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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

On the death of fathers

Sad news.  David Cameron's father has died.  As Nick Robinson observes, the Prime Minister has had an exceptionally stressful last few years: a child of his died two years ago; he fought an election; and has moved house; now he is grieving his father - one of the most painful of all human experiences, to lose a parent, as many of us, unfortunately, know from experience.  Eyewear wishes him peace and hope in this very sorrowful time.  My father's fourth anniversary is tomorrow - September 9th.  He died of brain cancer in hospital, after going through a very difficult period, over a year or so, with several operations, and many humiliations and challenges.  It broke my heart, it's been tough to get over that.  I am just now coming to terms with his loss - the good and bad of it - and all the memories and feelings that flood in.  So, I comprehend, as much as possible - as much as one person can try to feel for another - how Mr. Cameron is feeling tonight.  And I am sorry he is facing this - as I am sorry - but only generally, and increasingly vaguely, that all people face such loss.  At some stage, empathy tails off - but some times, and for personal reasons, another's predicament touches upon our own, and the coincidence can register with additional depth.  So, because Cameron's father died just as I was thinking of my own, I am especially moved.  My experience suggests that this sacred space of mourning is a terrible profound calm, a wounding that heals, and allows for change.  I came out of the process damaged, hurting, stressed, but in some ways reconciled.  I wish the Camerons well.  I wish my mother and brother well.  I know they are thinking of Tom Swift tonight, and more so tomorrow.  The brutal slap and shock of a primal death - to know life takes so much, so instantly, and with such seeming indifference.  The reason I try - and it is a challenge - to have a faith beyond this world - a world that, without some meaning, some radiant love - seems pitilessly cruel, almost unbearable.  Oddly, when atheists comment on the death of children, cancer, earthquakes, malaria, blindness, torture, all the things they mention to observe how cruel God must be, they seem to ignore that, without a God, the world remains still pregnant with their list of horrors - only, instead of possessing some form of curious and unfathomable purpose, is merely a horror-house, that humanism and science, such as they are, have no reply to - science, humanism - have they stopped the earthquakes and monsoons?
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