Oh life! You can be so brutal.
This week, a young person, a classmate in my daughter’s year, succumbed to the rawest severity of depression. She took her own life, trapped in that state of belief where there seems no other escape. I understand, because I too have been to the very edge. This young girl, as did my mother and too many beautiful souls, took a step further and now are gone into personal memory and collective history.
Her classmates, and school, are in shock. I know too, of course, a little of what her family must be going through right now ~ an emotional nuclear bomb blast. Nothing will really be the same again. The loss of someone so young has its very own kind of sting.
My own daughter is suffering ~ so much has she carried this last few years. I will take care of her, to the best of my ability. We already have help, but require more now this has happened.
Last weekend, we needed to see the world continuing on its axis. We needed to feel. I took Gracie and her grandmother to the sea. After her son divorced me after a short separation, we’ve remained polite but not close. This has been her choice, but we all needed big horizons, fresh air, and to be around people who are walking freely about this world as an open, shared experience.
Cradled between a veil of sunshine, hail showers and a bitter wind, we felt the real warmth of unity as we walked and talked the rhythms of our living coasts. In a cafe at Penarth Pier, we shared cake and hot drinks, watched the sun glowing over a choppy, sediment-laden (another Fluminist blog) Bristol Channel. Flatholm Lighthouse faded in and out of sight on the horizon. It mattered not what we talked about, but that we did. It was our own form of dadirri.
We all begin life equipped with a few genes and a blank page. It is in the nurturing from that point on where the psyche is shaped in a plethora of heart-healing or heart-stealing moments. It is the gentle or rough brush with events, the places and flolocas we become, the people who impress upon us, and through all our senses.
As a nation, too much has a popularist, junk hostility poisoned the shaping of the collective psyche. Like the polluted air we breathe ~ too many lives are lost as collateral to this stupid race. Too many loves lost because of fear and money, or a lust for more.
Here in the UK, our education system is too much, too soon, too competitive and too geared for the growth economy. Like waves rolling in from a vast sea of knowledge, the light and dark, education for its own sake should pulse through the collective, informing and inspiring, and for life-long kicks.
Competition ~ top marks, looks, jobs, and pay. Everything must be top, but of course which means so many fall way below. Because demand is so high, I’ve heard that some of the most well paid counsellors are school and university employed. The whole broader social, economic and political system is laden, like the sediment in the sea, with stories of broken children who grow up to be broken adults. Mental health services are stretched. It’s a lottery as to who breaks and when. I see some of them in my voluntary work for the witness service at our local Crown Court.
We all deserve security. A basic income to buy good food, warmth, clothes and shelter, or land to grow things and thrive. Life should not be a race to be the smartest, cutest, fastest or richest. The only true resistance is to reject it somehow, to embrace compassion, realise a daily ethic of care and make it structural. I’ve lost so much and too many to the opposite. I won’t give up on the idea of a very different way of life. I just want society to be so much more caring, to put love back into the meaning of everything we do. I want to call it Cherishism, where cherishment is no longer an obsolete word, and in all aspects of life.
This is more than kindness where, like tolerance, it can cover and disguise deeper prejudices. A life well lived is one full of meaning and love, young or old. The rest is just anguish, entrapment, broken lives and worse. Climate, biodiversity, equity? As a Fluminist, I believe political Cherishism is the root emergency and am personally moved to apply for fast-track apprenticeship in mental health social work. I’ve made an application. We’ll see if I’m suitable and wanted.
I will end with a few questions, as it is good to live the questions (Rilke).
How can we prune away the hard obstacles in place that make life so difficult? Who can we care for (homosapien or teresapien), as well as caring for ourselves? What language can we change in what we say and write? What could our collective force unleash if Cherishism was the political norm instead of competitive hoarding ~ capitalism ~ or even distributive socialism which finds so much resistance to its (justifiable) anger?