Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Twenty years ago, we had a bad year at Hepworth Towers. We were renting, trying to find somewhere to buy, and we had to move from our (lovely) temporary accommodation to a dark, dark cottage. Everything seemed grim.
Then we got a letter from the removal firm that was storing 95% of our possessions. Their warehouse had burned down, and our things were gone. You can imagine our shock and our sadness.
Six weeks later I was told I had breast cancer. This was a shock too, but nowhere near as bad. I think now it's because I was still numb from losing so many irreplaceable things - the physical manifestation of 25 years of family life.
In June, 52% of the British people voted for Brexit. For the 48% of the population - of which I was one - who wanted to stay in an imperfect Europe, with its cooperation, its care for human rights and equality, its inclusiveness, its care for the environment, the referendum result was a huge shock.
I woke today, forgetting about the US election, and padded down to the kitchen where Dave was already baking oatcakes. He turned to me and said grimly: "Trump's won."
Another huge shock. Strangely though, just as in 1996 in our own personal domestic annus horibilis, it did not hit me as hard as the first political shock this year - of Brexit.
But it's terrible news. I am sad for America, but more than that, I am afraid for the world. These are dark times, and getting darker.
We can't do anything to change this result, nor apparently to make our own government behave with humanity. But as well as keeping up the pressure on our own government to do the right thing, we can act in our personal lives in a way that shows sanity, compassion, humanity and love. Think global, act local. Don't give in to despair, apathy or hatred.
It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.