Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Lies, and life in perspective.

I lied to my daughter last night. We were doing this silly personality test on Facebook, and she admitted that she was preoccupied with worries about bad things happening. I reassured her that life was not full of bad things. A few e-mails down the list I found a message that told me that a good friend's teenage son had been killed in an accident over the weekend. To say that you are stunned or horrified by such news is a meaningless expression. My thoughts have been going round and round on the news ever since. We have not seen the family regularly for some years but the children grew up spending time with hers at EO gatherings all over the country. I went up in the loft this morning to see if I had a photograph I could post. The last ones in the album were from a gathering at Manorbier Youth Hostel, shots of the grown-ups chatting over breakfast, the kids playing Magic and sleeping in heaps in the games room (I did find my favourite photo of Rose Darling after we had done her hair up in little plaits, she is looking all grumpy at being photographed.) Beverley is in one of them so I know they were there but there was not one of her son.
I did not know Alexander hardly at all but I mourn for Beverley's loss, a more lovely, kind and supportive friend it would be hard to find. I called this morning and she told me all about the policewoman at the hospital who lied because she didn't know what to say, the stream of tearful teenage girls arriving at her door and her angry ex-husband unable to just be a parent and support her without bringing conflict into the situation. She is planning a woodland burial, no black and some suitably unconventional music choices. He had apparently being discussing funeral plans recently with a friend, in the way that only real teenagers can, to laugh in the face of death and affirm their immortality.
So life is put a little into true perspective today. It feels more precious. It reminds you that ordinary life can be altered in a moment and will never be the same again.


  1. This is a lesson that comes again and again, as three sets of parents I know recently lost their children. How devastating! The lesson is of course to live each day as if it were the last. And for parents to enjoy your children now. Those adventures you are planning for someday in the future? Embark upon them now.

  2. Oh, your poor friend! I've never had children, but don't have to to know that that is the most painful loss of all.

    And, I don't think you lied to your daughter. Because life is not full of bad things. It's a mixture of good and bad. And, though the bad things, like your friends loss, do happen, we can't sit around worrying about them. I think you did the right thing by reassuring your daughter. But, also, as in your last line, we need to realize how fragile and precious our lives are.


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