Thursday, 13 November 2008

What does the damage?

A while ago I saw a television interview with a man who had been the victim of a serious assault and who had later had a nervous breakdown. Let's call this man John, for the sake of argument. John explained that the attack had happened in broad day light. He was driving along a road when another car pushed him into the verge. A man jumped out and beat John savagely. John then lay on the side of the road, bleeding badly, for about half an hour. During that time about twelve cars drove past but they didn't stop. John explained that it wasn't the attack which caused his nervous breakdown. He understood that to be the work of a random lunatic and so attached no wider signficance to it. It was the cars which drove past which caused his breakdown. They changed his view of the world. He thought that he was living in a caring society and he found out that he wasn't. Now none of the things which have happened to me are anything like as bad as that attack ..... But nonetheless, as I listened to John speak, I understood his point entirely.

5 comments:

Tash said...

Fascinating.

Yesterday, my husband finally ended his sessions with our grief counselor (he'd only been going sporadically of late), and she asked, "Have you ever had a response you'd call "good" when you tell someone about Maddy?" And his answer? "No."

You're right, people just drive by. And that's a large part of why my grief has extended the way it has.

c. said...

I've always been put off by how indifferent so many have been to the news of my baby dying. I've had my own string of apathetic by-standers, so many people I have lost faith in, not to mention so much else.

Rach said...

Hi,

I am new to your blog and new to this 'club.' My baby, Alice Buttons, was born too early and died in September this year. For the most part people have been very supportive but even the closest friends have amazed me with their thoughtless comments or confused looks when I cry over nothing. Why do people say 'I am sorry to hear that' when they sound like the are talking about the weather forecast. I would rather they say nothing.

Thinking of you,
Rach

Lissy said...

I read the story about The Good Samaritan tonight with my kids...when I found your post I was amazed...

As a mother who has lost children much of what you say here resonates with me, yet I always have hope that people have the potential to make the right choices, & say a kind word when needed...I have that hope, but have also experienced those who "drive past"...

Thank you for your brave thoughts & putting them out there...

Karin said...

Wow. I'm so moved by this. I really feel for that man. I get it.

What is interesting is that in the first few years of my grief, I had an image in my head of watching cars drive by as I stood on the side of the road of life. It was metaphorical for me but here it is reality for this guy. Really sad.