My son is a man, yet still I worry
When my 18-year-old son left home to go to university my husband and I were heartbroken. We were so worried about him. He might be 18 but he is still our baby and we still worry about him. Is he eating properly? Is he safe? Has he got friends? But we know exactly where he is and we know that he has the money to feed and clothe himself and we know that he is as safe as any 18-year-old could be. So he is 18 – a man. Yet still we worry.
He has not left our home with the family savings to get on an overfilled dinghy with a dodgy life jacket to cross a dangerous sea – only to be greeted as an outsider, a scrounger. He has not had to walk for hundreds of miles and climb onto a moving lorry and hide above the wheels or sleep in a refrigerated lorry. He has not had to sleep in a sleeping bag on a street where people look at you as if you are beneath them. He has not had to rely on the charity of others for a hot meal or a pair of gloves. He has not laid in the cold and wet wondering if he will ever see his family again. He has not seen his family murdered before his eyes. My son is a man. He has left home. And still I worry.
What must this anxiety be like for the parents of all the refugees who are currently living in camps, or on streets. Parents who have no idea where their children are – or whether they are still alive? I cannot bear to try and imagine this despair.
And yet some people think that a refugee who is not a cute 6-year-old girl does not somehow deserve help? Does not deserve to have a mobile phone to contact family? Does not deserve to feel safe, to be fed and warm? To feel valued? Wanted? Cared for? Respected? People, where is the compassion?
– written by a volunteer
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