Leave the white crosses alone

BLOG crosses

Caught some of a debate on ABC radio this week over ‘should white crosses be allowed on roadsides and in public places to symbolise the place a life was lost?’

The arguments against were along the lines of  …. they make people feel bad;  they’re an eyesore; visual pollution; an intrusion; a dangerous distraction for motorists; or could cause children distress.    All valid arguments however … considering the rising rate of depression in the community (and my own experience of how unresolved and suppressed grief can play a major part in that), I couldn’t help but wonder … surely if this symbolism and public expression of grief  helps to ease a person’s suffering, isn’t it more important as a community to have a heart than an opinion?  To endeavor to understand the value and relevance of this act in someones healing process?   As for visual pollution and dangerous distraction to motorists …. I wondered why we’re not leaving the sad people alone and instead, debating over the banning and tearing down of advertising banners and billboards that litter our roadsides, homes and schools; deface buildings and city scapes; and fill our minds with toxic messages that are causing real harm to children and adults alike.

It also made me wonder…  if council (and residents) proposed to remove the little white cross on the crosswalk of a school near my home, which marks the loss of a student who was hit by a car as they stepped off the bus.   This cross does more for slowing traffic through the school zone than huge signs, flashing lights and brightly coloured ‘lollipop’ people waving flags and blowing whistles.   And I’m not sure the children at the school see the cross as ‘distressing’, perhaps because the questions raised by its presence are dealt with in a way that helps them understand that death is a natural part of our life cycle, although sometimes it’s cut short in tragic circumstances, and symbolism like the white cross is a way of acknowledging that person’s life, processing the grief and telling motorists a story to ensure the painful loss was not in vain.

And there is another white cross under a tree outside my home (just near another school crossing).  It helps to transform the image in my mind of a young man laying motionless next to his motorbike that had collided with the tree.  I’d stand in protest along side the family if the local council ordered it removed – thank goodness they have a heart.

Similar posts relating to grief and loss and what’s affecting young people –  Blood Red Rose helped me deal with grief as did  Army of Ink # 24  .  Check this one by Phillip Adams on Bad Time Stories – makes you worry a little less about the possible negative impact of white crosses … this one for a further look at what may have a negative impact on children and young people, Why have our children stopped dancing   …  poem that helped me with the recent loss of a friend.  Feel free to pass these on to others  …