Monday, May 9, 2011

More Lies...

The 43-year-old mum tells in her new book of her fears for her relationship with husband Gerry, 42, and how they adapted to being back at home in Rothley, Leicestershire, without the three-year-old.
And Kate writes of questioning her Catholic faith over the trauma of losing Madeleine:
After Madeleine was taken from us, my sexual desire plummeted to zero.
Our sex life is not something I would normally be inclined to share and yet it is such an integral part of most marriages that it doesn't feel right not to acknowledge this.
To those fortunate enough not to have encountered such heartache, I hope it gives an insight into just how deep the wounds go.
Apart from our general state of shock and distress, and the fact that I couldn't concentrate on anything but Madeleine, there were two continuing reasons for this, I believe.
The first was my inability to permit myself any pleasure, whether it was reading a book or making love with my husband.
The second stemmed from the revulsion stirred up by my fear that Madeleine had suffered the worst fate we could imagine: falling into the hands of a paedophile.
Gerry never made me feel guilty, he never pushed me and he never got sulky. In fact, sometimes he would apologise to me. Invariably, he would put a big, reassuring arm around me and tell me that he loved me and not to worry.
I was determined not to be beaten by this, not simply to capitulate and accept it as just one of the unfortunate side-effects of this tragedy.
Gerry and I talked about it a little, but mostly I analysed the problem privately in my head.
I also discussed it with psychologist Alan Pike who assured me that, like my ability to relax or enjoy a meal, it would gradually return.
Deep down, though, I knew there were only two solutions: bringing Madeleine back or conquering my mental block.
Since the first was not within my control, it was up to me to try to train my mind and my thought processes.
I look back now and wonder how on earth Gerry and I have made it this far.
If it weren't for the solid relationship between us, I'm not sure we would have done.
No relationship, however strong, can emerge unscathed from what is probably the most painful and terrifying ordeal any parent could suffer. It would be a lie to claim that everything has been plain sailing.

Future ... Kate still has a real battle to relax and enjoy life
Gerry was functioning much sooner than I was. I felt a tinge of resentment that he was managing to operate and I wasn't; sometimes I found it almost offensive, as if somehow he wasn't grieving enough.

On other days I would feel I was a failure for not being capable of doing as much for Madeleine as he was. It was equally difficult for Gerry. He needed my help and support and I was so consumed by my own grief that I simply couldn't give anything.
When I finally reached the next rung of the 'coping ladder', I could see that my husband's ability to drag himself up from the hell into which we'd been catapulted was a godsend.
Without it, the campaign to find Madeleine would never have got going in the way it did.
Being back in our house wasn't as bad, or even as sad, as I'd feared.
In fact it was quite comforting. Perhaps just having our own familiar bits and pieces around us relieved some of the stress. Perhaps it was that the whole house was full of reminders of Madeleine.
But declared arguidos, labelled as suspects in the press and consequently considered by many to be guilty of something, we needed to clear our names, comprehensively and quickly, before we could continue the search for Madeleine on any effective level.
One of the first things we did was to ring our GP. We wanted to make contact with the social services to pre-empt any interest they might be obliged to take in us.
In the light of the headlines and our arguido status, we realised there would be pressure on the authorities to assess the welfare of the twins.
Wild stories were appearing in the papers about my "fragile" mental state, my "inability to cope" with my "hyperactive" children, eating disorders and sedatives.
There were several occasions when I was out with Sean and Amelie and one or other of them would have a tantrum. I was afraid that people would judge my children and the way I dealt with their behaviour.
Would they think the twins were unhappy or traumatised, or scared of me? That there were problems in our family? What would they tell their friends?

I usually found myself trying ever so hard to reason with the twins, or gently asking them to please stop.

The attention of strangers isn't all bad, of course. It is heartening and comforting when shoppers come up to me in the supermarket and say, "How are you, Kate? We're all behind you."
But certain reactions to our situation have been hard to deal with.
For some people it seems too painful to bear. It's as if they are almost pretending Madeleine's abduction never happened.
For Gerry and me it feels easier, and right, to talk about Madeleine and we are relieved when others do so, too. We cannot behave as if she doesn't exist.

The awful sense of Madeleine's fear I once experienced every waking hour has, however, eased a little. What remains is a lasting awareness of the terror she would've felt in the disorientating moment she first opened her eyes to find herself with a stranger. I cannot imagine this will ever fade completely.

Sometimes the most innocuous and unexpected triggers can set me off: the smell of newly mown grass, or a song I associate with happier days. The hymn On Eagle's Wings, which Gerry and I chose for our wedding, gets me every time. It was over two years before I could bring myself to play music again. In the end it was the thought of how unfair it would be to deny Sean and Amelie, who loved singing, that got me over that hurdle.
Gerry, meanwhile, was able to switch off from time to time and I'm sure that was a great help to him. I felt guilty for his sake that I couldn't do the same.
He was desperate to share his moments of relaxation with me, to have his old Kate back, even if only briefly. He would suggest doing something nice - and I would cry.

Book ... out May 12Despite his inner strength, determination and capability, Gerry has his own down days, of course.

He's been such a rock through so many long and testing times that when he crumbles, it is all the more concerning.
At times it has taken Gerry everything he's got to fight for his own survival and there's just been nothing left to give me.
Occasionally, when I've been as low as it's possible to be, or afraid I was losing control completely, I've longed for a chance to talk it through, or even just to feel Gerry's arm around my shoulder, but he simply hasn't had the strength.
He knows or fears that if he allows himself to be sucked into my despair, he might be brought crashing down, too.
It sounds selfish and it feels selfish, too. But our lives remain precarious and sometimes it is all you can do to keep your own head above water, let alone anyone else's.
I am often asked, "Has your faith been tested? Do you get angry with God?" I do not blame God for Madeleine's abduction.
The abductor is responsible for that. What I do wrestle with, though, is the inexplicable fact that despite so many prayers, almost total global awareness and a vast amount of hard work, we still do not have an answer.
It is said God only gives you a cross He knows you can bear. Well, I'm afraid this cross has been far too heavy for far too long. For now, though, at least, my anger towards God seems to have subsided. I believe in Him and I still feel His presence.
There is one thing of which I am confident: I believe wherever Madeleine is, God is with her.