There but by the Grace go I

Sometimes, you say the wrong thing.

Sometimes, you hear the wrong words.

Sometimes, you see what is not there.

Sometimes, all the things you didn’t do come back to haunt you.

Sometimes, all the things you did do come back to haunt you.

My dad died when he was 52. He was strong and vibrant and I barely remember him. I remember a smile sometimes. Other times I wonder if I honestly remember. Or just remember what I want to remember.

He never grew old. He never grew frail. He never got weak. He never faded.

The mommy, for reasons they are trying very hard to figure out, has faded. She is sitting in this odd no mans land where words are jumbled and she can’t remember to swallow. This grey area where she knows there is something wrong, and she thinks I can fix it. This hard and horrible place where she wants her mommy. Much like we all do, when shit gets really bad.

I don’t know which is worse. The maybe a memory or the memory of old.

Sometimes, all the things you said and did and didn’t do come back to haunt you.

Sometimes, you take it out on people who don’t really know you. Or know how broken you can be, when it gets hard and you are tired.

Sometimes, all you can do is sit with someone. And let them talk the broken away. Whether it be the broken ‘misremembered’ words. Or their broken self. Everyone should have someone that will sit with them.

Sometimes – we forget what matters. And then Grace reminds us.

Sometimes, Grace is all that sits with you.

Sometime, Grace gets you up and moving and functioning. It keeps you moving when the tired gets you.

There but for the Grace go I.

See you later, my friend.

Every now and again, you meet a person that makes absolute and fundamental sense to your soul.

Gender, race, age, appearance – none of it matters. Somehow, in this big universe, you just click.

Attached to the house I currently live in, is a separate rental granny flat. For too short of a time, my friend Laurence stayed there. I met him the day he moved in, and last saw him about 4 months ago, the day he moved out.

Unfortunately, because of work, Laurence couldn’t stay. He tried. He worked the longest hours I have ever seen anyone work, trying his level best to support his family.

But eventually, the long hours took their toll, and Laurence went back to Villiersdorp.

Such was our connection that we stayed in touch. He had the absolute best sense of humour. I have never come across the like. We chatted via WhatsApp and I started making a few plans to visit him and his wife.

This was our conversation on Wednesday 17 January 2018.

On Saturday 20 January, Laurence with the easy laugh and massive smile and the best love I have ever seen for another, hung himself.

I found out about his death on the Sunday. But only yesterday did his wife Ruth tell me what happened.

I simply cannot fathom it. Not for one moment. My brain refuses to comprehend that this man of integrity and love and light, hung himself.

That he found himself in such a state of despair, that in a mad moment of sadness, he thought he needed to end his existence.

Pain is a funny old thing. Physical or mental. It creeps into your bones and turns them into lead. It saturates your existence like a feather light armour you don’t even know you are wearing.

It sets in by degrees. And slowly leaches the light and the life from your eyes.

Laurence was a legend. He moved into the granny flat next door and, just because I had the privilege of knowing him, he made my world a better place.

He was honest and real and genuine and true.

He worked hard and he adored his family.

He touched my soul.

Unfortunately, because of something I don’t know or understand, Laurence couldn’t stay.

I will miss you. The you I knew but also the you I never had the chance to know.

Thank you for making my life better, just for being in it.

I know your light is shining bright, there where you are. I hope it is surrounded by all the things you have loved, that passed before.

See you later, my friend.

Where the Light Lies

Hope if a funny old thing. We manage to find it in the most unique and desperate places.

It isn’t always called Hope. Sometimes we call it Faith. Sometimes it is called Surviving.

Sometimes it doesn’t really have a proper name.

In the darkness – it is simply a facet of your being.

A glimmer deep in your soul that reaches out for life. For love. For peace. For something better.

Sometimes, it is very simply, your soul searching and reaching for where the light lies.

The light of laughter on a cool evening.

The light of joy in a smiling baby.

The light of faith in an everlasting.

The light of healing in the face of illness.

The light of enduring when faced with devastation.

The light of a God, when you know you didn’t get here by yourself.

The hope that the light will find you and love you and accept you anyway. Even when you don’t love yourself.

It is always there. Even when you see only darkness.

It is there in the people around you, the ones that are light.

The ones that are hope.

Because they are there.

And they see the you that, just for a moment, you cannot.

May the light find you.

And may you find where your light lies.