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.

For Blommie.

Like a ton of bricks.

Like the world ending.

Like the whisper of death in a war.

Like the sound of nails running across chalkboard, never ending.

Like the whisper of desolation across your soul.

I’m sorry, your mother is terminal.

No one can truly know when their time is up. When that moment comes, either fast or slow, and your maker holds His hand out.

No one can truly know what the leaving, leaves behind. What the leaving will mean. What the leaving will take with it.

No one can truly know, how tired the leaving can make you.

To be left behind. Or to watch the moment of leaving coming ever closer.

Your mother is terminal.

Those 4 words. Like death to every hope you had. Every moment of future you thought you dreamed, with another.

Your mother is terminal.

I am so sorry, my blommie. My dear, precious, glorious friend. I wish I could make it hurt less. Make it more bearable. Make it go away.

I wish I could heal. Or say that right words. I wish I could stand by you, and love you just a little bit more. So that my love can balance the leaving. So that it doesn’t hurt so very much.

I am so sorry that your mommy is leaving.

I cannot fathom it. I cannot really even describe it.

I will not show this to you. Not now. Perhaps not ever.

But I wanted to write it. Because I remember the leaving of my father. And how much it bothered me that no one really knew what to say.

I know now, that it didn’t matter what they said. It would never ever be the right thing. It never can be.

Because the leaving is all there is.

It is consuming.

Be strong, my blommie. Be brave. Be consoled, just a little bit.

I love you. You are in my thoughts. You are in my prayers.

You, your family and your mommy.

Her life will not be forgotten.

Her soul will shine bright.

Her memory will stay with you.

Her life will be celebrated.

Her God will welcome her Home.

And she will wait for you. Just out of earshot. Just out of sight. Just around the corner. Just there.

She waits for you.

With Grace.

 

I am

I got caught up in the idea that I had wasted some of my life the other day. Wasted it on not feeling good enough, not being thin enough, not being enough really.

Wasted it on doubting myself. Doubting my abilities. Doubting my inner being.

Wasted it on endlessly looking for …. Peace? Acceptance? Love?

Wasted it on people who don’t deserve time. On endeavors that I knew would harm me? Collecting stuff that ultimately adds no value?

Except, the idea occurred to me, that every single thing I have ever done, has led me to here. Every person, every fault, every word, every endeavor, every ‘thing’ I have coveted / wanted / needed, every failed relationship, every miserable moment.

Every glorious moment.

Every honorable friend.

Every smile, every laugh, every step on a very hard road.

They have all brought me to this place where I drove home from bootcamp last night singing and dancing to some silly song that I don’t even remember anymore. But I remember dancing.

Because bootcamp bitches. But more so because

Joy….

Fit….

Love for self….

Acceptance of self….

Doing the best I can, and actually doing it.

Being the best I can be, even it if it is not perfect, it being enough.

Facing life head-on. With a smile and a laugh and a joy that I have not had before.

Because I am. I am loud. I am the carrier of a bit of excess weight. I am sarcastic. I am self-conscious. I am too often lost. I am too often doubtful. I am kind. I am loving. I am honorable. I am a good friend. I am a brilliant daughter and sister. I am not alone as long as there are friends. My friends are not alone as long as I breathe. I am courageous. I am hard working. I am brave. I am too often sad. I am more often loved.

I am the best of me.

I am.

The Death of Friendship

I have a friend who believes that every person in our life, past and present, is there to fulfill a very specific purpose. She also believes that friends, while not only fulfilling a purpose, also cater to a very specific facet of our personality.

Say I have a silly side (so do), I have friends that compliment, elevate and sometimes even exaggerate that facet of who I am.

It follows then that when we go through dark periods, while we do indeed have friends full of light and love, we also draw to us the darker, the hidden agenda and the not always so good for us.

Sometimes we even survive them.

Life is ever changing though. Darkness becomes light, we grow and we hopefully find our joy again.

So what then becomes of these dark period friends? Not everyone is capable of change, of finding peace or hope or joy. And not everyone wants to.

In the face of obvious negativity or overwhelming bitterness, the choice and decision is easy to make.

Not so much when it is just an ‘unpresent’ friend. You know the kind. Always too busy. Never answer anything. When you do meet, usually by chance, they are the one who asks if you have put on weight. They are the gossips. The ones you have a sneaky feeling revel in the misery of others. But they never do anything obvious. And they have their good sides too.

I guess I am wondering when you call it quits? At the first veiled insult? At the tenth? Or is it much like a scale, with the good and bad balancing it out?

I’d like to think I am a good friend. The sad thought though is that I am probably someone’s ‘unpresent’ friend.