To L, on Comic Relief Night

Dear L,

It is Friday night, we are home. The house is warm and we have had dinner. Comic Relief is on. You are upstairs doing homework, but will come down later. We have laughed about C and his cynicism, knowing he will be texting later. We had dinner, and chatted and laughed about our day. Tomorrow, you are going to football with Dad and K and I are going shopping. I have just watched a short film about the mother and daughter who were both HIV positive. They had medicine, but not enough to eat, so the mother gave the food they had to her daughter, because otherwise the medicine became toxic. She wanted her daughter to eat so she could cope with the illness and carry on at school. As a result, the mother died, leaving her daughter and her younger son in the care of her own mother.

I can’t even cry. It is too unimaginably bleak. Would I do that for you and J and K? Probably. But I won’t have to. Every week we throw food away.This isn’t me saying, “Eat up, there are starving children in Africa.” I know this is an illness, I know how strong it is. I know this isn’t a Western affectation, a silly privileged indulgence. Please though, look at the world in which we live. Look at those struggling to survive, the child living in the slum, the families being torn apart by famine or war and think of all the wonderful things in your world. You are so, so loved, with a future ahead of you, an excellent education, a bedroom in which a family could live in and every security anyone could want. You are safe, loved, warm and secure. Please try to see all the good in your life. Please try to fight for the happiness which is waiting for you.

All my love, always



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