My song today is ‘The End of the World’. Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer who was part of the duo the ‘Carpenters’ alongside her brother Richard. Karen Carpenter had the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, which was little known at the time. She was briefly married in the early 1980s. Karen died at age 32 from heart failure caused by complications related to her illness. Her death led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders. Her work continues to attract praise, including being listed in Rolling Stone's ‘100 Greatest Singers of All Time’.
I believe that it is good to be alive; and yet I know that this belief of mine does not sit easily with the dispositions displayed, the situations experienced, and the views held by so many others today.
I have always believed that there are more good people in the world than there are bad. I have always believed that doing a bad thing does not necessarily make the person doing it a ‘bad person’, and that ‘good people’ sometimes do ‘bad things’. I have always believed that ‘courage’ is usually ascribed to the wrong type of person and that those individuals who are truly courageous are the people who are frightened of a forthcoming event or experience and not those who face it fearlessly and with seeming bravery. I have always believed that it is during our weakest moments that our greatest strengths are revealed. I similarly believe that it is during the darkest moments of present trials and tribulations that we can become more enlightened as to the way forward. I believe that there is nothing in this world that is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that thinking it so, will not make it so. Never forget this; especially whenever thinking about the merits or demerits of oneself.
During my life, I have known too many people who became depressed and despaired so much about one condition or another, that eventually their daily existence was taken over by physical debility, mental instability, preoccupation with suicidal thoughts, body harm and self-mutilation, substance abuse, alcohol addiction, or other illnesses. Indeed, my own immediate and extended family have not been immune to the experiences of a mental breakdown, alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, and even suicide.
We all know of someone who has suffered from one of the above conditions or debilitating circumstances. Indeed, the current Pandemic virus which has stricken the world during 2020 is a current example of how despair can take root so easily and spread so widely with a sudden and dramatic change in one’s living pattern. Since March 2020, we have witnessed some of the most appalling circumstances that were simple previously unimaginable by any peacetime nation.
Who among us would ever have thought that fathers would be banned from being with the mothers of their babies when she gave birth? Or that newly-weds would not be able to have more than half a dozen at their wedding, and be obliged to have the most modest of wedding reception afterwards? Who would have ever imagined that the bride would not be able to have her elderly father walk down the church aisle with her on her wedding day because he was having to shield due to Government guidelines? We never thought that we would be unable to visit mum or dad in their Old Folk’s Residential Home, even at their end of life because of Covid-19 policy; or that we would be prevented from visiting any friend or relative in hospital, even if they were dying. During the present Covid-19 pandemic, we would be informed of a relative’s death by a nurse or doctor in a hospital Covid-19 Ward or by a Residential Home worker by telephone instead of in person? Not having been able to visit our dying in hospital, or be at their bedside to hold their hand when they took their last breath, bereaved families were then prevented from giving their loved ones a proper final 'send-off'. Funeral services were severely limited in number and ceremonial function, and the bereaved were even unable to stand by their graveside as they were buried! Who among us ever thought we would be unable to hug our loved ones, or have them in our homes, especially if we or they were in the ‘high risk and vulnerable category’?
I have seen only one of my sons and my daughter once since Christmas, 2019; each for half an hour as they stood masked outside my front door. I have a son who was living in Australia for the past ten years and who I have not seen for over five years. My son is presently roaming Europe, pining to see his parents and family, especially his father who has had a terminal blood cancer for 8 years and has had six cancer operations during the past 18 months. God only knows when I will be able to safely see him again. At no time since the introduction of slavery have people experienced such limitations and severe restrictions imposed on their movement and behaviour!
Throughout this pandemic crisis, people have died, marriages have broken up, the suicide rate has increased, along with alcoholic consumption. Over the coming months, millions of people will lose their employment, see their businesses collapse, have their homes repossessed and witness their level of debt rise to unsustainable levels. There is even the prospect of the traditional Christmas being reduced to six people only indoors or outdoors!
Then, there are those people who have suffered at the hands of criminals who have robbed vulnerable pensioners of their life’s savings in their old age, thousands of scams occurring daily, young children who have been sexually abused in their early years of innocence, or family members who have been maimed or killed by the manslaughter or murder of another. There are parents whose painful memories and sense of bereavement and loss will remain lifelong because another person wilfully took the life of one of their children by intent or reckless accident.
Finally, not forgetting all those individuals who are grieving the loss of a soulmate who died, or the unwanted divorce they could not prevent, or the breakup of a once-loving relationship between a couple. Such loss, especially where it involves feelings of guilt, remorse, and rejection can take years and years to come to terms with emotionally.
Today's song, ‘The End of the World' is one of these songs that could represent the hurt and loss experienced above.
Love and peace. Bill xxx