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This is a question Mix Tapes

Everyone's made a mix tape (or CD, USB stick, or whatever kids do these days). Mostly to get in someone else's pants, but we're sure there are other, lesser, reasons too.

So, who did you make it for and why?
And... what was on it?

(, Thu 7 Feb 2008, 13:41)
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No woman, no cry


Hi there, I’ve been lurking almost a year now, trying to get up the bottle to post my one and only story worth telling and I think I’ve found just the QOTW to do it. I will apologise in advance for any excessive length and also for any slurring which may occur - this is due to Dutch courage in the form of Scottish Water. It is on topic, but you’ll have to stick with it.

Well, where to begin? (not so easy this is it?)

How about 1978? I was 17 and while not a geek - I’ve never been a geek - I was a nerd. Kind of. I was into Punk but wasn’t really a punk, I was tall and a bit spotty and I liked maths. My best friend Nick however, was cool. He was a ladies man and bass guitarist with a post-punk band. We’d known each other since junior school and had become best friends in about the 3rd year.

I was more political than him, thanks to my elder brother. I went on marches a lot and in the holidays I got together with like minded friends from school and we’d volunteer down at the Anti-Nazi League HQ, stuffing envelopes etc. We were keen and our hearts were in the right place. I also got to mix with girls, though I was yet to have a girlfriend, and one of the girls was Manisha. She was a year younger than me - still in the 5th form, but would soon be a lower-6th former. She was born in South Africa and was a ‘Cape coloured’, i.e. her parents’ families came originally from India. The whole family was heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid: her grandfather and uncle were lawyers and belonged to the same practise as Nelson Mandela (before his imprisonment, that is); her auntie had been imprisoned for a time in Robben Island. When Manisha and her brother Anand were 6 and 4, the family had fled to the UK where they claimed political asylum. Ten years on the family were still not UK citizens but ‘stateless’ i.e. they had no passports.

As well as being highly political aware, Manisha was a peach and I fancied her silently but fervently from afar. We got on very well and soon we were both part of a tight group of mates. This was great until the tragedy stuck; she and Nick fell in love. It was full-blown teenage love and I made the best of things, i.e. suffered silently and became a much bruised gooseberry.

I got a Saturday job in a department store restaurant kitchen and when Manisha was looking for a job too, I put in a good word for her and she got a job as a waitress. This gave me more opportunity to eat my heart out, but it also gave us time to get to know each other better. As the ‘middle-man’, I could give sound relationship advice, listen to her moans and gripes etc. I found it easy to talk to her and we became very good friends.

Then the two of them broke up. I had both of them crying on my shoulders - I’ve always been a good listener, but this tried my patience somewhat. Anyway, it meant that we saw less of each other except at work. I didn’t want to be disloyal to Nick.

I’ll skip forward here to 1980. I’d got decent grades for Maths, Further Maths, Economics and Government & Politics A Levels and was now an accounting student at Southampton University. I managed to lose the ‘V-plates’ at long last [thanks Trish!] and was a studious student as those things go. My musical taste was a bit left-of-centre, more punk and reggae than heavy metal and I was pathetically glad to be ‘interesting’ as far as accountancy students go - and believe me, that’s not far.

Half way through the year I got a letter from Manisha! She was thinking of going to Southampton too and wanted to visit. Fine! She came down, but with some boyfriend in tow. I spent a day showing them round before they went back to London.

The next time I saw her was a scene straight out of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ - the one where George Bailey meets Mary at the college party - except this time it was the freshers’ ball. She’d finished with the boyfriend by then and at 18 she looked sensational. I mean jaw-droppingly gorgeous. No, that doesn’t even come close. Well, you’ve all been in love at 19 haven’t you? Is there anything better in the whole world? We spent that night in my room in the house I was sharing with two other guys from our school and a friend of ours. That year, she hardly spent a single night in her room in halls. I’ll leave the details to your over-fertile imaginations, this isn’t the place. She loved teasing me though, in more ways than one, and used to call me ‘Beenie Man’ - the reggae lovin’ bean counter.

