8th June


What I said to them was, nobody could have told you how to do this. Nobody. Even people who’ve been through something similar, they couldn’t have told you. Because however similar it was, it wasn’t the same. It happened to them, it happened to you, but what happened was different. And when you’re faced with something so big, when it comes at you, there isn’t a primer or a manual that will tell you how to cope, how to survive, how to come out the other end. You’d have to write a new manual for each occasion, for each individual, and it wouldn’t be ready in time to help because it couldn’t be written till it was over, and anyway only he or she could write it. The thing I’m saying, the thing I tried to tell them, is that we lose the ones we love in our own ways. Everybody can sympathise but nobody can feel it the same way.

What I said to them was, there’s one thing you can take from what you’ve been through: you are good people. You did everything you could and it wasn’t enough, but still you did it. You did it even knowing you were going to lose. You kept going, right up to the end. You are good human beings. That’s what I told them.

You get a sense sometimes, with a child. Whenever I held that child, she turned away. It wasn’t a deliberate act, she was too young for that, and it wasn’t always a physical act. It was something in her eyes, in what she was seeing. You looked at her and whatever she was looking at, it wasn’t you. She went beyond you. I heard someone say, ‘That child has been here before,’ as if she’d lived another life. As if, perhaps, she’d be back again. I don’t really hold with any of that, but I kind of understand it. She was going, and whether or not she knew it there was no stopping her. And it was terrible to see their grief when she did go, but they were good people, and they always will be. That’s what I told them.

Reader: Gerda Stevenson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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