Thursday, 5 April 2012

Have You Ever Lost Something You Loved?

"Have you ever lost something you loved?" was the question that appeared on my computer screen. I was sitting in a caravan outside the National Theatre in London, England. This ersatz internet cafe was in fact an interactive theatre performance of "Live Streaming", a show by Dutch director, Dries Verhoeven, produced by the London Intl. Festival of Theatre (LIFT). The 'experience' was designed to explore the after-effects of the devastating tsunami and the ensuing outpouring of sympathy and money from the developed world. I was matched with 'Natalie' a thirty-something actress on a beach, live and sitting on the beach in her native Sri Lanka. We texted and she asked me about loss. "Yes, I have lost something I loved", I responded, thinking of my father who is gone and my grandmother. "Do you have insurance?" Natalie asked. "Yes", I responded. She wrote, "Here, only foreigners have insurance". The unbearable loss of everything and possibly everyone for this young woman hung like a terrible inference between us. The session ended when she wrote, "if there was another tsunami and you saw people being swept away in the sea, would you look for me?" "Yes!" I wrote, shocked and humbled by the space, time and experience separating us.

Can we ever have insurance against the tsunamis, the human tragedies and just the bad luck in life? Can we insure ourselves and the people we love against illness or disability? Well, I suppose we can in a way - there is the incredibly wonderful Registered Disability Savings Plan here in Canada, and there are different types of incapacity insurance. Most people have home owners insurance and car insurance, and its easy to buy online. In my family, we hold on to these and gratefully pay the premiums. Of course, nothing can prevent us losing something we love - loss is part of life. But having something in the way of insurance makes me feel safe. And somehow, telling Natalie that I would look for her and meaning it perhaps gave her a tiny sense of insurance, because the best insurance is the company of others who care.
PS: In my last post, I omitted a rather critical piece of background information - that my day was planned WITHOUT a visit to Nicholas, in order to 'get things done'. Mercury being retrograde, I forgot to write the title properly and didn't accomplish anything on my 'to-do' list. No insurance against days like that!
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