Things went smoothly, I graduated with a first after a final year in which we’d shared our own flat - just like an old married couple. Our musical tastes coincided exactly, and one of the happiest days I can remember was when Clint Eastwood and General Saint played at the Uni. We were both right down at the front, lightly stoned, grooving away as if…sod it, can’t think of a good analogy, but you get the picture. In contrast, although I can’t remember where I was when I heard John Lennon was dead, I can picture exactly the scene as we sat up in bed listening to Radio 1 when it was announced that Bob Marley had died. We put ‘Redemption Song’ on so loud I couldn’t hear her crying. We loved that album, and I’d tease her sometimes when she took an age to get ready or something: “Bob’s right you know - ‘no woman, no cry’. Get a bloody move on!”

“I like a man who cries,” she’d say,

“OK, you can stay.”

The next year I moved back to London and rented a flat in Walthamstow. Manisha came up to stay weekends and holidays and had a room in halls for week days. I’d got a job with one of the ‘Big Five’ accounting firms and was also taking an MBA. They sponsored it and gave me time off too, I was earning good money and was happy.

As soon as Manisha graduated (History and Politics) we got married. Just a small registry office thing. Her parents were devout communists, and I’m a non-practising reform Jew. Now she could finally get a passport as she was a UK citizen. We used it first time for our honeymoon in the Maldives.

Although house prices were rising fast in London by then - this was 1983 - we were both working and we found a real do-er up-er round the corner within our limit.

Skip again a couple of years and 1986, Manisha became pregnant. I’d got my MBA and a promotion and we decided she should take a couple of years off work to be a Mum. She was working for the GLC and it was about to be abolished anyway, so we thought it must be fate.

Now, if you or your partner has been pregnant you will know about the changes the female body goes through. One of them is the enlargement of the breasts - this is necessary to produce milk of course - but Manisha had a large birthmark on her left breast. It was made up of lots of tiny moles really close together, making a dark, raised area, looking something like a relief map of Crete but about four or five inches across. As her breasts grew, so did this birthmark, and it started to itch too. It had never caused any sort of bother before, but this was a bit disturbing, so off to the GP we went. She took a look, asked some questions and said that it was probably nothing to worry about but she’d make a note to take another look after the baby was born.

This is where the mix tape comes in for the first time. From other posts, this seems to be fairly common - I think that’s down to Dr Miriam Stoppard and her babycare/pregnancy books. I think it was in her checklist of things to put in the ‘birthing bag’. Anyway, on this little beauty was a load of reggae of course: Marley, Culture, Burning Spear, Misty in Roots, plus a load of punk tracks like Buzzcocks - ‘Ever fallen in love with someone’; Ian Dury - ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’; Xtc ‘Making plans for nigel’; Ruts ‘Babylon’s burning’; The Higsons ‘Conspiracy’; Madness ‘My girl’s mad at me’; Elvis Costello ‘(Idon’t want to go to) Chelsea’ etc etc. I won’t bore you with the full listing.

August 1987 she was born - our little Jasmine - and you know when I mentioned 19 year olds in love earlier - well that was as nothing compared to the feeling you get holding your own tiny little child in your arms, well not quite, but different. I can’t explain it to you if you’ve not got any kids, and if you have, then I don’t need to .

All was well at bean-counting towers. I took a couple of weeks off work and we adjusted to the little one, she seemed to like us…

…in September, the doctor sent a letter reminding us about checking out the birthmark. This time, she suggested a specialist look at it, and the best place would be the Royal Marsden. OK, well, hmmm, I suppose that’s the best place, you know best etc. The doctor arranged it and in early February 1988 she went in for a biopsy. Now I didn’t know what this meant and was scared to ask really, but Manisha said they’d look at the birthmark and see whether it was benign or malign. No point worrying til then. I hadn’t realised they would cut the whole thing out!

She went in with an over-night bag, including tape and walkman, by taxi - she didn’t want us dropping her off as Jazzy would be asleep. I kissed her goodbye and arranged to visit the next day which would be February 13th - I promised to bring some flowers and the baby.

