I have to admit to sometimes assuming that people who read my blog know me but it is clear from the number of readers and the locations of the readers that not everyone reading my blog does know me. I have had an emotional day from reading a blog post by Jason Manford and decided to share... It evoked emotions in me that had long been put away and also feelings of anger that there are still so many ignorant people in the world.
It has been an emotional time lately what with the low of finding out my Dad has cancer, the highs of the Olympics, the low of poor Tia Sharp's life being taken away at just twelve years old... the list could go on. I am not looking for sympathy but the power of emotion particularly hit me this evening when my four year old daughter sat silently as the end credits rolled for Disney's 'Enchanted'.
I could sense something was wrong and I approached her and asked if she enjoyed the film. She immediately began to cry, sobbing and huge tears falling from her eyes. It broke my heart to see her in so much pain and after lots of cuddles she confirmed she was so happy she couldn't stop crying. While I cuddled her I had glimpses of the future: the pain of 'breaking friends' at school, the hurtful comments that will come from other children and the first time a boy breaks her heart. Yes I know it's all premature but the power of seeing a child distressed, especially when it is your child, is hard to take. It's part of being a mum. I tried to explain why she shed so many tears for something that should have made her smile and explain that it is a normal reaction.
I realised I have always reacted emotionally to hearing of babies and children being neglected, abused and mistreated. When I was growing up I sobbed to news reports of the starving children in Ethiopia then as a teenager I sobbed to news reports of neglected children in Romania and the images of babies banging their heads on cot bars haunts me to this day. Other stories of children being taken, abused and murdered affect me so massively I fight to keep them from my mind.
I am beginning to think it is no coincidence that in my stories Anastasia is fighting to ensure crimes against the most vulnerable in our society are stopped. If only there was more empathy in the world.
You forget that emotions are something that you have to learn to live with and deal with. My daughter made me realise that she is learning every day and she is going to have to face some harsh things in her life and learn to cope with her emotional reaction to them.
I sometimes think I am fortunate to be surrounded by like minded people who are not ignorant to the plights of others however I recalled an incident when someone I had faith in let me down and this was brought to mind after reading Jason Manford's blog post about the comments he had about Gary Barlow's decision to perform at the Olympics Closing Ceremony after suffering his own trauma of losing a long awaited child. I cannot go into more details because it is too personal and potentially detrimental.
Many people have been affected by the very things they read others have been through and the power of emotions evoked is extraordinary. When you see a small child react to an innocent film so powerfully and knowing that I can help her understand why we experience these emotions makes me wonder even more why anyone would have bad thoughts about those that are truly suffering. Clearly they have never been shown how to handle their own, very powerful, emotions.
Is it any wonder that we live in a society where children are robbing from children, children are acting so violently and shrugging as if it's because society owes them something, children are being treated so awfully because there are those who should never be parents and are raising said children to be just like them.
The power of emotion will endure and I can only hope that most parents have been guided on their emotional journeys from a young age so they can empathise with others when it is most needed and teach their children to 'do unto others...'. That is how I was raised and it had a profound effect on me and stays with me always.
Please don't make light of the plight of others unless you can be sure you would be able to stand there and accept those jokes and throw away comments if they were about traumas you have had to endure.
We have one life; is it asking too much to offer a hand of support to those that are suffering even if it is only in thought and being thoughtful enough not to trivialise their plight? Everyone has their own journey and all too often it is marred with trauma and loss. The power of emotion can consume us but it can also make us better people.
So when I read about the thoughtless comments from people about a man they don't truly know, and how he has dealt with his tragedy, it upset me to the core. I for one am impressed by a man that can make sure the show goes on because he has committed to it and I have no doubt his wife insisted he do it. For the fools who feel they can judge - let's pray you never have to experience the true emotion that is the loss of a child. One of my coping mechanisms in dealing with my Dad's illness is to listen to music and to write how I feel. So if a singer/songwriter decides he wants to go out and sing then I applaud him and I do it with a standing ovation.
Never underestimate the power of emotion and never criticise how others deal with it unless you have experienced the pain yourself. As individuals we are on a constant emotional, learning journey but as parents we are there to guide. Never underestimate the power of emotion...