ccd960375324fb5d536e25cb20867214Goodbye 2017, see you never again.

But thank you for opening my eyes and teaching me a few good lessons. I can’t say it was a great year for me personally, but trust me, it was far from the worst I’ve ever had. It’s just that I’ve really done some reflecting this time round. Something I generally don’t do. I’m not one to “dwell” on past, I like to just let shit go and face each day as it comes.

But here I sit wondering how the hell I had my heart broken TWICE in one year. Both times for different reasons, and both times I was truly hurt. No details needed, but first guy I was convinced I was going to spend my life with, and after 8 months it turned out he didn’t really like dogs that much, and didn’t know how we would ever be able to live together as he would never allow dogs in the house. Funny that… seeing as on our first date I told him I rescued dogs, was a foster mom and always had litters of pups at home, plus had SIX dogs of my own. We decided that as much as we loved each other, there was no future, so we just called it quits.

Second time… Out of the blue, met a guy, fell head over heels in love, and 5 months later we had our first very small disagreement. I mean disagreement, not fight, not argument, no cheating on partners, no beating each other or throwing things… and just like that he walked away. Like I never even existed.

He took my heart with him that day. 7a26c0ef34d42d52530d0b48b1444944

BUT I did learn a few things… That when I love, I love with ALL my heart. No matter who! I no longer carry my issues from one relationship to the next. Games are for children or for the immature who don’t know how to commit or are too scared. And just like a dog… I love unconditionally and am 100% loyal. (I also like kisses, cuddles, treats and tummy rubs). Perhaps he is out there, and perhaps not. But I’m at peace knowing that if he is, I will love again.

Talking about love and loyalty… I learnt another hard lesson in 2017. There are a few people in my life, who have made it very clear they don’t want to be there. Sad thing is, they are family. I have basically given up all hope. No phone calls or messages, no contact at all. Unless of course it’s on their terms and for their benefit. I’ve said before in my posts, that you can’t force someone to love you, but isn’t it sad when your very own family have zero interest in you. I gave up trying a long time ago and soon realized that if it had not been for me making the calls or sending the messages, there would have been none.

But thanks to Facebook, they know I’m alive, and I get to see them every day, knowing that they are right here practically on my doorstep and yet just don’t care. So in 2018 I promise to surround myself with those who WANT to be in my life.


2017 broke me… I lost 9 pups in one litter to Parvo. It was like the world ended for me, like my heart had been ripped from my chest. One by one my babies were fading away and dying in my arms from this dreaded disease. I hit rock bottom, and honestly couldn’t cope with the emotional stress. It’s at times like that, when you see who your true friends are, the ones who are there to carry you through, who will disinfect every corner of the garden and house for you while you are at the vet for hours, the ones who just listen, and who will let you cry when you can’t hold back any longer.

Sadly it’s also times like those that show you another side to the people who you always thought were there for you. And the ones who should be there for you during those times. The rescue people whose ‘support’ magically disappears when things get tough. Time to close the book on people like that, they aren’t doing it for the passion and love of animals and rescue.

Live for a cause, not for applause

Being in animal rescue in a sad and lonely place to be. Every dog and puppy I help and rehome, is making just a tiny difference, and I’m trying to be ok with that. I want a loving home for every dog, and no more abuse, no more chaining, and no more breeding. So this year I will do more, even if it’s just being a voice for those who don’t have one because my passion for dog rescue has made me relook at my life this last year and if I had known I would be so involved in rescue, I would have made some very different choices 4 years ago.

I’m not unhappy in my job, but my heart is in RESCUE, my passion is saving, rehabilitating and rehoming puppies and dogs that need help and a future. I desperately want to start over; there is an ache so deep down inside that calls to me every day to walk away and make it happen. What’s stopping me? Finances of course! But one day I will take the leap so until then it’s time to re-ignite some other fires in my life and see where they lead me in 2018.

