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I am back in Australia and have taken some time to evaluate my surroundings and understand what I have experienced. It was not until recently that I have felt as though I can write something that explains a few things.
I have been home only a short while but have suffered a seriously heartbreaking loss. A friend I consider family has lost his father who was like a second father to me for as long as I can remember. I had been surrounded by death and despair all of 2016 and I had built up a resistance to the emotional side of things, I thought I would be fine.
One of the hardest things is to watch those you love hurting. This man in particular was and always will be something special, whenever you see him you just feel at ease like everything is going to be alright. He was a presence like no other and the definition of love. He and his family are so very important to my family and me, we were all rocked in our own ways. I grieved for his passing but what hurt me the most was being powerless to help those that are hurting. My mother, my father, my brother, my sister, his children, his wife, his family and his friends, it was all just so emotionally overwhelming. There is a hole in all our lives that will never be filled.
What I experienced on this dark day though was the raw form of love, unadulterated and uninterrupted flowing of love. It was the same love that I felt in South Africa. I now realize just what it is I feel and I can make sense of all the confusion in my head. When placed on the precipice, we either fight or we run, it is those who in that moment can hold their stead and act accordingly, are those you must hold dearest for they lead us forward. I follow my family. Watching my kids in South Africa go through their hardships day in and day out, I now understand why they still manage to smile, because, in that moment of crisis, they experience unwavering unity, be it through their friends, their family, their project or their school, they experience just what power they have inside them. I am forever indebted to them for what I have learned from them.
Deep despair, that 'fuck you' feeling, where you feel as though nothing will mend this broken moment, brings about something rather special and strange. It brings out an authentic passion for a sense of other. To nurture and lick the stitches is essential to the development of a human being, to any living organism. What we do when we see those we love in pain is nothing short of heroic. Instead of hiding behind our grief we push through an emotional threshold and we do what we must to better the situation. I found the same love here that exists in South Africa with the kids I care for, that love is immense in its capacity and grandiose in its entirety. I have softened and hardened over the past 14 months and that I am grateful for but what I am most grateful for is the people in my life that I have the privilege to call family.
My immediate family, my kids in South Africa that I think of every day, my friends that are like blood. I thank you for changing my world.
To Lyn, Liam, Nathan and Michelle, you have always been blood and I thank you for it. I am heartbroken at the loss of Lou, but that one day and night showed me that true form of love that can never be shattered, no matter the time that passes between visits. Your father will always remain a twinkle in your lives and he would be proud at the way you have sent him off. I am honored to call you family and I love you with all my heart.