When we arrived at the ward the next afternoon in visiting time laden down with a dozen red roses and a bundled up baby I was shocked. All the other women on the ward looked to be in a really bad way. Quite a few were bald from chemotherapy, lots looking not just old but ancient, wasted, drained, all life sapped away. And there was Manisha, propped up in bed, a huge bandage on her chest under her nightgown. Jaz spotted her and reached her tiny arms out towards her, but a nurse swooped down on us, saying, something like: let me take her for a minute while you two have a talk - before snatching her away, cooing in her 6-month old adorable face passing her around the nurses and patients as if we weren’t there. It’s true that, like a fairy drawing colour with a wand in a black and white cartoon, her presence created smiles, spreading down the ward in her wake.

With one eye on the nurse, I went to talk with Manisha, who was a bit upset not to have Jasmine in her arms, but otherwise seemed OK. They didn’t have the results of the test yet and she’d have to stay another night, but all being well would be home in a couple of days. I found a vase for the roses, reclaimed the baby, chatted about this and that and when visiting ended at 5.30, off we went.

The phone was ringing as I opened the front door - not an easy manoeuvre with a bundle of baby on your hip and a bag of nappies etc. in the other hand. It was still ringing though and I reached it in time to answer.

“Mr Bean-counter?”
“It’s the Royal Marsden here,”
“Oh yes,” Jasmine was wanting to be put down so I said, “just a sec,” while I put her down.
“Mr Bean-counter,”
“It’s about your wife,”
“There’s been a complication,” possibly the four most horrible words in the English language.
“Yes,” my brain had frozen and my body was shutting down, “what is it?”
“It was just after you left. She suffered a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot lodged in her pulmonary artery and cut off the blood supply to her lungs. The thing is, she had her Walkman on and her eyes closed and by the time the nurse noticed and called the doctor I’m afraid it was too late. She died just after 6.00pm. I’m so very sorry Mr Bean-counter.”

Even today, there are tears running down my face and dripping into the whiskey glass shaking in my hand. The shock at that time was total - luckily, it numbed some of the pain, and time passed in a fog. I couldn’t describe the next few weeks even if I wanted to. My Mum came to stay and looked after Jasmine while I was sorting out things and crying myself to sleep. I took a month off work to think what to do, anyway, I could barely count to ten.

I found a nursery that would take Jasmine while I was at work, but after two weeks I handed in my resignation. The people at work were great but I just didn’t want to be there, I couldn’t bear to leave Jasmine at the nursery in the mornings. I decided to move to Southampton and set up as a self-employed accountant. That way I could work from home. At least I didn’t have to worry about money for a while. The life insurance paid off the mortgage, I put the house on the market. In the short time we’d been there the value had shot up, I sold up and bought a big place in Southampton which would serve as home and office.

I played that tape I’d made for her over and over again. The first track was ‘No woman, no cry’. By the way, Bob was wrong, so very, very wrong. I just tried holding on to the lines that said “Everything’s going to be alright”, but it was a damned close run thing at times. By the time Jasmine was a year old, she must have heard the tape over a hundred times, and “Don’t worry, Jaz, everything’s going to be alright” was a kind of mantra of mine.

You have to pull yourself together when you’re looking after a baby, and if there was one thing keeping me going it was Jasmine. There was so much of Manisha’s face in hers…

God, I wish that was the end of my story.

Briefly, over the next few years, I built up a business doing books for small and medium sized businesses in the area. I could do it virtually in my sleep which was good, and it kept me busy, which was also good. I made some friends, got recommended. One of my old housemates still lived in Southampton and taught at the University and Manisha’s family (especially Anand and his wife) as well as my family visited a lot, so I had plenty of human contact. Quite a few of my clients were self-employed builders and tradesmen, one was Steve who was a plumber. When his daughter Michelle wanted to open a hairdressing salon, he asked me to look after the finances for her. Steve and his mates did the place up for her for the cost of the materials and she’d done an apprenticeship, had HND and whatnot, she was in her mid-20s, pretty, unattached; I was in my early thirties by this time and hadn’t wanted or sought out female company since Manisha died six or so years previously.

