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Empathy

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 , by
Empathy

When someone asks who you would like to make a tribute to, who you have been most impacted by in your life, it can be a difficult choice. It puts you in a strange position, one in which you suddenly focus on everything for which you are grateful, on everything which you love about the individuals around you. You put aside daily irritations and only think about the important things which make a person precious to you. And for me, choosing who to write a tribute for and to wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be.

If we start with the things you have achieved in your life, there’s a lot to talk about. There was a lot before I was even born. You went to university, learnt to dive the ocean. You travelled the world, alone and with friends. You became a magician, captivated by the illusion and giving the everyday a taste of the unusual. When I think about all the different countries you’ve travelled to, the people you’ve met, the things you’ve seen and done, it’s quite amazing, almost like something from a book. I wish you’d kept a diary and tracked your footsteps, highlighted your path in red, ticked it off against maps. I wish there was some way I could have shared some of those times with you. 

It’s made you so open-minded, so broad in your perspective of the world, it’s like nothing could ever surprise you. You understand people from across the globe, you’ve watched and appreciated and worked with them in their communities and their homes. You have stood in the Sahara Desert and walked through India and taken the train across Europe, seen Spain and Egypt, and you went to work and to see the people, to walk their lives with them, and to live in their countries. The rainbow prism of life casts a wide spectrum, and you have seen every hue.

Once we were born, you tethered yourself back in England for our sakes, and raised three children almost single-handedly. Three children who have thrived, in spite of challenges, disabilities, depression, who are educated and enthusiastic and happy. That says a lot, in our current world. I know you worry sometimes, that the future concerns you, but you have given us every tool we could need; you gave us stability, safety, acceptance. You remind us that life isn’t all about working, but is about enjoyment and peace and sharing. You gave us confidence and a continual reassurance that no matter what, we could go to you for help. There was never a problem I couldn’t bring to you, no matter how serious or scary it was. I knew you would face them with me, even if there was no practical measure you could take to combat them; you would still face them. You would do anything, and if there was nothing to be done, you would still be there with sympathy and hugs to make the day easier. Every challenge I have faced has been faced with the assurance that you are there, right behind me, cheering on every step and not minding how far we go, so long as we are happy where we end up.

I think the most amazing thing about you is how prepared you are to give everything to everyone around you. People do not appreciate how much you offer; you have time for anyone and everyone. You will talk to people on the street, hear their stories, bring them home. Their lives are made 3D by your interest and investment. There is nobody who you don’t take an interest in, and nobody who you wouldn’t listen to, or offer help to if they asked. You will put aside your own tasks and life to make things easier for someone else. You will spend hours on the phone, talking and arguing and fighting for people who cannot do it for themselves, defending them from governments and corporations who don’t care about individuals, don’t care about pain, don’t know empathy. There aren’t many givers in the world, certainly not ones who give like you, who give indefinitely without caring to be noticed and admired for it.

You have acceptance for everyone. Your perspective on religion perfectly shows your ethics; you reject any viewpoint which refuses to acknowledge the faith and feelings of others. Of all the things which I would be proud to emulate, to say ‘I got that from my mother,’ it is perhaps this. You never put any person above another, not for wealth or race or situation. You don’t apply labels to people, not because you have taught yourself not to, but because the labels are meaningless to how you see others. People are too colourful, too unique, too individual to be labelled. There is nobody in whom you cannot find goodness, nobody who you cannot express empathy and understanding for, and that is far braver than rising up in anger against people who hurt others because they themselves have suffered.

You walk a difficult path sometimes, with little recognition for the work you put into life, and the sacrifices you make for those around you. People don’t always want to listen. I admire how bravely you face things, even when you don’t feel like it, even when things are difficult. I admire how you can put aside your own fear or dislike of something to save someone else from having to deal with it. I admire how you cope with difficulties and face into adversity, and I appreciate knowing that whatever I face in the future, I will face it with you behind me. You are beautiful and precious to me, and I love you more than this writing or any words can explain. You have been and will always be my inspiration, my aspiration; if I can be what you have been and offer what you have offered, I will feel very much that I have led a worthwhile life.

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