I have mentioned that I lost a dear friend several years ago. She died of a horrible cancer, if there is any other sort.
Her lovely parents became friends of me and her friends, as we lived through my friend’s illness and then her death, together. Since her death, my friend’s parents have raised tens of thousands of pounds for a cancer charity which researches into the particular cancer from which my friend died. Every year, they hold a garden party, which brings in friends and neighbours and their friends. For the past couple of years, I have been able to help out.
I have also mentioned that my partner lost his son, a couple of years ago. He died from an insidious and fairly uncommon liver disease (nothing to do with alcohol) which crept up on him over 10 years, then galloped through his body in a few months. He got infection, which he could not fight off. Since his death, my partner, his family and his son’s friends have been involved in various fund-raising campaigns which, again, have raised thousands for vital research needed to start to understand this dreadful disease. Again, I have helped out here and there. On each and every occasion I know about and/or have been involved in, I have been struck by how effective communities, big and small, can be. Quietly, and without razzamatazz or celebrity fanfare, they organise, co-operate, share, support, laugh and cry together. They get things done and make a difference in a fraction of the time it takes central government to do a fraction of anything.
The future is community.