So I sat in front of a glaring blank screen wondering what to write ... Then my wife phoned, her mum is in hospital, it is cancer, we are worried, my eldest child Emma very anxious about her Granny. So that was that.
Then I got an e-mail from my Dad, his wife, an old woman, really slowing in her life. He is worried. “Why shall I live when she is gone?” he asks.
So this is what I write. Family, life, death, love, beauty and suffering all rolled into the human experience. You see I was able to reach out to my Dad with a love that is seldom expressed between the two of us, you know the father-son story. Jacqueline spent last night helping her mum through some severe nausea, in their own part a necessary healing and Emma has crafted a beautiful angel that flies above her Granny’s bed. Indeed her own statement of been a role-player in the fullness of life.
Do we allow ourselves to be fully human? To reach out to one another beyond or before the realms of ego? Do we, in this time of mass technology, where we live a rapidity of life that has us screaming from one deadline to the next?
James House operates within the Family Preservation Model, a programme that emerged in our field as our country entered democracy. This model espouses the value of family and community, of connectedness.
The work we do and have done in the last eight years so greatly successful because we work within the family. That is why Aunt “Lill’s” walks 3km every day with a lame leg to collect her daughter from crèche. Why a mother travelled from Angola to reclaim her daughter, why a father seeks the forgiveness of his son for his absence over many years.
Your story, my story, their story. Whatever. Never undermine the value of our family, be it the “Smiths”, the van der Merwes, the Lubulewanas or our precious human family.
And in closing, a gentle reminder of our children who have suffered: the invitation, always extended to you, to play a role in generating some happiness, a little joy, if you feel so inclined.
there is this family at a restaurant. The waitress takes the order,
turns to the 10- year-old child, “What do you want, Sweetie?”