For me, the biggest question this BBC article raises is, why does it focus on parents rather than people with disabilities theirselves? It details how the lives of two or three fairly severely disabled kids have been effected by the lockdown, yet completely ignores the points of view of disabled people ourselves. If these parents feel ”cut off and ignored”, how do they think their children feel?
I heard back from Paul, Lyn’s brother, yesterday. I had messaged him a few days ago, but it probably just took him a bit to get back to me. Lyn’s funeral took place on May the Sixth, and was a small family event; her ashes are going to be spread at Eltham Cemetery. It relieved me to be told that a bit: of course I’m heartbroken that I couldn’t go to the funeral, but there is going to be a larger commemoration of Lyn’s life later in the year, and Eltham Cemetery is a short, pleasant walk from my new home, so I’ll be able to visit her, so to speak.
However, rolling there yesterday afternoon, I found the cemetery gates shut and locked: you can currently only visit at weekends. Sat there, in front of that notice in my powerchair, I felt like crying: Lyn my best ever friend, the most amazing person I’ll ever meet, was dead, and not only could I not attend her funeral, I couldn’t visit the place where her remains are. It was a bleak, desperate feeling. To be honest for a few moments, I’d have given anything for a cuddle from my Mum or Dad.
But they weren’t there. Due to corronavirus I am prevented from seeing them, just as the virus prevented me from attending Lyn’s funeral or going in to the cemetery. Yet it’s somehow alright, according to this government, for a public official to drive 200 miles for no good reason, even though he was infected. Sorry, but watching this snivelling piece of scum justify himself last night, blatantly lying his head off, just hours after I had felt probably the bleakest emotion I had ever experienced, made my blood boil with rage. Do they not realise what the rest of us are going through, or do these people just not give a fuck?
I can’t bear to write anything about the utter farce UK politics has descended into this evening, but this just about sums it up…
This week’s castaway on Desert Island Disks was Charles Hazlewood. I emailed Charles a few weeks ago to tell him Lyn had passed away. He talks about the Paraorchestra on the show, although he doesn’t mention Lyn, probably quite rightly. It’s an interesting, bittersweet program in which Charles reveals the truth about his horrific childhood, and can be listened to here.
One of the things I most associate with Lyn’s bungalow in Charlton is a large painting which hung in the passage leading to her living room. It was of a man sitting at a table playing a Bouzouki, and hung in the same spot since long before I met Lyn. I’m not sure how she came by it, but it suited her musician’s personality well. Living there for almost ten years, I walked passed it every day; it felt like an innate part of the house. I remember when Mum first visited us in Charlton, she commented on the picture, telling Lyn how I had Greek relatives who used to play Bouzouki.
Lyn’s place in Charlton has now stood empty and quiet for some time. Paulo has been there to look after things and feed Guy, and I’ve been visiting him, but it isn’t the same. Without Lyn there, going there makes me feel down. When I last visited, though, Paulo told me that the council would probably soon get rid of Lyn’s things, so I asked if I could have the painting. It is such a wonderful image, intertwined so fundamentally with my memories of my life with Lyn, that the thought of it just being scrapped was too sad to contemplate.
Paulo said I could have it, so yesterday Serkan went and brought it here. We’ll hang it later today. That has made me very happy indeed: this momento of lyn and her wonderful life is now here. It feels like a fragment of that life has now been brought into my new one.. I’ll now be able to look at it every day, remember the passage where it once hung, and the incredible person who owned it.
Yesterday was quite a sad day: it would have been Lyn’s sixtieth birthday. I didn’t post an entry because I didn’t know how to mark it, or indeed whether I should. Her passing still feels very raw, and I kept thinking about Lyn all day. Of course, she would not have wanted me to get down and gloomy about it, and would probably have preferred us to celebrate by playing lots of music; yet the truth is yesterday didn’t feel like a day for a party. Lyn’s passing feels like it has left a gaping void, not just in my life but in many others’; this wonderful, fascinating, creative personality is suddenly no longer there. It is an absence which I suspect I’ll feel for a long, long time.
Today I’d like to wish my dad a very happy birthday. Complete nonse that I am, though, I totally forgot about it, and it took me a few moments to twig why dad was listing so many things he had received from my brothers in our (currently) daily webcam chat. I hope he has an excellent day all the same. Recent events have made it clear how dear him (and mum) are to me.
That means, though, that tomorrow would have been Lyn’s sixtieth. To be honest I feel rather down about it: These days, I try to keep my spirits up, but thinking about all the excellent Twenty-Firsts of May we had over the last twelve years won’t make that easy. Either way I’ll probably raise a glass to both dad and Lyn this evening.
Happy birthday Dad.