|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.