Danny boy and lost children

Music drifts from the dining room. Lakshmi’s great granddad is playing the piano. The last time he was here in May, the piano was out of tune. It had been neglected for almost ten years. I wondered whether it was beyond repair. Luckily it only needed a bit of fine tuning. He didn’t want an audience and so the rest of us stayed in the lounge.

‘Danny boy’, a popular Irish ballad was on the playlist. I have never heard it before and looked it up. Apparently one of the most famous and overplayed Irish songs. Written by an Englishman to an old Irish melody, it is associated with Northern Ireland’s struggle for independence. A haunting song interpreted in different ways and popular at funerals. It was sung at Senator John McCain’s funeral earlier this month. One interpretation of the song is that it is a message from a parent to a son going off to war.

Talking about funerals and children, we have had another death. The latest, a young award winning chef. The parents didn’t see it coming. Some want to talk about it, others don’t. The stigma that is attached to mental health issues make it difficult to bring it into the open. We listen if they want to talk and watch as the shock turns to grief and then anger as they go through the grieving process. In Sunday’s paper there was coverage about an Olympic hopeful who was found dead on her eighteenth birthday. I read about the parent’s struggle to cope with the loss. I find psychology intriguing and the more I read about these issues the more it helps to understand.

The mother is not someone I know well but she tells me that she takes comfort in the knowledge that her son spoke to her about his problems and that they had a loving and close relationship. It seems his demons were stronger than the love for his parents. The third death in as many months. I hope this is the end of it. The problems won’t go away. It is something that needs addressing. I hope the next youngster learns from this, understands and seeks help before it is too late for them.

Once again I’m lost in thought and as I come to my senses I’m driving down the long road from the gym to the exit. The street is lit with victorian lamp posts each emanating a dim light, which outlines the rim of the lamp. It feels as if I’m in another era. The full moon adds to the mystery. It’s a completely different scene to the one I experienced on my way in over two hours ago. The evening sun was filtering through the branches of the trees lining the road. The leaves have started to take on the autumnal glow and mixed with the sunlight it felt like driving under a golden canopy. Autumn is upon us and soon summer and the warm days will be a distant memory. For the parents who lost their child it was their last summer together and let their memories be sweet ones which they can take comfort in and treasure.

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