Everything I am going through somebody else has been through before me and another person will go through again. All the hurt, the anger, the injustice and the lack of understanding. All of it is part of life, part of the Human Condition. So, how can I use my experience to help other people? What can help me? Where do I turn?
I met lots of people last week when I was away and spoke in depth about my loss, our loss. Two conversations stuck with me because they were so tough and have remained with me.
The first was with a person I'd never met before. He's now in his early 40s and his sister died, aged 14, about 2 decades ago. She had epilepsy and died from suffocating on her bed sheets with her parents asleep next door. He'd spoken to her hours earlier just before she went to sleep. We cried together last Saturday - me and a stranger holding one another as we wept on each other's shoulder. He told me it had been a long time since he'd spoken about it and let it out. He thanked me and he listened to Liane's story. We sat together in comfort and in shared loss. I'll be posting yellow bands to his parents in the US and looking him up the next time I travel west.
The second was with someone I've known for years and played against for longer still. His partner has uncontrolled nocturnal epilepsy - the very same condition than took Liane from us. I never knew. He told me through restrained tears and I didn't know what to say. I hugged him and felt sick. I was stumped - what could I say? I wanted to tell him everything will be okay. That for every one person who dies there are hundreds and thousands who don't. That life isn't cruel to all of us. That where there is belief there is strength. But I stopped. How can I promise any of this?
In fact, the second conversation left me thinking to myself later that night - could I have done more? Maybe we lived a life that was too much for Liane? Maybe there was something we could have changed? Or, maybe we lived the life she wanted to live as a proud and independent person? I know this to be true in my heart. I know she was happy, adored and enjoyed her life but every now and then the little dark part of my mind gets it's claws in and sows doubt. The Human Condition...