You may doubt this was so, but firstly, my heart was burnt to ashes, secondly, I’d turned off this part of my life and thirdly, I was a single Dad with a little kid - not so easy to do anything about it, even if I wanted to. But, little by little, I got friendly with Michelle. She was…undemanding company but she actually made me laugh and I could tell she liked me. She got me to bring Jasmine to her shop and did her hair for her which thrilled her, as I was her usual hairdresser at that time. I still didn’t make any move though and it was her idea in the end - she invited both of us for dinner at her place…

…Six months on and she’d come and stay at our place at weekends. She left womanly bits and pieces in the bathroom, took over a couple of drawers in my bedroom. I went along with things, maybe I shouldn’t have.

It was a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day. You can imagine how I felt about that date. She wanted to go out to a restaurant but I told her not to come the following week as we wanted to be alone and we’d be up in London, visiting Kew Gardens, where Manisha’s ashes were scattered in the bluebell wood. I suppose she felt it was time for me to ‘get over it’ and get on with life. I disagreed, we went to bed in foul moods and woke up the same way. At breakfast, Jasmine was acting up; I was making a pot of coffee, so I didn’t see what happened but Michelle started shouting at Jasmine. As I turned round, Jasmine threw a spoonful of cereal at Michelle and Michelle pulled her out of her seat and smacked her on the bum… …before I knew what was happening, I’d pulled Michelle’s arm round with my left hand and smacked her across the face with the flat of my right hand, then I was shouting in her face “IF YOU SO MUCH AS EVER TOUCH ONE HAIR OF THAT CHILD’S HEAD AGAIN, SO HELP ME, I’LL KILL YOU”

I bent down and gathered up the screaming Jasmine in my arms, ran out of the kitchen and up to her room, murmuring “Don’t worry Jaz, everything’s going to be alright.” When she’d calmed down a bit I said “OK Jaz, we’re going out for the day, get yourself dressed, I’ll be back up in a minute”

Back in the kitchen, Michelle was looking furious but hadn’t moved. “OK,” I said, “I’m really sorry I hit you, but this isn’t working. It was never going to work. I’m taking Jasmine out, clear all your stuff out before we get back.”

“You’re fucking dead you. I’m gonna tell my Dad you slimeball and you’re gonna wish you’d never been born.”

“Too fucking late for that you cow, been there, done it. Just be gone or you’ll be the sorry one.”

I took Jasmine to the seaside. We had a favourite place where there was a café and some shops on the front and a good long beach. At times of stress I still sometimes fall back on cigarettes, at that time I did. I very rarely smoke in front of Jaz but I did then. We went into the café, got a table by the window, I got me a large black coffee and a hot chocolate and a cake for Jaz and I smoked, staring out of the window at the cold blustery February morning.

“Daddy, what was Mummy really like?” Jasmine asked as I lit a second cigarette. I couldn’t get a word out at first, but the tears started again. She came round the table and gave me a huge hug, “Don’t worry Daddy, everything’s going to be alright,” she said.

“That’s right Jaz,” I said, “everything’s going to be alright. Let’s take a walk on the beach, and I’ll tell you all about Mummy.” We spent a couple of hours walking along the beach, throwing stones in the water, picking up shells, and I told her stories about when the two of us were young students, or when we were working together as 6th formers and when we were newlyweds before she was born.

When we got back to the house the front door was wide open. Shit.

I went inside first and made Jasmine wait just outside the front door. I stopped in the doorway to the living room. Inside, all of the photos of me and Manisha had been smashed and crumpled or torn and all over the room was tape. She’d taken the special tape and pulled it all out of the cassette, stretching it and tying it around things, yards and yards of thin brown tape, totally beyond repair. I stumbled out and into the rest of the rooms; the bedroom was a mess and all over the house the photos had been broken. Luckily that was all.

I had re-prints made of all the photos from the negatives and I made the tape again. I knew the order of songs off by heart and still had most of them on disc, though some now had scratches and jumps where they hadn’t the first time I’d taped them.

I’ve met a few women since, but I’ve not brought them home. I’ve not met anyone I’d trust that far. Jaz knows that I’m always there for her. A couple of years ago she went off to university and it was as if I’d lost an arm; I’m still trying to get used to it. The house is so damned quiet all the time. She knows if she’s feeling low, I’ll drive the 450 mile round trip to bring her home at a minute’s notice.

