A Memorial Bench, Another Sad Loss and “Try A Little Kindness”

Many regulars to this place will remember the series of posts I published at the end of last year following the tragic death of my friend’s daughter. She was only 18, but after a tough few months, on the 1st November she took her own life. Last week, her mum sent me a picture of the rainbow-coloured bench they have been allowed to place next to her grave. A tiny bit of comfort for those many friends and relatives who will visit her resting place.

Holly

At the time I suggested her death certificate should have stated Death by Social Media, as she had been the victim of the most awful cyber-bullying over the years. Hard for those of us of a certain age to comprehend I know, but something that is very real in today’s world. Her family therefore decided to have the words “Be Kind Always” inscribed on the bench, as a kind of long-lasting legacy.

Holly (2)

So, this was only last Friday. On Saturday afternoon, news broke that one of our best-loved television presenters had been found dead in her home, having taken her own life. Not everyone will have been familiar with Caroline Flack, but she seems to have been responsible for getting the younger generation back in love with terrestrial telly again, hosting shows that drew in large viewing figures. Sadly, her professional and personal life had hit a rocky patch of late, but rather than being left to nurse her wounds and rebuild her confidence in private, she became an absolute magnet for social media trolls, and was hounded relentlessly by the press. Her story was apparently of public interest, but was it really? She was obviously a very vulnerable young woman for whom this level of abuse was unsustainable.

Moving tributes have been pouring in from fellow celebrities, and even from our politicians. After losing her daughter at the end of last year, my friend wanted to do something to highlight the potentially tragic consequences of cyber-bullying. Tough however to get the message out to a wider audience. Now, with a high profile victim such as Caroline, the message really is starting to get out there, and change will have to come.

One politician, Lisa Nandy, has come out saying social media companies cannot be left to police themselves, suggesting the current situation is like the Wild West. “I worry about the approaches that say we allow the social media companies to regulate themselves,” she said. “In no other area of life would we allow private companies to self-police. We ought to make sure the state has a system of regulation and support around that.”

MP Kate Osamor, who appeared in the press herself for a threatening confrontation with journalists who went to her home after her son was convicted of drug offences, wrote: “The trolling & abuse she suffered at the hands of the media was relentless. Being kind is so underrated. RIP Caroline Flack.”

Since Saturday, the #BeKind hashtag has been appearing everywhere. Let’s hope there is a sea change in behaviour going forward, but you know what, I’m not holding my breath. I started to look for songs about being kind for this post, but not as easy as you would think. I did however find this oldie from 1969 recorded by Glen Campbell, who has often popped up around here. Try A Little Kindness was written by Curt Sapaugh & Bobby Austin and, I think, is just the kind of thing I want to listen to at the moment.

Try A Little Kindness by Glen Campbell:

So, “What’s It All About?” – I have been really lucky around here in that I’ve never had to suffer any unpleasantness. Of course the WordPress people do a pretty good job of filtering out spam, but my experience has been a really positive one. Sadly, if you are in the public eye, or indeed a teenager of today, this will not be the case. I really hope people start being kinder, but failing that, I hope regulation of some sort will be forced upon the social media companies. My friend won’t get her daughter back, nor will Caroline Flack’s parents, but hopefully their stories will be the catalyst for change.

Until next time….  RIP Holly, RIP Caroline Flack, #BeKind.

Try A Little Kindness Lyrics
(Song by Bobby Austin/Curt Sapaugh)

If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say, you’re going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don’t walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

18 thoughts on “A Memorial Bench, Another Sad Loss and “Try A Little Kindness””

    1. It’s winter, so the grass is looking a bit sparse around it at the moment, but come summer it will be lush and as you say, whoever gets to sit on it should feel privileged. It bothers me that those who raise their game and achieve great things at a young age get shot down for doing so. It seems to survive in today’s world we must strive for mediocrity.