2017 was overall a pretty crap year. Heartache, loss, general sense of unhappiness and being under valued. Extreme fatigue, constant financial stress, and just going nowhere in Life…


I’m not asking for a miracle this year, but just a fresh start. A new beginning!




… and not one cent to make it happen!

I didn’t grow up in a household with money, so when I left school there was no traveling or studying and instead I went straight to work so that I could support my gran, who at that stage was divorced and barely receiving any money to survive.

With no tertiary education behind me, finding a good paying job wasn’t much of a reality and by time I fell pregnant and became a single mom, I had spent most of my years already ‘just getting by’.

16 years later, every month has been a financial battle. Yes I own a house, but I don’t have one cent saved. Not R300 put away for Jorja’s tertiary education, or her future, or perhaps a car, or even her wedding.

We have an amazing life, and we are far from living on the streets, but where to from here…

For The First Time In My Life, I Have An Idea, A Vision, A Dream… And Hope For A Real Future.

And not just for Jorja and I. But for the RESCUE community too, and for dozens of unemployed and talented people in the dog industry.

A place where all animal lovers would only dream of going and just everything you could imagine all in one perfect place.

I need land and I need money… and I have nothing. Nothing but the vision and the dream.

If I could go back and change things… I would.

How do you make the dream come true, when you have nothing.



To date I think I’ve homed close to 200 puppies, not bad considering I have only been doing this for two years. But no one will ever prepare you for the joys and heartache of being a foster mom. At one time, I couldn’t even look at pictures in the newspaper of dogs being abused and neglected, now I am taking them into my home and nursing them, giving them healthy food, lots of love, teaching them to trust humans again and finding them homes with families who will love them.

Each one of my puppies have been loved like they were my very own. From the day they arrive till the day I kiss them goodbye as they leave with their new family, they are a part of my life and loved every second they are with me.

WhatsApp Image 2017-07-06 at 09.09.45And everyone knows that Puppy Love is the best therapy there is. Sometimes I just make tea and go sit down outside in my ‘puppy courtyard’ for ages while they climb all over me and fight for my attention. Biting on my toes, pulling my socks and hair, tugging on my clothes, and then finally all (and I mean ALL) climbing into my lap to sleep. I have had 2 – 6 pups at a time, and then litters of 10 and 11 pups. And when all those babies go off to homes, the next litter is already on it’s way. It’s never a dull moment at the Ashford Fosters.

There is an endless supply of puppy breath, wet noses, wagging tails, and an abundance of puppy kisses and cuddles, screaming for food, demanding attention, picking up toys, tripping over puppies, standing in poop! But it’s all worth it when you come home and you are greeted by 11 of the most adorable little faces just begging for some love and affection.

So here is a little taste of what goes on behind the foster mom scene…

Home time is full out 1.5 hours of puppy / dog downtime. 11 hungry puppies screaming for food, and 7 dogs so excited to see you, they are literally bowling you over as you get out the car.

Before you even put your bags down or have a pee, the kettle goes on and 12 dog bowls are lined up on the counter. Breathe! Then the relays start… Puppies feed first, because by now 11 hungry puppies have become, 11 howling wolves! While they are eating Jorja starts feeding the rest of the Ashford Gang. Tyson, Sasha, Bear, Luna, Reign, Diesel and Harley Quinn. I have started the puppy clean up… Armed with my shovels, Shit must go! Then all the newspapers get thrown away into bags, dog beds get moved out and blankets get put into washing pile for weekend. Then out comes the hose pipe and JIK! Good old Jik… I must use a litre a week… Got to keep the place disinfected to prevent bacteria and diseases.

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By now, all big dogs are fed and Jorja cleans inside the house, newspaper, floors etc. Once all the cleaning is done, then it’s time to start all over again. Clean newspaper, fresh blankets, and lots of kisses and cuddles. Oh then if there’s time sometimes we eat dinner!

