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This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by February 3rd 2019 at 9:15am

For Barnardos Counsellors / Stroke Association and ourselves

by Jayne Byrne in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

I am the mother of two girls 33 & 31, married for 33 years.  My youngest daughter has Fragile X and my eldest daughter has two boys 13 & 10 - divorced from her husband, the boys father.  She never wanted children so she went back to work, so Nan (Me)became there permanent childminder.  When she left her husband she moved in with us permanently Feb 2010. 

She went off the rails in Jan 2011 age of 26.  She met this guy who we had met once or twice and did not like him at all - in fact he was on the run with a warrant out for his arrest, when she met him.  He was finally caught and had to go back to prison to fulfill his 5 year sentence.  He was already in her mind and her heart - she visited him and even took the boys into see him and he made them call him dad.  As there own father stayed away they were glad to have a father again and didn't know he was in prison but working there.  This was the start of the lies and stories from both of them.  Every time he came out on parole she would move in with him wherever he was living and took the boys. This was sometimes for about 2-3 days as he would do something again, and yet again a warrant out for his arrest and return to prison.

We had the police at our house twice a day everyday -600am & 3pm.  They were the big boys with riot wagons so we knew he was a nasty piece of work.  He even threatened me from prison twice, as I wouldn't let the boys talk to him if Sam wasn't around.  Eventually Social Services got involved with the boys as they had been sleeping on the floor and there clothes/toys had been dumped in a pile as well.  

In May 2014 he had been out the longest and it was my 50th birthday party at the house - I only wanted Sam and the boys to attend.  The day before the party he rang me and said that unless he came then neither Sam or the boys were coming.  I spoke to my Sam and at first she didn't know anything about it  then she said well we are a family mum and I agree with what he says.  They didn't attend.  He even threatened a close family friend (godfather) who was looking out for the boys.

On the Sunday she rang her dad and told him that he had been taken back to jail at 3am on the Friday, the boys saw him being taken and put in police wagon.  Her dad asked her then why didn't she let the boys come to mum's party or all of you.  She said that he had told her that if he found out they went then there would be trouble when he comes out.  My husband went and collected the boys from her and when he brought them back they were in dirty clothes and looked as if they hadn't eaten for a month.  In fact there godparents who were staying with us started crying and thought it was terrible to see the boys like that.  Sam rang us again and said she was going to commit suicide.

On the Monday we had a phone call saying she’d OD, again could we go and get her please. We got counselling for her and yet again she moved back home.

She told us she was frightened of him and he wouldn't let her do anything and she told him she had finished with him.  It didn't last long as when he came out in the March they got a rented house together  - I refused to let the boys go and live there until they had proper beds etc.  They hadn't had the keys long and yet again warrant out for his arrest and back to prison - she didn't even want to talk about it and made the boys lie to us when she took them in to see him.  She decided to keep the house do it up and live there with the boys.  So in July 2015 she moved out and the boys moved in with her in Sept 2015 as I demanded they had beds first.  She had done a good job on her own to be fair.  Then in Feb of 2016 he had finally finished his sentence and was out for good.  That's when the real trouble started - the boys came to stay for a couple of days and she kept ringing to say can they stay longer, month later without really seeing them as I had banned him from the house they went home.  He then rang to say that we were not going to see the boys and any future children ever again.  Sam agreed to this as they said we poisoned the children's mind.  They were 7 & 10 at the time.  

In March of 2016 Social Service contacted us to say that the boys were being removed from Sam and were we willing to have them to stay with us - obviously we both agreed.  Sam wasn't happy about it but she couldn't fight Social Services.  What we didn't know at that time, was  police were also involved - we were asked to have CCTV installed.  If we hadn't agreed to them living with us they would have gone into Foster Care. 

We had to go to court and Sam had to agree to it - she had no choice, otherwise they would be removed from us and live with a foster family until the Parental Agreement had gone to court and the Judge agreed for them to live with us.  What we were shocked at was that they were to remain with us until they were 18 and not to be removed from our house and Sam was not allowed to be on her own with them.  The paperwork we read was horrific and didn't see this as our daughter.

The boys real father had been warned to stay away and his mother had to have CCTV installed as he had been threatening them as well.

The final straw was in June 2016 he was murdered during a drug deal.  He was a dealer, which we didn't know, Sam did.  You can know see why she never wanted kids, they were in the way, he came first. 

The boys seemed ok at that moment, I got them into Barnardo's Counselling straight away.  Boy, were they brilliant.  That's the first charity I want to raise money for.  The boys came out with stuff that I cannot believe a mother could do to a child - I am not going into details as they have asked me not to tell her and she would have a go at them.  I sat in on many of the counselling sessions as they wanted me there - i had to have counselling myself.

Sam then found out she was pregnant with his baby - Ezmae was born Feb 2017.  We cannot attach ourselves to her at all - she is a dear little thing.  Again Barnardo's were brilliant with this as the boys had to accept that she wasn't going to live with us.  Social Services did ask us to take the baby on when Sam was pregnant, I said no sorry - she was only 5 weeks finding out.

Ezmae has stayed with Sam and is 2 in Feb 2019- she seems ok but I thought the boys were ok.

 All this stress with Sam, the boys took its toll on my body and i had become ill - i also thought that my husband would have a heart attack as he had one 14 years ago.  The girls were his life, daddies girls.  The problem being he was looking after me.  Gemma, and the boys and trying to work and pay the bills.  He had increased his drinking, smoking to get through this and it didn't pay off  so the biggest and cruelest surprise was March 10th 2018 - it should have been my dads 80th, so glad he passed 8yrs previously - my husband had a stroke.  Paralyzed all down the right side, speaking like Rocky etc.  He finally came home in the June.  So my next charity is Stroke Association - they have been brilliant with the help and advice to sort things out.  I found out that we had debts, hadn't paid the mortgage, utility bills etc.

A stroke is very cruel as he is depressed, quiet, extremely emotional & worse of all is the memory.  His memory is horrific; 

cannot remember even having the stroke, 

- can't remember friends

- can't remember the mental difficulties Gemma has

- can't remember what went on with Sam and the boys.

So this is all on my shoulders - looking after Gemma; my grandsons who are now like my children and I'm more protective over them due to what they went through; and caring for my husband with his stroke.

I'm not in very good shape myself, so the boys have been fantastic so have my friends.  The one person I cannot do without is my Gems - she works 16hrs a week and when I cannot do anything she falls in to help - keeping them at there footy and rugby training /matches.  She is brilliant which is going to be my final charity ourselves - I would like to raise money to get our garden done - hubby had started doing this when he had the stroke -

So 2 charities - STROKE ASSOCIATION / BARNARDO'S / and if it’s too much to ask US

There is a lot of information I have left out as it is private and part of the judgement that has been put into place.  If anyone would like more information then please email me.