My second Mum

It may be seen as cheating to include an Aunt here. Well not when I tell you of my "second mum". My Aunty Jenny was born perfectly normal, then when she was very young she contracted polio. She nearly died.

She was abused by someone close to her when she was young.

She was my dad's twin, my mum always joked that when she married my dad she married Jenny too, she came on every holiday with us.

She never recovered from Polio, it caused her to be seriously disabled throughout her life. She spent her childhood in hospitals, having countless operations. She finally learned to walk with two callipers for short distances. She was paralysed in her left arm and only had 80% use in her right.

As she got older she developed other illnesses.

My Grandparents were very protective of her, she went away to college but she returned to live with them afterwards. She never married.

She only had one serious relationship and he cheated on her and despite their engagement it turned out her was married. His name was Jack Renoulf and I hated him.

Throughout mine and my sister's childhood she was always there. She would dress us up like dolls, do our hair and paint our faces, my mother didn't like it but we thought we looked beautiful.

She always took us on holiday and told us we were the daughters she could never have (she had had a hysterectomy when much younger).

When my Nana died she stayed with Granddad and when he got ill she cared for him.

While I was at Uni she sent me money every week to help with rent.

When Granddad died she was on her own. I didn't see her so much, as my now husband had moved in and my sister had a family, although she would have Jenny for stay for six weeks at a time.

She was lonely.

She was getting more and more ill every day and spent large amounts of time in hospital.

She had a stroke and spent a lot of time in a rehab centre.

I had a son, she adored him. She took us on holiday so she could spend time with him.

She moved into a managed flat, a high dependency one with medical staff.

I became pregnant again. We found out it was a girl and told her the same day. She was so excited.

We took her to Longleat for the day for her birthday, she loved it and loved to see Moo enjoying himself. We took her out to dinner. She seemed fine.

She had her 63rd birthday party, she thought it would be her last, it was a massive affair, my Dad was not happy he hates a fuss and always joked it was never his birthday, it was only ever Jenny's. I thought she was talking rubbish. We used to joke Jenny was like the boy who cried wolf, she always thought she was dying, but she was still alive.

I had a hospital appointment. She invited us around for lunch afterwards. We went round, Ed laughed as though she said she would cook, we landed up cooking and he landed up washing up. She loved spending time with Moo. She kept trying to give us money for baby stuff, we said "don't worry, leave it you can get the baby something when it's born". She gave us a yellow cardigan for the baby and a Buzzlight Year towel for Moo.

I thought she was fine.

We went home. One week later there was someone at the door at 11:30 at night. Ed went to see what the hell it was. It was my parents. After ten minutes he came upstairs, I thought we were being burgled.

He was crying

Jenny's dead. HE said

I thought it was a sick joke. HE said it again, crying harder. I couldn't breathe, I screamed. I couldn't stop screaming.
He took me downstairs, my parents were there, crying.

It was August Bank Holiday 2010

I wrote a poem for her funeral. I organised the funeral as everyone else was too grief stricken. I designed and printed all of the Orders of Service.

I thought I was losing my baby due to the stress.

I got more ill.

I gave birth and for her middle name we called her Jennifer

So you see it's not really cheating. The day she died I lost a second mum, I was lucky though as some don't even get one.