June 7

It’s just occurred to me that yesterday was B’s birthday, dear and long departed now, the woman I loved and wanted to spend my life with at one point. I wish she was still around, still walked the earth, even if I had nothing to do with her.

I always remember, even if, such as now, I remember after the fact. I always want to remember. She is worth my reflection, and much more. In this case perhaps there has been another prompt.

I had a long dream last night that in large part was about death. The details are scratchy now. I had some kind of terrible, fatal disease we were in a race against time to cure. It was a rare disease that when you get to a certain age the sun eats away at your flesh, like acid. The day approached near and there was a sense of frantic inevitability that became resignation. Even then there was the hope a cure might be found before too much damage was done. The surprise came in that when the day came, and after, nothing happened. There was relief at that, but a tortured confusion as well.

The dream was a result – I think – of news I heard late last night that a girl I had gone to school with had on Tuesday night committed suicide. I had but vague memories of her, but it came as a shock still. She was happily married and had two boys, but had apparently suffered from depression for years.

It’s been a tough few weeks, but this made it more personal. Watching the nightly news I often find tears in my eyes, either depressed by tragedy or uplifted by acts of virtue. Lately there has been more tragedy, though there are always fine people.

Last night I felt tears in my eyes at the news of the two Australian women murdered in the London terror attack. The closer you can identify with victims the more personal it seems. I didn’t know either of the women and they lived in different states to mine, but they are of my culture, they grew up in the same environment as I did, would recognise the same touchstones that perhaps someone from somewhere else could never. If I had met either one in London chances are we might have exchanged a greeting as Aussies. Now what they had is stopped. It’s so unfair, so senseless, not just for them, but their families too, and for all the victims and their families. (It’s a great curiosity that of the 8 people killed in the attacks in a huge city such as London that six of them were foreign).

There was another news item about a man who had campaigned against the Catholic church and the cover-up of child sex offences. His own daughter had been a victim and had later killed herself because of it. This man had been instrumental in taking the fight up to the Catholic diocese, and by all accounts was a much loved man of exceptional character. His was a state funeral, and a worthy one. I felt tears come to my eyes listening to the tributes to him. I was sad at his passing, but grateful that such people exist – and hoping that one day that I might measure up to such an exemplary standard.

In winter, these are the times.


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