I’m not getting anywhere with this.
Anonymous, I do want most emphatically to say that my quarrel is not with single parents, but with absent fathers. This one seems to have been a bog-standard, middle-class middle-life divorce-after-28-years-of-marriage. I’m not greatly impressed with the father’s statement: “Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy.”
Which family is that, then?
Libby Purves wrote in the Times in 1997:
“The literature of parenthood deals overwhelmingly with the first few years, with bracingly simple issues like broken nights and ear infections and daycare. Perhaps it is as well for the species that nobody ever really expects 18 years of supervision and a lifetime of worry. I was fussing over a baby in a carrycot at a BBC seminar once when Bill Cotton, well retired by then, thundered: ‘You think it’s tough now. Just you wait until he’s fifty.’”
But when I stop to think about it, the majority of the suicides I have known or known of – one is far too many – have been the sons of stable marriages. Including the baby in the carrycot just mentioned – he didn’t make it to 50.
So I’d better not go on pontificating.
I think, in fact, I’ll pause here for the solstice. I’m not doing at all well at trying to think about knitting. We should be back from Loch Fyne for the weekend at the end of the year.
A very happy solstice to all, however observed. And sympathy to cat and her friends, who are about to find their light diminishing.