This week in Manchester we have unfortunately seen the NHS and emergency services at its best and Lucy Easthope in the Guardian online talks about how the emergency response of Monday night has been planned over many years. The planning has included “training people to sit patiently with a mother and ask her gently for permission to swab her mouth for DNA, while she prayed to any god she knew that her small daughter, lip-glossed and growing too fast, was currently being sheltered in a Holiday Inn rather than carefully tended in a mortuary we have purpose built for when the call comes in” and developing “recovery lessons” which give rise to the narratives of overcoming and promises that darkness will not overcome the light.
Like Lucy Easthope I wonder if we should give greater space between hearing the cry of a mother who has lost her child and proclaiming that we will overcome.
For those that have heard that cry of parent losing a child or have cried themselves will know that it comes deep from within and it hurts. For those who over the last few days have asked for a DNA swab will know that it hurts. For those who received children at hospitals not knowing their names or the location of their parents knows that it hurts. For those of us who have just watched the events unfold know that it is hurting.
For the light to shine in the darkness we must leave space for it and that is the work of grief – we need to admit how much this hurts.