Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Monday, June 14, 2021
Grief is by its nature very very difficult to write about. We pack in the loss, the ache, the loss of that joy of life as it was. Much harder is to really say what you feel, what the difficulties of life’s journey have been. All of them.
Shona Gulati’s account of her mother’s death is some of the most beautiful and raw writing I’ve ever experienced. It is powerful, it is painfully honest, and nothing is left out.
What also isn’t left out are the specifics of a difficult and complicated relationship with her family. And while these particulars don’t make for comfortable reading, they do build up the sheer weight of honest grief that comes from a relationship that wasn’t without its complications.
But if all families are complex and often have unbearable tensions - and clearly many in Shobna’s were to be resolved, or unresolvable, by the end of this book - so too is the experience of dementia. In this case it was the caring responsibility and the very particular circumstances of Asha Gulati’s condition. There aren’t many comforting words, or successful coping strategies, save for an acceptance and an understanding that it isn’t just forgetfulness, or senior moments, but a far more upsetting deterioration.
This is a brave book. But more than that it is a book with a serious and heavy expression of the one word that was so missing between Shobna and Asha all of their lives. So much was left unsaid, but it’s been said now. Love. Love. Love.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
The added ingredient this year is that we know one of the contestants. Sean Sherwood was a teacher at Harrytown when our lads went there and when I was a Governor. He was absolutely great with them and they all have very happy memories of their time with him. Max and Louis in particular were part of the team that won the Stockport Schools football cup in 2015 that Sean coached. It was, he has said, his greatest achievement in education and something all of the lads recognise was done against all the odds. I remember watching the game in abject disbelief, fully expecting a plucky defeat, but they found a sense of belief and courage that surprised everyone. That proved to me that their coach had a fundamental winning mentality. So to see him on this gruelling stage fills me with admiration and expectation. Obviously it's going to be hard to win, but we're four weeks in out of six and he's right in the mix. So yes, it won't surprise me in the slightest that he'll win.