Thanks once again to the many kind people who sent her cards, I can report that Hollie had a very happy 33rd birthday yesterday!
She adores getting a shower of cards and looking at the designs and reading all the messages of love and encouragement inside. There was a card covered in stars “because you’re a star Hollie”, lots of animals and ‘girlie’ cards but all the cards so different and individual, that’s the amazing thing.
One card in particular actually brought tears to her eyes because inside the thoughtful friend had drawn a little cartoon showing her surrounded by all the people she loves best in the world, such as her mum and Robert and, floating above the group with angel’s wings her beloved uncle Roy! This set her off as Roy is always in her thoughts.
She told me that the night of her birthday she dreamed her Granddad and Gran on Anne’s side and Roy had come to wish her happy birthday. She knows they are all in heaven and that she will see them again, but “I really miss them”, she said.
It never fails to amaze me that Hollie despite all the trauma she has endured in her life remains such a normal, loving person, with a great sense of humour. She’s also quite an actress! When I kissed her hello yesterday and commented on how nice she looked she immediately drew out of her pocket a new lipstick in a very tasteful shade (a birthday present from her mum) and with a dramatic flourish proceeded to apply it to her lips, then assumed a comically superior expression, as if to say well, look at me now! Aren’t I just the bees knees!
At the same time Hollie is remarkable as we know for her steely resolve to pursue her childhood abusers as well as those who she firmly believes killed her uncle and locked up her mum in a mental hospital.
Once the birthday celebrations were concluded, inevitably the conversation turned to these more serious issues which are still to be resolved. Cuddling up to her mum Hollie listened in keenly, chipping in here and there (when she wasn’t nodding off after a very substantial lunch – she’s dieting at the moment and already looks wonderful but we told her firmly to ditch the diet and tuck in, which she happily did!).
I always get a few more pieces of the story on these occasions, for example yesterday I took it fully on board for the first time that out of all the horrible things that happened to Hollie during her early life the incident that most profoundly frightened and shocked her was the sectioning of her mum in September 2000. It was this that finally triggered the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from which she has suffered ever since. She witnessed the whole primal scene from the window of their 2nd floor flat of there home in Aberdeen – it took place down below in the car-park where the communal rubbish bins were located.
Anne had gone to take rubbish to the bins, as she exited the building she noticed a crowd of people standing by the front-door, they were busy looking at the list of apartments, it was a secure building and they had to seek entry. Anne asked if she could please pass by.
Then as she was returning from taking the rubbish, suddenly approximately 10 people, which included a doctor, police, psychiatric nurses and social workers moved towards her. A woman at the front of the group, walked slowly towards Anne, as she approached she said, “Mrs Mackie, we would like you to come inside.” At this point Anne recognised the woman as being Dr Morris whom she had met ‘only once before,’ when she had registered 8 weeks earlier at the Great Western Road practice. Anne replied, “What’s this all about?” Dr Morris repeated “Come inside.” Anne responded, “Not until you tell me what this is about!” Dr Morris repeated again “Come inside, we are here to section you.”
The crowd accompanying her started to move silently towards Anne, their gaze fixated upon her! Anne shouted loudly “Oh no you’re ****ing not” and slowly moved backwards conscious that she was out numbered. The police then lundged forward to grab her, Anne full of fear, started to run out into the car park, unaware of what was taking place, in fear for her life she started to scream. Anne looked up at the window and saw Hollie watching the whole event.
Anne’s pursuers caught up with her, four people grabbed her by each limb and lifted her screaming into the foyer of apartment block and threw her onto the concrete floor. As they pinned her down on the ground pulling down her cloths, they injected her in front of all their neighbours who had heard the commotion of screams and formed a congregation to view the assault, they shouted aloud, leave her alone, she hasn’t done anything!
Finally she lay completely still as if dead and was carted off into an ambulance. Then the social services manager who had been lurking in the background came up to the flat and took away Hollie who by that time was crying and trembling with fear to a care-home at Peterculter on the outskirts of Aberdeen. After a couple of days in the home she was taken to visit not her mum but her father and brother, the very last people she wanted to see!
She recounts that Sylvia Major and Wyn Dragon were also in Mackie’s house on that occasion, compounding her feelings of acute fear, disorientation and distress.
Those few days without her mum not knowing where she was or what was going to happen to her were undoubtedly the most frightening of Hollie’s life. For years afterwards she would continue to wake up with nightmares, tear out her hair and do ‘desperate drawing’ = scribbling terribly hard on piece after piece of paper with the pencil going right through the paper. She was still intermittently doing this, Anne told me when I first met the two of them in April 2010, although by that time the campaign and meeting all of us friendly and sympathetic supporters had greatly alleviated the symptoms.
This is why Shropshire Council’s current pursuit of her mum and banning of the two of them from contact with all of us feels to Hollie very much like being punished all over again, for what? Therefore it is so important to keep reminding her whenever we can that we’re all very much still here and looking out for her. It is a huge boost each time to Hollie’s morale and also Anne’s, they are very appreciative.
Here’s a message from Hollie, addressed to me, to be relayed to everyone else:
I had a wonderful day opening all the cards and presents which you delivered to me from all the very kind supporters on my 33rd birthday. The cards and gifts are wonderful.
I want to thank them and send them a big hug for thinking of me on my birthday.
All my Love
Anne went on to say that her fight for justice will go on and with all the support you have shown her, we are sure it is not that far away.
The ladies are also very much aware there’s been a party for Hollie on Facebook all yesterday! Both Anne and I have been trying to get in there/on there all day but we are both Facebook dinosaurs so it’s taking a while to be able to fire up the page. From the notifications that have been coming in I can see that Pat and Shirley and Brenda have put some great music on there which I know Hollie will love, as well as pictures and all kinds of messages, thanks so much to you very kind friends of Hollie. We will make it in there finally, for sure and I know Hollie will be thrilled.
Earlier in the week I and a few supporters mounted the Hollie Greig Demo outside the BBC offices in London.
PS Hollie already knew instantly when I asked her yesterday that her 34th birthday in 2013 will be on a Saturday! What will have happened by then, one year from now?! we all wondered. I continue to predict a very happy outcome, with immense positive repercussions for children & society generally, it is really only a matter of time.