Weekends haven’t been the same since I started fostering, but it’s ok, I love cleaning and keeping busy and active so it’s all good! My washing machine is my BEST FRIEND, it goes non stop until all doggie blankets are clean and I have a new pile for the week ahead. If i’m lucky I get to do some clothes too, but puppy stuff takes priority. The puppy room (yes they have their own room) gets a major clean and disinfecting on weekends, hosed down, Jik and good scrub, as well as they courtyard too.

I’m always dressed to kill in my gum boots and track pants, drop dead sexy I tell you. But my pups love it, water everywhere, newspaper to rip up and climb on while I’m trying to pick it up, running off with blankets and black bags. But hey, I get to hang out with them and keep their space clean and safe while they spend their time with me.

As much as it is hard work looking after all these babies, and I pretty much spend my life stepping in and cleaning up dog shit, I love every minute of what I do, and wouldn’t change it for the world. To know that I have made a difference for every puppy and dog that I have homed and rescued, means the absolute world to me, and the blood sweat and tears are worth it.

But it’s the tears that take their toll. I have homed so many pups, but only lost a few to puppy viruses. The devastation that these viruses cause to a small pup is beyond words, and I’ve seen a perfectly healthy baby fade away in 48 hours. I’ve held them in my arms hoping they would find the strength to fight, and sobbed as I’ve looked into their eyes as they have taken their last breath. Some have survived, but those who didn’t took a part of me with them when they left. It’s the ones that didn’t make it, who give me the strength to keep doing what I do, because there are hundreds more abandoned pups out there, in the townships, on the streets and even in peoples yards, who are in desperate need of our help.


COMET – rescued from being sold on the street. Died at 7 weeks after his intestines went septic from Bacterial Infection. My heart was shattered!

As long as there are puppies in need of a second chance, I will continue to rescue and foster. And because I need them as much as they need me!

Find my fosters available for adoption on Facebook “The Ashford Fosters”




Honestly I suck at writing this blog. I promised myself I’d make an effort every day to just write even a little something, where do the days and weeks go. The funny thing is, that every day (normally in the shower), I write the most amazing entries … in my head. The words just flow and the paragraphs roll one after the other. I sit down in front of the computer and it’s a total mental block. My stomach is in a knot and I can’t even begin to get the emotions and thoughts down quick enough and in some kind of sense.

So much has happened over the months that I don’t know where to begin, but figured I’m going to get a few things off my chest and perhaps it will help lighten the load a little.

How do you teach someone to let go…

More and more every day I realize that when you have expectations of people, they will only ever let you down and that at some point you have to just “Let Go” and realize that they will never change and will always be the same. They will continue to disappoint you, break your heart and hurt the people you love.

So as a mother, when Jorja is let down over and over again, I feel the pain is if it were my very own. When kids are smaller, you can easily distract them from the disappointment of another person, even if you have to bullshit your way around it to prevent them knowing what a dick the other person really is. But as they get older, they start to see people for their true colours and hold the hurt close to them. And there is not much you can do as a parent to take that away from them except guide them and try teach them not to have expectations so that they won’t feel let down. That it’s ok to feel hurt but that they need to let it go and not hold onto it and feel weighed down by it.

But shit… it’s easier said than done. Because the reality is, as her mom, I want to go punch the person in the face for hurting my baby, and constantly disappointing her. I want to make them see how she is now a lost soul, not the same happy, outgoing girl she was a year ago. The constant lies, empty promises and lack of interest have taken their toll and she is now scarred and weighed down by all the sadness she carries.

To be hurt by friends, or even a boyfriend, is one thing but to have your heart broken over and over again by your father... It’s just not acceptable. How do you not hold on to the pain and instead just let go!

I have tried everything to make him see how he is hurting her! Perhaps he honestly just doesn’t care. I do know for sure there will come a time when he will regret his actions; I don’t know when or why… But Richard I won’t be there to pick up the pieces for you when your daughter wants nothing to do with you anymore!

Jorja keeps everything very close to her and doesn’t share much, but she asked if she could read me something… when she read me this poem she had written, it was like someone had ripped my heart out. I could feel her pain.

