Mr. Laws (Dave)

I have a worry about this coral restoration work – a worry I haven’t told Bonnie yet. And Bonnie trained as a nurse. Worked in critical care. You can tell her anything.

Here goes. What if it’s all in vain: this coral restoration? I mean it’s one thing if coral grows naturally – on its own. It’s another when you’ve done the work to help it take root. You’re more invested.

There; I’ve said it. Ah, the shame of it. It feels like I’ve dropped a stink bomb. And to top it off – a lot of the coral work makes cleaning your floors feel exciting in comparison. Nothing like wiping algae off a coral nursery tree knowing that as long as the planet rotates for another week – guess what’ll be on the tree next week? Yep. More algae.

Don’t get me wrong. There are moments of excitement planting the reef out and adding new, baby corals. Mostly it’s just graft though. Pardon the pun.

So, what if a storm wipes these reefs out? Or a new form of white band disease – which killed this same coral species in the 1980s – turns up again? When I started volunteering, the work itself was too buoying to consider failure. Now, it creeps into my mind.

I wonder if some species – coral and otherwise are designed to die out for whatever chronological reason, only to be swapped with another species? Is this the course of nature over time?

Tell it to the polar bear. I saw a video post last week of a polar bear trying to climb aboard a boat. The suggestion was that he was curious, until one commenter wrote, ‘More like hungry!’ Oh shit. Of course. The bear was skinny and desperate-looking.

While I’ve been wondering this, we discovered this week with great sadness, that Delphine’s extraordinary ophthalmic surgeon, Mr. David Laws, died last October. Jack found his obituary quite randomly, looking for news of the flooding in Wales from Storm Christophe. There it was. Mr. Laws had died. Tragically sudden. Not from Covid either. And the worst bit was he’d only just retired.

We’d seen him last in 2019, before we left for Quest. He’d declared Delphine’s eyes clear and rather perfect then.

Mr. Laws used to say to us, ‘Just call me Dave’.

‘No sorry, we can’t do that, Mr. Laws,’ we’d reply uncomfortably, ‘since you saved Delph’s sight.’

And he did. Without a doubt. Aggressive, central cataracts. Delphine only four-years old.

Finding out of his death this week has been a difficult one to process. It isn’t the only death we’ve learned of. There have been too many this week. But Mr. Laws is the one I personally knew. And even if he acted as though his great surgical skill was all in a day’s work for his patient’s comfort and care, we were there. We knew otherwise.

I’ve done my 500. More tomorrow. Rest in peace, Mr. Laws. Ok, ok, I’ll say it: Dave. No, actually maybe not. We’ll still miss you loads.

Photo of David Laws courtesy of: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/hospital-staff-devastated-after-tragic-19143308

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