Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Beautiful Mysterious Place

I took a deep breath
Collapsed backwards off the boat
Consumed by the cool of the water
Bubbles all around me
Oxygen warming my lungs
Head first I dive
Deeper into this world
Reaching the bottom
I adjust my gear
Floating above a world unknown
Colours engulf me
Movement from every angle
Tides carrying me along
Warm currents sweep past me
Along with the beautiful life
Eels, rays and Moorish Idols
Leave a vibrant sketch in my mind
This mysterious place
Holds so many wonders
That many will never know or see.

The Caretaker

This is a different world I work in. My job expects a lot from me, and I spend a lot of time trying to understand my clients. My daily activities involve therapy and attempting to understand the minds of severely damaged people. One particular client impacted my life so greatly that I cannot resist sharing my story.

On Thursday 19th May, after dropping my daughter off at school, I stopped at the garage to buy the morning newspaper. The headline read “Convicted: The Edenvale serial killer to receive lethal injection”. At that moment, I knew I had a new case to research, to understand. Warren, my husband, always found himself frustrated when a new case came in, as I seemed to completely lose myself in someone else’s world. How could I not? I desire to know why, to know what made them do what they do, to understand what caused this behaviour. Hours dedicated to reading patient profiles trying to find a connection.

My client’s name was Jasper. He was a slim man, barely old enough to drink a beer. Scars occupied the space where a smile used to be. His family were killed in a hijacking and he was left to fend for himself. He was introverted to the point of complete social awkwardness. From the moment I met with him in his chilly cell, I was fascinated. The first hour we sat together in total silence. I introduced myself and explained that I was here to try and help him make sense of what he did and why. He responded with nothing, not even a tilt of his slight head. I could sense that my presence was not welcome, but I stayed nonetheless. The only way I would allow him to trust me is if I pushed myself into his personal safety net.

Conversation remained without words for two weeks. In that time, I had learned to read his body language. There were days when he would sit straighter and more rigid, and others where he would lay on his back staring and muttering to the ceiling. I managed to develop a pattern: the days where he seemed tenser were the days they served beef for lunch. After many months, and eventual discussion, I learned that his parents had owned a butchery and the very smell of beef reminded him of a time when he was happy.


The Court has sentenced him to death by lethal injection. Unfortunately a date has not been set as yet, so no one knows when his punishment will occur. For now his life will run its course in a cement room. I have come to know him and it is hard to believe that this young man is going to spend the rest of his days decorating the grey walls of his cell with the dreams he once had.


I have visited him twice a week for 38 years. Jasper has become family to me - a son I never had. I admire his courage and am so proud to have watched him grow up and become such a wonderful man. His health seems to be failing him. He spends most of his time in the Nursing Block. I received a call to inform me that he may only have a few hours left with us. I rushed through and spent his last 3 hours with him. I will never forget his final words: “Kay, I want to thank you for the years you have given to me. For the gifts on my birthday, the jerseys in the winter, the mysterious books and the wonderful discussions. You gave me a better life than I ever would have known. You are my caretaker and for that I will forever be grateful.” 

He never received his injection, but the strength of his words will live in my veins for the rest of my life.