I wrote this the night after Nelson Mandela died last December, it seems to depict my post Coroner’s Inquest mood accurately.
Nelson Mandela died last night age 95. One man achieved so much and left such an impact on the world and so many people have and will continue to benefit from the sacrifices he made. After the suffering he endured, his humility upon being released surprised so many of us. His long road to freedom paved the way for a much smoother road for so many.
One man, one voice, one quiet voice at that - carried in the wind and echoed around the world. His delivery was slow and sure, his words full of grace and honour. A poignant one-liner can make history and resonate through future generations. These moments are rare, but we’ve all had them.
Wisdom of the elders is something I’ve always felt passionate about. When I was a teenager I did a project for my Modern Studies O’Grade on Sheltered Housing. On my short daily walk from the school bus stop to my home I’d pass a Sheltered House that had a large window, elderly people would sit there looking washed out and immersed inside their own heads probably through boredom. As I passed I’d wave to them and they’d light up. Who knows what it meant to them, but it cost me nothing but a tiny bit of human kindness.
Passing down knowledge and sharing what you know is something that can bind our communities and link future decision-makers in order to understand, learn and use that as the building-blocks, as we continually evolve and progress in modern society. So I’ve always found it such a waste that we don’t make more effort to revere the elders in our society.
We never stop learning, and over the past few years I’ve embarked on a journey of self-exploration, resulting in a better understanding of mindfulness and inner-peace. I feel so incredibly different to how I was even as little as five years ago to who I am now. I’m fundamentally the same person, but I’m just a better and wiser version of my younger self, which is how it is when you reach beyond a certain age. Youth –Vs– wisdom. Both would be amazing, but wisdom generally wins every time.
I could see that Martha was at the point whereby, although she was still a little bit insecure and concerned by what her friends thought of her, she was almost confident enough to really be herself. At times she’d check with me as to what she was wearing and although she’d infer she didn’t value my input – she always did what I suggested which surprised me, as she was a stubborn little thing when she wanted to be.
She frequented the naughty step when she was a toddler. She’d sit there with her little arms folded, glaring at me from those enormous eyes, as I glared back at her – both of us determined to win the battle of the wills. Once I could see that she was sorry – I’d lovingly scoop her up into my arms. We didn’t bear grudges as I always saw that as a pointless waste of time. Better to clear the air and talk over things. As she got older, I’d send her to her room for some time out which always helped clear the air. We’d both calm down, then I’d call her to come downstairs for a cup of tea or a treat.
I need every ounce of wisdom I can muster to usher me through and brave the grief that lives alongside me. My new-found enthusiasm in furthering my own learning enables me to explore a world that I was preparing Martha for. I pray that I can survive this and that I too, can find the way to my very own road to freedom from the shackles of my Martha’s early departure.
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
- Nelson Mandela