The map

Mother’s Day and a Catastrophe – 8 May

Let me preface this entry by saying it is a sombre one, with no images attached deliberately and just for you to read without comment, please. It was a tough few days for the family and the West Island family as well.

Spending Mother’s Day here with Caitlin and her family was lovely. Matthew cooked us all breakfast and we enjoyed it as an extended family.

Caitlin and I were supposed to be going to a High Tea at The Club in the afternoon. However, it was cancelled. In fact, the whole island was cancelled. One of their own, a young woman, had a fatal heart attack while out celebrating Mother’s Day with her two young sons and her husband. How do you deal with this? How do you help your kids deal with this? The world has come to an abrupt standstill. Because the population of West Island is so small, just 165 approximately, everyone is affected. There is a feeling of incredible sadness hanging over the place, No one is quite sure what to do, how to proceed, how to assist, if to assist. It is as though we are all caught up in a vortex of grief.

She was not in Caitlin’s immediate circle, but she certainly knew her quite well. I am affected because she was the woman I spoke with about the shipwreck on Friday night. She was the one Caitlin sang Karaoke with on Friday night. They messaged each other on Saturday morning to check out their recovery progress from hangovers. The stark reality of life has intruded, and it will take some time for its blow to soften.

It will forever taint our trip to Cocos and also Mother’s Day. How two young boys, just 11 and 12 will cope is anyone’s guess. One of the best things for them is the total support they will receive from their family and from all the West Islanders. But life will be tough here on West Island for a long time to come.

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