Treehouses belonged to the same magical realm as magic carpets and flying beds for me as a child. I read a lot of Enid Blyton, in fact I think I read all of her books. I remember reading Mr Twiddle and drinking oxtail flavoured Cup-a-Soup in front of the heater after school, while my sister and I waited for our Mum to get home from work. We were two of many latch key kids, growing up in London. That is, we were kids who went home to empty houses after school because their parents or parent, were still at work.
My sister and I were very close growing up and all through our lives until she passed away when I was twenty-three years old. She was twenty-seven. My sister suffered sexual abuse at the hands of our father. The first time she attempted to take her own life, I was seventeen years old. Mama and I recieved a phone call that she might need help so we made our way over to her place to make sure she was alright. She wasn’t. I walked in first and saw her laying unconscious on the floor beside the landline telephone. Mobile phones weren’t a thing yet. A knife also lay near her. It was the one she had used to slit her wrist. I know I grabbed a cloth and put pressure on her wrist to stop the flow of blood, I listened to check she was breathing and I put her in the position I had learnt in First Aid after making sure her airway wasn’t blocked. Mama was ringing the ambulance. We were both crying. We kept trying to rouse her to no avail. By this time I had seen the empty pill container and realised she must have overdosed as well. The ambulance came, we went to the hospital in our small country town, and waited while they pumped her stomach and sewed up her wrist. She was twenty years old. Seven years later she was dead. She completed what she had begun seven years earlier. I was devastated. I don’t know how my mum survived the loss. The pain was acute. Mama and I still had each other and that got us through. It had always been the three of us.
All these years later, I still miss having her to talk with. She was super intelligent and just fantastic at everything. She knew me like nobody else could. We shared memories and experiences. Some of them good, others not so good. She always took care of me when we were kids. She used to make us food to eat when we got home and would make up songs and names for her recipes. I recall one she named Tallulah. It was a mixture of sautéed onions and tomatoes and some kind of herbs. To that she added a couple of eggs she had beaten and then heated it all until the eggs were just cooked. She put it on toast and we sat together on the sitting room floor by the heater, while we watched Blue Peter.
A little while ago my favourite singer/songwriter released a song called Treehouse. I love it 🙂 The lyrics talk about a Treehouse that you are invited to retreat to when you just need to take some time out. It tells you that you can talk about your feelings without being judged. For me it conjured up an imaginary happy place. It tells you that it’s ok not to be ok. The artist has struggled with mental health issues in the past and this song has a very positive message about mental health. Thats what I get from it 🙂 I just love it. I wish you good mental health and look forwrd to the day that stigma around mental illnesses is a relic from the past. xo