Each February at the nearest weekend, we go to the same beach, come rain or shine and I tell her stories about her Mum. The next day we drive up to London, with the tape on the player and we wander round the woods at Kew and I tell her more stories. As she’s got older, I find I can tell her different stories, I think she knows her Mum pretty well now.

Thanks for listening - I don’t feel any better yet, but I can see that I will do soon. Sorry it was so long.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:17, 60 replies)
Bloody hell.
Knocked me for six, that did.

Suddenly this week's question is all worthwhile.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:25, closed)
That has to be the saddest, most beautiful story I've read on here.

Thank you for sharing it with us.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:27, closed)
I'm gobsmacked too.
Very moving and very well written.

I look forward to reading more of your posts on here.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:39, closed)
Your daughter
is sooooo lucky to have such a terrific Dad. Well done for keeping your sanity, and keeping her Mum alive in her mind.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:40, closed)
That is one of the most tragic, yet beautiful stories I've ever come across. I'm sat at my desk wiping away a little tear and swallowing the lump in my throat.

I hope I turn to be half the man you are, and at least half as good a dad as you.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:46, closed)
Hang in there bud !!
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:47, closed)
Lurkatron strikes
This is a question reply Jesus
Fellow lurker here.

I know its not much consolation or anything but that was probably the most moving story on here and I really hope you find happiness, with or without someone else, in the future. You deserve it mate.

Also I reckon your a fucking brilliant dad and your daughter is incredibly lucky to have someone like you. Good on you dude.

Incidentally what Scottish water is it your having?!

Peace Homes
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:48, closed)
Mr Bean counter. That is a beautiful story.
I can't even begin to understand what you are going through.
I wish I had some words of comfort for you but nothing I know would even come close.
You seem to have family and friends to help you, but if you need to talk to someone you don't know,. sometimes that can help, please just e-mail.

Love to you and Jasmine.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:48, closed)
It is very rare that I shed a tear at work, but this is one of those times.

Well done sir, for keeping it together, and for doing what sounds like a cracking job of bringing up your Daughter. I wish I could provide more meaningful support than kind words, but I hope kind words will do. I suspect you will get a lot of them in these replies.

And also, well done for finding the meaning in this QOTW - this is what it is all about.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:48, closed)
I'm not really sure what to say
I'm sure you've had all of the "I'm so sorry to hear that"'s before, and I doubt it'll help any.
Best I can offer you is a *click*, and say that I'm impressed how well you seem to have coped, nice work, and well written.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:49, closed)
what Ogwen said...

Well done for surviving and being able to write this down for us all.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:54, closed)
Bless you
Thanks for sharing that - it was very moving x
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 10:58, closed)
Thanks, all of you.
I'm very touched.

I was dying of frustration all weekend. I signed up to b3ta on Friday and wrote this thing in a couple of hazy hours on Friday evening, but wasn't allowed to post until this morning, being a Newbie. It gave me time to iron out the typos and change half a dozen words on Saturday. I re-read it on Sunday and thought it was rubbish, nearly didn't post it at all.

This morning, I'm mainly drinking strong black coffee again, and starting to feel better.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:12, closed)
I'm not an emotional man (but I did cry at Armageddon once, go figure) but your story moved me. Stick at it, you're an example to everyone.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:14, closed)
Without a doubt, the most moving story I've ever read on a b3ta qotw. I certainly wasn't expecting to read anything so poignant and touching this week.

I wish you and Jasmine every happiness.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:15, closed)
I feel drained.

What a bitch.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:19, closed)
A moving, humbling, compelling read..

Thank you for puncturing the QOTW with this heartfelt story of how you dealt with such a tragedy. We can all enjoy the funny posts, but it is just as rewarding to read the stories that make us stop and think.

You probably don’t think you’re brave, but you are. How many of us would have come through such misery with such resolve? There's more to surviving than just continuing to exist.

Words like ‘sorry’ just don’t cut it in these circumstances, so I won’t attempt to patronise you with sympathy. All I will say is it takes stories like this to remind the rest of us how lucky we are.

