With Courage, Nothing is Impossible. Sir William Hillary, Founder of the RNLI
I am once again indebted to my colleagues and friends at the RNLI for including our story in the current issue of Lifeboat magazine, the quarterly publication that is sent out to supporters of the charity.
It’s a hard read. Fifteen years on, the pain of loss still has the power to floor me at times. But it is difficult to imagine the empty feeling that an RNLI crew must have when a shout has resulted in loss of life to drowning. As they themselves say in the article, “the reality is that despite our best efforts, we don’t always reach everyone in time. To save everyone is an ambitious vision. But one we all share. Because drowning is preventable. We all believe that even one person lost to drowning is one person too many”.
It is a sad fact that nothing could have been done to save James at the time. Accidental drowning still accounts for a number of deaths in the UK and Ireland, though the number is steadily decreasing through the collaborative approach of all the relevant organisations who champion water safety.
These all form part of the National Water Safety Forum which seeks to ‘reduce accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 50% by 2026, and reduce risk amongst the highest risk populations, groups and communities’.
Over the years, I have learned much about the impact and value of continuing to relate what happened to James; my response to loss has been to throw my energies into a variety of activities all designed to highlight not only the effects of loss, but the potential for a positive path through grieving and the ability to move onward and forward into joyful living.
All of us who knew him will live the rest of our lives with a James-shaped hole where he should be; that is fact. But we can wrap our lives around that fact and be thankful for the wonderful times we had with him, when he was here with us.
Please support the RNLI if you can, and continue to highlight the inherent dangers of water. Innocuous looking or not, it can take life in an instant.