Thabk you so much for reading my story. My name is Richard. I am 28 years old.
When I was a small child my mother and father started a business on a little wooden cart in a shopping centre making handmade earrings! It was happy times and we were so happy! I can't really explain but you know the kind of childhood that gives you no complaints and your parents make you feel like you are constantly surrounding by a warm veil of love and confidence!
The business grew and by the time I was 11 years old after they were told the shopping centre was closing and they had to leave just at the moment where my mum and dad lost everything they found a little run down shop in a little town outside of Leeds.
My mother and father tirelessly worked day and night and literally stocked the shelves with items from our own home to sell to local people. Over time it grew and they sold beautiful handmade and bespoke greetings cards and jewellery. It was named Angels. As my lovely mum always said that an angel must have been watching over us! Things were on the up and we could stop living on £5 a week for food for our whole family. We were happy again! The little town had become a really trendy pit of town suburb and was bustling with trendy eateries and restaurants and bars as it still is today! The business was extremely successful and we had a lovely life. We loved our little shop, our customers and our little town. We felt a part of the community. We continued to make, design and sell our handmade and bespoke wares. The one quote I remember my mother always saying is 'I don't want to be a millionaire, I just want to be happy.'
That happiness came to an end in 2010 after it came to light my father had been battling an addiction to alcohol alone. Our world fell apart, the love I felt from both my parents seemed to shatter like a frail mirror. I felt the ground swallow me whole. I saw my mother completely broken, unable to process what was happening.
My father had worked and battled with addiction for almost ten years without me ever finding out. Maybe my mother knew but I couldn't come around to asking her.
31st October 2010 my world changed, the gravity of what my father had been hiding had come crashing down on myself and my mother like the stars had fallen out of the sky! He had been secretly drinking the profits of our lovely little family run business. He had taken out loans and credit cards and re mortaged our little 2 bedroom house and sunk everything. Hundreds of thousands of pounds! He became aggressive and he wasn't the father I knew anymore. I saw the man I admired turn yellow, unable to speak, watch his own body shut down a day at a time over a month.
He died on the 2nd December 2010 a week after his 50th Birthday. 6 weeks later my grandmother ( my mums mother) died of cancer. 50% of my family was literally wiped out of my life in less than two months!
I have never felt anything like it. I immediately wanted to protect my mum from everything but how can one person do that. I have no other family to help me no brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles nothing.
My mother was left with hundreds and thousands of pounds worth of debt, an illness of her own, no husband and no mother.
I immediately quit my successful job as a training manager and decided to move home and support her the best I could.
I took over the running of the shop and I refused to go into flight mode I wanted to fight, I wanted to fight for my mum who had spent over 30 years working so hard to be happy.
Over the last six years I have made a real success of the business side of things and managed to pay back some of the money my father had borrowed and kept the doors open and love serving my lovely customers and they love our little shop that has stood for 16 years! I have worked 7 days a week. I have not paid myself one single penny in wages. I have put everything back in. And just scraped by.
However the time has no come where our mortgage is due on the house. The wolves are at the door creditors from the shops from 7 years ago are wanting paying. We are literally losing everything. Our home our lives everything! We have nowhere to go I can't re-mortgage as I have no income of my own. Unfortunately my mother is now to old to get a mortgage on our modest 2 bedroom semi-detached!
My mother has never asked for a single penny from anyone in her whole life she has worked for every single penny she has earned and never asked for anything from anyone. My only dream is to keep our successful little business alive for my mother and lovely customers.
I only wish I could stop the tears and the heart ache my mum has every day. All she wants is to live her days without the weight of one hundred worlds on her shoulders. I see the pain in her eyes everyday.
We would use the money, to keep the family dream alive and keep the business flowing by paying back the debtors from my fathers mistakes and even though we will never fill the void that half my family has left just learn to be at peace and be happy one day at a time.
My mother is unaware I have done this and it's one of the hardest things I have ever had to write. To feel a failure as a person when you don't know what you have failed at is the most unnerving feeling!
We are not a charity, we are not expecting anything. I just am a desperate son watching his mother become more broken everyday.
I will fight every single minute of every single day to keep our dream alive & keep our family alive.
Thank you so much for reading.