Wednesday, May 1, 2019


It was a normal Saturday morning in September 2015. Normal except for the fact that my Dad had just died. He actually passed at around 6am but, by the time all the official declarations had been done and the undertaker had arrived, it was around 9.30 when we carried his body out of the house into the hearse.

There was myself, both my brothers and the undertaker, who was giving us, the shocked sons, instructions on exactly how to negotiate two flights of stairs as well as a grieving wife, Granddaughter and daughter in law. My parents moved into that house when I was twelve, I know those stairs pretty intimately, as do my brothers, but that was the most challenging time I've descended down them.

Their house is opposite a small local shopping parade with a little car park attached and the hearse was parked directly in front of the house on the street. And one of the things I remember vividly is how, as we loaded my Dad into the vehicle, I looked around and saw people arriving in their cars, parking in the car park and walking to do their shopping.

I saw others come out of the shops with their goods, getting in their cars and driving off, maybe a bit pissed off because Tesco didn't have their favourite brand of butter. A few cars drove past us. We had just lost our Dad / Husband of fifty years / Grandfather and everyone else got on with their Saturday morning.

It has stayed with me; that massive lesson about perspectives and how every individual has their own universe that they inhabit. Some of us have overlapping bits, others don't.

The recent bombings in Sri Lanka have also illustrated this phenomenon in full. I got back to London last week on Thursday evening, four days after the attacks. In Sri Lanka, though thankfully I didn't suffer any loss of loved ones, I felt the pain and heartbreak that so many of you did. I still do.

But the mixed reactions I've had from different people in London have been another eye opener about perspectives.

Even the media seems to have largely stopped its reporting of the situation there. There are articles, obviously lots of us have our feeds tuned into Sri Lanka anyhow, but last week's attrocities in a brown country have become the electronic age's fish and chip wrapping very quickly.

Some people have been genuinely interested and empathetic with me about the situation. A few though, on hearing what happened and after expressing interest have then said "apart from that how was the holiday?"

Others, like a band mate last night, have listened and then just moved on to talking about the new guitar pedal they've got, as if what I was saying was just a topic of conversation, which it clearly was to them.

One person said to me that it just means that Sri Lanka is off his list of potential holiday destinations now. That was all it meant to him.

And that's the thing about the whole perspective business. Hardly anyone is wrong. They're all just different views of the same thing.

Makes me think though.

No comments: