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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, January 15, 2006
    Keeping the silence
    There is a silence peculiar to families that are keeping secrets. It's most like the silence you hear when you enter a room just after a raging argument has finished, when the angry words have died away but the air is still agitated in their wake, still warm from the heat of them; a strange unsettling silence, that falls on a room after a row.

    For those of us born long after the event, the peculiar quality of the silence may be the only clue that anything ever happened. We will not be told. 'Not even if we begin to suspect that something in the past changed the lives of the people we love, and made them who they are and stopped them from being who they might have been; perhaps even crippled them; perhaps determined the shape of our own lives.

    The events that are never discussed are fed by the silence until they grow larger than they were, and begin to suffocate the people who will not talk. And the silence is passed down, from father and mother, to son and daughter, and on.

    - This week (inbetween war stories) I've been reading Cole Moreton's book My Father Was a Hero; The True Story of a Man, a Boy and the Silence Between Them. Made more poignant to me today as it was my Dad's birthday. And though there were, as ever, quite a lot of words spoken in our time together, the silences speak louder than ever in the light of Cole's characteristically revealingly honest piece of writing.

    [Cole Moreton Surefish interview here ]