My Last Goodbye
…..to someone who has been a big part of my life,
……..to someone who I have only recently found out has passed away.
Not long after leaving Mirfield I was passing through King’s Cross station or perhaps Waterloo, I can’t remember exactly which. Not waiting for or alighting from a train, just doing my usual thing, plying my trade, and there he was, my teacher.
My tutor, who had trained me well in preperation for life’s ups and downs.
I glanced at him, not sure that it was really him. He glanced at me and looked away. Then our eyes met with a constant stare, a stare of recognition, a silent intimate stare.
I think I detected a slight look of hesitent embarrassment. He had no need to feel embarrassed. I was streetwise and would have taken his money just as if he was any other punter.
But I realised that he might have thought I was too old, maybe tarnished now by the world he had gifted me and no longer that boy with ‘armpits like chalices’ who had seduced him just those few years prior.
Graduated With Honours
If only he had known how successful I had become. I had graduated with honours, self-employed and owing the taxman nothing. I bet he would have felt so much pride in my achievements and in the fact that it was he who had guided me and was the master of my destiny. However, he wouldn’t have been able to take all the credit. I deserve a lot of the credit myself.
A train pulled in, and I lost him for moment in a sea of heads. But I caught sight of him again . Some reflective light caught his spectacles that drew my attention.
He turned away and walked towards the train , a melancholy figure. I watched him board the train with a last look hanging on his shoulder.
A wave of pity came over me. Was he not sadder than I? Was he not my hero, the one who had saved me from the ogre who had tortured my mind, the ogre who had resided among those green fields of my early youth?
I stood there a while and then my demon eye began to wander.
‘Hello mister, you need a hand’? A knowing look and a smile sealed the deal.
Goodbye Father John Pinkman. God rest your soul . Maybe we will meet again in a better world, a better place, a better dream.
Part 2 – How It all Started
I was at Mirfield for quite some time in the 1960’s.
I first came across the Mirfield Memories site over two years ago and apart from a few emails I sent to Kevin Deignan, I’ve found it difficult to even think about Mirfield never mind write about it. So it’s taken me a long time to get down to writing this.
I just feel now that it is something I must do.
My memories are somewhat hazy and confused. It was a confusing and lonely and unhappy time of my life. Not that life got any better after leaving.
My first few months at Mirfield must have been relatively fine. I don’t remember anything particularly bad happening apart from a general feeling of isolation and lonliness. The only thing that is clear in my mind is waving to my mother as she left and then running up the stairs to the dormitory.
I can’t remember how long exactly I had been at Mirfield, it must have been a few months anyway, before Father John.Pinkman had me in his room, telling me about the facts of life. He gave me a booklet to read, leaving me on my own to do that. I went to his room several times and he would talk about all sorts of things. I liked Fr.Pinkman. He was kind, not like some of the other priests.
I remember when I started feeling a bit uncomfortable with him. He started asking me personal things and I didn’t like that. It wan’t long after this, that he started abusing me. I remember crying and I have been crying all my life ever since.
I know it sounds crazy, but when other bad things happened, mainly to do with Ceresoli. I would run to Fr Pinkman. He would talk to me and make me feel better.
I just felt desperate and lonely so I suppose I went to the only person who I thought would help me.
Although I can’t remember much happening concerning Ceresoli in my early days there.as time went by, I became terrified of him. He was a mean, nasty man.
I know from all the times I was up in front of him that he knew I was having problems about something or other but all he ever did was ridicule and humiliate me. It was as if he had no compassion or understanding at all.
Totally lacking in empathy, a whited sepulchur, hiding behind a cloak of respectabiliy but in reality a vile evil bully who wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in the real world.
And I think of how it should have been. Arriving at Mirfield full of nerves and anticipation. being welcomed into a loving community, where I would have been taught and guided and nurtured, where any previous faults and failings would disappear. A place where I would have been built up.
But that’s all fantasy. It’s laughable in a sad way. Then there was Fr.Rector, I can’t even remember his name. All I remember of him is his face.
A face that would appear out of no where and almost paralyse you with it’s cold stare. But that’s who we got – him and Ceresoli or Cheeser as we called him. If there is any hate and anger left in me, it is for him, Ceresoli.
I started having weird terrifying feelings that would come on me at anytime. It’s hard to explain. Everything would become hazy as if nothing was real. Everything I touched, I couldn’t feel properly, like wearing thick gloves.