I hope at some point she lets go, so that she can heal. My beautiful child, she deserves so much better than this.

Your words are meaningless cause i know they dont come from the heart
Your promises are empty and I know we will forever be apart

That one mistake that cost you it all
And for my birthday- not even a call
You had me and then i was gone
You know that now that will never be where I belong

You said you would always be there for me
And i cant understand why i thought you would ever chose me over Tee
You never have and never will
And now that place in my heart will remain unfilled

You took away me away from my two precious boys
And along with them my smiles and joys
You made me change into the person i am today
So i guess thank you is what i should say

The father daughter dances that will never be done
The burdens i carry around with me weigh a ton
So thanks for making me so strong
I should have known it would only last so long

You have taken everything away from me
My happiness, joy and smile and the person i wanted to be
But you have given me some scars that will never heal
It didnt even feel like it was real

My heart breaks everyday
To know that i will never say what i need to say

You say you want to fix things and go back to how we used to be
But you make no effort- that hurt and you cant even see
You are all talk and you have no intention of actually taking action
While I sit the with no reaction
Cause that is what I expect now
Empty promises and meaningless words.


Rescue Me

Will you stay, or will you walk away…

So years ago a therapist told me I had “Rescue Me” issues and that I wanted to fix everyone! Looks like I’ve just moved on from humans to include hounds!

I admit when I started fostering puppies about a year and a half ago, I pretty much let my life go to the dogs. My own pack of pooches grew from 3 to 8 over the space of a year, and before long I was eating, sleeping and talking DOG.

My Dogs (babies at that time) had chewed through ALL my furniture, they slept on the bed, and destroyed everything in sight. My house and life were falling apart. So I put up some fences, a gate, made them a great outside space to sleep. Built up my foster puppy area, with a garden and playground (still work in progress). And have managed to gain Some control again.

My life now (as you would have read in previous posts) consists of a lot of dog shit, copious amounts of newspaper full of pee, rows and rows of bowls of dog food, dog hair on every chair, muddy paws and permanently dirty floors, washing lines full of dog blankets, hours at the vet and a sad… sad bank balance!

But even though my life is chaos now, it certainly wasn’t all roses before I got involved in the world of animal rescue!

For the first time in years I feel like I have a purpose. My heart is full and I am doing something not for recognition or reward, but simply for love and passion. The continuous sense of sadness, loss and emptiness I once felt has gone, and suddenly I have hopes and dreams again.

Have my four legged friends helped me find the way out of my darkness, has saving their lives, helped save mine?  

Maybe if people knew me … really knew me … they wouldn’t judge me so harshly for my world of chaos as they would see that it actually is a world of good. I am stronger today because of it.

But yes, I am learning every day that I need to have a balance between the chaos, the people I love, and the emotional toll rescue takes on you. 

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Selfies… Never Again!

I took a selfie a few days ago, probably the second one I’ve taken that was “ok enough” to post! I’ve taken dozens that have made me want to vomit. Shit do I really look that awful when people look at me.

After I took a few pics to get “the one” I realised just how old and tired I was looking. Just a few years ago I did a fun photoshoot, and damn I was looking good. Far from being a skinny super model but for ‘almost 40’ at the time, I didn’t look half bad. Now a week away from being 43 it’s like I’ve aged 10 years!

My close friends (and my gran) will tell you it’s because I’ve taken on too much with all my dogs. My puppy fostering is exhausting yes, and some days I can’t catch my breath. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. Not a fuck!


This is NOT my selfie!

There was a time in my life where the only thing that mattered was the number of times I had been to gym that week. Now I get a better work out cleaning up after a litter of 9 rescue pups and my own 6 dogs on a daily basis than any gym contract could ever offer me.

Tired, Yes! Older, definitely! But not from dogs… just from life. And at some point I’ve had to just embrace the fact that life, and it’s challenges have caught up to me. The lines around my eyes are my journey, and just like my stories they are a part of me now.

