Half a Year (Or, Death Sucks)

Jon died six months ago today.

I started out writing one of my typical “grief posts”. I’ve developed a formula for those: wax lyrical about my grief process and what this day means to me; throw in a few dreamy lines about how much I miss Jon; illustrate my personal and spiritual growth; blah, blah, blah. Press “Publish”, sit back in my chair, and try to feel better about myself. I actually wrote half a post along these lines, then decided it was drivel and deleted it.

So I changed my mind. Rather than getting all dreamy and introspective, I decided to list the top ten reasons why Jon’s “passing” (to put it politely) really sucks. Because let’s face it: Death sucks big-time. This idea sounded great in my head, but I didn’t even get one line into it before deciding that was also the wrong way to approach things. I was bound to say things that I’d regret later, and plus I know my mom hates the word “sucks”. (Sorry, Mom.)

So then I sat for a moment and thought to myself: What would Jon want me to say on my blog today? I came up with the perfect thing.

A few days ago I was driving home at sunset. I stopped at the traffic light at St. Andrews Road and Jan Smuts Avenue. I looked up and there was a flock of wild ibis flying over, in a perfect V formation. The ibis looked so beautiful, silhouetted against the deep pink sky with their wings extended and long necks outstretched.

I looked toward the horizon (it’s a long traffic light), and there were several more ibis formations approaching. One, after the other, after the other. The birds were honing in on the island in the middle of Zoo Lake, where thousands of ibis go to roost every evening.

Jon is the reason why I knew what the ibis were and where they were going. He was always explaining little tidbits like that to me, about birds and nature and stuff. He would be happy to know that I still remember some of them.

I didn’t get a photo of the wild ibis. But I did get a nice shot of the sky from my backyard at sunrise this morning. Jon would have liked this too.

I hope I’ve commemorated this milestone in a way that would make Jon proud. But I still reserve the right to publish a “Why Death Sucks” post at some point in the future.

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  • Reply Mr Bunny Chow June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    your dignity rocks xxx

  • Reply jackie hulme June 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I think you shine … you were shining on saturday when we saw you. You are strong, keep strong.

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Jackie. And to Nams and Mr. Bunny Chow.

  • Reply landofnams June 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm


  • Reply Gail Scott McDonnell Wilson June 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    What a lovely way to remember Jon.

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks Gail. Weren’t you and I also talking about the ibis this weekend? Or was that someone else?

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough June 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    It really does suck, my friend. Hugs to you, Heather. I’ll be thinking about you today! Jon would love this post!

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks Kathy. I’m glad you think so 🙂

  • Reply Jaco June 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I watch them every evening. Scary how the majority of people miss this!

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      I see them a lot in the morning too, at that same intersection. Such a lovely rush-hour distraction.

  • Reply thirdeyemom June 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I am sure what you are going through more than sucks. You have the right to publish that post hit I bet Jon likes this one better. It is a beautiful picture of the sun setting on the clouds, something I remember you saying Jon loved.

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Nicole. I appreciate the fact that you noticed that.

      • Reply thirdeyemom June 20, 2012 at 4:00 am

        Yes, your posts have stuck with me. The ones about Jon have been so heart wrenching, painful and beautiful. He was a lucky man to have your love. I’m thinking of you.

  • Reply buckwheatsrisk June 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    death does suck! i am sorry for your pain. what a beautiful shot of a beautiful sky.

    • Reply 2summers June 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks very much. It never ceases to amaze me how many beautiful skies we get here.

      • Reply buckwheatsrisk June 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        wonderful that you stop to notice..”smelling the roses” of sorts!

  • Reply rumpydog June 20, 2012 at 4:02 am

    You are truly a strong woman.

    • Reply 2summers June 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Thanks, Rumpy. You are a truly strong dog.

  • Reply Caroline Hopkins June 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

    A lovely way to remember and honor someone. (and you are entitled to also post drivel and top ten reasons – it is all part of it.)

    • Reply 2summers June 22, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Caroline! I’m saving the top 10 for another time 🙂

  • Reply Umoya Musings June 23, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Beautifully written. The exquisite sunsets and African skies …I miss. When we left S.A 6 years ago to move to Canada…it was like a death for me…But I shall return…soon. I love your blog…especially as you write with so much passion for the place of my birth…Swaziland.

    • Reply 2summers June 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

      Thank you so much. I hope you make it back soon.

  • Reply evonleer June 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    H: I am lucky enough to spend the occasional hour combing through Jon’s amazing photos from his work with EGPAF looking for the perfect photo for a blog or website post. I always seem to find a fantastic snapshop that I had never noticed before. It was a fantastic pleasure to know and work with Jon. Glad you’re well.


    • Reply 2summers June 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Oh, EV. I miss you so. And…hello? You have a blog and you didn’t tell me!!

    • Reply 2summers June 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      And you’re blogging about charity water. Hahahahaha!

  • Reply Paula Gruben July 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Hi Heather. I stumbled upon your blog whilst looking for info / photos on the antique shops along Long Street (I’m working on a similar post for my own blog (http://jozibelle.blogspot.com/), & then scrolled through to this post which brought tears to my eyes. I am so, so sorry for your loss, & just wanted to say how beautiful & inspiring I found both your picture & your words. Warm regards from a Northcliff neighbour 🙂

    • Reply 2summers July 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you so much Paula. I really appreciate that and I’m glad you got something from this post.

      Your blog looks very interesting too and I’ve already subscribed. Incidentally, Jon (my late partner) also suffered from bipolar disorder so I have a particular interest in that topic, although I’ve yet to touch upon it in my blog.

      Not sure if you’ve seen this already, but you might be interested in this page on my blog which has more posts about Jon: http://2summers.net/about-joe/.


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