Private grief in public life

No one goes through life untouched by sadness but most of us are able to grieve in private.

It must be so much harder for people in the public eye like David Cameron whose son has died.

Ivan was six and from media reports it sounds as if he had a similar condition to our sons who had mulitple disabilities and recurring seizures.

Tom was only 20 weeks when he died. Dan was five years, however, he had passed none of the developmental milestones so could do no more than a newborn.

We had wonderful support from family, friends, agencies like Plunket and IHC, the family GP and Dan’s paediatrician but even so looking after Dan was difficult and we knew it would become more so as he grew physically without developing intellectually.

Because of that one of the emotions I felt when he died was relief. Dan’s death freed us to do things it had been difficult, or sometimes impossible, to do with him and relieved us from the strain of knowing every plan we made came with a proviso that Dan’s health would allow us to do it.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel anger, sadness and all the pain that comes with losing a child too. Not just for Dan but over the hopes and dreams I hadn’t even been aware of having for his future, because when you lose a child you also lose the teenager and adult he would have become.

But at least I was able to go through all that in private.

How much more difficult it will be for the Cameron family when David has a public role which is so demanding and his duties as Conservative leader will sometimes, perhaps often, conflict with his own need to grieve and be with, cherish and be cherished by, his family.

I hope they are surrounded and supported by the love and kindness that helped us and that they too find that grief passes, happiness returns and that life can be good again.

One Response to Private grief in public life

  1. David Baigent says:

    I understand. A tiny part of your load has been shared.


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