Tipping point calls us to concentrate on those we love

For too long now we have suffered in silence waiting for our latest trials to pass. Family tragedies, shop closures, and long-established businesses we have grown to love over the years being NAMAed are simply too much to bear.

The poisonous concoction of massive debts, negative equity, mass unemployment, forced emigration, intolerable austerity, collapse of consumer confidence, and the consequent 'ghost town' effect spreading through our urban centres are all taking their toll. No longer capable of brushing further bad news aside, our tipping point has been reached.

This week, as we mourn the loss of yet more young people from our midst, we register their deaths as unnecessary and wrong. At funeral after funeral, we chime these sentiments, in the hope that, somehow, such hollow words will fortify. Relying on our shock, our anger, our grief, to camouflage the real emotional turmoil within, we dare not dwell a moment too long on our pain, for fear of what it might do to us.

With the ominous sense of the walls closing in, we remain in a state of denial, looking to the outside world for diversions, distractions, and explanations as to how to make sense of it all. Our tendency to adopt the blame game has us turning our attention from matters local to global, surveying the myriad potential perpetrators we can fault for causing so much damage. Dissatisfied with the ongoing absence of resolution, of imagination, of closure of our financial distress, we have begun to seriously question the 'Europe Project', wondering if it is the primary cause of all our woes and if we would be better off without it.

Rose-tinted glasses also have us harking back to nostalgic 'good old days, long before the Celtic Tiger ever existed, when life in Ireland was all about family, the land, sweat, toil, and hard work; a time when sleeping tablets or stress were never heard of and all that was required for a good night's sleep was to let the waves of tiredness wash over us as our heads hit the pillow.

How many of us wouldn't love to return to these ordinary times, when meeting up in pubs meant nothing other than letting our hair down and having fun; when get-togethers meant straightforward craic with family and friends, without the need to preface queries regarding employment prospects, banking woes, mortgage repayments, and the goings-on in distant lands thousands of miles away, to which our children have emigrated.

If by some wave of a magic wand we were permitted to wipe the slate clean, cancel all our debts, leave our troubles behind and start over from scratch, there is no doubt we would do so with hope anew and utter conviction, vowing never, ever, to allow such terrible mistakes happen again.

No matter how diligently we seek out scapegoats however, the one and only truth remains. We alone are in charge of how we cope through these difficult times and our primary responsibility lies with looking after those we love. Our duty now is to each other. We must pull together, prop each other up and keep a particularly watchful eye on vulnerable family members in our circle. Our energies must not be wasted on bitter regrets or stress, but invested instead in moving on, moving forward. There is help out there and those in need of support must be pointed in the right direction.

We must also ensure to never forget - as so many of us have witnessed first hand this week - that there are still so many good people out there; the finest of good people.

Through our hurt and grief we must remind ourselves to enjoy one another, to savour the fun we can have together, in the realisation that no matter what is happening, time continues to march ruthlessly on in this one life we have together.


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