I lost you
Before I even knew who you were
The memory is not real
But shaped by years without
The reality is a blur
Filled with doubt
The first pain I felt
The first blow I was dealt
Was grief

Who would you be today?
How different would my life be
If you had grown older loving me
You were my protector
My security
My father figure
You made everything better
With your presence

Sitting in your wood-paneled station wagon
I was too young to know what happened
I was left alone, without an explanation
Only an absence, an imagination
I imagined that you could see me
From somewhere out there
A child’s rationale of death, inconceivably

I imagined you knew all the bad things
Everything I had done
That you could see from the sky
Nothing now escaped your eyes
I couldn’t explain grief until I was older
Until I had words for these things
The feelings that loss brings

Grief comes at strange times
On the airplane, in checkout lines
At the DMV, when I’m empty
20 years later in therapy
It sneaks up on me

Maybe I grieve you all the time
Yet you are only a memory
A photograph I keep with me
A frog that jumps across my path
And I imagine that you see me
After all these years you laugh

Since you’re not here
I can make you anything I want
My loss grows flowers
I feel your love in the present


Your mind is a traitor that has betrayed you
It has left behind a body
But stolen your personality
Your ability to have a conversation
Your presence is here
Although not really

We all pretend like you are the same
What you have created still stands
Surrounded by your family
Reminiscing about who you used to be
Your wisdom and generosity

I found you a different person
Robbed of your energy
Greif with a side of dementia
To remember again
To be reminded again
Just to go back into that far away world
The fuzzy place of your childhood
A false memory that does no good

You look at me with blank eyes
Not seeing me
And ask where your soul is
Where he is
What can I say
Nothing I say can make it better

I don’t want to remind you
You know he is not here
Your heart breaks over and over
Every time you ask
There are no words for this
I’ll hold your hand through the fear
I’ll stay by your side during the loss

There’s an empty chair
And empty bed
Empty after sixty nine years
A house full, but empty at the same time
A table with the centerpiece missing
A room devoid of pictures and light
You can feel that something is different
But can’t place it, can’t explain it
There’s a void next to you every night

The walls have shifted
A desolate wilderness is left behind
You are alone in the desert
An arid land with no reprieve
Trying to find him

You are looking for water
He was your oasis
And has dried up, disappeared
The world has turned upside down
You don’t know where your place is

Your spirit left with him
Your love of so long
I can see it in your eyes
You have already gone

The Road to Providence

What a strange feeling to have an unfamiliar home. To unpack all your worldly belongings in a space you’ve just seen, and call it home. I’ve had this idea I’ve nurtured for a year, plans I’ve made, a picture I once saw from a thousand miles away, and accepted as my future home. I’ve unpacked all the pieces of me as quickly as I could, as if the faster this unfamiliar space becomes adorned with my belongings, the swifter I’ll adjust and become comfortable. That’s not how this works you know, can’t fool a pro – I’ve done this before. Comfort, along with familiarity comes with time, the former is fleeting, the later lingers, mutates, and can remain in some ways even for a lifetime. Continue reading “The Road to Providence”

The Experience

I’m going for my daily walk from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay, taking in the ocean, waves breaking on rocks, surfers gliding into shore, sun beating on the back of my neck. I think I dreamed that I lived in New York once, that I used to run around Central Park, walk the streets of Manhattan. It’s funny how with time, even hard moments can become sweet memories, filed away, somewhere in between here and there.

What if I’d never left? What if I had missed this experience? Hot tears fall from behind my sunglasses, guarding my emotion from bypassers, workers on the side of the street. Could it be possible I was so afraid to leave? So afraid of leaving my friends and the comfort of  my home, afraid of being alone?

I can’t imagine my life without this experience. I had to be here, where else would I be? How foolish my fears seem now. My life here couldn’t be fuller. I’ve pulled more all nighters here than I did in the last 3 years of my twenties. I’ve fallen in love, thrown axes, climbed mountains, gotten hurt (fluid drained from my knee – gross), laughed until I cried, taught yoga on a cement playground scattered with glass, got licked by a giraffe, saw a shark, sun bathed on a beach surrounded by African penguins (pretty sure one tried to mate with me too), and learned precious lessons about culture and history – the reality of peoples struggles.

I’ve made countless friends in South Africa, and I’ve been anything but lonely. What if I had missed it? I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I came here. I’m not running away, I’m running into the world, into new experiences. Travel has completely changed my life.

Perhaps my experience in Cape Town will not be again as it is in this moment. Perhaps I’ll never again see the people I’ve met here. I’m not melancholy, but overwhelmed at the beautiful moments I’ve had. Even in the hard times when I’ve questioned what I’m doing here, sad times, uncomfortable moments, I wouldn’t want to have missed the experience.

Warm Feelings 

Not just because I finally escaped the winter. Starting the trip with friends in Costa Rica was a great idea. As soon as I saw my friend’s warm smile, I was instantly at ease and reassured that I made the right decision to travel and come to this beautiful country. 

It’s such an honour to meet a friend’s family and to be welcomed into their home. Not just welcomed, invited to stay with them and greeted like family. I’m always overwhelmed at the kindness I’m shown abroad. People go out of their way to help me and welcome me to a new country. 

I haven’t seen my friend in over a year, but it feels like we just had dinner in New York yesterday. Some friends are like that. I’m lucky to have people like that all over the world. I haven’t even been here for a full day and I’ve already been to a traditional dance, eaten delicious Costa Rican food, and learned so much about the culture- including what Pura Vida means. 

Truly, Costa Rica is like a dream. Green, lush, rolling hills (actually I think they are volcanos), beaches, and valleys. The city of San Jose literally sparkles from the view on top of one of the mountains. The weather is warm and breezy. I’m feeling the love here, and feeling the warmth. Now, on to some beaches, hot springs, and hiking! 

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