I finished reading The Space Between the Stars by Indira Naidoo, known to many of us a broadcaster and television presenter of current affairs and news programs, on my 71st birthday. I was acutely aware this is 22 more years than she had with her sister Stargirl, who unfathomably died of suicide. The grief in this little book is heartfelt and affecting. So is the love. The prose is lucid and beautifully captures and shares the poignancy of this very personal loss.
It is a touching book of vignettes of the wonderful excursions Naidoo takes into the natural world around her. The lessons of nature and the everyday which she arrives at, are offered to all of us. Enjoy this: “Flying kites is all about finding the right balance. It’s the art of knowing when to hold on and when to let go – something I’ve been struggling with since Stargirl’s death” and ponder this: “The story of weeds is one of survival, determination and resilience. Their domain in the city may be within the cracks, but cracks are how the light gets in.” It is from within nature’s teaching and her meaning-making of quotidian events that she is able to find some solace, “Gardening is not only an act of hope; it is also an act of acceptance. Endings are part of renewal. You can’t have one without the other.”
Naidoo does not gloss over the personal tragedy of losing her sister. She doesn’t offer platitudes or promises that the loss will be ‘got over’. What she does is face her fears, and comfort may be had in her hard -won assurance: “what we fear is worse than what we find.”
This assurance is the encouragement we all need and the truth of which we at my manifesto trust as we support you to take the step to tap into yourself, to perhaps face your fear that you will find yourself wanting: the reality is, you will liberate you.