I starting blogging back in 2000, before many people even knew what a blog was. There were very few of us in the United Kingdom blogging back then and our blogrolls were short. I blogged anonymously as many of us did. I blogged through the early part of the new century, the birth of my son and shortly after that the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11. I conversed with a newly elected Labour politician by the name of Tom Watson who was, to my knowledge, the first MP to engage with the public in such a way. This was before the whole social media thing kicked off, even MySpace was yet to make an appearance.
Looking back on these archived posts helps to put life in perspective somehow, like re-reading a diary. They are writings of joy, such as the entry of 8 September 2001:
Saturday, September 8, 2001
I am a daddy. He arrived at 7.10am and came in at 6lbs 14oz. Mother and baby are doing fine. I am now going to bed….. thank-you
12:11 PM gmt [Link] [2 comments]
And the entry for 11 September 2001:
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
After much deliberation we have decided on Ethan Robert. Mum and baby are now back home so I have found myself rushing about doing all the things new fathers are supposed to do. Not much sleep last night. Oh well, suppose I’ll have to get used to that one.
10:27 AM gmt [Link] [No Comments]
The second is more haunting I think.
By Friday my mood (and that of the world) was more sombre:
Friday, September 14, 2001
In the UK at the moment, I think all our hearts go out to those in the US after Tuesdays tragic and ultimately meaningless acts of terror. On the one hand I look at my 6 day old son and wonder about the kind of world I have brought him to live in. Yet on the other I see all those people around the world joining together in worldwide grief. To be tolerant at such a time is hard; to act carefully must be near to impossible for a nation such as the United States. Here in the UK all of us, from different races and religions have joined those in the US to mourn. But there is an even darker side as Muslims in many UK cities have come under attack by those who want someone to blame. It appears that the majority of the Arab world have condemned these acts of terror as much as the west but many in the UK act out their stupidity and ignorance on the streets of British cities.
I hope that such acts of terror can bring the world closer together – Muslim, Jew, Christian and those like me who do not follow any religion yet try to accept all beliefs that promote peace.
To which ever God you pray, there has never been a better time to speak to him of peace.
04:20 PM gmt [Link] [No Comments]
These posts, like all written words, are snapshots of life. I recall being a prolific blogger at the time, writing perhaps three or four posts a day on occasion. They were the story of my life.
Leaping forward to 2004, another significant moment:
November 15, 2004
In the blink of an eye
Life has a habit of changing so quickly. V has a brain tumour. News like that tends to turn the world upside down and leave one feeling drained and useless. The house is silent, I’ve just come back from the hospital where they are preparing an operation for tomorrow. Ethan is staying with a friend and all I wanted to do when I came home was hug him so tightly.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring. Goodnight.
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November 27, 2004
The Measure of Life
We measure our lives in terms of decades. People live longer now than ever before and medical science has reached a stage whereby even those with the most life-threatening illnesses can live a long and productive life. When life is measured in terms of months we become aware of our own mortality – aware of how very short our time on this earth really is.
Why is it that the worst and the most cruel of individuals can live long and healthy lives while the innocent must face the misery of an early demise? Life has changed. We do not know if this will be our last Christmas together, all we know is that there will not be many more to follow. We believed that we would grow old together, increase our family, spoil our grandchildren. I always thought that I would be the first to go.
Suddenly life seems so short and cruel.
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I notice that over the following year the entries slow, check-ins and updates for the small number of people who read my blog.
February 11, 2005
Today we visited a hospice. V is going to spend one day a week there (at least to begin with) and sample the delights of alternative medicine, meet and chat with others in a similar position and get fed pretty much ALL day. The building and grounds are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and a much needed change from the eye-sore where she had radiotherapy.
Once you get over the initial diagnosis, life kind of goes into a strange non-place – we know what will happen, we are waiting for it to happen, we don’t want it to happen and yet all those around want to get on with their own lives. It’s the strangest feeling, full of doubt and guilt (oh yes, lots and lots of guilt). Even a tentative visit to a hospice makes me feel as if we are all trying to hurry things along. I keep telling myself that it’s the best thing for V and yet also know that it will also be the best thing for me.
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October 20, 2005
A final goodbye
You have been a part of my life for so long I can’t imagine a world without you. As I begin a new life without you by my side I wonder what kind of life that could possibly be. You gave so much to me. Most of all you blessed me with a son.
And what of us now? We shall go on living as father and son, for you the troubles of this world are left behind while you rest in your other-worldly slumber. I promise to look after him well, to ensure that he grows up with the strength of character he will no doubt inherit from you. He will be kind, as you were so, and generous beyond measure. I will ensure that he will never forget you.
As for me, I cannot say. My purpose can only be to raise our son in the manner that would make you smile, and make sure that he will also feel deep within him his mother’s love.
Sleep peacefully now. Gone but never, ever forgotten.
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It feels strange to read these entries now, I only recently discovered that they were archived – I assumed they were lost forever. As time passes our memories fade and become mixed with what we thought happened or what people tell us happened. This is only a snapshot of the entries made between 2000 and somewhere in 2006 and reading them all makes the world seem a little different somehow.