25 Nov 2012
I was always an anxious child. I had a loving family – mum, dad and two siblings, a sister and a brother both younger than me; but my mum was dad’s second wife – he was a widower following the death of his first wife and unborn second child. They had lost their first to a fatal asthma attack. He was a quiet man, who didn’t show his emotions readily but when he nearly lost my mum whilst she was expecting me he must have thought his life was on rewind. He had a tendency to assume the worst would always happen and when he developed early onset Parkinson’s in his 40s shortly after my younger brother was born, our lives were then never far from illness or worry. I became desperate to ensure my mum was happy, entertaining my siblings and worrying myself to death if she was late to meet me from school or to come back from the shops. I look back now and believe that my dad, subconsciously and quite openly as he became more seriously ill, passed on responsibility for my mum’s safety to me and I took it, willingly.