I read an article several weeks ago about a change in the UK people's drinking habits. I can't say this refers to adults, because sadly some children begin drinking as young as 8 years old. Many of the established pubs in England are closing, as more people are buying their alcohol from supermarkets at cheaper prices. On the face of it, this seems sensible, although they're missing out on socializing with friends in a convivial atmosphere. But the bad news is that the drinking public consumes more at home than they did previously.
The inquest revealed the facts of the gardener's death. During a crash on his bicycle, the man broke 11 ribs and cut his left kidney when he crashed into a wheelie bin, tumbling over the handlebars. He survived but doctors at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, grew worried when the 51-year-old became delirious. Despite treatment with vitamins and minerals to combat alcohol withdrawal, he died a week later of a cardiac arrest.
The cause of death was reported to be cardiac arrest due to multiple injuries, with a secondary cause of 'established chronic liver disease with ongoing steatosis and cirrhosis, and acute confusion and delirium due to alcohol withdrawal syndrome'.
When social drinking changes into a solitary personal addiction, there is usually an underlying reason. We probably all know someone who is taking this short-track to death. Usually, there's not a thing anyone else can do to change their ways. I've gone over and over my daughter's death in my mind. I'm left with the nagging feeling I should have helped her in some way. But deep down, I know everyone must learn their own lessons.
Here's an excerpt from my novel in progress, which shows a mother's self-blame. It's in the form of a vision.
Exhilarating freedom washes over my mind. At last, the tumbling journey stops and I gain balance.
In the night-time blur below, I concentrate to pick out details. Houses spread along dark streets. Occasional lights send a glimmer through the trees resembling stars in the night sky.
I must be in an overseas country, separated by half a revolution of the Earth. Will I prevent a crime? Assist a child?
In an overwhelming rush, I'm sucked below.
My psyche oozes right through a solid roof to hover inside a kitchen. Overhead light bounces off the shiny table. The smell of boiled vegetables struggles to overcome the scent of air freshener in the stifling atmosphere.
I zap into a woman's mind. The first knowledge I grasp is her name from her husband's echoing voice after he left the room.
Now I observe through Mora's eyes. The skin of her inner arms hangs loose with dents resembling the surface of the moon. Her elbows lean on the table with her head resting in her hands.
She doesn't feel my presence while I absorb her sorrow and regret because of the recent loss of her daughter in another part of the country. Unable to travel because of her walking disability, she wonders how she could have made more effort. The clock chimes twelve times, but she's not tired.
No use succumbing to her grief. I must remain impassive if I'm to work with her. This is what I'm here for. My empathy rises with the softness of a gentle breeze lifting damp hair from the back of the neck on a hot day.
Her husband, James, enters the room, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. We straighten to face him, quivering hands brushing our hair. Although he's sympathetic, the loss is not of his own flesh.
"Here you go." His Australian accent soothes us while places a mug alongside. The sweet aroma of milky tea rises in the steam. A hesitant hand strokes our shoulder. With a sigh, he sits opposite.
James is the perfect person for her to discuss her self-blame with. But she needs a nudge. I whisper, 'Look at his caring manner. He considers your feelings'.
We sip our drink.
Memories flood into her--raising her daughter, teaching her to talk, and welcoming her home after school. Once her daughter set out on a life of her own, time passed faster. An indrawn breath. Seventy years old next birthday. Already her child has died before her.
I ease a suggestion into her mind. 'Those who remain must go on'.
A cloud of regret drags us down.
Mora lost touch because of the distance separating them. She didn't discover what was happening during their brief contacts.
We swallow tears.
Mora retreats into memories. Her daughter drank so much she damaged her liver. Oh, the wicked waste of a precious life. What did she do to cause this flaw in her child? The blame rests with her.
'Each person takes responsibility for their own life', I whisper, soft as a feather.
We nod, unable to let go of the past.
How can I help Mora stop this endless remorse? There's no turning back time, but can she go forward? That's what I must achieve. 'Your husband needs you. If you retreat into self-judgment, and lose the joy in your life, he'll follow your lead and give up too'.
He glances up. A smile flicks over his face. Unwilling to respond, we sink into a numb state.
'He loves you, right here, right now. Nobody lives forever. True love is hard to replace. Regard him as a stranger you've just met, rather than the man you take for granted'. We glance up to study him. Hunched shoulders, neck leaning to one side in the grip of advancing age, fragility replaces his once proud strength.
Shock at his potential loss jolts us.
'He's waiting for you to make the first move'.
Releasing a soft breath, we return his smile and blink away self-accusing opinions. I read the depth of her emotion. She loves him, needs him, now more than ever. A rush of warmth rises into our cheeks and filters into every part of our body.
When she reaches out to share her grief, I lift away.