31 Jul 2020

For those of you who follow Luke's website regularly, you will have noticed that there has been no blog since November when we had the glorious 7th Bursary Award Night. It has been really helpful in sustaining me through a bleak time to see the steady flow of visitors continuing. I hope the film that Jannik shot for us has been a splendid reminder of the joy of being amongst like-minded people who engaged and shared the triumph of Tara Guha and the other finalists whose books all deserve to be published.
Something has been hanging over my head and blurring my vision as to the way forward. It was made clear to me by a member of Luke's family that she thinks I have too much focus on Luke and so no Christmas card this year. I wanted to ask more but was told the conversation wouldn't continue and the phone was put down! I burst into tears - very unlike me. My reaction was provoked by total shock and disbelief at this unexpected attack. Also because it was close to Christmas when understandably emotions can run high and we particularly miss those who have died too young. It seems I have now been cut off from that part of the family as I wrote a letter but haven't received a reply - yet.
I feel a little like the whistle blowers in the NHS who try to do the right thing by exposing failure of care but then get persecuted to make them keep quiet, surely this is morally reprehensible. It jeopardises safety and deters others from coming forward. It is a tactic used for its inhibiting effect and if we allow fear to prevail then none of us are safe.
Along with all this turmoil in my head I have received wonderfully encouraging emails from some of our finalists and other people that believe this is a very positive way to remember Luke. The answer lies of course within myself and I feel it is right to continue to present the Bursary as long as I have enough support, and I think I do.
By now you might be wondering where "Sichuan Sizzle" comes in. Well I was reading a recipe and it said "gently smack ginger and spring onions with rolling pin to loosen their fibres." To me it seemed to give the answer maybe what I need to do is help the family members who think I am wrong to continue to remember Luke in this way by a gentle smack, metaphorically speaking, to help "loosen their fibres", their stuckness that has allowed three generations of men committing suicide to not be spoken about, so no opportunity for healing and change.. The stigma remains.
It would be much appreciated to hear what you think.