Summer of Shit

I recently read an article where the Summer of 2016 was compared to the Summer of ’68, but instead of being remembered as the Summer of Love it was christened the Summer of Shit. I marvelled at how unfortunate it should be that on top of it being not only a nationwide but a worldwide catastrophic Summer, it should also be a personal Summer of Shit.

Just over a month ago my sister in law was standing on a balcony in Brighton with her fiance and three of their close friends when the balcony fell from beneath them leaving only Ben teetering on a lone chunk of concrete that had resisted the pull. All the others were hospitalised, each of them had numerous breakages having fallen two storeys into a heap of bodies and rubble in the basement below, amazingly they have all survived with little permanent damage.

The feelings of sadness and stress over the accident were compounded by it’s terrible timing; poor Jess and Ben were two weeks away from their Wedding Day which we’d all been working towards and looking forward to for months. Jess spent ten days in Hospital during which she had to have an operation screwing her pelvis back together, she’ll be on crutches until October and so the Wedding has been postponed until next Summer.

Awful things like this seem to forever come in groups, for Nick’s family this was the second catastrophy of the year – Nick & Jess’ Nan had had a stroke a month or so beforehand. However the Summer plummeted to new levels of awful just over a week ago when my dear friend Hannah’s mum died. It is such incredibly sad news. Her family are one of the loveliest on earth, they are all so kind and forever full of smiles and so close, I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel for them, nor can I even start to comprehend how anyone can simply cease to be. The funeral will be this week and she has been – and continues to be – on my mind a lot, as she must be for all who knew her.

At the weekend I read that Leonard Cohen had written a farewell letter to his long-time muse Marianne as she lay on her deathbed, I like the feeling of it and perhaps it struck me particularly because of having death on the mind.

“Well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

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