A longing for a different narrative, a different response…

I have a vision of a different response, a different message from government, institutions and media in the beginning of 2020, than the one we got when the terror that is the Covid phenomenon arrived.

When the fog of fear and confusion descended.

I haven’t put this vision into words yet. It’s still just a yearning or longing.

For something different.

For something that resonates with me beyond rational arguments.

For something that tells a different story about us humans and about our communities and about what is most important during this short and strange human life that each of us gets to live.

I would love to hear other people to share their vision too.

What have you been longing for or maybe begun to long for. What kind of attitudes, values and narratives?

What kind of response would you feel able to get wholeheartedly behind?

What kind of response would you have found helpful and in line with your values and beliefs?

What kind of response would have nurtured trust in yourself and in your fellow humans and in life?

What kind of rhetoric would you have found inspiring?

What kind of messages would have wanted to hear? How would you have liked things to be framed and spoken about?

What kind of response would have created sense of connection, possibility and hope?

What kind of responses have been helpful to you in your life when you have experienced loss, pain, loneliness, intense fear, distress, severe illness, violence or crisis?

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9 comments

  1. I worked in a care home and I saw so many people I had known, many for years, and grown to love die in a very short space of time. We were severely short of staff due to so many of us being off with covid, and so many people were dying at once, so I could not help to offer a good dignified death. Many animals die in better conditions and I have had what I think might be trauma reactions, and I have left care work for good. It hurts when people who live in care homes were (and are) dismissed as nobodies, acceptable sacrifices, people who deserved their undignified death because of their pre-existing frailty, either explicitly or through implication. I don’t really think I mind what policy responses would have happened, that is beyond me, but what I did (and do) mind and want is for people to have had some sensitivity, honour, and deep respect when they talked about the real people with frailty who have died. It hurt to live through lockdown obviously, but it also hurt to hear people taking out their anger about lockdown on those people and dismissing people with pre-existing conditions as if they did not deserve at least basic respect in how they are spoken about.

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    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I can’t imagine what you have been through – it’s sounds overwhelming and deeply painful and if you experience trauma responses it’s very understandable. From what you write it sounds like there was an extreme sense of powerlessness on all levels, for you, your colleagues and people you were caring for.
      As I read what you write I feel sad that you have come across a lot of people who express themselves with a lack of sensitivity and respect which doesn’t honour your very intense and personal experience of real people being ill and dying. The way you describe makes me think of a sort of vicious cycle of deep hurt, overwhleming powerlessness and unskillful and insensitive expression of anger which then turns into further hurt.
      I witness this around me and within me as well as intense fear of the hurt, the powerlessness and the anger and a sense of being stuck or caught.

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  2. oh umh good question; for some reason it made me think of a placement during a Uni course I attended in 2006, on the ward in a hospital somewhere in England, my nurse mentor knew I was bored and underwhelmed with the experience – she did nothing in terms of stepping out of her role – just sent me to attend a patient;s op – key hole surgery, and that turned out to be so awesome and awe-inspiring that it overshadows all the miserable aspects of that time now in my memory. It is that I refer to when I now say, I have seen the best of the NHS (as well as the worst).Thanks for asking.

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    • I find it difficult too because my mind gets preoccupied with what I feel was done wrong. But then our minds are supposed to be wired for problemsolving so we look for problems – anyway that’s a theory I’ve heard somewhere. It’s amazing that the keyhole surgery is what stands out for you in hindsight. Makes me wonder how each of us will remember this current time and it’s challenges in 10 or 20 years.

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    • the team was totally in sync and focused. Marvellous. I thanked the young Indian surgeon afterwards for admitting me, not that I’d even think he noticed that I was there. The way he responded made me think it was a spiritual experience for him too. Has not made me much less intolerant of the managerial dysfunctional stuff that goes on, I am afraid.

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    • That sounds amazing. I’ve been awake during surgery done on myself and not had that experience 😄 but then it was not keyhole surgery but a hammering a nail into my ancle and the atmosphere was a weird mix of care from the nurse sitting with me and this kind of gallows humour from the surgeon. But your reflection on mangerial dysfunction is kinda whar I see in society as a whole. The government, governing institutions and the media are the managers of society and I just can’t get behind where they are coming from on a very basic level. I just don’t believe in control, coercion and fearmongering as a way to manage people… I don’t even think we need managing or to be lead. I keep trying to clarify for myself what kind of authority I would be able to work with. And I am currently trying to think about it in terms of Mindfulness attitudes.

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    • that sounds gruesome – hammering and gallows humour . But I am all for being awake during surgery wherever possible. Well done you.

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    • It was surreal in a lot of ways and I was quite dissociative anyway as that’s what happens when I’m in hospitals and handing myself over to other people in the way you have to when receiving medical treatment. Your description of the keyhole surgery sounds like a collective flow experience (for lack of better language). Lne of my favourite books is an unreadable collection of reflections by a fictional king or leader and a returning theme is how to nurture experiences of meaningful collective work for his underlings whether its his soldiers or builders. I don’t think I have witnessed what you describe but I think it’s a great longing that a lot of us have. To work with others seemlessly as part of a whole for something that may not benefit us directly but feels deeply meaningful and important

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    • exactly. As I am approaching 70 (in 2024), maybe am getting out of my way a bit more, drop the patterns – or at least the acting out of them. Still going on in my head tho – oh.

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