However, from what I read I’m sure Manisha would want you to move on and find the same happiness with somebody else. Don’t continue alone and suffering. You are worth more than that and you deserve it. You may not think you can do it and may not want to…but please try...and don't let what happened with Michelle cloud your faith of finding pure intimacy with another person.

Also, (I’m sure you do this but) please…hold Jasmine close…whilst respecting her independence and individuality. Unfortunately, there will be a time when you have to let her go…and I don’t just mean to University.

I hope no b3tan ever even comes close to the pain you had to withstand, but if it should happen I’m sure they can feel inspired by your words to find strength and dignity through the sorrow and anguish.

Thanks to you, this QOTW is now worthwhile.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:20, closed)
is certainly one of the most moving things I've ever read. Although it's little consolation I'm sure, you have my utmost respect for keeping yourself together for your daughter, who undoubtedly is an incredibly fortunate girl to have a father who cares for her so much.

What that other woman did was abhorrent - I really hope though that when you're ready you'll meet someone that respects the love you had for your wife and understands how you feel.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:22, closed)
I had to stop reading halfway down
As I was on hold with the tax man - not good form to be crying down the phone.

Finished it now though.

Thanks for posting.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:23, closed)
Ogwen's a mate of mine and mailed me the link to your story simply saying "even if you don't read anything else this week, read this".

I'm currently hidden behind a huge monitor, waiting for my eyes to stop being red.

Michelle: Best forgotten. Fortunately not all people are like that. With nearly all women in the world looking for a man like you - and I use the word "Man" with all the meaning I can - when you find the right lass she'll be lucky.

Anybody can be a dad, but it takes a special person to be a real father.

*man hug*
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:32, closed)
Utterly beautiful.
Poignant and moving. I must admit to shedding a tear.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:35, closed)
This is quite possibly the saddest thing I've ever read on B3ta.

Thanks for sharing.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:46, closed)
It has taken me 5 mins

of thinking and I still have no idea what to write.

You sound like an incredible person and I hope life smiles favourably on you and Jasmin from now on, God knows you deserve it.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:51, closed)
another little tear
Even reading some of these replies makes a little lump appear and tear make its way down my unshaven face.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 11:53, closed)
^all of this
it does bring a lump to the throat

large, bearded blokes shedding a tear at work is not a pretty sight

I admire your strength and resolve; you should feel proud of yourself and of your daughter
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:08, closed)
Still running
Every breath you take is a victory, every beat of your heart a triumph.

You are all teh win.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:33, closed)
For once, I'm speechless
And that was without a doubt one of the best written things I have seen in a long time.

Hope I'd do as well for my own kids in such a horrible situation (I have a nasty feeling I wouldn't). I salute you.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:45, closed)
I've offered this before, and it might not seem like much
But if you ever feel the need for some home made soup and a good comedy film, come to Liverpool and sit on my sofa. What a lovely person you are, honestly, anytime!
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:50, closed)
people are asking me why im wiping tears out of my eyes, huge kudos to you mr Counter, I think I would have just shrivelled up and gone quietly away.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:57, closed)
That's unbelievably moving.
Thank you for sharing fella.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 13:04, closed)
As they have all said. Hey- SOuthampton B3ta piss up must surely be on the cards with all of us around, we must organise one soon. If only to wind up the polish, that is!
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 13:13, closed)
'nuff said.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 13:48, closed)
As a new dad myself...
...I would have slapped the bitch too. Thanks for sharing.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 13:51, closed)
was the most moving thing I have ever read on any QOTW, especially as I was beginning to give up on this one. I'm so sorry for all you've been through but from the sound of things you're the best dad Jasmine (beautiful name too) could ask for. I hope that someday you can find someone else to make you just as happy *wipes away a tear*.

*click click click*
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:15, closed)

There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said, and I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to write your story out...

All I can say is that I salute you, sir. I think you have shown us all what it takes to be a man and a father, and also a damned good husband and person.

I offer you a click, because that's about as much as I can do for you. And here, have a man hug too.

