There is no worse feeling in the world than the realisation that you don’t matter, that whatever you do will not alter the axis of the world, that other people’s lives will not be changed a bit even if they were to bump into you. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure that others do not feel this way. As good humans, you have to do your bit to ensure that whatever you take from someone, let it not be their dignity and sense of security.
It is important to feel minded, to feel cared for. In the main, we all strut around with no notion of the need to be minded until the need arises. It is only when you are at your most vulnerable, ill, poor, striving to find self-worth, that you realise the importance of those professions which set out as their goal the preservation of our safety, our stability, and our health.
This week was a week when we all felt minded. It was a time when a great natural peril was on our doorsteps, something we had not witnessed for many a decade. Houses and buildings and trees which had never known a storm of such ferocity would be tested to the extreme, and in the main, they withstood that challenge.
However, the cost in terms of human lives lost was still three too many. It is so sad to reflect on the last moments of those three people who died this week in Hurricane Ophelia. They were people who were trying to get home to be with others, trying to make the way safer for us all, trying to bring comfort to a parent or a family member.
They were just like the rest of us, trying to do what we could to help others, but then making sure that we were all safe indoors.
And for this we have the public service to thank. The Met Office, the emergency services, the gardai, the local authorities.
This column can never be sufficiently effusive in its praise of the emergency services, those who stand on the wall while we sleep, those who risk their lives so we can live ours.
To those people who for whatever notion-filled point they were trying to make, by defying the advice of the emergency services this week, you must remember, that you may not care for your own safety, such is the professionalism of our emergency services that were you to bash your head against a rock or be swept out to sea, that they would go to your rescue. In doing so, they would also be taken away from other emergencies where the injuries might not be as selfishly self-inflicted.
To those who risked their lives and will continue to do so for the next few days while they repair the damage causes, we say a big thank you and a reminder that what you do is noticed, is felt and is appreciated. So when you are pulling on your waders to get into that dinghy, or unravelling the hoses on the fire engine, or stocking the medicines in that ambulance, please remember that although you do it as a job, the rest of us see you going above and beyond the call of duty.
Thank you for minding us.