Public death – Private griefs

Parties and banners for the death of a public figure? YUCK! That’s pretty revolting! However, I think it is possible to feel relief at someone’s passing without being glad or vindictive. Like a child released from an abusive parent there will be relief and grief for those who saw their families suffer under Thatcher. A friend posted that she respected Thatcher’s conviction in her own beliefs and eminently caring herself, she saw behind Thatcher to the woman with dementia.

On the other hand, my GP has the conviction of her beliefs, has achieved an incredible amount for herself, if not for women in generally. However sick she becomes later in life I won’t support her decision to end a life by trying to force abortion on a disabled patient. It wasn’t her life to end, whatever her convictions. Similarly, my sister in law is a local Councillor now standing as County Councillor. As a woman who recently lost her son to suicide, I had empathy for her but as a ruthless Machiavellian politician, rather less. She too has achieved an incredible amount for herself, if not for women in politics generally (which sums up rather well many women in politics). Her BELIEF that she was right didn’t make her spiteful comments, her attempts to wreck our marriage or to destroy her brother’s happiness, RIGHT. Sometimes the courage of our convictions is not enough, they have to be the RIGHT convictions.

It’s possible to be bled dry of empathy for powerful domineering people without losing ANY empathy for ANYONE with dementia. It must touch a nerve for families living with the condition or with the loss of an elderly loved one but the argument that when someone is sick they are always worthy of our empathy IS RIGHT but doesn’t seem to affect the Tories when it comes to the sick they destroy through the Welfare Reform Act.  According to Esther Mc Vey, most on disability benefits are not sick we’re scroungers, the rest ‘heal’ and only 3% are disabled -the ones Cameron and my GP want euthanised and sterilised-not much empathy there!

As people with empathy we might have empathy for Cameron’s disabled son without empathy for Cameron or supporting the cuts to DLA. In this context, Thatcher and Mc Vey both fall down on the bare facts of DEATH and the suffering of those who unlike Thatcher never HAD their day. A case of measure for measure?

So many of us are weeping now, going through similar betrayals, left behind by those who have ‘got ahead’. The generation who voted Thatcher and survived Thatcher live to vote again in their 60s and glorify her memory while their children suffer under Cameron. I am cut off from my family by disability AND politics, but I hope my humanity would have kept me apart from Tory values had I been healthier and luckier. Tears show you still the heart to cry with others. What price the Thatcherite parent who will NOT weep with their disabled or jobless child? Tears are for human beings….

Certainly people with Thatcher’s sort of confidence don’t see the damage they do as anything more than ‘justified’. This is a type I have often met and like Thatcher they never apologise. They demand attention and service but never empathy or love and if good and kind soul give it, it will be unreturned. The damage they do is immeasurable and it is small wonder if they engender hatred in those they have crushed. One has to be very mentally balanced and morally strong to forgive the kind of damage done by others who simply DO NOT CARE but somehow we have to be- or become like them! In the end illness is a part of life, it isn’t karma, or cosmic justice. That would be to suggest that there was also some justice in a gentle old man falling and breaking a hip, or in a caring wife and mother’s Motor Neurone disease. If we don’t call THAT ‘justice’ why this? Death is …just death. If it provides a welcome release or catharsis for the living as well, it is sad that someone engenders such a feeling. Maybe we have to try for pity? But never ACCEPTANCE!

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