Sharing, healing and paying tribute: a story of grieving

2008-11-12 00:00

SOUTH Africans were shocked when the dead bodies of fashion designer Richard Bloom and his actor friend Brett Goldin were found lying face down on a traffic island off the M5 in Mowbray on Easter Monday in 2006. For those who shared the lives of the two men, things would never be the same again.

In Soul Conductor, Bryan Hellman, who was the 27-year-old Bloom’s partner of five years, has attempted to map what he calls his “painful but amazing journey” out of the shock, despair, confusion and grief precipitated by the trauma of Bloom’s death and into a space of healing, a place where his relationship with Bloom now continues on a spiritual plane.

As a clinical psychologist, Hellman would obviously want to help and thus one of the book’s aims is to guide others through the grieving process. His central message on this front is that your grief process is your own. Trust your intuition and respect the honesty and integrity of your feelings. Fair enough. I’ll admit he lost me on the “don’t-close-yourself-off-to-dialogue-with-the-other-side” argument … but that brings us back to everyone’s grief process being his or her “own”.

For me the book’s stronger purpose lies in the catharsis and emotional anchor it seems to offer its understandably distraught author, the strength it gives him to find meaning in life without Bloom, and the opportunity it gives him to pay tribute to an individual who meant so much.

Sharon Dell

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