WARNING: This post contains images that some readers may find disturbing – proceed with caution.

I spent a good portion of my childhood in Selly Oak Hospital, what with my mom’s cancer treatments, and my dad’s illness. The hospital closed down in 2011 and remains derelict to this day – but with the rise of interest in urban exploration, there have been a lot of photos and videos popping up online of what the hospital looks like since it’s been abandoned. Apparently the whole thing is going to be levelled with 650 houses to be built on the land.

Seeing the images when they first popped up online at first was kinda cool. I have several friends who are into urban exploration and I’m a fan of all things dark and creepy. But this evening while researching some ideas for a creative project, I came across a few pictures that brought back some very painful memories that I had apparently repressed enough for it to hurt once brought back to the front of my mind.

The last time I went into Selly Oak Hospital was the day that my dad died. The memories of that night are agonising to say the least – I was 15, it was raining, I was waiting for T and Canadian!Sister to join me to see Dad in the Chapel of Rest and I spent far more time near the mortuary than I wanted to. First Ex had yet to respond to my texts after he finished school – he found out about my dad through a friend of mine telling him to get his arse off MSN and phone me – and there was just so much drama going on than I could cope with.

The waiting room into the Chapel where I waited for hours.

When the nurses had made all the necessary preparations, I went in to see him. I asked a nurse to come in with me, as I’d never seen a dead body before and my morbid teenage mind went into overdrive.  She was so kind, she kept her arm around me and stayed by my side until I asked her to leave.

He was so cold. 

The Chapel of Rest where my dad once lay.

Seeing those images of the Chapel again… it was like I was right back there. My huge skater jeans were soaked up to the knees, I still had my parka on, and I was afraid.

So many ghosts of mine haunt that hospital. Part of me wants to go back and face them – this time as an adult and neither as a scared 8-year-old thinking her mom will die at any moment, or as a 15-year-old who had just lost her father. The only thing I know of that place is death and pain.

‘Lock the last open door/My ghosts are gaining on me.’ – Evanescence, All That I’m Living For

(Pictures courtesy of 28 Days Later member Speed – full thread found here. If you’re interested in urban exploration, give the site a read because it’s interesting stuff.)


About Claire

Well-groomed tomboy. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I hide it well.
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