When bad things happen in the world it can be difficult enough to talk about them to our friends and family, let alone to the people we support who may not understand fully or could be affected by darkness more deeply than the general public. The temptation is definitely there to shelter people. Switch off the news, avoid talking about it, close the curtains and pretend that bad things don’t happen. However, the media makes that impossible, it’s on the radio, the television, people talk about it in Tesco’s when you do the weekly shop. The simple fact is you can’t cover up every bad thing that happens in the world.
Over the past few weeks the UK has been faced with two prominent terrorist attacks and it’s hard to know where to start with explaining that when I barely understand it myself. I didn’t want to upset the people I support but equally I didn’t want to hide away from the truth of it either. So, how to tackle this?
It was only at the beginning of this year that I became Frontline Manager at Watling Street where we support Terri-Ann and Joanne so I am still getting to know these two wonderful ladies. It’s been a great experience and I have grown to care for both of them deeply. Other than the death of a pet snail I’ve not had to deal with any sadness so far in my role, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when dealing with something so delicate; I wasn’t sure I had even processed it all.
Fortunately the answer came in the form of a concert, put on by the brave Ariana Grande and several other international artists. We made an evening of it, all sitting together in the lounge. I didn’t know what to expect; I wasn’t sure if there would be tears or confusion or difficult questions. What I was certain of however was that Watling Street is united in a love of music, dancing and singing and this seemed perfect. Joanne was already planning to watch it in fact and Terri-Ann was sold on the idea when I mentioned some of the artists taking part.
As it turns out I had no reason to be nervous and I was touched by the resilience of Terri-Ann and Joanne. They sang along, they laughed and they were touched by the moments of closeness shown by some of their favourite singers. They listened closely to the messages given. At one point we were all holding hands, telling each other just how much we all cared for one another. Truly it was a special evening.
I learnt several valuable lessons about how to tackle these difficult topics with these two ladies. The first was, don’t shy away from it and take it head on. The second was probably the more prominent; Watling Street is so full of love and kindness that even a great tragedy can’t shake the bonds. The staff team do a wonderful job of keeping this atmosphere in all that they do, warmth really is at the heart of everything that happens in this home. I never in my wildest dreams thought a barbaric act of terrorism could bring all of us closer together but that is just what has happened. It really was the rainbow at the end of the storm.
“So don’t look back in anger”
Withington, Milton Keynes