looking for a key, it was under a stone just as we had been told, so we went in.
We were greeted with a lovely little cottage with a large recessed brick fireplace complete with wood burning stove, there were many original features and in some ways looked as if it definitely could use some tender loving care, the kitchen only consisted of a large sink, and was very small. There were two bedrooms upstairs and a good bathroom, basic but clean, I could feel myself falling in love with it. I could tell that mum loved it also.
We went back downstairs, there was another door this was locked but the key was in the door, I opened it and in I went, I was met by a huge room, with four windows where the light streamed through, the chapel, or rather former chapel, my breath seemed to still, and a very natural reverence descended upon me. I was overwhelmed with a desire to make this place my home, my studio and my place of work. Strangely I no longer felt alone, I felt like I had made new friends, guardians to watch over me, to encourage me to paint and ultimately become the new Chapel curator. Then I heard that same voice that spoke to me months earlier in the bath, “I am and always will be a holy place” was all I could hear in my mind like a voice within my heart, an empty room spoke to me, and what’s more I listened and respected it at once without question.
Mum again broke the silence “ I don’t believe this, what are you going to do, we are going to need a miracle” She continued “If it was me I think I would light a candle and say the Lord’s prayer,” believe it or not there was a candle discarded close by, and that’s exactly what I did, I lit it and went around the room, saying the lords prayer, it seemed the right thing to do, before I dared to put in my request for my god to take pity on me and allow me to come and reside with Him for the rest of my days.
Since no one knows what the future will bring, I dearly hope to be able to spend the rest of my days at the Chapel and to make that happen I will need the kind support of friends and family to share my story. I hope you like my journey and how I came to live in a cottage that joins a community Chapel, the trials and tribulations that have etched out our journey are also a great read and I would love to share them with you!
If you like to read more about how life at the Chapel continues to developed then please leave a comment below and share this with your friends, this will inspire me to continue writing as well as introducing more people to experience my journey with Angels.
Grow with me on
Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“
iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.