Connectedness - the state of being joined or linked

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for most of us, with the terrible suicide bombing incident in Manchester. I don’t really need to say any more about why and how it has affected us but yesterday was a day I don’t think I will forget.

We were about to teach our amazing Seniors class, always full of joy, laughter and love, whilst we watch, supervise and make sure that they are all safe and comfortable, but pushing them that little bit to ensure their independence and health stays with them for as long as possible.

I was helping them in, putting chairs out, saying hello etc when Jon, one of our clients came in. Jon is an upstanding member of the community, respected and recognised by his peers, one who has dealt with his health issues head on and although he is a quiet man, always has something humorous and witty to say in classes.

We were at the front of the class chatting when Jon asked me if I thought it would be ok to have a minutes silence for those who died, were injured or affected by the events in Manchester. I said of course it would be ok, explained that it was my hometown, where I grew up and Jon pulled me towards him and just hugged me tightly, sobbing and just so upset. Obviously I cried too and when we could speak I asked if he had family or friends in Manchester, but he replied that he didn’t, he just couldn’t bear the thought of those children and young people losing their lives in such a tragic way.

We held the minutes silence, many of us unable to stop the tears and we were joined in a feeling of sadness, despair but mostly community spirit and love, words unspoken.

I was unable to run the class as I was constantly breaking down (many of you who know me, know how soft I am at the best of times, so this was impossible for me to even try to stop the tears especially when we played "Memory" and "Abide with me" ! ) so Helen ran it and I helped where I could. I spent 5 minutes outside, sitting on a bench, thinking of my life in Manchester. I don’t have any family there now, but my Dad is buried there. I have so many childhood and teenage memories and some of my school friends still live there. I am proud to be a “Manc” and never more so, than this week, when we have seen that solidarity, the citizenship and kindness of all those local people, offering lifts, free taxi rides, overnight stays and the attendance at the vigil, held at St Anne’s square.

That is what we felt in our class yesterday. We felt every emotion. Together. A variety of personalities, ages, backgrounds and beliefs, joining together.

I feel truly blessed to be able to spend time with our clients, they feel like family, we care for them and they care for us. I felt all their emotions yesterday and they felt ours. Afterwards we discussed how they felt, how we felt and how we must see the light and not focus on the shadows. The feeling of love in that room was remarkable, sad but joyful and we left with a calmness that cannot be explained. Connectedness at its best.

"Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me."

Pat Taylor 


Henry Francis Lyte (1847, alt.)