*salutes, hugs and then clicks*
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:22, closed)
Let's hope Karma
will sort out that bitch, Michelle for her abject lack of humanity. I don't even know you, yet all my instincts want to reign evil on her. But that's not your style at all.
You have my utmost respect and empathy, and truly are an inspiration to all parents. How lucky you and Jasmine are to have eachother, for with the upbringing you have given her you are surely adding a beautiful citizen to this world.
Your qualities of patience and selflessness are humbling.
I'm guessing it's this weekend for Kew Gardens. Although I'm not at all religious, I will go to our nearest beach on Saturday and say a prayer for the two of you.
I wish you peace and contentment for now, as you don't seem ready to allow yourself the "indulgence" of happiness. May flames grow from the ashes of your heart when you eventually find someone worthy of your love.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:28, closed)
Post of the Year
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:49, closed)
Oh. Wow.
I can't really think of what to say, only that I had to search intently for somthing under my desk for a few minutes until I stopped crying.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 15:15, closed)
You know...
Particularly at this time of year, to hear a story about you and Manisha, and to hear the tragedy that befell you and Jazmine, its beautiful. Reminds us to treasure those moments that we DO have. You know?

God Bless you both.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 15:20, closed)
...moving, well written and far and away the 'best' thing i've ever read on b3ta. I think everyone above has it covered, but thanks for sharing anyway.

*wipes away tear* *clicks*
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 16:12, closed)
One more thing
It is true that out of something bad, something good can come. This phenomenal post to a crap question proves it.

Close this question early and make this the winner, cos nothing else, no matter how funny, is going to top it.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 16:24, closed)
Blimey O'Reilly!!
Been in meetings most of the day...

What can I say? So much warmth - you've got me blubbing now!

Sorry, should have said, but being a private man, I've changed some place and people's names. I did have mates at S'oton uni, but I went (and now live) elsewhere. In my Friday drunken state, 'Sleepless in Southampton' seemed like a good idea.

I've not given up all hope of finding a new love, and my current lonely state has started me thinking more seriously about doing something about it, but for this week at least, I'm still stuck firmly in the past.

Thanks for all the 'man hugs'...'virtual woman hugs' will also be gratefully received.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 16:45, closed)
My daughter is called Jasmine
which made this even more poignant - shit, that's not the right word. There is no right word. Hope you do meet someone else when you're ready for it - we all deserve love, and I think you deserve it an awful lot. You've told us a sad story that's made all of us cry - here's hoping before too long, you'll be able to tell us something that will put a big smile on our faces.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 17:52, closed)
I'm near Liverpool...
...and if there's going to be a Southampton bash, I'm there. I want, no, NEED to buy you a drink. Another blubbering wreck of a bloke here too. Truely one of the most moving things I've ever read. Oh, My Daughter is called Jasmine too.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 18:03, closed)
That was the most beautiful thing I think Ive ever read....
I feel privileged (as I imagine everyone here does) to have read that.

Beautiful and moving. I may not have ever met you but I feel touched. Youve managed to go through the unimaginable and you have every piece of respect possible from me that it is possible to recieve. This story has just put my life back into perspective and for that I thank you again.

I wish you all the best in your future endevours, you deserve it more than anyone I know.

(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 18:38, closed)
I'm female - have a big virtual hug from me :)

I've read this post about 6 times and each time it gets more moving, *sniff* and I'm a cold hearted old tart too.
(, Tue 12 Feb 2008, 19:14, closed)
I can be a cynical bastard at times but that tale brought a lump to my throat.

You've a gift with words.

My heartfelt good wishes to you. I hope you eventually find happiness again.


(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 5:39, closed)
Firstly just a repeat of all the heartfelt respect and good vibes that everyone else has sent to you, and then perhaps a few words from my own experience.

My own Mum died of cancer when I was 10, and my bro was 7. My Dad brought the two of us up on his own, having told us very early on after she died that whatever women may come in to his life, they would never get in the way of us three guys. And so it proved to be - he had various girlfriends (if that is what you can call them when talking about your own Dad) all of whom were kicked into touch after varying amounts of time when he felt that either me or my brother did not like them. Sounds a bit weird, but I think we saved him from a couple of nutters on more than one occasion and we just wanted our Dad to ourselves.

