Sunday, 6 January 2008
Smokey The Rabbit Died Last Night
Now, you may wonder why I am telling you about Smokey the rabbit. He was seven years old or thereabouts and that's apparently a good life for a rabbit. Smokey was a well-loved rabbit and he was looked after with great care. Smokey belonged to a teenager called Jack, but I am told that he received most attention from Jack's sister Sammie.
The passing of Smokey the rabbit marks another milestone for the parents of Jack and Sammie. Sammie is Sammie Osborn, who left her family home in April 2007, aged just 15 years and has not returned. She is now 16 and is living in Bristol with the man she met on the internet.
While you've been gone, Sammie, your brother has become a young man. He has probably grown a few more inches in height and a few more bits of fluff on his chin, but to look at him you'd still see that brother you knew and lived with for the whole of his life until April 2007. You would recognise Jack anywhere, I am sure, because he won't have changed outwardly beyond all recognition. Inwardly, though, Sammie, your brother has done years of maturing emotionally since that day you left the home he now shares on his own with your parents. Jack has faced the kind of challenges that most young men of his age don't experience and those challenges have produced a mature young man of your kid brother.
Now, I am not telling you this to make you feel guilty. I am telling you because people's lives don't stand still. Your image of your home and your family may be frozen at April 2007, but things change and people grow and move on, especially young people. Your friends have taken their mock GCSEs and I'm sure they're going to be very busy now getting their coursework out of the way and revising for the real exams. They will all leave school in June and move on, mostly I imagine into further education, studying for their A levels and hoping to go to university. I have read some of the letters your friends sent to you and I can tell you there is still a gap where you once were. But Sammie, that gap will gradually be filled as your friends' lives change, as they meet new people in Sixth Form College and move on to other things. The experiences you should be sharing with them, they will share without you. You will not be forgotten by your friends, but the Sammie they knew will have gone forever, changed by time and circumstance as they are changed.
And now to Smokey. Another change since you were last at home. Your frozen image of your home may include a snapshot of Smokey in his hutch. Alas, Smokey died last night and I am sorry to tell you that Silky has also gone. The hutches are as empty as your bedroom. Another gap and another little bit of grief for those who love you.
I hope you are well and happy, Sammie, because if you ever decide to return to your family, I hope that you go back as a happy and more mature person who has benefited from all the experiences you have been through and that the changes in you are positive changes that you are really happy with. Nine months is a long time in a young person's life and you must have changed a great deal in that time, emotionally and physically. Sammie, please don't let the gaps grow too wide between you and your family and your friends. We only have one family, one mother, one father and you have one brother. There isn't another, ever. Please don't let them go, Sammie. Hold onto them. Please don't be in the position where you look back in a few years time and wish that the changes in your life had been changes you shared in the heart of your family.
For now, Sammie, I wish you well. Take care and whatever you do, be safe.