Monday, February 02, 2015



It is also my Mother's birthday on the 16th of this month.

I feel good about her.
I know that some people have lingering 'not OK' feelings
about the loss of their parents - for many-many reasons.

I delight in her/memories of her.
I miss her

All four sons were with my Mother when she died in hospital. 
I held her hand until she stopped breathing. 
It was a special time. 
It was beautiful in so many ways. 
Sad and distressing - yes 
but a privilege.

Before she died .........
I was working in Inner City East End of London. 
Working lively/lovely young people & gangs of kids 
giving my all. 

Beyond breaking point. 
Demanding it was.
Giving it was. 
Living on the edge of resilience.

While all at the same time... 
my mother was about to enter hospital
to have her legs amputated. 

Here I was in East London 
Then the most deprived community in the nation
working with beautiful humans 
some who were deep into crime
and enjoying violence, 
while my mother was due to enter hospital
over 200 miles away.

One evening
I was sat near the snooker table in the Youth Club. 
Back to the wall. 
(I always sit with my back to the wall)

The young humans I work with
had heard about my mother's situation, 
and of what was about to happen. 
I guess other Youth Workers
had shared the facts.

I was subdued that evening,
not my usual bustling,
bouncy and verbal self.

As I sat with my back to the wall
near to the snooker table
and something I will never forget happened - 
one of the toughest of the gang members 
started to slowly walked around the table 
a number of times 
passing me each time. 

Walking ever so slow - 
walking ever so close - 
but not stopping
never speaking.

Then, as he walked past me again, 
he just gently stroked my hair away from my forehead 
and walked on.

Then, at that point, 
is when the sobs rose from my chest 
and exploded in my head. 
I felt it... that one act of beautiful tenderness.
As I click these keys now, tears again fill my eyes.

I choked because 
I was at a depth of vulnerability. 
I felt it deeply and personally 
I connected with my deepest feelings.

Also it was because I was the silent partner 
being blessed by 
an act of non-verbal sensitivity. 

Gentleness and kindness pouring out of an inarticulate frame, 
of a tough and violent young man in his early twenties.

I remembered it now and it moves my soul. 
I learned a lot from that incident of care. 
That incident was not a chosen moment of my vulnerability. 
But I learned that it is a mistake to see vulnerability as a weakness. 
Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness.

Tears come to my eyes
yet again
as I read my own words .......
......for so many reasons ..........