Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Negotiating the dark
The past month has been hugely cathartic for Ireland. When the initial findings were released by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes on March 3rd, there was an initial outpouring of collective shock and grief. Stories told by the survivors (largely on the Joe Duffy show) were so harrowing and heart wrenching, it was difficult to recover after hearing them. This was something experienced by many of ye (I was told) including myself but imagine living with that horrific reality day in day out; unbearable for most of us.
Despite being immersed in this subject matter for well over a year and like the rest of the country, having heard story after tragic story unfolding about the Magdalene Laundries and Industrial Schools for a sustained period, I personally found myself drowning in the darkness of it all in the last few weeks. The vast reality of the horrors and the coverups really got to me and probably for the first time in my life, felt that I was being swallowed up by the magnitude of it all. It brought up some very deep personal fears and feelings of vulnerability that I too had buried and suddenly found I could no longer cover up either, so instead of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, highlighting the positive or seeing someone else's difficulties above my own; I decided to confront them. What I discovered was by openly admitting how I was feeling and investigating the root from which the emotions were emanating whilst getting the support I needed, it was easier to negotiate the dark whilst being fully immersed in it. Our inner vision will adjust if we give it time and are honest in our approach. The first thing I discovered was once I fully accepted the TRUTH of my situation, I could do something about it. Acceptance is not a benign act, it precedes many actions and if we were all to collectively accept that these atrocities happened, how would that be?
We could certainly find a way to heal and move on.
Perhaps we've finally reached that point.
What I do know is that the whole aspect of Tuam (tumulus - burial mound) - has been hugely metaphorical both individually and collectively, it's a case of accepting the TRUTH of what's buried and deciding if we want to excavate the murky depths as well.
Good luck with that ;-) it ain't easy but it's worth it.