Monday, 25 November 2013

Goodwill to all men

Yes it is that time,of year again when our thoughts turn to family gatherings, 
present buying, decorations, carol singing and if you have religion then to what Christmas means to you.
Children are excited, advent calendars will soon be getting opened and parties and nativity shows taking place in schools up and down the country.
Now stop! 
 Let us imagine a different scene.....
A home with no lights or heat as the utility bills can no longer be met
A home with no food on the table, an empty fridge and larder
A home that is under threat of repossession as the bedroom tax hasn't been paid
Christmas is cancelled in this home!
You may think I am being over dramatic, 
scare mongering, pessimistic but let me tell you this is a status I read on Facebook last night, this is reality for one family who chose to share their pain in one brief status update last night.
It started me thinking how many others will be in this position this Christmas?
How many sick/disabled, unemployed people have cancelled Christmas for themselves and their families this year?
What was heartwarming was the number of offers of help this person received in a short space of time, not from your well off toffs or big businesses but from the very same people I see offering whatever they can whenever they can, people in similar situations to the person in need,
 people who would share their last penny or food or even the only thing they have themselves their hugs and wishes for that person at a time when they need them.
I have seen these same people come time after time to support the one going through the trauma, standing with that person in unity, not pity but understanding.
And I thank god whoever he/she may be that with this world being turned on its head, 
with man being set against man, rich against poor there are still good,kind thoughtful people who remain steadfast in their beliefs that every human being should be treated with respect and kindness and proves this at every opportunity to do so.
This is our first Christmas in our new home. 
The last few years I have not wanted to decorate our former home, 
I had pretty much lost my Christmas spirit.
It had become harder and harder as my medical condition progressed to welcome family and friends into our home, cook for them and celebrate with them. 
I had changed physically and so Christmas had to change too.
We handed Christmas over to our three daughters, it was their time now to take over the family traditions and so from last year we went to one or other of the daughters and the family continued in its usual way to spend Christmas together.
It had changed but through necessity and the changes were right for us all.
The changes some families are facing this Christmas are being forced on them, 
benefits stopped, mistakes made, deliberate sanctions, and so on....
I want to celebrate Christmas this year in our new home,
 I want to put decorations up, I look forward to the family meals and seeing my grandchildren open their presents etc but it is only possible for us because my benefits were sorted out and for now I am able to 'get by'
My children are carrying the main cost of Christmas as we certainly couldn't manage it on benefits so thank goodness we have a close family who are able to do this for us and with us.
What of those who haven't got that choice?
And even more heart wrenching was the article about another death/suicide directly attributed to this welfare war being waged on us all, 
a 53 year old woman has become the latest statistic.
Isn't that an awful way to report the death of a woman? 
Has it become so normal for us to see these reports now that we read them, feel sorry about it and then move on?
After all she wasn't someone I knew personally, 
why should it bother me more than a passing sadness?
It should bother me and you and you, 
it is a needless death,
 a death caused by this cruel governments mistakes, their half baked policies and their apparent unaccountability.
It should bother us all greatly that this is happening in 2013
It should bother us greatly that this is happening in a so called civilised country.
It should bother each and every one of us that this death and many of the other suicides could have been avoided if only we as a society stood up and showed we truly cared!
Where were you all?
Where was I?
Putting up Christmas decorations........

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