I had many happy years with Verity but then things went wrong; I do not know why they went wrong, but they did.
I have in, anger, frustration and upset said many things such as I wish that I had died on that slab when I was 16, to avoid all of the pain that I have suffered but, do you know something?
I was wrong, very wrong.
Although Verity is a mere stranger to me now, I still hold all of the special memories, starting, of course, with her birth.
The midwife was sadly useless and out of her depth and Verity nearly died. If I had not threatened the hospital with a law suit, she would be now but I would have lost those very special 16 years that we had together.
As Verity grew into a toddler, life was even more joyous, as we could play and do things together. In Italy, when her mother went out, Verity and I sat on the raised platform in the villa and played with her toys all day. I pushed her around the whole holiday; she was my little girl and I was proud of her. I loved her more than anything and, putting the hurt aside, which is difficult, I do still love my daughter; I love her very much and would gladly take hold of her again in my arms and call her my “Munch”, somewhat more grown up than Munchkin.
The relationship between Verity and I was so very special; we always said that we were a team of two. We were so comfortable in each other’s presence that we were like two peas in a pod.
When I finally moved to my little house in Brockham, she had her own very special room upstairs and two teddy shaped potties, one red and one yellow. One was for one type of “loo” and one was for the other. She loved her two teddies and quickly became accustomed to what she had to do; there were some little accidents when we first started but she tried very hard and succeeded.
What I was most happy about, for her, not for me, as she became “dry” very quickly, first at night and then during the day time. That was a big achievement for Verity.
Every night, I sang her a lullaby, which I had first sung to her at the other house. If she reads this, she will know, even to this day, what it is and how to sing it. So many times, she would say with a big beaming smile “again Daddy, again” until I was literally too hoarse to sing anymore. Only then would she agree to go to sleep.
Then there was all of the visits to the children farm parks and, as she got that little bit older, she would freak me out by going straight to the top of the climbing frame; my heart took many beats when that happened.
The Brockham house was too small for us or rather too small for me, as I am quite a big fella and it had narrow corridors.
So, with the help of Mum and Dad, I bought another house, Long Barn, the house that Verity was to really grow up in. She didn’t know that I had bought it, as I wanted it to be a surprise.
I picked her up from school and she was jabbering away as she did and started saying “Dad, where are we going?” as she knew the route to Brockham by heart. I would say things like “oh, I am just going a different way” but whether she believed me or not, I do not know because Verity has always been a smart girl.
Finally, I pulled into the lane that led up to the house and stopped just between the gates, facing the house. She looked at me very puzzled and I said that this was our new home and her face lit up like a Christmas tree.
Of course, she could not wait until we got out of the car so that she could explore and then she went out into the garden but what she had not noticed was the secret wood, which I took her down, carefully holding her hand as there were dead logs and potholes everywhere. It was like an enchanted wood to her and was a very special place for Verity and her friends when they visited.
Then Liesel came along and we really knocked about the house. It had been extended twice and was all disjointed so, when Liesel was let out now and again from hospital, down she came and said that she wanted this and that. That was fine for me as the whole purpose was to take her mind of her illness.
On one day, she had marked out the back wall, as she wanted it EXACTLY but a builder took away all of the marks so it was built wrong and when I sent the photo to Liesel, she blew a fit and said it was all wrong. So, sheepishly and very apologetically, I had to tell Uncle Roy, the builder that it was all wrong. He had to demolish the lot and start again.
At that time, Verity was going through a serious Dalmatian phase and, as a surprise, Liesel kitted out her bedroom with all things black and white, even ordering a fluffy bean bag from the States and also a Dalmatian style lampshade and a picture of a Dalmatian looking at a goldfish through the bowl; that very picture is hanging in my bathroom.
Verity’s absolute favourite spot was sitting on top of the original Aga that I had refurbished and painted. She would sit their for hours and loved the Aga gently warming her bottom.
We became a team of three for a couple of years but when Liesel died, we returned to a team of two and there would be many times when I would be comforting Verity on the stairs as she was crying out for her Liesy.
Then, as Verity became a big older, clothes became a big thing; well, she was a girl, after all. So, we would drive right up to Kingston but the first thing we would do is to go to Carluccio’s for lunch. I remember one day, when we had a big platter of anti pasti that we were munching away through; there were two huge buffalo mozzarellas, one for her and one for me or so I thought. Verity had become rather keen on cheese and when I was not looking, she swiped by mozzarella. Then I suddenly realised that mine had gone and I looked at Verity who was beaming a very guilty smile; we chuckled about it and I told her off, well sort of, as my heart was not in it.
Then came the shopping. Verity would always ask how much she could spend and I would give her a figure; suffice to say that on every trip to Kingston, Verity completely smashed her budget, getting around me with her big eyes. But they were fun days out and we laughed and joked on the way home.
