Community spirit shines through recent tragedies

July 13, 2017   //   1 Comment

This month I find myself writing this Blog following the tragic loss of life in the fire at Grenfell Tower.  I think I can safely say that this tragedy has touched everyone and affected us all in so many different ways. It has touched me in such a way that this is proving difficult to write, as I think of the trauma suffered both physically and mentally. However, it is evident that there is so much to be learned from a disaster such as this.  So much has been written about this in the media and I don’t want to write about the circumstances of the fire or the way things have been handled by the authorities following the 14th June. Or indeed any of the issues raised subsequently.

What I do want to touch on is the wonderful community spirit and support that has very much come to the fore through adversity. The help that local people gave as the tragedy unfolded, helping others escape from within the tower, even catching children as they were thrown from the building!  This was followed by the practical support for those who were left homeless and in some cases without any family to support them. In the first instances many were clothed, fed and even shelter was organised by local people, who didn’t know the victims personally, but felt  moved to help their neighbours.  Some travelled many miles with bags of clothing for those left with nothing.  What a wonderful testament to human nature of the very best kind.

Whilst all this was happening, I had occasion to be arranging a funeral for a lady who had lost her husband after 50 years of marriage. She made one comment to me which was “all my friends are talking about that Grenfell Tower and all I want to talk about is my husband”.  Disasters such as Grenfell Tower and the recent attacks in Manchester and London will always hit the headlines for so many reasons.  But let us not forget that they are not the only victims suffering from the loss of a loved one at this time.

I have written many times over the years on the subject of bereavement and the lack of community support in our society today. Too often people find themselves alone following the death of a loved one. The support networks which we used to have, due to families growing up together and then staying in an area, are sadly no longer in place today. Too often people don’t ever see their next door neighbour, let alone know their name. So why should they help someone they don’t even know? I’m not comparing the events of 14th June to any other death or bereavement suffered, as the circumstances are so extreme, but for every individual, the death of a loved one is catastrophic. The importance of love and support at this time can’t be overstated, and this has been so evident at Grenfell Tower. I hope that many people will see this as a shining example of how we should be there to support our neighbour, whether we know them or not!

Thank goodness also for all the volunteer charities and church groups who support the bereaved in so many ways when that extra help is most needed. And let us not forget our colleagues involved in arranging the funerals for those who died in Grenfell Tower, and offer them our support at such a difficult time.

But, just as important, is the care and support that we as Funeral Directors offer our clients every day of the year whatever the circumstances of their bereavement.

One thought on “Community spirit shines through recent tragedies”

  1. Hi Paul,

    Reading your observations on life and events through your regular blog at SAIF always provides some provoking thoughts. Non-more so, then this months reflection on the tragic circumstances in the Grenfell Tower fire.

    Your accurate observation that “community spirit and support … come to the fore through adversity” is an incredible outcome of that devastating event. For those who lost everything, those who could give something made a difference. Made a difference in the lives of those who had experienced loss, yes, but I am sure in their own lives as well. Fittingly, as you write, “what a wonderful testament to human nature of the very best kind.” I see this regularly repeated in the eulogies that I write and deliver. Those people whose lives seem to make a difference, usually do it through serving others unselfishly and that stands as a lasting testament to their days. It not only changes the situation, but it changes them.

    Too often the “news” about the funeral industry it is not always positive. Even in this last week as the issues around funeral plans have come to the fore, it says nothing about the many dedicated, committed and often forgotten funeral directors who live out the ethos of SAIF by serving their local communities. I work as a busy celebrant with some local SAIF member funeral directors, and regularly I see them going the extra mile in difficult circumstances for families who have suffered loss. Not charging for funerals, being willing to go the extra length to make sure that the celebration of life always is done with respect and dignity, attention to detail and with the utmost professionalism. It is because those things are not necessarily brought to light, that they are not noticed, but they make a significant difference nonetheless.

    Thanks for another interesting post.

    Peter Billingham – Death Goes Digital

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