This morning I had my two-year-old granddaughter rushing around, screeching and winding the dogs up, all before 7.30! It was delightful, particularly on this very sad day for our family. Lately there has also been a little blue coat hanging on the back of the kitchen chair again. It is wonderful to see it being used.
It was once worn by my twenty-two-year-old son, David, who was killed in a car accident while at university twelve years ago today.
Julia Gillard, the former Australian Premier, summed up such loss in her speech at the tenth anniversary for those killed in the Bali bombings. She said: “… wounds and scars abound, healed and unhealed. But nothing can replace that empty seat at your family table, the graduations and christenings you will never know. And the fault line that will always divide your lives into two halves: ‘before’ and ‘after’…”
So today I remember the little boy in the blue coat and the young man he became, as the niece he never knew, runs around the farm he loved, wearing his old blue coat.
As his father, I’m still so proud of him.
There are two things I’d like you to do today:
First of all I’d like you to give any teenager or young person that you know a simple piece of advice that may just end up saving their lives: If they are in a car and not happy with the way it is being driven or they suspect the driver may have been drinking or is stoned, say: “I think I’m going to be sick”. This may mean a long walk home, but it’s better than not reaching home at all.
Secondly I want you to ring, text, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, MSN (or better still the old-fashioned face to face), your child (or anyone who is very precious to you) and say two words: “Love You”. These are the last two words I ever said to my son. How I wish I could utter them again, so I’m asking you to do it. Not for me, not for David, but for you.
Simon (aka Baldock Bard)
© Baldock Bard 2015
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