Considered one of Scotland’s most vibrant politicians has revealed he suffers “indescribable bouts of despair” following the deaths of 4 of his youngsters.
Dennis Canavan has endured unimaginable private tragedy after shedding three sons and his solely daughter since 1989.
He not often speaks about his private life however gave a candid interview to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.
He admitted he nonetheless struggles with grief.
Gordon Brewer requested Mr Canavan if his loss has strengthened him in any method.
‘The worst factor’
The previous Labour MP and Unbiased MSP mentioned: “In case you had requested me that query simply a few years in the past, I might most likely have been able to say sure, maybe it has strengthened my character in some respects.
“However that was earlier than the loss of life of my solely daughter, the fourth youngster I’ve misplaced.”
The 76-year-old, who represented the Falkirk space in parliament for greater than 20 years, continued: “I discover it tough to talk about it, however the loss of life of a kid is the worst factor that may occur to any mum or dad.
“Any bereavement in a household is a tragic factor, however it’s in opposition to the entire pure cycle of life, for a kid to die earlier than you, and in my case it has occurred not simply a few times or 3 times, however 4 instances.”
Mr Canavan’s solely daughter, Ruth, died in February 2017. She was the final of 4 youngsters he had with ex-wife Elnor. He shared the information by way of social media.
His eldest son Mark died in Australia in March 2007 aged 41 following a three-year battle with motor neurone illness.
His second son Dennis died from a mind tumour in December 2006. He was 35.
Mr Canavan’s third son Paul died from pores and skin most cancers aged 16 in 1989.
He additionally has a son, Adam, who’s 16.
‘It has strengthened my religion’
Choked with emotion, Mr Canavan informed Gordon Brewer: “I nonetheless discover it very very tough to understand.
“I nonetheless waken up in the course of the evening typically, asking myself, is that this true? Or has it been a nasty dream?
“However very sadly it’s not a dream, it’s actuality and I’ve to withstand it, I do undergo from horrible, indescribable bouts of despair typically. However I simply must wrestle on.”
Mr Canavan, who retired from Holyrood in 2007, and was chair of the 2014 Independence referendum Sure marketing campaign, revealed his religion has helped him to deal with the quite a few tragedies.
He mentioned: “I believe it has strengthened my religion. It is a unusual factor and I respect individuals with completely different beliefs and disbeliefs.
“However I do know if I did not imagine in God and in a life hereafter, I believe my despair could be even worse.
“I take some comfort within the reality I imagine that my 4 deceased youngsters are in God’s firm that they aren’t completely useless in each respect, that their spirit lives on.”
Throughout the Sunday morning Lengthy Interview, he revealed he makes use of train to enhance his psychological well being.
He mentioned: “Train whether or not it is strolling or swimming or going out on my bike, it makes me really feel higher. “
Cowdenbeath-born in 1941, Dennis Canavan labored as a maths trainer from 1968 till 1974 and was Assistant Head of Holyrood Excessive College, Edinburgh, on the time of his first election to Parliament.
In a 33-year political profession he has served as a councillor, MP and MSP.