05_march_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,019

Thursday 05 March 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Never in my life have I ever had to face the constant, remorseless, presence of people dying on a daily basis and having friends calling me in tears to tell me of another life gone. I am so glad to be older and to have dealt with the inevitable losses of family and loved ones and the adjustment to realising my own slow approach to the top of the queue as the years encroach.

I remember the loss of my grandparents and, as so many do, not knowing how I was meant to respond and being most discomforted by a peculiar need to laugh at funerals. I didn’t understand it then, these things require time to absorb and process, and that rising involuntary laugh or giggle was just a reaction to my inadequacy to grasp what was going on and of being shut out from the immediacy of the grief that swallows everything else. Adults who normally were so in charge of my life, so seemingly adequate in my youthful eyes, were suddenly cut off from me, lost in their sorrow and grief. I guess that was my first experience of being really alone, cut adrift to face a situation I did not understand, alone at crowded funerals with no one to provide any answers or advice.

These days loss and grief are old companions, they remain much bigger than me and all I can do is surrender to them and let the sorrow and tears take over. I understand the healing of tears and yet quite why that peculiar process is the way we work out grief remains a profound mystery but it is a mystery that fills me with awe, because it so connects me to the gaping sense of loss of the absolute ending of another life.

One of the people who I was notified of today was, only in December, being hounded for a workfare interview by the DWP. She had terminal cancer and now just weeks later she is gone and yet she left us the most beautiful and moving message I have ever seen.

Whilst you and the rest of your inhuman government were enjoying your chimps tea party today at PMQs and being reminded by the speaker that people watching MPs ‘scream like banshees’ on TV will be voting in a few weeks’ time, I was sharing the grief of a friend and her tears.

Another life has passed with dignity, thankfully surrounded by loved ones, whilst you and your inhuman government care nothing for our lives and even less for our mounting dead or the basic needs of life that you mercilessly deprive people of. Dr David Webster of Glasgow university, the leading academic authority on benefit sanctions, has estimated that the DWP robs £300 million a year from most poor and disadvantaged people through benefit sanctions. You may think you understand the price of everything, but you understand the value of nothing, not even of life itself.