I have to wonder what has happened in 3 years though to make the wheels fall off! Perhaps it’s all the battles I’m fighting; they are draining me. And sadly some of them I will fight the rest of my life.  Mental, Financial, Family, Death, Arsehole Ex… Battles that challenge me. Some make me stronger, many I have survived, and some destroy my soul daily.

But it’s not ok to let them get the better of me, so I have to get my shit together, go to the spa for a facial, dye my hair, get some botox and buy some new clothes.

REALITY CHECK! I am a single mom, a puppy foster mom, my overdraft needs an overdraft, my cupboards are bare (but the dogs all have food so don’t worry), and selling my body is no longer an option.

Lets start with a smile on my face, my holey leggings, my dirty shoes and a great big heart!


Selfie – so rare it’s worth millions

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Nothing scares me except Locusts and Grasshoppers!

Watching your every move with those beady eyes, just so that they can launch at you when you least expect it. Those green and brown scaly bodies and skinny legs, and wings that go clickity clackity when they fly through the air.

Give me snakes and spiders any day.


Throw a grasshopper and I’ll run for the hills. Anything else and I’ll stand and face it head on. People, life, work, love, values, beliefs.

But… there is one thing that I keep shifting to the back of my mind and am refusing to deal with, one thing i’m not sure I am ready to face. The one and only thing I truly fear. The death of my gran.

Lily Ashford, 84 years old this December. She is my life! She has been my mother, my father, my best friend, my confidant. To this day, she is all these things and more. And now she is the same for Jorja. Her great gran, her best friend, her confidant.

Meme (her nickname since I started talking), looks after Jorja every day after school. I think most days it drives Jorja mad. But you can only imagine a 15 year old and an 84 year old trying to reach a compromise on a TV channel … most times they settle on a crime program, probably highly inappropriate for Jorja. But apparently it beats watching a movie made in 1940. Meme forces ice cream, biscuits, chocolate and cake down Jorja’s throat most days… hmmm yes. But by time I get there to rescue Jorja from the jaws of the cookie monster, Meme has packed a bag of groceries for us with a little something for dinner just to help us get through the week.

Lily is the most independent “old lady” I have ever known. She barely sits still (now I know where I get it from). She takes a 5km ride around the race course, on her mountain bike, a couple times a week, and when she gets back home she takes Tickey (her highly anxious dependent mutt) for his first walk of the day. That’s just the beginning of her average day. Movies, shopping centres, visiting friends… on the go non stop until the afternoon when Jorja arrives from school. By the end of the day, Tickey has been dragged around the neighbourhood about 3 times, just so Meme can have a walk.

She says Jorja and I keep her young, but she just refuses to get old!

We have been through so much together. When she lost a daughter, I lost a mother. When my grandfather had an affair and left her, she cried on my shoulder; when I was a new mom, she was my rock. Every time my heart broke, she helped pick up the pieces. When things were tough financially, we ate jam on bread. When I left school I went to work to pay bills while my friends went to study. No matter how tough things were, we always had each other. We have laughed together and cried together, we have shouted and hugged it out; and if you want to know where I learnt to swear, just have a conversation with my gran, she has a pretty foul mouth on her.

Lily is not your typical grey haired / blue rinse granny, who sits around sipping tea in the botanic gardens with her friends. This gran is out wearing jeans and boots in winter, and still dyes her hair black, and who sits by my pool in summer in her Itsy Bitsy bikini making sure she gets a good tan while sipping on lemonade.

So when she is gone how will I go on without her. How will I pick up the pieces. How will I be strong for Jorja when I know I will not be able to be strong for me. My heart aches at the thought of having to face the reality that at 84 she may not have forever left.

I fear for this day. And I fear I will fail Jorja as I fall apart. I am afraid.

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inked and single

I never thought I would be 42 and still waiting for the man of my dreams to come along. Where did the fucker go!

