I have been very vocal about my surprise at how cartoonishly I’ve been making my way through the 5 stages of grief for the EU. In the past, the passage of these phases was a slow and subtle process. On this occasion of course, it is a very different type of mourning to that which follows the death of a loved one. Regardless, the Kübler-Ross model once again fit my behaviour patterns accurately, giving me a comfortable reassurance that these phases are healthy and necessary response.
Just before leaving for my C4 exam, I ran upstairs to facebook message a friend I’d made plans with letting her know I was without a phone. My eyes glossed over it at first, then a double take. There it stood: trending, in blue – Britain votes to leave EU.
As I cycled to the exam centre, those words hovered in my head. Something inside me refused to take the thought process any further and those 5 words didn’t really mean anything. I was in denial.
By the time I got home from my meeting, I still hadn’t mentioned the EU. The news was on the television and my parents were discussing the implications. I walked in and it immediately became very real.
Anger hit, coupled with an intense loathing. How could the politicians disregard dozens of experts on the matter and put such an important decision to the people, for their own personal gain? They were arrogant, selfish and ignorant and I hated them. The people who voted in order to stop sending money to the EU, where it’s used to establish programmes working towards a more sustainable future, provide funding for scientific research, programmes for students, etc? These people were selfish and ignorant and I hated them too. And the xenophobes. These people were ignorant and I hated them most of all.
Then came the petitions – blatant (and most likely futile) attempts at bargaining.
The depression phase hit when I read a particularly blunt account of the situation and what it all meant while scrolling through Facebook.
By midnight my cousin and I were seated on a wall post-concert, both exhausted and one still jet-lagged waiting for our cab, as the audience members moved past us. One (apparently intoxicated) young woman stopped and looked at us.
“Hey hey hey, don’t look so down guys. Who cares about all this brexit bullshit? I don’t care. We’ve still got love. Right? We’ve still got love!”
She saw our faces light up into smiles which encouraged her further. By this point her friends were out of sight but she stayed and continued her slightly slurred effusion of hope, love and unity before wishing us the best of luck for our futures and galloping off to find her friends.
And I welcomed her words of hope as they made the final stage of acceptance, much easier to swallow.
As I arrived back home that night, the facebook feed that had driven me to despair fewer than 12 hours earlier, made me smile. I had the privilege of being completely shocked by the result, because I was surrounded by intelligent, kind, and open people.
My friends and family are all so wonderful, and today I feel an enormous sense of pride and fortune to be a part of what is apparently, a minority. I love them all so much.
And it doesn’t matter how much greed, prejudice, and ignorance there is in the world because we still have love. And we will protect it for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren because a life without love is not worth living.