Monday 13 February 2012

UK Mums TV Blogging Challenge 2: L is for Love

You may have seen my entry last month (here) for the first challenge in the UKMums.TV blogging challenge, where I was a runner-up. The winner was the lovely Ali at Dragons & Fairydust so make sure you head over and read her blogpost here.

This fortnight's theme is ... LOVE.

Well, despite all the hearts and flowers everywhere you look in the run up to Valentine's Day, I've decided to go for a bit more serious an approach for this blogpost because a few things happened last week that really made me take stock of my life and think about those I love and who love me. Everybody has someone somewhere who loves them and cares about them, whether that be a spouse, sibling, parent or friend, and that's something you should never lose sight of.

The first shocking event of the week last week was on Thursday morning when, arriving at work, just outside of my classroom window on the opposite side of the canal, there were about ten fire engines and police cars lined up with flashing lights. A fortnight ago, a body was found in the canal just 100 yards further along, so I assumed they were looking for evidence because the man was still unidentified. When they all suddenly started running along the bank and a diver went down to the water, I had a quick panic that one of the kids had fallen in on the way to school and peered anxiously out at the scene that was unfolding. I was horrified to see them drag a body out of the water, lay him on the side of the canal path and cover him with a sheet. It all seemed surreal - I kept almost thinking this was something for TV then realising with a start that it was real, that was actually some poor sod under there. A couple of hours later, they pulled out his car too. It was a 26-year-old who had gone missing on January 4th, who was known to be depressed and who had almost definitely driven in the canal on purpose to end his life. This is the fourth body they have found in the canal in the past 18 months, all of them supposedly suicides. This tragic waste of young life and utter desperation already had me feeling chilled, especially watching his parents and sister on TV saying that they wish he had talked to them, they loved him and would have supported him.

But then things went from very bad to even worse. The very same day, again in our town, the news told of a father who had stabbed his two teenage boys and 6 year old son before hanging himself in their house. His wife came home and discovered them all. Having gone through the heartache of losing a baby - just one, that we had never even known - it makes me wonder how this poor woman will ever be able to come back from that. Some of the pupils at school knew the family well - "a normal family", they said, "they were all lovely, had good jobs, had run the Berlin marathon earlier in the year, just a regular family". There were tears in class and lots of unanswerable questions about what makes somebody do that to his family. The newspapers explained that they were in the process of a divorce, the dad couldn't handle it and wanted to get back at his soon-to-be ex-wife. Words fail me.

The next event that made me think about family and love was an elderly neighbour. She's a lovely person, always ready to take in the post for us, always there with a biscuit or sweet and a kiss for the kids in the street. For the past fortnight, she's been in severe back pain and, despite having X-rays and injections, nothing seems to help. I've been calling in when I can, especially in the recent cold and icy conditions, to walk her dog and make sure she's got enough food in. But she doesn't like answering the door when it's getting dark so I can't get there in time every day after work. I asked two neighbours, one of whom doesn't work and the other of whom is a childminder who works from home (and not every day), if they could call in every now and again or send their teenaged kids round to check up on her. "Nope, too busy", they both said, "she's got a son anyway, he's retired, not our problem". Although they're right, her son should be round more often (he only lives on the other side of town), he's not, so how much effort would it take to go and see her ? I've been calling round when I can, and every time she cries and holds my hand, thanking me for visiting and looking out for her. She never really needs anything - I walk the dog but she always seems OK for shopping - but she told me she fell over last week and wants to ask for a Zimmer frame. Also that her false teeth are hurting and need replacing but she can't get to the dentist's. I told her not to lie to her son and make out everything is OK and she said she has already told him that she's in a bad way. So where the hell is he ? 

So my plea to you this Valentine's Day is remember that it's all about love, not just for your other half or object of lust, but for all those who mean something to you. Sure, buy a soppy card and a romantic gift, cook a special meal and put out the candles and bottle of wine but don't forget to spare a thought for all of those others who might need a little show of love. Phone your elderly neighbours and grandparents just to say hi and check they're OK. Send your little brothers and sisters a drunken text message saying "I love you I do and I'm sorry I broke your Scalextric when we were little. How are you ?" ! Give your kids a big hug and remind them how much you love them, even if they've been driving you up the wall all day long. Give yourself some loving too and remind yourself that you're not at all bad yourself, celebrate the victories and don't sweat the small stuff - nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Love may not make the world go round but it could certainly have stopped a few of the heartbreaking scenes unfolding last week.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :


  1. I read your tweets when the canal drama unfolded. It's so sad that people can't see a way out.
    I'm planning on checking on my elderly neighbours. The kids love to go round there as they have a talking parrot!!

    1. LOL There used to be a parrot outside a pub near my nan's house, it didn't talk but that never used to stop us trying to get it to say something !! There was a mynah bird in the park pet's corner too - that talked and whistled, we used to love that too !

  2. Having been a position where I could not see anyway out myself I know how they felt, believe me about 4 years ago when everything that could go wrong was going wrong I honestly thought about it.
    You cant always talk to people, unless you have been that desperate they will never understand, but my family are the reason I didn't, I could never hurt them like that.


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