Breaking Down The Walls

In memoriam: George Charles Luis
1931-11-23 — 1987-12-28

Every year I write something on the 28th of December, ostensibly to mark your passing. Some years it’s cheerful, others it’s maudlin or angry – but never does it touch on how today, 27 years ago, my world came crashing down and I broke, inside.

The worst phone call in the world came early in the morning. I was only 13. I cried. At first…but then after a few minutes, I had to leave the house – I couldn’t deal with all the intense emotions of everyone around me.

I cycled and I thought and I thought and I cycled. My tears wouldn’t bring you back. Sulking and sadness would not undo the fatal aneurysm that robbed me of a father.

I stopped crying and I stopped feeling and I went on with my life. I learned something incredibly powerful that day – that I didn’t have to feel the shit feelings and the sadness and the cruelty of life and death.

I used this lesson well. When I was bullied at school, I cried not for me – but for mum; she’d had a hard life and was very protective – she didn’t need to deal with a young son too wimpish to stand up against the bullies. I never cried for myself.

When mum died, and then later our stepmum died, I didn’t feel. I intellectualised. I justified. I distracted with drama and life and drugs. I did a million different things; I didn’t feel. I never mourned.

I’m 40 now, and my inability to grieve and mourn is getting in the way. It was easier for me to reach out to Cris and wallow in the wreckage of our destructive relationship, recently, rather than go through the grieving process and mourn the end of 18 years of friendship.

I’m 40 now…and I’m about to start therapy so I can knock down the dam wall and release the flood of 27 years of not feeling the loss.

I’m ready to say goodbye, Dad. Are you ready to let me go?

© Dave Luis 2014. All Rights Reserved.



  1. Oh man, I remember when we spoke about this in person. I couldn’t understad this at all and parts of me never will.

    I remember seeing this morning when you brother tagged in you a post about the anniversary on this event – I thought I wonder what Dave is doing today. Is he trying to face it or has be decided to busy himself with a positive distraction?

    I really wish you well on this road Dave and for what change this will bring in your approach to not only life but also relationships choices.
    Although I have to say I read this now and a part of me wants to be like you. To put emotions away, to not feel. Having recently watched a movie I cried until I couldn’t breathe, cried until my head hurt…. For this movie, with no emotion connect to me so I fear having to deal with death in my personal capacity I’m 30 now and death hasn’t visited me in any close sense. I may need some lessons just a few in time dear friend.

    Here’s to letting go and being whole and feelings and letting darkness in – for sometimes it is needed too.

  2. Wow, Dave, strong piece, so sorry for your loss and the push on effect – i have not had the same kind of reasonages not to cry but have just naturally [despite wanting to] not been a crying person – when i saw ‘The Passion of the Christ’ by myself [was the second time as the first time i watched it with people and for some reason couldn’t cry] in a little cinema in Knysna it was the first time i had cried in ten years and i loved it – these days a lot of movies and other things get me close, but still typically right up to the wall and then no further…

    Hope the therapy helps and brings you to a place where you are expressing well the things you have been unable to – much love

    brett fish

    1. Thanks Brett. In a surprising moment yesterday (perhaps in subconcious preparation for tomorrow’s first therapy session?) a short video clip showing a man who stood in a public square, blind-folded himself next to a sign thst said “I trust you. Will you trust me enough to give me a hug?” being hugged by a flood of strangers reduced me to …well…not quite tears, but very very close. I’m taking this as a good sign that ‘feeling’ stuff will be possible, soon.

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