While the nights are still chilly, the days are getting warmer here in Joburg.
The morning brings a scent of the approach of Spring, although Imbolc is still 2-3 weeks away.
I always seem to remember, at this time of year:
Eight years ago I was coming to the end of my life.
25 years of major tranquiliser abuse, 15 years of on-and-off alcohol abuse had driven my consciousness almost out of my body.
My Mum had died after a few years of Alzheimer’s Disease-a few years which had left the family-Dad and me and my son Shevek-fractured and on the very edge of sanity.
I couldn’t deal with that death, or the death-in-life which preceded it, at all.So I did the equivalent of run screaming in the opposite direction-which for me was to step up the tranquilisers and the alcohol.
I was mostly semi-conscious at Mum’s funeral, and from there I lost a little consciousness each day.
In the end, my son decided his mother was gone-probably for good-and my Dad just dropped all interest in his daughter other than finding a way to get her out of their lives.
I don’t blame either of them one bit.
The alcohol poisoning nearly ended this incarnation . It’s nothing I did that ensured I’d end up here, talking to you, nearly eight years on.
I slept on the streets of Hillbrow and came to know what a gun in your face feels like.
I had nothing but the clothes on my back, and I had no family, no friends, no one to care anymore what happened to me.
I don’t need a magic mirror to know that I did this to myself.
My father died two years later and I never saw him again in this world.
My son I will probably never see again.
I have gained many things- a house, a car, a very good job-which I didn’t have then.
My brain -surprise!- works better now than it did eight or even ten or twenty years ago. Don’t know what happened to those dead brain cells but I seem to have replaced them with processing power to spare.
I have developed an enthusiasm and joy in life which I never had before, either.
I have a materially and spiritually better standard of living now than I have ever had.
But I have lost my family.
This then, was one of the lessons I needed to learn this time around.