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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Every Day A Little Death

Good morning and welcome - sorry to say that the Guru has his serious head on this morning.

The death of Whitney Houston has been very widely reported in the media all this week, likewise the arrangements for her funeral which was shown around the world.

I listened to some worthy soul on the news complaining how a funeral being broadcast in such a manner is offensive but just this week I conducted a funeral for a young man which was webcast live so that those who could not attend in person were still able to feel part of the event.

We should embrace modern media and technology and make it work for us, not be scared of it.

The death of Whitney Houston kicked off many debates in which the recent demise of the likes of Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson were recalled, the recurring theme being the tragedy of an early death due to the vicissitudes of their lives. There was also a great deal of talk about addiction.

During the course of this week I have had cause to consider all of these points when one of my Twitter followers posted that they had no sympathy for Whitney - "she brought it on herself".

The correspondent went on to say they had "no time for people with addictions" as they "care nothing but for themselves". Of course we do not know if Ms. Houston's death was caused by addiction but her story does lead one to think that this might be a possible contributing factor.

Sadly there are some who become addicts through totally selfish behaviour, but there are equally some who become addicts for other reasons.

Let us consider a young man who served his country in the Army. Here is a man who was regularly faced with many incidents that we would be hard pressed to think about. Not only did he have to think about them, he had to deal with them. The death of close friends, the mayhem of war, life and death decisions being made and then having to live with the consequences.

I don't think that there is any surprise that the young man might turn to drink in order to drown his sorrows, that drinking himself into a stupor was just a way of escaping the images in his head.

What is a surprise is that upon leaving the Army any support system he had was taken away and he was left abandoned in our world. As a nation we shout about our pride for our servicemen and women -  but that pride doesn't stretch to supporting them much after they leave.

We should all be ashamed that a young man who did his job for his country, who served his military and political masters without question, should be abandoned to his fate in such a way.

I think the Army could do more and I don't discount that personal responsibility is part of the answer but to not be able to access any support through the NHS due to various constraints and bureaucracies seems very unfair.

Of course the reason I know all these facts is that I conducted his funeral. He was 38 and he leaves behind a family who are still numb with the shock and angry, very angry, that no one was there to listen to the cries for help from their son, husband, brother and father.

I don't suppose for one moment that this was an isolated case, I would guess there are many others who are living through a similar hell but when they fall by the wayside there probably will not be a news team and a camera crew on hand to film every sad part of the funeral.  Their names will not be added to the list of Houston, Jackson, Winehouse and Co.

Do we only honour and remember the famous addicts then?

1 comment:

  1. Guru good way to identify that all is not what it seems and a good way to pint out life is not Black & White but mostly grey, Grey is OK!!!Vincetheblue