What an incredible bank holiday weekend. I am just about to sit down (with an imminent break from writing to put the little man to bed) after a jam-packed weekend filled with family and friend time in the sunshine. I can't remember the last time that we had both May bank holidays in the sun; I could quite easily get used to it.
You just know that it's going to rain this week now don't you?!
Yet, something at the back of my mind is telling me not to worry about it too much.
You see, while I have been having a great time with family and friends this weekend, I have been told recently of a family that is in a position to do anything but following the suicide of the father. He leaves behind a wife and a young child.
I literally know nothing about them. Nothing about their lives, their family, their ups or their downs. I know nothing about the rationale or how he came to be in a position to feel that this was the only way out. There are no judgements on this at all. It does though serve as a stark reminder that what you see isn't always what you get and that life is so incredibly precious.
That being said, I don't know if this was an actual attempt to take his own life, or a cry for help that went too far. I don't even know their names. i only know that they are a part of the church community that I belong to; we have just never crossed paths on a more personal level.
Yet, something about this has stuck with me and I have been unable to shake the image of the child and her mum at church yesterday. So sad and almost with an emptiness that only some would understand. I was desperate to offer my condolences, but in the end didn't know if that would be OK. Would they be up to virtual strangers imposing themselves on their lives like that irrespective of our shared belief and presence at church? In the end, I decided not. I offered a prayer and admired their faith at such a testing time, and went back to my own family. But have been unable to shake that image ever since.
I think that it was more about the child and being without a father from such a young age that got to me and it made me more aware that every moment counts with Ethan. It was about death in general more than the how and why.
I am desperate for him to know and to learn things that I have taught him. I'm not necessarily referring to things like words, shapes, numbers etc; these are all, of course, highly important. But, I am a thoughts and feelings man. I want him to learn personal skills; patience, empathy, resilience, determination that I believe will stand him in good stead for his future.
I see so many young people in my workplace without these skills and as such, they struggle to put the academic knowledge to effective use or turn off from the lot. I am proud when people tell me how much of myself they see in Ethan; how he acts and behaves and has similar mannerisms. I am certainly not perfect, and don't profess to be. However, my running has developed my skills in these respects and I think that what people see is that rubbing off.
This child won't have that. As many others won't too. And the prospect of Ethan ever being in that position scares me so much.
Hearing about this family and seeing them this weekend has served as a reminder that sometimes we need a little perspective. The image of the child will stay with me, and maybe when things settle, I will personally offer my condolences, for what it is worth. But the image will stay as a reminder.
Every second really does count.