      Like

  1. That’s a beautiful bench with a simple but powerful message that needs to be imparted to everyone. So sorry for the sadness in your world lately. The daughter of an old friend of mine took her own life a few years ago. She was only 18. I hadn’t been in touch with my friend for years but it still hit hard. Not sure if it was bullying, depression, medications, or something else, but any young life cut short is a tragedy. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for kids/teenagers/youngsters these days. Thanks for that Glen Campbell song. Superb choice. Sending good wishes your way, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words. Sorry to hear you’ve had a similar experience with a friend and their 18-year-old daughter. A dangerous time in a young girl’s life it seems. You won’t know of Caroline Flack but she is/was (can’t believe she’s gone) a well-known figure on our television networks and her death has really caused a massive outpouring of grief. I really do hope it inspires the politicians to do something to regulate social media – We are losing our brightest young people and anyone classed as a “celebrity” has to contend with so much vile trolling nowadays.

      As for the bench, a beautiful memorial indeed. Glen’s song was one of the few I know about being kind, but somehow comforting.

      Like

  2. Sorry to ramble on – but I’m just listening to a song called “Golden Embers” by Mandolin Orange and the lyrics reminded me of your post, especially the 1st verse and chorus:

    Just like an old friend, kinder than expected
    That Cadillac came and gave our girl a ride
    Loss has no end, it binds to our connection
    We don’t speak of it, we don’t even try

    If you could help me to share the trouble
    That you’ve got burning in you, then you can help me
    And in our time together, her memory will ever
    Shine like golden embers in the night

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No need to be sorry for rambling on – Ramble on at will! Thanks for pointing out these lyrics – About a father and son who lost their mum/wife apparently, “her memory will ever shine like golden embers in the night”. What a beautiful line.

      Like

  3. I thought of your friend’s daughter when I heard about Caroline. Kindness is so underrated. Everything in the world would change completely, wouldn’t it, if we just injected more of it into everything we do, from individuals to big business to presidents, but it seems it’s more lucrative, more ‘fun’, more interesting to be the opposite – how warped is that. I know there have always been bullies but it seems that more lately the media’s relentless hounding and salacious personal stories about anyone with a high profile legitimises and normalises this behaviour. Dehumanises its victims. If there’s any good to come of this at least, as you say, the responses could be the catalyst for change, I do hope so.
    The bench is a beautiful memorial.
    Still so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it brought it all back. It’s really hit her mum badly.

      There have always been bullies, but somehow with the anonymity of trolling, it’s brought out the worst in some people who sadly must have something that’s gone far wrong in their own lives. As for the papers, most are no longer for news as we can get that quickly online nowadays so they concentrate on salacious gossip about people who have a sudden rise to fame via a tv reality show and really aren’t mentally equipped to deal with it – Who would?

      The bench is beautiful indeed and come summer it will be a lovely place for her friends and family to visit – Just a shame they even have to though.

      Like

  4. Alyson..i would love to think that after such needless tragedies the world could become a kinder place but….sadly I’m not holding my breath.
    I’m thankful that i grew up in less emotionally intrusive times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I don’t think anything is going to change any time soon but at least people are waking up to the potentially tragic consequences of “the unkind world”. There needs to more regulation but very difficult and always one step behind.

      Thanks for dropping by with your thoughts.

      Like

  5. Just a couple of weeks ago a work colleague lost her own daughter in similar tragic circumstances to those of your friend. It’s unthinkably, unbearably sad that so many young people see this course of action as their only option. Unfortunately the world is abundant with nasty, self-centred, mean individuals, who get their kicks by upsetting and tormenting others. I endeavour to maintain a positive outlook as much as possible, but it’s hard not to hope that karma catches up with these wicked people somewhere down the line.
    The bench is absolutely lovely and will I’m sure, over time, become a comforting focal point for visiting family and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks TS (don’t know why your name came up differently on this comment – WP is behaving oddly at the moment) – Yes, the bench is lovely and I had a wee sit on it last Friday when I went up to the cemetery for a walk. Sadly there are just so many graves there of young people whose names I recognise from the local paper who have either died in car accidents (very common around here) or from suicide (again very common amongst young men around here).

      So sorry to hear about your colleague’s daughter – I know what she will be going through and like with my friend, her life will never be the same again.

      Like

I'd Love To Hear From You And I Always Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s