Day #203 – Exploration In Thought

Life is peppered with all sorts of little disappointments and painful losses. Dealing with them is how we affirm our own vitality. I used to use drugs to deal, now I choose words, and photographs.


Bittersweet day. I should be in Pretoria. I should be with the rest of the lads at the 20th reunion, but I am not. I cannot afford the trip. I was looking forward to seeing James and the rest of the crew.

I wake up to find the news that James’ dad passed away on Friday. This is a painful time for James and his family. I call, because as we’ve taken our respective journeys this year, we have promised to keep in contact, and though I never know what to say in these sorts of situations, where death is the subject, and often get it wrong, it is now more important than ever to find out if James is OK.

He sounds OK. Verrity is out from the UK, she is staying a while longer, to be with James. That’s good. He sounds OK. But it’s just 24 hours after Mr. Harding passed away…I know James has a lot to deal with, feelings that are still to come. He must keep strong, he must …I must not lecture, I will only be there for support – an ear, a shoulder. Though I wish I could take that pain away, this is James’ journey, not mine, though my friendship and support are his for the taking, I cannot foist them on him, I cannot make his pain and his journey my pain and my journey.

One of the lessons I have had to learn, is that I am trapped and I entrap others, in a situation of co-dependency. We have had this talk before, James and I. How to best offer my support without seeming to offer a cure? I must learn here. But carefully, this time, it is NOT about me, it is about James.

Losing a parent is one of the watershed moments of life. I have had three, when my parents died, and my step-mother. Still, I cannot imagine what James is going through, because I know from personal experience, each death is different, affects differently, and is wholly a reflection of the relationship a person has with a parent. My pain will never be anyone else’s, and even in James’ family, his pain will be different to that of his brother and sisters.

I am left in deep thought. I cannot be home alone, my thoughts are racing with the previous day’s embarrassment at calculating my budget so badly. My heart is in pain for James. My soul is stinging, from not being able to see my brother. I ache to be there, to connect – but instead, I am here, and cannot reach out.

Reach out. How would I, anyway? If I were there? How would my being there help James, help me, by seeing George?

Reaching out. A lot of people did that when I cancelled my road trip. I was surprised, pleased, grateful that they did. It is a wonderful thing to feel the love and concern, spread via Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp – for once, these have a human quality, a palliative and compassionate one.

I sit quietly on the beach, and give thanks.

© Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.   


  1. Wow… As must say that I've come to realize sooo much in reading your journey. Things I always took for granted as being norm or about the other person was actually almost always about me and my need to help, my need to be the voice of reason, of calm of focus. I certainly hope your friend James is ok, death has one been of those experiences I've been fortunate enough to not deal with as yet so I can't even imagine what that feels like or the words… Could any words really make a difference? For many its been said that just knowing you have friends around with supportive words is enough. They will reach out in due time when they ready to deal with their emotions. There is some great comfort in knowing that even though you are vulnerable and down you have people who pause their lives to check up on you. Never underestimate the power of prescence of friendship. Moments like these, and its sad that for many, including myself are when we reflect and give thanks. But they are needed to realign and redirect the soul…

  2. I sometimes wonder if it is a blessing or a curse, to never have known the touch of death? Perhaps a little of both…I feel capable of dealing with death, because I have said goodbye so many times before: two partners and three parents…yup, I think I've earned my stripes, but does that mean I am immune to the sting of death? No. Not at all. Death of another family member, or of a friend, will sting as much as the first time, it is in how you cope with that sting, that evolves through experience. I sometimes envy people like you, who have not suffered loss through death (even that language is designed to show the negative of death "suffered the loss" – my own mother's death, as well as my step-mother's, was a mercy, for them, both so ill that only pain, and sadness and confusion lay ahead. Death was a release.) but then I am grateful that the first sting of death is something I have dealt with many years ago: I know what it is to lose someone close to me, and never again will that first sting touch me…yet it is also wrong to pity people who have not had that first pain, because pity is a wasted, ugly trait. Instead, I envy (in the good way!) that you have had a long time of family and friends and they have travelled this journey with you: you have not lost anyone along the way. Envy? No…celebrate! And yes, we learn from each other as we travel along – the presence of friendship, of people who care – they all form the "million different hands" that hold us up, carry us along on the journey of life.

  3. All too often we try to soothe those we love with the balm of our own experience. Grief, however, is a slow journey that must be walked in solitude, with the support of those who care.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.