When my wife and I sat down to watch the first series of Keeping Faith, we were little prepared for the incredible impact that its beautifully depicted story would have on our own recovery as we privately waded our way through the complex aftermath of having lived through our own experience of ‘missing‘. There in the heart of this incredibly emotive art form laid bare the rawest of pains, the most fragile of journeys, the essence of becoming lost that only those who have known vulnerability as debasing as this could dare to embrace. It was without doubt a woven masterpiece of gutsy dialogue, heart stirring music (Amy Wadge) and poignant silences; of gently handled damaged pieces of life experience, hanging like shards of coloured glass, that with the slightest of breath could cascade into something far more representative of resilience than brokenness. I think it is a rare gift indeed to have been privy to such timely sensory images of lostness that had unconsciously held us both in a grip that had whispered; “You are understood and you are not alone“. For we ourselves had hung in that fragile, lonely space not knowing how to justify, clarify or indeed demystify what for us had been a life changing all consuming phenomenon. And, as we sought to understand the ensuing chaos, we had been gifted with this precious story that not only gave us a template for reference to others questions but equally a level of emancipation that endorsed our place of strength and determination to face the grief, the loss, the devastating diagnosis that had led to this spiral into oblivion. What wonderfully liberating moments that saw us shouting out at the television, laughing from a place of pure defiance and crying with utter relief that we had been the fortunate ones, reunited ones…… the found ones. This work depicted the dynamic of missing in those early days of confusion and terror, the unknown, the scrutiny, the personal reflection, underwritten by flashbacks and questions and fears and truths and desires and regrets and loyalties. This was a friend who came and walked alongside us at a time of deep pain and exhaustion not in a patronising way but in a way that raised us up with a fire in our bellies a fire that has and is and continues to be the battle worn cry of women throughout the ages who will not be beaten and who will, in their own collectively supportive way, forgive and protect and fiercely defend those whom they love. We count it a privilege to have met and shared our story with writer Matthew Hall and actor Eve Myles a meeting that was as gentle and empathic as the work itself because this series comes from a place of authenticity and truth devoid of ego, a million miles from the trappings of red carpet grandeur, a hidden gem in the welsh hills that was honed and brought into the light to sparkle and man….did it sparkle! This wasn’t a series that neglected responsibility, it was gutsy and honest and truthful and painful and funny, just as life is for all of us. Keeping Faith was as courteous as the people who worked on it because it captured human turmoil without ever diminishing or seeking to undermine it, it was unafraid of engaging with the raw emotion and of holding it there, just long enough to feel it in the pit of your stomach before bursting out into self deprecating humour or the contrasting hustle and bustle of scooping up your children and running with the messiness of life that doesn’t afford us the luxury of self indulgence for any longer than is absolutely necessary for survival.
So, as we reach the end of series two and the credits roll, we shall not only be doffing our cap to old friends but also gently and thankfully acknowledging our own strengths by embracing the wonderfully eclectic, creative opportunities and processes that afford us the capacity to depict life in all of its complexity and beauty and to accept it with humility and gratitude. At a time when life is so divisive and destructive, let us walk alongside one another in such a way that doesn’t necessarily require words but simply whispers into the ether a powerful message of solidarity “Keep the Faith, you’re not alone”.