Everyone has their share of troubles and trials, but for book writer Mary Rankine it seemed like every path had an obstacle.
“Getting it off my Chest: Troubles, Trials, Triumphs”, is a book about one woman’s struggle to overcome cruelties, crosses and criticisms and making a comeback through persistence, perseverance and prayer.
Like most young girls back in the day, Mary grew up helping her parents with chores around the home such as tending the garden washing, cooking and attending church. But what she would endure in childhood and the many challenges that would come later in life would leave her fighting a fierce battle of survival.
“Writing the book was really good therapy for me. I am more at peace and I really needed to get it off my chest,” she said.
In the book, Mary tells of how her marriage fell apart, bad treatment at the workplace, issues with her mother, a severed relationship with her daughter, the desertion of her father and the trials and tribulations in her second marriage. Only by putting her thoughts on paper, she found relief through exposing it all.
“I used to carry a lot of anger inside of me to the point where everyone I came in contact with saw it, I did not know it reflected on my face until people started saying how hateful I looked; it hurt to the point where I reverted to taking a mirror to work and hiding it under the desk so I could check every once and a while to see if my face ways set right,” she said.
People were passing remarks like, the old hateful woman, the only slim girl in the place, the one who never smiled and the one who was never absent from work. It was then she realised that all the anger, hate and hurt she was feeling inside was making its way to the outside. It took her a good while to get over that, to the point where she started looking more pleasant around people.
“It was not that I meant to look like that, when people really got to know me they found out I am a wonderful, kind and loving person who loves to laugh and make friends,” she said.
According to Ms Rankine, writing the book hit hard and most of the time she had to put it down to cry and lie down. Even during the proofing of the book when she came to certain parts she cried. “I almost cried the night my daughter called to say she was reading the book and she did not realise her mother was such a strong woman.”
Ms Rankine’s book tells of growing up in the 1950s in a two bedroom house with four siblings. Growing up under strict rules, her mother was a firm disciplinarian to the point where it seemed unbearable at times. But Mary said it made her strong and gave her guts to achieve something in life.
The harsh treatment did not stop and many nights she sought refuge with neighbours or just locked herself in the room.
Her father, she said, was no better. He packed his bags with his new wife and children and left the Cayman Islands for another country. That, she said, was very hurtful.
Years passed with her in turmoil. It was not until her trying to change that people would see she was a nice person.
“As much as I cried through some of the pages of the book, my best part is the time I smashed the bar in a confrontation with my husband. I could do nothing but laugh when after the stillness from the shattering of glass a voice sounded from the back. ‘Who let this mad woman in the place?’”
“After going through so many things I was at my ends wit, but I always believe when God is for you, no one can be against you and I knew I wanted out of the matrimonial home but where could I go,” she said. “By this time, most of the children were grown and it was nothing really holding me there.”
Ms Rankine was fortunate enough that a lady named Miss Pearl overhead her saying she wanted to purchase a home of her own.
“I wanted that house so bad I turned up every day to clean the bush until the bank called and said I could get the loan. That was the happiest day. It was like God was with me all the way.
Today, Ms Rankine is enjoying her retirement, visiting friends, dressing up, watching her favourite television show, “Judge Judy”, spending time with her grandchildren and working on her second book. Sometimes she gets a little depressed and lonely, but it quickly passes when she thinks of harder times.
For all the hard times at work she is glad she was able to retire and not resign.
“I wanted to put in my years with the department and retire with a pension,” she said.
For those who see themselves in a similar situation as hers, Mary said, “Don’t give up. What is sorrowful in marriages is having to divorce with young children involved. That affects the children, especially if they are under age.”
Hers, she said, were grown. That is why she stayed until the children were raised.