You Will Never Fall

Against All OddsAgainst All Odds by Irina Karkabi

Dear Oscar,

What do you notice first about this painting? The stormy skies? The rocky terrain? The tree threatening to tumble over the cliff? Or the smaller tree beside it, hugging it to safety? I’m guessing you’re a glass-half-full kind of man, never afraid to go out on a limb, for after all that’s where the fruit is. So my bet is that your eyes go straight to the arms of that spindly little tree gamely clinging to its brother, risking it’s own safety to prevent him from plummeting over the edge.

Oscar, you have lived a remarkable life, made all the more so by your inability to see it as such; the storms and rocks weathered and beaten by your determination and success. And the changes you have made – the friends and supporters you have gathered along the way – have provided solid ground into which you can plant your roots as you weather this storm, too. So when you feel weary, think of that little tree and how hard it’s working to keep its brother from plunging over the precipice. And think of us, because we are a bit like that tree; our belief and friendship and love holding you so tightly that even if you flail, you will never fall. Trust in us; we can withstand any storm.

We can and, if you allow us, we will keep you away from the edge of that cliff.

Love and blessings,

Laura and Carly

Standing By You

My dear Oscar

Today, we have seen world attention once again drawing in around you as the media spotlight refocuses its glare on you and your personal tragedy. It is of course the price you are paying for being Oscar Pistorius, the man with no legs who dared to dream. The man who took his God given talent, used it, and assumed his rightful place alongside the world’s elite able bodied athletes. The man who, with sheer determination and against all odds, rightfully claimed the hard earned title – Olympian – whist shattering the world’s long held misconceptions of disability and the place of the disabled within it.

Oscar, no doubt the media scrutiny is distressing but many that will be watching events unfold, care for you deeply. We have the utmost belief in you as a good and honest man and whilst empathy impels us to share the sadness and worry with you and your loved ones, we are certain that justice will be served and that you will soon be vindicated. That day can’t come too soon but whilst we wait, we are honoured to stand beside you and to extend our thoughts and our prayers daily in the hope that you will be given the faith, courage and strength you need to face the forthcoming weeks with the same dignity and fortitude that you have always shown.

Oscar, last year I knew little of you, but when tragedy struck your life I felt instinctively that you were telling the truth. Since then, I have looked at your life and perceived the evidence of so many kind and compassionate acts, both public and private, which paint a portrait of a naturally sweet and loving young man. Like precious snapshots in time, these deeds are imprinted on my mind, each one nourishing my belief and conviction that you are a good man worthy of trust and friendship.

Today, I revisited the messages sent to you soon after the tragedy, and whilst that now seems a lifetime away, the messages of belief and comfort still resonate as strongly now as they did then. Oscar, if you will forgive the repetition, I would like to restate one of the earliest messages I wrote to you which echoes my feelings as honestly now as it did then:

‘Dear Oscar,

You are not defined by your blades and your ability to run fast. Nor are you defined by your imperfections. You are defined by what’s in your heart, your mind, and the qualities that make you the remarkable, inspirational young man that you are. Of course, running is important to you, but you are so much more. From that little boy, inspired by his mother to put on his legs, to be able to stand tall, alongside others on an equal footing, the teenager with a love of sports and a dogged determination to be the best he could, to the man who with dedication, commitment, confidence, passion and self-belief became to the world – ‘Bladerunner’, Paralympian, Olympian. But your achievements were not reliant upon the rest of the world; they belong to you, with your faith and the support and belief of those close to you, your family, your coach, your colleagues and your friends. The rest of the world was simply an on-looker, happy to get swept along with the phenomenon, label you ‘Superhuman’ and lift you high up on a pedestal.

But fame and on-lookers are fickle friends; they have no time for human failing and signs of imperfection. They don’t seek to know what’s real, only the perfect facade. Don’t be sorry for their loss, for when they turn their back on you, what remains is truth, the tangible and genuine influences in your life – your family, your friends and your God. You are not Bladerunner to them, you are Oscar. They don’t rely on image and unrealistic expectations to define you because they know the real you, the heart of you – and knowing you, they love the very bones of you. Oscar, there are others in this world who see beyond the image, who don’t want perfection or seek to judge or ‘cast the first stone’ for to do so is to condemn themselves. I feel blessed to have glimpsed the real Oscar; honourable, energetic, driven, gifted, sensitive, generous, warm and kind. I too, believe that to know you is to love you, and in that love, I and others have experienced a profound empathy and compassion for your loss, your pain and your suffering.

Oscar, this tragedy has brought out the extremes of human nature, the worst and the best of humanity. Hold on to what is real and don’t be afraid to let go of the superficial. You are a truly remarkable, courageous young man with so much to give and when you come through this, you will be redefined not by image, or fame, or by the expectations of others but by your experience, by truths learnt and wisdom gained, by love, the resilience of the human spirit and the knowledge of those things that are real and important in your life.

God bless you, dear boy, my love and prayers are with you, your family and Reeva’s loved ones. May He bring you peace and healing’.

With love

Heather

La forza ella speranza

La speranza è una forza incredibile e inaspettata che ti farà
ricominciare e che soffierà lontano gli ostacoli e tutto
ciò che ti preoccupava e ti spaventava.
Basta ascoltare il tuo cuore e lui saprà suggerirti cosa
devi fare per rialzarti e ricominciare.
Never give up Oscar!! sono con te con il cuore e con la mente.

Anna Lucia, Italy

English translation:

The strength of hope

Hope is an incredible and unexpected strength: it will allow you to start over again and will blow obstacles away along with anything that ever worried or frightened you. You just have to listen to your heart and it will tell you what you have to do to rise and start again. Never give up, Oscar! I’m with you with my heart and my mind.