adelaide, south australia. all words are from my own heart.
[background image taken at the murray mouth, south australia.]
we drove into the cemetery, rannon and i. we drove to where she remembered him to rest. a little white cross, the last time she saw. i’d never visited. a lump blocked my throat, my skin became cold, scared of my reaction. she couldn’t see it, where she remembered him to rest.
she took a map and a guide from the machine. plot 2876. acacia b. we walked to the row where it said he would be. looked for his name. i flinched when something caught my eye, a dripping tap in the distance. the day was darkening. my anxiousness heightening.
we looked on all the headstones, on all the brass plaques on the ground. we wandered back and forth, we wondered between each other. we looked for his name.
she saw it first.
a small, oval shaped, brass marking, maybe an inch wide, stamped with the numbers. hidden behind the grass. an empty space above it.
one thing left of him, the only thing that told the world where his body was kept.
we sat on the concrete at the head of his grave, side by side, three dead flowers wrapped in silver between us. he was there. unmarked. he was there.
ran walked off. i sat. i spoke. i’m sorry i didn’t visit sooner. i hope you’re doing well out there. she came back with a smile and some pink flowers in her hand. i stood up. she lay them in front of 2876. he was there.
when i went to mexico with my friend brooke, we met some guys from corona, california.
they were so cool, raced dirt bikes and spoke in hollywood accents. connor penhall was one of those guys - this gorgeous blonde kid danced on up to brooke and i, shoeless on the makeshift dance floor, at a club right on the beach. it was new years eve and we were drunk off the night: the beach and the beers, smooth tequila and mexican music. his charisma was addictive.
we spent the rest of the night getting to know this cool kid from corona.
twitter, instagram and facebook kept us in touch from opposite sides of the world. we joked about visits to australia and reunions in mexico. a distant friend who liked my photos, sent unexpected tweets…and made that new years the most memorable of my life so far.
connor was killed today, struck by a drunk driver while working on the 10 freeway in baldwin hills, california.
it’s an absolute shock. i won’t say we were best friends - we weren’t. but he had that special thing about him, that thing you find in those people you meet along the way. he was someone always there, somehow there seemed a permanence about him - someone i’d subconsciously planned to cross paths with again somehow, someday.
the last facebook status update he posted warned his friends of a dui spot to avoid…the irony unmistakable. messages of love flood his wall. my heart goes out to his family, his friends. a magical person, taken way too soon.
rest in peace, connor. i hope you race the gnarliest of motocross tracks in heaven.
love you dad.
she lost her father. two nights ago, he passed away in his sleep. he was sick, but still, a shock. she didn’t get to say goodbye.
in his leaving, four children stayed behind. the youngest, 12. a boy growing up without a dad. without that one person to teach him and mould him into someone to be proud of. a man.
another friend grew up without her dad. he died in a car accident. lost too soon.
she and i once took a trip to the beach, on his anniversary, at night, to sit on the sand and watch the stars. they scattered his ashes in the ocean. he became part of the sand, no matter where she was, the beach kept him with her.
these friends of mine, going through life without that figure of strength and guidance.
i’m still here. i can still feel the cold air on my face as i drive, in the night, with the window down. i can still smell the fabric softener on my jumper that reminds me just how much i’m loved. i can still see the faces of my family every day, hug them, tell them i love them. and i can still take them for granted, every day. stupid me.
sitting there this afternoon, hearing the sobs and watching the tears stream down innocent faces, the dry eyes of the stoic, too, i thought about my own family. mum sitting to my right, dad another seat over. the boys, my brothers always there and always strong, and their girls. my grandparents. my aunty, uncle. my cousins: the girls who worry me most. their little hearts, broken.
she said her only reason for living, was them. those girls, too young to have to know this. too young to have this experience.
my friend rhiannon told me, sometimes people are stuck in their bodies here, and only after passing can they truly be free. so now, she is free. may she rest, peacefully, in a life more like the one she should have had on earth.
it’s too true, death puts life into perspective. i don’t know what i would do if…i don’t know what i would do. so it’s not something you think about day to day. you live and you make a life and you do what you love and you appreciate everything, everyone.
death is sad. but it happens. the only thing we can do is live. with truth, with dignity, with vigour. with love for all the beauty surrounding us.
it’s time i wrote something down. anything, really. it’s been too long between the spill (of my thoughts, that is) and it’s getting me down. each time i go to write, i stop and don’t want to/can’t/have no idea what is worth writing, in my head.
the truth is, so much has been happening. so many emotions of absolute unbelievability. nothing i have thought to feel or want to ever again. sorrow, grief, empathy. all these things boiling over, felt for everyone else in the room, that room so full of everything.
and what to make of it? we all feel things, we’re all human. no one should be judged on how they handle whatever it might be. some people cry, others? numbed. everyone grieves differently.
death is final and creates perspective in a life otherwise lacking that depth and clarity and wholesomeness we all want to feel. but all somehow forget to, until it explodes right in front of us, without warning, without concern for anyone caught in the way.
when people die, life comes spiraling back into perspective. they were here. now they’re gone. that could be me. you think. things could be so much worse. for a while, you stop worrying about the little things. you wonder: how could i be so selfish? but, unfortunately, the feeling fades. and we find ourselves returning to the trivialities of our lives.
you can’t spend your life looking at the world in that way. everyday is to be lived, yes. but when you start hating yourself for worrying about something that seems so insignificant compared to a death or illness or starving child, you’re beating yourself up. you’re allowed to be sad because you were dumped. you’re allowed to be upset when you have a bad day. you’re allowed to sweat the small stuff.
just as long as you know, when you pull it into perspective, in the end, none of that matters.
life is so precious.