Two Breakups and a Funeral

In the last year I have gone through two traumatic breakups and a painful bereavement.

A year ago my father died. The loss of a parent is devastating and life-changing. But he had lived a full and long life, he was suffering, and so was my family. We all have to go one day. My dad’s day had come. My grief was laced with relief and acceptance.

Earlier this year, my partner of three years ended our relationship. I fell into a (thankfully short-lived) depression. I felt for a while as if my world had disintegrated, I felt rudderless. But on some level I knew that it had been necessary, that better times were ahead, that my ex had been brave to act, and that she was hurting too.

Last week the UK chose to leave the European Union. This doesn’t feel the same. I don’t love the EU like I loved my father and my partner. But I do love it, and this is personal. I believe in the EU. I work as an EU public servant because of that belief – it is, to use an unfashionable word, my vocation. For at least thirty years it has been the leitmotiv to my life. And now my homeland has rejected it, possibly fatally wounding it. I am beside myself with anger and grief. This isn’t the euthanising of a loving but flawed relationship, nor the end to a loved one’s terminal suffering. This is a cold-hearted killing. The trigger was pulled by people who had no real understanding of what they were doing, and the gun was being pointed by cynical, manipulative narcissists and psychopaths. Around me I see shocked people in denial, anger, grief. I don’t know if I will ever progress to acceptance.

6 thoughts on “Two Breakups and a Funeral

  1. Liz

    “The trigger was pulled by people who had no real understanding of what they were doing” fits all the people I know who voted leave. The tragedy is that many had real grievances and were manipulated to think Brexit was the solution by some of the very people who, aided by a press devoid of morals, had caused their problems.

    One of my colleagues arguing this point on Friday was accused of elitism. His retort: “spending time to find the facts does not make me elite”. Unfortunately in “burn the witch scenarios” facts are not required and those who knew and loved the witch, with all her faults, are left bereaved.

  2. Martin Cole

    I phoned a friend this evening, the widow of a friend, an ex-colleague of mine, who had gone on to work in the Commission in Brussels. I knew she had been worried over Brexit in recent week, so wished to check to ensure she was not too down. In fact she was quite chirpy and consoling herself by reflecting how far the EU had moved from early aspirations & their joint dismay dismay at developments near to his retirement. A shock was badly needd in the EU, I feel. Perhaps a read of Peter Hitchens MoS article of today of the despair brought to the North will restore some optimism. My condolences for all your losses, every cloud … as I hope you’ll soon perceive

    1. Chris Kendall Post author

      While I don’t think we agree on many issues when it comes to the EU, Martin, I appreciate the sentiment. Thanks. I also hope that we find silver linings – I’m sure there will be some.

  3. Samuel Johnson

    I think David Edgerton’s recent piece in the NYT was as sanguine as one can hope for, basically saying that breaking up the UK may not be a bad thing. As an Irishman I strongly agree because I have never seen how the UK constitution and governance can be modernized given the corrupt duopoly in parliament and the grotesque electoral system, and because I would like to see the partition of my country ended. As a former resident of Scotland (5 years in the 80s) with some Scottish friends I would also like to see the Scots join us in the EU and take charge of their own affairs instead of complaining about the union. When the dominoes fall, as predicted, there will be some opportunities for a fresh start.

    I imagine the fall of France felt as shocking, but it wasn’t the end.

    Commiserations on the personal tribulations. Have no doubt that your passionate commitment is MUCH appreciated, and shared.

    In solidarity.

  4. Maggie

    The day after the EU ref an English friend of mine wore a handmade badge saying “I’m ashamed of my country”. She was in mourning until the day she left the country to live and work in Berlin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *