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6 Loving and letting go

At Faith and Light’s twentieth-anniversary celebration in Russia (see Chapter 3) I was asked to meet with parents each day, while their children (many adult) were engaged in activities with friends and helpers. Through an interpreter they kept asking their questions, and my most vivid memory is of their anguished repetition of the same basic concern: ‘What’s going to happen to my son/daughter when I die?’ Or ‘What about when I can no longer care for him/her?’ Russia still has large institutions, and everyone was terrified of that being the only future. Anxiety fizzed through the room, and what could I say? I could empathize, I could speak of trust in God, I could quote St Julian of Norwich: ‘All will be well, all manner of things will be well’ – but what reassurance was that, given the harsh realities, not to mention my own long struggle with the same basic question? Maybe it had been helpful in the early days to feel that Arthur would always need me, but as the long term stretched into ever longer term, how would it be?…

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