Dance for laughter, Dance for Tears

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we dance for dreams.

Dancing D


As the new year took off  a friend and I  joined a dance class. One for mature ladies, aptly named the Golden Oldies Class.

At the first class we were welcomed warmly and made to feel at home by both the experienced members of the class and the class teacher.

How did it feel?

Intimidating that is how.

There we were, surrounded by mirrors showing every move, every bulge, every ridiculous moment of almost falling over our own feet.

“Make peace with that person in the mirror, she is going nowhere, nor will she be 5kg. thinner and 10 years younger anytime soon”, was the advice from our teacher.

That said I tried to forget the ridiculous looking figure in the mirror and just feel the music and the movement. That was when I started enjoying dancing again.

Then our family was thrown into crisis by a particularly bad accident, causing a brother, father, brother in law and friend to be in a critical condition in hospital. Still we attended the dance class. This time dancing for tears, but also for hope, hope that he might recover. We danced for fears , fears of what might happen. We danced for screams, the silent screams kept hidden behind a calm facade. We danced for dreams, dreams of the maybes and what ifs. We found release in the joy of movement, a moment to forget that which was waiting in the hospital.  Sadly he passed away, leaving another void in the family.

Two years ago when my husband passed away the same friend  and I started walking. We walked through the days of mourning.We walked through the days when the uppermost emotions were anger and feelings of abandonment. We walked through the days  of confusion, and unanswered questions. We walked through the days of simply missing his presence.  We walked,  often crying along the way. We walked until the grieving subsided and walking became a time of togetherness and joy.

Now we will dance. Some days it will still be for the tears and with tears, for the might have been’s  and the why’s, but mostly it will be because we can still dance.

Gertrude Stein wrote these words in her book Three Lives.

“You look ridiculous if you dance
You look ridiculous if you don’t dance
So you might as well
Therefore we will dance the dance of life while we still can for who knows what tomorrow brings.

My Heart is Raining Tears.

Friday 18 January 2013

Yesterday I threw away the last of my mother’s funeral flowers.

Today it is raining and dismally grey outside and so is my heart.

I have to go to my parents’ house, to face the difficult task of sorting through their personal documents deciding what to keep and what to discard.

I reach their house in the retirement village, open the door and quickly lock it behind me, not wanting to see any of the well meaning neighbours.

I need to be alone to feel their presence, to say goodbye, to mourn two lives which have come and gone leaving imprints in my life which will last forever. For at least an hour I just sit there, unable to start the task before me feeling emotionally numb and paralysed.

Then at last I force myself to open the first drawer and I am instantly captivated by memories.

In the drawer hidden away under a stack of old papers I find a little creamy yellow box . When I open it,  I am greeted by beautiful vintage costume jewellery and I immediately see my mother wearing it.

jew 2

I must have been two or three years old and they were going to a dance. She was wearing a light yellow dress  tight fitting in the middle, with a  wide puffy skirt. She looked like a princess with her dark curly hair, fifties style dress and the glittering crystals around her neck and in her ears.My sister and I stayed home that night dreaming of one day going dancing and being princesses too.

The memory lifts my heart and the rain doesn’t sound so dismal anymore.

Then I find a piece of wood, lovingly varnished by my father and kept for many years on the top shelf of his bookcase. It embodies the memories of his beloved  farm in the  bushveld and brings back vivid pictures of evenings sitting around the campfire and days spent in the veld tracking the wild animals he loved so much.

Wood 1

The rain is beginning to sound like music.

There is a newspaper clipping, yellow with age announcing:

” Horselovers From Our Community Come Together for Endurance Race.”

There we are, my sister,me and a friend smiling at the camera with the assurance of our youth. Now many years later I still remember my aching muscles after the long and gruelling endurance ride.


Memory after memory emerge from the files and drawers in the study and as the day progresses my mood lifts and the sun starts shining again in my aching heart.

At the end of the day I realise there is healing in unpacking and sorting through the memories. Some are discarded, some are filed away while others will be cherished forever.

Although it is still raining when I drive home, my heart is not raining tears anymore.