The death of a baby, the kindness of strangers, and a seasonal message

As the year ends and as families gather together to celebrate, amidst the good cheer and good will there is often sadness and grief at the loss and absence of a loved one. Recent events have brought back a lot of memories and thoughts about the death at birth of our own baby boy – known to all and sundry as ‘Rocky’ (real name Alexander) – in January 1990.

In 2000, as a complement or counterpoint to the traditional Queen’s Christmas Message, BBC Radio 4 offered a listener an opportunity to deliver their own seasonal message to the nation. It was coming up to the anniversary of Rocky’s death, and it was also one the rare years when the festivals of Christmas, Chanukah, and Eid coincided.

So I wrote something down and emailed it off, thinking that’d be the end of it.

A couple of weeks later, just before Christmas, I got a phone call to say my piece had been selected. So I recorded it, and it went out, and it seemed to have had some impact.

Last year I went back to see if I could find that original recording anywhere.  To my surprise there was still a link on the  BBC website. Unfortunately, although the text is there, the link to the actual recording doesn’t work, so here is my own version taken from the original recording,, and apologies for the poor sound quality:

The Kindness of Strangers

Author: Paul Kleiman

Academic, researcher, writer, musician, gardner, narrowboat owner, dog owner, cat servant

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