Ok yes so I don’t get out much, so unless the guy is hanging out at the Vet, or buying dog food at the Pet Shop, I’m probably not going to meet him anytime soon!

But I’m done being alone now! Over it! Frustrated (in more ways than one). And Lonely!

I’m not out there looking, I’m not desperate to meet someone, but I’m just tired of being alone. I have a lovely house. A great job. And Yes if you read my blog… I’m pretty fucked up, but hey who isn’t! At least I’m not hung up on ex boyfriends and I don’t have “baggage”.

I’m very independent, I can cook, do all my own DIY at home, clean the pool, take out the rubbish. Really, what more could a guy want.

I don’t want the perfect man. I just want someone who will love me for being a crazy foster mom for dogs, who won’t judge me when I run around the garden in my super sexy gumboots, with a shovel filled with dog shit in one hand, and a mop in the other. If he happens to love dogs too, and has tattoos and big biceps, well shit then he IS perfect.


Don’t judge people with tattoos, they might be the nicest person that you’ll ever meet!

Maybe one day a handsome guy will come along and adopt a puppy and sweep me off my feet. A girl has got to dream. Until then, I live in hope that I won’t be alone forever. That I will get to share my life with someone and start new memories with them. And that someone will get to see the good I am doing and be proud to say I am his.

#feelingempty #needmesomeloving #wheresmyprince


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“You can’t force someone to love you.”

That’s what one of my therapists once told me. It’s probably the only thing that has ever stuck with me from my many sessions over the years. At the time she was referring to my sister, and the relationship I was fighting to build.

Over the years however, I realised that the same applied to a few other relationships, and I’m talking about family here, not boyfriends!

Why should we have to fight or beg for our own flesh and blood to love us!

At the age of 17 I decided to make contact with my dad. Up to this point, he had denied I was his daughter, paid ‘pennies’ as maintenance, and had barely any contact with me. I sent him a letter with a photo from our School Dance. I remember saying in the letter “in case you wondered what I looked like now…”. Soon after that he wrote back and said he’d been waiting for the moment when I would take the first steps to get to know each other.

It was all very exciting and I soon climbed on a bus and headed off to Joburg to meet him, his wife and my 3 siblings. I will never forget my very first impression of him. Funny how the details just stick in your mind. He was packing my bags in the back of the van and asked me to hold his ‘cold drink’. It was a bottle of coke. Now … coming from a Mom who had a small drinking problem, I’m not stupid… I could smell the alcohol immediately. Brandy and Coke, and it was probably not even lunch time, AND he was fetching his daughter who he hadn’t seen in years. A great first impression. One I won’t ever forget, or forgive him for.

As always the first few years were pretty good. We chatted, stayed in touch – phone calls, letters, and the odd trip to visit. But as time went by it became hard work to stay in touch, because I was the one doing it. If I didn’t message or call, I wouldn’t hear from him. I was in JHB for a visit and heavily pregnant, I clearly remember going to the bathroom and phoning my uncle to come fetch me earlier than planned as I was feeling so uncomfortable there and just wanted to leave.

My favourite part of this story … I went to Joburg in 2006 for a wedding. I was only there for a night. Quick visit, but I had my father’s invite to MY wedding with me. I called him and asked if we could get together for a quick cup of coffee (I had about 2 hours to spare) so that I could see him and give him his invite. He said he would call me back in 10 mins because he needed to check something with work.  Two years later… I sent him a Christmas card with a photo of Jorja and under the photo I wrote a short note and said… Since the divorce (yes I had been married and divorced in 18 months) we have settled into our new home and are very happy.

I never did get my call back 10 mins later. Two years past and if I had not sent that card, who knows how long it would have been before he picked up the phone again. Its 2016 now, I haven’t spoken to him in probably 18 months again. Why… well because I stopped phoning and making the damn effort. There are plenty days I am filled with guilt and think I should just call to see how he is. But then I stop myself and say fuck it, I’ve done nothing but make an effort with him since the photo when I was 17. To this day he has never seen Jorja in the flesh, photos yes, but he’s never been to Durban. And he now only lives 2 hours away.

