Damn it’s been a bit of a year. After ‘the COVID years’ it seemed things might get easier, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I’ve been offline for a week as I had to go back to the UK to support a family member whose wife passed away suddenly at 46, leaving him with two children. Suffice to say, it’s been a brutal week and I only hope I can support him during the long dark night of grieving and dealing with the practical and emotional challenges of becoming a widowed dad.
There are lots of relevant things I could write about (and might come back to): estate planning; making a will; or accessing benefits when your circumstances change. 1 in 20 children in the UK have experienced the loss of a parent before the age of 16 so whilst this is something none of us as parents want to think about, it’s common enough that we should be preparing for it, just in case. But all this stuff will have to wait whilst I ride out the sadness and be there for the family.
In addition to the loss of the individual, and the sadness around the loss her children in particular have suffered and what it means for their lives, I have a real sense of losing a shared history. Of course it’s not the most important thing, but when there are people whose lives have intertwined with yours since childhood, losing them is like a mini ending of an era. And for whatever reason, it feels like we have lost a lot of people so there is a sense of standing on a glacier which is slowly melting into the sea (awkward climate change image).
All our dreams and plans have foundations in where we come from and which families and communities we are part of. What I have learnt, as someone who moves and travels (phsyically and emotionally) a lot is that this is true whether we realise it or not. The comfort of being with people with whom you have not just a shared history but a shorthand or venacular is immense, and it matters so much to be able to just rest in that. No wonder losing it is hard.