I haven’t done a post like this for a while. They normally arrive when shit does. Shit is the stuff we have to wade through until we get to the end of it. The last ten years have been shit-filled, but I thought that I had gotten to the end of it – I had not.
The last couple of weeks have been a mixture of sweet and bitter. Our middle daughter reached the milestone age of 21 and we, the family + Uncle Jim, shared a wonderful weekend in York – with sunshine – and laughter – and the contentment of having got there. The week before, my mum had been rushed in hospital for a leg infection that wouldn’t go away. She spent more time in there than was expected and each passing day added to our worries. It turns out that those fears were well-founded. Unfortunately she has Leukemia, the aggressive type. Mum spent her 84th Birthday in hospital and was given the final prognosis on her birthday. Time was no longer on her side.
This morning, I read about Jo Cox. Jo was an MP (Member of Parliament) who went into politics to make a difference. She was a unifying voice in an age when populists find that the only thing that unifies is hatred. She was principled and honest. She cared about people. She believed that we all had a duty of care towards each other no matter where in the world we lived. She set up a group that wished to help Syrian people who had been affected by the hideous civil war in their own country. She would have been one of those people who welcomed, and gave refuge to, those families who had braved the terrible journey to the West. She was hated by those who belived hate was the answer. And she was killed by one of their drone followers, a half-witted individual who could not decipher the meaning of shared humanity. So, he shot and stabbed her to death on the steps of her public office. She had a husband and two children. The murderer was unmarried; hopefully his issue has died with him.
And so this morning finds me waking from a troubled sleep. The early hours had left me stranded on an ever diminishing sandbank. The floor beneath my feet could no longer be trusted as soon it would give way to the immeasurably powerful draw of time. Mum still has a little time to live. She can talk to old friends. She can share time with her family. She can take her last sips of this thing that is called life. Her children have grown and are now not in need of her care. Her husband is a long time dead. Her legacy is that, like Jo Cox, she was a force for good, a fragile defence against the madness of the moment.
But still this was a powerful refusal to follow the popular path that has led the world to this moment in time.