Thursday, 12 March 2009
I know that many people find me difficult to deal with because they suffer from survivors' guilt. They look at me and they feel awful because it happened to me, and not to them. I understand this and I ask myself, 'What is it that I need from the survivors?' I know what I usually get and that is people telling me that really it's very tough for them as well. They tell me that one of their children has learning difficulties, or asthma or impaired hearing. As I'm a polite person, I finish up offering sympathy about their child's problem. But if I'm really honest there's a voice in my head saying, 'If your child is alive then you don't have a problem.' Or I get people telling me that they had a really bad labour and their baby nearly died. And I suppose that they say that in order to empathise with me - but it really doesn't work. Again there's that nasty little voice in my head saying, 'Yes, but the whole point is that your child didn't die.' I know that's not very charitable of me but it's just how it is. But then interestingly a good friend said something quite different to me the other day. 'I look at you,' she said, 'and I just value my children so much and I just feel so, so lucky ....' And oddly that was the right thing to say. That's what I need. I just need the survivors to know that they're lucky and to say it. That's all.