Everything would close in on me and that was more terrifying than anything. If I could, I would disappear into the toilets, other times, like in class, I would just have to sit there, and other times I would just cry.
These feelings are something that have never entirely left me. Even through sessions with psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists, it is something I barely mentioned, probably because it would take me back to a place and a time I couldn’t cope with going to until now. I wish I had, it might have helped me.
Guilt and Shame
And then there was the guilt and shame. Being at Mass and taking Communion the morning after something bad had happened. Going to confession and never being able to confess. There were a few times I didn’t take communion and I felt shame in that, being the only one not to.
I just felt so guilty. I began hurting myself but in a way that no-one could see. But the guilt just increased with thoughts of suicide,there is no end to it.
Fr Pinkman’s Abuse
I have always been confused about Fr.Pinkman. I am even now. I have even thought at times it was all my fault, that I had seduced him with an all too obvious need for affection and protection. But still, he was part of something that destroyed my life for ever.
Whatever strengths I may have had when I first went to Mirfield, disappeared. In my mind, as I look back, I was dismantled, as were others, and left with nothing on which to build anything after leaving.
All I had was shame and guilt and fear, all eventually resulting in anger at everything. I think they became part of the fabric of who I was and am, like they were woven into me.
So I eventually left Mirfield and by the time I was 17 I had left home.
Hurt My Mother
I broke my mother’s heart, but still she stood by me,she always did.Above anything, it is what I did to her that hurts the most.
It was as if I was desperately looking for something that was missing and looking for it all in the wrong places. By the time I was 17 years old I was in the gutter like some trash desperately seeking a sewer.
I have never had a meaningful relationship with anyone. I have never achieved anything worthwhile. Although I am reasonably bright, I could never finish anything I started.
Attempts to Change Things
There were occasions when I did try to change things. I had left Mirfield with no qualifications at all, so I decided to obtain a few credits with the OU and with them I applied for a place at University.I dropped out after a few months.
Depression overtook me again. But that’s how my life has always been.
I would just like to say to the others who were abused,some of whom I undoubtedy know, I hope you have found some peace in this life.
As for myself, without really ever acknowledging it until now, I suppose I’m where I have been since I was a kid, there, in that place.
I will always be there.
Part 3 – Goodbye Father John Pinkman
Sometimes I think what would have happened if Fr. Pinkman had not turned his back on me that day on that railway platform. What if he had approached me and put his arms around me and told me he was sorry.
It would have meant the world to me. I would have forgiven him there and then. It would, to a great extend, have lightened that burden on my back, that devil I’ve been carrying all my life.
I really believed that Fr Pinkman cared for me, maybe I needed to believe that. Even after he had turned away from me that day.I still believed he cared. I realise now that he never cared at all.
No Apology Can Come
But Fr Pinkman has gone,so has Ceresoli and Valmaggia. They can never appologise now. I always had a silly dream that they would, especially Fr. Pinkman. But of course they never did and were never likely to do that.
I cried when I found out that Fr Pinkman had died, I desperately needed something from him, an admission, a sorry, an acknowledgement of wrong things done. If he had cared about me he would have done that,
They are dead and gone but the injustice continues relentlessly.
Comboni Missionaries Still Covering Up
Nardo is still alive and so are the Verona Fathers and the church. They owe Mark something and the church owes us all something. When an individual does something wrong it’s on them. But the church is complicit in all that has happened and is happeneing. They are protecting the evil and that makes the church evil.
I must admit I don’t quite understand it all yet. I wonder if Fr Pinkman and Romano Nardo and Ceresoli and Father Domenico Valmaggia and all others like them,including those who are protecting them, ever went to confession.
I don’t understand how, on the one hand confession can bring forgivness, and on the other hand, confession doesn’t seem to include a genuine expression of sorrow to the victims. An acknowledgment of guilt to those affected so cruelly.
Maybe they are in denial and if so they are denying the very God they are suppose to represent. Maybe Ceresoli is not the only whited sepulchur, maybe the whole damn church is – but I hope that is not the case.
The church has something that’s priceless, something far greater than money. Something that would alleviate some of the pain and horror inflicted by them. All it would take is some genuine humility. I hope that will happen one day.
But for now, it seems beyond them to do that.