As we grew up, just being the three of us seemed perfectly normal, and I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have been alone and had a little cry coz I missed my mummy and wished she was around just one more time.

Forward to today - my dad is 81 in March - my son (Samuel - you blue eyed beauty!) was born 2 and a half years ago and my daughter (called Yasmin!!!!) was born just over 10 weeks ago. My Dad is still single, though has a friend who he sees when they can both be bothered as far as I can tell, and I only rarely think about how I wish that my mum could see the two kids I now have.

I wish that my Dad HAD found someone to be with, but he has maintained all his life that he would not change anything as far as looking after his boys is concerned.

I do not have any words that can experess how much I love him.

My point here is that time WILL heal - but it wont take away those feelings that will sometimes creep up on you when you might not expect them. Don't fight it - I can vouch for the relief and release that a good sob can do for a grown man every now and again - and embrace what you have.

I think you have shown amazing strength and character, and I have no doubt your daughter will understand soon enough (if she does not already) what a great Dad she has. I hope I can do and be the same for my own.

I now have to wipe away a few tears and go to a business meeting.


*breathes deeply and audibly for a bit*

*and now feeling a bit better*

lots of clicks....
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 6:46, closed)
Have a virtual hug from me as well to bring up the 50.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 12:30, closed)
Yeah, it's like that...
My wife didn't die- we divorced instead- so I can't wholly relate to the first half of the story. No one can unless they've gone through it themselves, of course.

That said, I fully relate to the second half- having kids and trying to have something resembling a sex life. It ain't easy.

In the past six years I've had relationships of some sort with... well, a lot of women, most of whom were not someone I would want to introduce to my kids. Some did get introduced anyway- Mad Stripper, anyone?- but for the most part I kept that part of my life well separated.

I found during this that you have a choice to make- do you try to get on with your life and start a new one, or do you put your kids first and keep your love life in a holding pattern? It really is a matter of one or the other, and I found that the women who didn't have kids (or whose kids were grown) highly resented the intrusion of kids into my schedule. If I had to change plans because of a sick kid or some such, it made them extremely upset and jealous of the kids. Many relationships foundered on that particular rock. And looking back, I'm rather glad they did- if the woman isn't understanding of that, I don't want her.

My kids knew that I was dating, of course, and were at first a little uneasy with the concept as they thought I might meet someone and decide that I wanted to start a new life without them. Once it became obvious that I wasn't going to do that, they were fine with me dating- although they were a little nervous when the Travel Agent moved in with me. And they were right- she ended up moving out after a really bad scene, and even today is still angry with me. But the fact that I didn't choose her over them cemented things for them, and they're very close to me now- and they've now accepted the Lunatic Artist, as they know that if that relationship goes pear shaped I'll still choose them first.

I'm 45 now, and will have a kid in school for another three years or so before she goes off to university. Three years isn't a long time to wait, really. Once she's established at a college I'll be free to move from this house and restart my life- but even then, if one of my kids calls me and needs me, they know I'll be there. And that's as it should be.

Good luck, mate. You'll get there.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 13:08, closed)
...I'm practically speechless here. Hiding behind my monitor, so no one can see the red eyes...

You've done a man's job, sir.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 13:49, closed)
And this is why we have non-obvious QOTW... for the occaisional high point, and this is very high. Hope tomorrow is ok and that the trip is... as good as it can be I guess...

Knocks the puns into a cocked hat doesn't it.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 14:02, closed)
Mate, you're a legend
I'm sorry you went through that, but life will go on, and you'll be better. There'll always be a place in your heart for Manisha, and the memories will make you happy, instead of feeling a loss.

Good luck with life mate, you more than deserve it
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 20:58, closed)
Respect due to you, Sir

(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 21:03, closed)
I don't often make a point of reading QOTW
especially ones so long, but that is probably the most heartbreaking thing I've ever read.
I wish there was something anyone could do for you, I can't imagine how that must feel.

Thank you for sharing.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 21:07, closed)

For what its worth I'm thinking about you both.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 21:12, closed)
A very moving story Sir.

(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 21:32, closed)
I don't even know what to say
But honestly, thank you for sharing your story.
(, Wed 13 Feb 2008, 21:41, closed)

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