Every time we’ve spoken on the phone, the first thing he tells me is how he is struggling financially and battling to make ends meet. Why doesn’t he get it, I’m not after his money, just a simple friendship would have been nice.

I tried. I started to build the relationship. I did my best to keep it going, but honestly it does take two. I should not have to force a relationship with my father, I’m his daughter, his first born, his flesh and blood. He has never made me a part of his family, or made me feel wanted or loved.

I have walked away, filled with guilt for doing so. But I can’t force him to love me, so I have let go, and let go of the hope that I will ever have that special father daughter bond.



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everyone has a story


I lost my mom 19 years ago. But actually I lost her twice. First when I was 10 and then again when I was 24.

My mom fell pregnant with me at 18 years old. And, as arseholes do, my father left her to deal with it on her own. So based on what i’ve been told, my mom was into a little weed and booze, and having a baby was probably not a part of her plans at 18. Rightly so!

My grandparents looked after me and I guess my mom was pretty much like a big sister and not really a mom. She would visit and leave, until I got older when I started going to stay with her. Problem was that she still liked her beer, but her boyfriend liked it even more, and he couldn’t handle it very well. I have vivid memories of bloody noses, being kicked out of bars (them not me… I was just hiding under the table), my mom and I hitching home because he was too drunk to drive us, oh and the neighbours dragging me out the flat because he was hitting her.

Broken noses, cracked ribs, black eyes… what kid deserves to remember her mom like that. 

She left him… eventually. I was 10 and was finally going to live with my mom. My gran lived in this block of flats and there was an empty flat upstairs, so my mom and I were going to move in there. Perfect! The day we were supposed to be collecting my mom’s furniture and moving it to the new flat, plans fell through and we ended up going for a drive with a friend of hers (a new boyfriend from work). We were out for the day, and on the way home, the friend had a blackout behind the wheel, causing us to go directly into oncoming traffic on the freeway. A head on collision – a brain damaged mom. 1983

2 mins before it happened – my mom was singing along to the radio – I told her I was tired so she said I should lay down on the back seat and sleep. I had been leaning between the two chairs. I only spoke to my mom once again in the ambulance, she asked if I was ok and I said yes, we never spoke again.

That night my mom went into a coma, fluid on the brain from hitting the dashboard. When she woke up 10 weeks later, she was brain damaged.

The friend … he broke his ankle.

I was black and blue from the impact. And emotionally scarred for the rest of my life. And I’m sure he lives with a serious amount of guilt too. But how would I know because he disappeared.

My mom was 2 months pregnant at the time of the accident. At the age of 11 my sister was born, and put up for adoption.

The hardest part was seeing a beautiful young woman trapped in a body that doesn’t work, with a mind that functions perfectly. I remember how she would shed a tear if we read her a sad story, or she would give a little laugh (more like a snort) if we told her something funny. She loved being kept up to date with all the gossip and latest dramas. A regular treat was an outing to the park just up the road, my gran and I would push the wheelchair there and sit and feed the ducks, just to get mom out the home for half an hour. So strange, I haven’t thought about these things for so long.

8th May 1997. I got home from work, my gran said she had a call from the home and my mom was sick with flu. They were a little worried as she wasn’t doing well. My gran went to the home and phoned me a couple hours later saying that my mom would be ok, that she was resting and that my gran would be home in the morning. I put the phone down and walked away. It rang again, I picked it up and it was a sister from the home. My mom has just died… I told her she was wrong because my gran just said she was ok. She died while my gran and I were talking… Pneumonia.

By the time my mom finally left this world, she had faded away to just skin and bones. She was nothing but a skeleton. This time I lost her for good.

I never got to know my mom, what little I do know of her is what family have told me. All I have is a few photos, and even less memories. Most of which are sadly not very good ones.

Terry Ashford – Gone but never forgotten



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