Monday, December 28, 2015

“The sun rises in spite of everything”

It’s been a tough year. My dearest friend of 30 years, my Anam Cara (friend of my soul) died in February.

I miss her every day. I will always miss her. This is what I wrote about her on the blog.

In April, Dave and I discovered the Lancaster Canal and had a holiday of sunshine. This is my favourite photo of the year, taken by me in my pyjamas at 7 a.m., from a swing bridge I’d just got out of bed to open:

But the woes of the world invaded when we heard on the news that more than 800 refugees had drowned in the Mediterranean, and the UK government thought the answer was to scale back search and rescue operations, to deter the refugees from even trying to escape the horrors at home.

In the summer I got to the end of my tether trying and failing, over and over, to work out a logline for my screenplay. I framed a successful one in October at the London Screenwriters’ Festival, and pitched it to TV producers. Now I am waiting to hear from the people in the biz who have shown an interest. My fingers are crossed, and it is hard to write when your fingers are crossed.

But most of my emotional energy this autumn was taken up with four separate health problems - one minor, one critical, one worrying, one ongoing – which in turn caused frustration, anxiety, discomfort, and all of which taxed my patience and my skimpy stoicism. It interests me that in the fortnight before all of these suddenly broke out (in September) I’d been blogging about how old I felt and how much I hated my wrinkles. You, dear readers, have been very patient and understanding, and I’m grateful.

I try to keep politics off the blog, apart from issues concerning Palestine, and I have mostly managed it this year. But I can’t review my year honestly without mentioning that my depression about the policies of the current UK government – from welfare to green issues, from Trident to the NHS, from refugees to bombing in Syria - has at times overwhelmed me as much as anything personal. I found myself writing in one of my many letters to my Tory MP:

I want to make it clear that I do not object on principle to everything this Conservative government does….Unfortunately, so many policies of the current government seem to result in harsh treatment of the poor and infirm.

But it was the UK government’s hard-hearted, inadequate response to the desperate plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees, while David Cameron spouted his espousal of British/Christian values, that was the last straw I choked on.

Enough. No more politics for at least six months – I promise.

My family were my joy and my consolation this year. I'll focus on the grandchildren because they won't be embarrassed. One special moment was when they were all gathered here in May and Isaac took a fabulous picture of the grandchildren sitting in a line on our garden wall.

Another moment was when my American granddaughters squealed with delight when they spotted me at the arrival gate at Denver airport.

And another one was when I saw the look of spontaneous and genuine pleasure on my younger grandson's face, when he opened the front door to find me on the doorstep.

So, it may have been a difficult year, but I am loved. In the end that is everything.

I wish you the same, now and in 2016.

And this is my poem of the year, published here with permission of the poet, and the Gallery Press:

Everything Is Going to Be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon

from New Collected Poems (2011) by kind permission of The Gallery Press


Liz said...

Beautiful blog Sue. May 2016 bring you peace, joy, health and laughter x

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Liz. You too. I thought of you this morning when I saw the dawn sky. Di you see it at eight I clock? It was stunning.