Oscar Pistorius – In your shoes…

I sent this letter to Oscar Pistorius on 26 February 2013:

Dear Oscar

I hope this message finds you well!

I cannot even begin to imagine how traumatic the last two weeks must have been for you. I do not for one moment feel that I can comprehend the pain and suffering that you, your family and Reeva’s family is going through. I cannot place myself ‘in your shoes’ to try and understand what transpired that day in the early hours of the morning.

I cannot place myself in your shoes, because I have both my lower limbs and both my feet. I have a certain outlook towards life because I am always at the same vantage point. I have both legs and thus always perceive things from my 1.88meter perspective when standing upright. I always have the same reaction time during daytime or night time, because my legs are ‘always attached’. This allows me to feel no disadvantage to any threat that I may experience. I have both legs and feel comfortable to go about my day not realizing how different ‘EVERYTHING’ must be for you…

You must feel a higher level of exposure when you are not wearing your prosthesis? You must adapt mentally to the change of perspective when NOT wearing your prosthesis? You must feel vulnerable in a way that I will never understand, when you go to bed at night? You must feel exposed that when you wake up at night that you are not as fast without the prosthesis than when wearing your blades? You must feel extra committed to ensuring you know where your legs are, in case of emergency, to attach them to your body, in order to react as a reasonable person would be expected to react in a crisis situation?

The legal teams that represent you all have their own legs. The legal teams that represent the state all have their own legs. The Magistrate has his own legs. The reporters all have their own legs. The people who made jokes about your disability all have their own legs. None of them can put themselves ‘in your shoes’, and none of them try.

You have inspired so many disabled kids and adults around the world by being such a positive athlete! You have been a hero to many! You have changed countless lives and motivated ‘down-in-the-dumps’ people by reaching the goals that you have! I’m convinced that you have saved lives by helping those who felt like taking their own lives because of their disability, by helping them to rethink their situation and by rather aiming for a better life. You have had a global impact on so many people and that’s why there are so many messages of support for you! You are a life saver!

But…

You have now taken a life, which is the hardest thing to do for any man with a conscience. You are not the first person in the history of the world to take a life, and you will not be the last person to do so. The difference is that you took a life of someone that you loved. You left a void in her parents hearts, in her friends hearts but most important also in your own heart..

I am a son, a brother, a husband and a father. I have lost loved ones in my life to the grave, and the void will never be filled. It was their time to move on to heaven. I have been through deep waters before, but every morning when I wake up I realize that my time is still not up. I can still make a difference.

Oscar, your time is not up yet, and I hope that you find closure after mourning the death of your loved one. I believe you will find joy and happiness again with the support of your family, friends and fans. Start training again ’cause that’s what you’re good at!

Be strong, and inspire others, as you’ve always done, to live life to the fullest, because you never know when your last day will come.

If you need some company for a great cup of coffee, I’m available!

Blessings,

Riaan

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