Winter has bitten again over this weekend. Cars sliding around, buses not showing, bread a little scarce, footy called off, and, a few more anonymous deaths on the streets.
That last sentence has become sort of commonplace, something to sigh about and move on to a celebrity crashing a car while under the influence. It has become not unusual to read or hear about such appalling loss of life on the streets of the UK.
This morning however something struck me about the latest relevant twenty second news item, this poor soul who expired in Cardiff was aged just 19. Nineteen years of age and froze to death in 21st century United Kingdom.
I do not know who that poor soul was, or anything about them. I have no idea how, or even if, that life ending in such appalling circumstances will be marked? Will close family or friends sniffle into hankies? Will flowers be left beside a headstone? I rather doubt it. More likely it will be an incinerator somewhere and then even the memory of him will fade, probably quicker than the memory of the 20 second news clip. This thought occurs to me, if there was to be a service, what exactly could the priest say?
I struggle to even imagine the absolute pit of despair that person must have endured to end up dying in the freezing cold. OK, so many places these days struggle to provide what help they can via outreach teams and the like, and given the current attitude towards funding such things, these efforts are nothing short of miraculous. But, this person was 19 years of age, why did this happen ?
Seemingly he was known to local services, yet a death straight out of a book about Victorian standards met him in a Cardiff park in the 21st century ? What sort of life had he lead up to to the point of his last foggy breath leaving his lungs , who could have prevented it ? Who did not see it coming ?
Most disturbing to me, did he know that it was quite likely he would not wake up? the way such stricken people are treated these days I would think quite a few of them would not dodge that particular outcome. That is without giving thought to those who abuse people who are trying to survive on our streets, more than once I have crossed the road to "have a word" with people doing that.
At my sons service the Priest said that he had moved on to a better place,Hmm, could it really be any worse?
I once picked up the phone myself to request counselling, shortly after my son died at Basra, expected waiting time then was 12 weeks. How does this help?
I have worked in the NHS (for seven years) it can not be expected to cope with all this, so, who should? or, do we acknowledge that the UK in the 21st century is not equipped for this, and move on.
All that is needed to cause the slide into an anonymous death is a factory closure, a few missed mortgage repayments, a partner playing away, an addiction, loss of a child, a long illness that gets you sacked, point I am making being that such a seemingly distant and drastic slide is NOT as far away as some like to think.
And, here is the thing, it could add up to twenty seconds on the news and an incinerator.
Have a nice Day.
My thanks to reader Tony X who advised me that a 32 yr old homeless woman recently died in a Cardiff park. So, that is Two miserable lives expiring for the value of 51 years!
Cardiff is no different to anywhere else. This is shocking. Two jobs for the incinerator operators, The flame really is flickering in the UK.