Sometimes I feel like I have a number of different perspectives, some of them apparently contradictory, all battling for my attention at once. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was while I was in Detroit that it dawned on me how important it was that those different perspectives were not only given voice, but allowed to communicate with one another. I am often aware of a strong sadness that has felt at times like it will sink me, consume me, but also I’ve felt a sense of outrage that this part of me isn’t being acknowledged like it was, or heard, that its perspective is overlooked. Somewhere in there is a fear that in the process of recovery it might in some way be obscured, denied, or negated in some way. Recently I’ve been telling this part of me that it is heard, that I recognise its sadness – when I do so, it seems to quieten down, as if recognition is what it wants, to be heard.
All this seems relevant to Detroit, a city where it is vital that the voices of suffering, of loss, of poverty and disadvantage are heard, particularly by those who are engaged in rebuilding and want to emphasise all the positive things that were happening.
But I’m also learning that the voice of suffering shouldn’t be allowed to dictate my actions and responses. This seems particularly relevant since I’ve returned from the US, where I was able to sense that life did indeed have potential and that it would be possible to live a good life. While visiting Lancaster, where the memories of the day that Mark died and the aftermath seem the most intense, I have felt the agony and devastation of last year quite keenly. Yet it isn’t the same – when I compare what I felt like in those early days with how I am now, I know that the recovery that seemed so unimaginable has been taking place. Choice has played a significant role in that process, which is why it’s so important that I choose to continue to move forward. Yet I can’t block out the voices of grief and sadness, and need to keep reassuring myself that they are heard, understood, that no one denies my sadness and loss.
It was sitting near the GM Renaissance Centre in Detroit where it dawned on me that in the same way that it was necessary for my grief and my hope to somehow ‘talk’ to each other, the different perspectives represented in Detroit needed to communicate with one another. Those with a positive perspective may have to stretch out a hand to the sad, the broken, the devastated. If they did, could something new be created out of the communication and cooperation of the two? Something to do with courage, fortitude and hope?