Thinking of Oscar
Open Doors – Thursday May 26th 2016

Open Doors – Thursday May 26th 2016

I still cannot believe the experience that we had last night. I went to The Oxford Union to watch David speak. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of him (so uncool) as he signed their guest book… alongside such names as Michael Eavis, John Major, John Kerry, KD Tunstall, Kate Beckinsale and Jerry Springer – all of whom are on the current term card.

David was there talking about IBM Watson but the opportunity to do that arose because it is the role that he chose to do on his return to work after Oscar died. It reminded us once again of the doors that Oscar opens. During the Q&A, The President of The Oxford Union asked David to talk about Thinking of Oscar, because he knew that David’s belief in Watson is driven by the mission of the charity. David was speaking to a full house who had been engaged and responsive throughout but you could hear a pin drop when he told them about Oscar and what we are seeking to achieve.

I read a really interesting article last week which was a transcript of a speech that Sheryl Sandberg gave to University of California Berkeley students. (Read the article here)

She shared with them her thoughts about what she is learning in death because she lost her husband suddenly last year. I always find it interesting and sometimes helpful to read about someone else’s experience of grief. Her words are so articulate and I recognise some of the points that she makes. We also share much of the same vocabulary. She talks about the brutality of death. I use the same adjective but with respect to the passing of time. Every tick tock of the clock feels like it takes Oscar further away from us, or all of us further away from our ‘old life’ and that is completely brutal. Another bereaved mother I spoke to used the metaphor of her daughter being in a boat at sea and the tide was pulling the boat further and further away from her. It is heartbreaking to visualise but this is exactly how it feels. Sandburg sounds desperate that other people learn from what she has learnt and I feel the same. If you could get this insight without having to have the tragedy to trigger it how much richer could your life become.

One of the greatest lessons that we are learning is to appreciate all of the things that are going well. The way I see it our loss is our loss. Whether we are crushed by it or survive makes no difference to the loss. We have to live without Oscar – it’s not optional – so we might as well make it meaningful and worthwhile. Which was why last night at the Oxford Union was so much fun. DC did a totally brilliant job. Oscar would have been very proud of him.

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