You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

Max Ehrmann (1872 – 1945)

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Max Ehrmann was an American writer, poet, and attorney from Indiana, whose parents had emigrated from Bavaria/German to the U.S.A. His most famous work was Desiderata – something that is needed or wanted.

Desiderata is one poem I read and listened to last week. The other song/poem I listened to is by Baz Luhrmann, Everybody’s Free (to wear Sunscreen, Class of ’99), performed by Quindon Tarver. They are not unsimilar, although one is a bit more lighthearted than the other.

The advice given to the class of ’99 is solid. I promised myself that from now on I will heed it more than I did in the past. I will start wearing sunscreen. I will get more calcium, I will stretch, sing and floss.

Here is another bit I really can relate to:

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind

The reason I looked at these poems is that there have been some troublesome and difficult situations. They brought me back to the days when I had to explain to media, politicians and representatives of the health system why An Saol needed to establish a rehabilitation day centre for those with a severe Acquired Brain Injury and their families.

A centre where they would find the support they so desperately needed for ‘Life and Living’ with their injuries, in a trusting, transparent and safe environment.

What I found hard to take was the reality that those who have been hit hard and brutally by tragedy are so often talked about and dealt with without them even being aware of those ‘dealings’. That where there should be absolute transparency and trust, because there is a huge vulnerability and dependency on trust, that trust can and is being broken by those who feel they know. By those who are hiding behind forms and General Data Protection legislation instead of walking their talk. While policy papers and strategies point at the rights of patients, of patients being in the driving seat, of the patients’ rights to know, of transparency, open disclosures and access to information held about them – a Kafkaesque-type system is still in place making these papers effectively maculature.

There is a young brain-injured person who was brought for rehabilitation, for six months, to a centre hundreds of kilometres away from their family, more than seven years ago – for his own good, of course. There are brain injured young citizens who have seen their families at months’ long intervals – because of COVID, of course. There are families affected by brain injury who have looked after their loved ones for years, or for decades, who are investigated and their loved ones made wards of court, taking away any say the family might have had, based on the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 – in their best interest, of course.

I wish they were but not all fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

I will start wearing sunscreen. I will get more calcium, I will stretch, sing and floss.

I will keep working on Desiderata – something that is needed and wanted. Desperately.

Tomorrow will be a better day.