The execution of Lady Jane Gray by Paul Delaroche.
A little dramatic I know. But this painting, one of my favourites in the National Gallery, sort of sums up this year. We are faced with death, not sure what to do about it, feeling our way as best we can and all so frigging tragic. Innocent (in some ways) we are facing execution by lottery of the virus and no matter what we do, sort of sacrificial lambs one and all … and it’s bloody awful.
Sat in the Gallery, before it closed, once again, and stared at this painting. Feeling as helpless as she must have felt. Because seriously, we have all been doom scrolling for the statistics and wondering if our little world will end on a hospital bed. Didn’t feel so much before, all bravado and such over the past year, and it has been a year, being ha ha … is this for real, is this sort of really serious and now to … don’t touch me, spritz the sanitiser, avoid absolutely everyone and spending winter at one address. Christmas, yes it was lovely, yes it was lacking … and thinking, am I breathing ok, am I still smelling the Brie? Even sort of starting thinking, if it happens, where the hell will my body go. Such morbid stuff.
Not at all evading the issue of real people losing their lives to the virus and the utmost pain endured. I have been close to those who have sacrificed their loved ones, and left wanton as to the next step … it is not out of flippancy, but real fear that I think … are we all a little scared? You are right.
Only I cannot stop living, right now. When it hits home, really home, all the jokes of stealing wine and illegal this and this, dissipates with the loss of a real life, a young, gone to soon life. I cannot, and nor should you. If life is ready to be done with me, I must live as much of it that I can, right now. Good thing I am of an age that going to the disco no longer has me panting. Curfew doesn’t concern me, but the loss of jobs and livelihood do. This year has ravaged and taken from so many. I have followed the rules, but I have also realised that I cannot, will not, give up before I have no opportunity to do so.
It is one of those things – me wanting to live a full life, and acutely aware of those who have not been given the chance.
This is to what I write about. It’s about still hanging onto hope. I am scared, very scared, even more so now, but I cannot settle for never laughing again, or travelling again, or just going outside the door and going … what can I do under the circumstances?
I can keep talking. Wishing and hoping. Most of all, I can keep talking. About curfew lifting and going to Paris. Starting your own company, a little new business, a different way. I can keep hoping you will say … enough of the couch and the comfort eating and get up to do something positive. I can keep urging all to muster the strength of planning for better – a trip, a business, mending ways with those you are estranged from, deciding that time is of the essence to do the things you have always harboured in your heart and felt to afraid to begin.
So if you are feeling a little scared, it is ok. We never expected this, but then there are chapters in our lives we never expected either. Scared, you are allowed to be, knowing you are in the category or a vaccine because of your age, who would have thought. It’s good, and ageing.
The poor lass in the picture had no choice and she fumbled her way to the block. We may feel the block is close, but until it actually happens , I am saying … do not go gently … go with a great defiance of maybe the virus ignited a new fire in your hearts, a new idea to bring to fruition and more importantly, a conviction that you, and what you are about to do, defies fear.