Saturday, September 18, 2010

On Loss

Green is the pool, its colour reflecting nature’s quiet melancholy. Slimy leaf matter, a bloated dead bush rat and mangled avocadoes float on its surface. This is what happens when you abandon duty for a few weeks. Things go to the pot. I look out the window at its wrongness, and watch the ripples, ripples of grief extending their wide circular arms into our community. Three more deaths. Three more young men. Tragically whisked from this life overnight by the dark hand of fate. I can’t help thinking it could have been one of mine. But for the grace of God. It feels like it is one of mine. How could it not. When you live in a small community it’s like that. You know all the young men and women, you know the mothers and fathers, you nod at them in the street, at the supermarket, you recognise their masks. Alongside their suffering you stand. You’re helpless, but to feel. I’m taken back, 26 years, and see myself screaming ‘nooo’ into the dappled sunlight of the afternoon, bellowing my despair through the gum trees in the back yard, out onto Gardiners Reserve and way beyond recall the day I returned home from hospital without my baby. I was numb, disbelieving, and full of rage and guilt. It’s real. Unforgiving. Solitary. It’s a slap that stays with you forever, a scar that defines your very being, that reminds you of the sanctity of the everyday. I remember all these things like it was yesterday. Our great loss.