Then, after visiting my cousin in Canada, I returned with a new purpose and not only did I want to return to normal but I wanted to keep my promise to Liesel, insofar that after a while, I would find someone else again.
Then Rosanna came along and she was all smiley and nice to Verity but once she had moved in with her boys, tensions started to build. It was quite clear that Rosanna favoured her boys and made no attempt to treat them and Verity on an even playing field.
Rosanna pushed and pushed me to move but I would not give in. After all, this was Verity’s, Liesel’s and my home. More tension brewed as she demanded that all of Liesel’s pictures be taken down and hidden, save for one or two small ones. This really upset Verity and me too but, to keep the peace, I obliged.
I knew then that Rosanna had no desire to remember the memory of Liesel and wanted her eradicated from the house as much as possible. This broke both Verity’s and my heart.
After more relentless pushing, I finally gave into the concept of moving, which it was clear that Rosanna had planned all along. It was not long before house particulars started to appear.
She was very keen on moving to Sussex to be close to her best friend and she found a house in Hassocks
We all went down to look at it, all 5 of us ( I don’t think her eldest was there). It was a big house and it had 6 bedrooms but the kitchen was a fraction of the size of the one at Long Barn and had bugger all garage space; two places where I loved spending time; after all, a man needs some outlets. But she loved it and pushed and pushed and I finally gave in. I put in an offer and it was accepted. Long Barn had to be sold; a very sad day for me as well as Verity; she had spent 10 out of her 13 years there.
Rosanna, Verity and I were talking in the kitchen one day at Long Barn. Then Rosanna stopped speaking abruptly and, completely changing the subject, asked Verity “what are those marks?” At that point, Verity burst into tears and rushed upstairs, with Rosanna following her.
Finally Rosanna came downstairs and said that she had seen marks on Verity’s arms and that they were clearly self harming marks. We then discussed what we should do and we both came to the conclusion that it was because Verity just didn’t want to move from Long Barn, as Verity refused to talk about them. We decided that there was nothing else for it but to cancel the move.
I explained the situation both to the agent and the owner and the owner was very understanding. This is her email
PentyasWed 26/09/2012 17:55
I understand the problem you are facing all too well. My daughter is also suffering but with her it is anorexia- another form of self harm. Your daughter is lucky to have a lovely supportive father like you. You have my best wishes and although I am gutted the sale will now not be going ahead , I wish you both all the best with everything.
Here is an email I found from Rosanna, which encapsulates the real problem between Verity and Rosanna. I was looking for some other details but could not find them
Making up with Verity
Rosanna Hender-Rae <redacted>Sat 10/08/2013 05:34
Verity called me last night and we cleared up a few things.
She said she doesn’t want us to separate and that she has had enough of seeing you unhappy because she and I have been unable to engage. She suggested that she and I arrange to meet when I return.
Perhaps this can be the beginning of a new understanding between she and I.
She said she understands how I am feeling right now and recognises that her past behaviour and her refusal to forgive me has caused problems between you and I.
I think that is great and whatever you decide to do (clearly once again you are having doubts about us) it would be good for she and I to make up and heal the rift.
I hope that she does not change her mind about this. Clearly our marriage cannot survive without she and I clearing the air and being able to re-connect. She is understandably very important to you and I appreciate you have missed her. But I am disappointed that you cannot seem to engage with her without making me feel like our relationship once again hangs in the balance. Perhaps I do over react to rejection but does that really mean you should consider throwing me away every time we argue because I feel insecure? Have you considered that part of the reason I feel so insecure is because every time I am not there you profess to want to leave me? Have you any concept of how damaging and undermining that is to overcoming my propensity for feeling rejection? You are driving me away by increments Toady. One day you shall imply that you are considering ending our marriage one too many times and I shall walk away never to return because I cannot live this way.
Please be 100% certain that that is actually your intention the next time you imply separation or divorce as I cannot forbear this uncertainty of mine and the boys’ future any longer. Moods change as does perspective and you owe it to both of us not to lash out in this way in the heat of a moment. I thought you had made a commitment to commitment and to working things out with Bill’s help.
Please get in touch with Bill. How come you are happy to pay for a taxi to go shopping or a meal out but won’t take a taxi to go and see Bill? A divorce will be far more expensive than a visit to Bill and a taxi there and back.
I love you more than words can express and trust that you shall not make any rash decisions especially as Verity told me she does not want us to break up and wants to make up with me.
Forever in love with you together or apart. Please stop breaking my heart and my head and show me a little compassion in my weakness as I do you all the time. Nobody is perfect remember
- Even though I have had to endure all of that pain and hurt
- Even though I have to suffer all of that betrayal
- Even though I have had to deal with all of the false accusations