Rich and I were talking on the bus to town earlier. Rich remarked how there was no ‘loss of potential future’ narrative in any discussion or coverage since LB died.There was no imagined future for LB. He’s not presented or seen as a young man ‘who hoped to become a mechanic’, ‘hoped to go to university to study x, y or z’ or ‘dreamed of running his own business’… He didn’t have an imagined future unlike many other young people who die unexpectedly.
We’re implicated in this. I was looking into a social enterprise gig because I strongly thought LB should work. But that effort was half arsed really in retrospect. I don’t think I fully appreciated his potential. I loved him to bits, loved his quirkiness, his special interests, his engagement, artwork and humour. But I don’t think I reaIly believed these talents, skills and abilities translated into ‘mainstream’ life in a meaningful way. I was trying to kickback against the only future that appeared to be open to him; “independent supported living”, whatever that meant, with budget bunfights, variable support and isolation.
Now, sadly, I clearly recognise what he was capable of, his exceptional talents and how much potential he had. The response to #107days underlines this. With support, encouragement and a more flexible society he could (should) have had a range of imagined futures. If we hadn’t been browbeaten into a position of expecting fuck all and dreading worse, we’d have been better placed to help him achieve these.
At the same time, I’ve noticed how spot on the champions from My Life My Choice have been in their response to what happened. They’ve cut through the crap, have no agenda other than to highlight how LB should never have died and tell it like it is.
So much so wrong. And so much blinking right that ain’t recognised.