His Version of Events

Posted on: 7th May 2013

Last week, one of Body & Soul’s members, who was also a volunteer, leader, mentor, trustee and true advocate for Body & Soul died. We would like to dedicate this space to anyone who would like to share their stories, memories and thoughts of M, as we have done below.

When a stranger asks what we stand for, we at Body & Soul sometimes find it hard to quantify. We stand for love, compassion, hope, trust and empathy.

All of these things are hard to quantify because to feel them, to have them for another human being, means to have them wholly, without exception or restraint.

What I mean is, you can’t measure how much love you give or receive, you can’t measure how much hope you have, because to have love, or to have hope, you must have it endlessly – no caveats, no restraints. There is no degree of love or hope. We are either hopeful – full of hope, or hopeless – without hope. There’s no middle ground. And M knew that.

A few months ago, after a long Saturday morning deep in thought, M told me that he’d realised what Body & Soul was all about, beneath everything. ‘It’s about love, that’s it’. Again- hard to quantify until you feel it and know it to be true, and it came to M like a revelation.

We all know that people like M are a rare thing, and we all feel better to have known him and to have shared his warmth and his gap-toothed smile and to have had him in our lives. But the reality is, M embodied totally what we stand for – his love, compassion, integrity, honesty and empathy were so, so real.

When people ask me in the future what Body & Soul stands for, I’ll think of M, and try my hardest to explain what is so hard to quantify, that we’re about love, we breed it here, and can say that we are proud to have known and loved such a remarkable person who stood for everything we know to be real and true.

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  • MB at 11:14 on 8th May 2013

    Untold letter

    See when they told me you were down hospital,
    I couldn’t think at all, just felt like a fool,
    I thought ‘damn I ain’t seen him in a while at all,
    We used have a lot of laughs yeah we used to ball,’
    See you dude you’re my boy you’re my brother,
    I could search the world and still not find another,
    I think you’re god’s angel sent undercover,
    To bless our hearts and touch all others,
    You taught me how to write lyric, how to write bar,
    Wish I could’ve told you I can drive a car,
    You always told me you’ll make it and be a star,
    But now you’re gone away I’m wondering where you are,
    But if you ain’t far tell me you can hear me,
    I got a broken heart and only you can heal me,
    Life’s a small circle I’m caught up in this wheel G,
    News of your Death that almost nearly killed me,

  • Sophie Gaston at 11:25 on 8th May 2013

    M was one of the most inspiring, lovely people I have ever met, and it was a privilege to know him and work with him at Body and Soul. He was indeed remarkable, and he taught me so much, which I will always be grateful for. I am so glad that if he had to go so young, that he went with a heart full of love. Thinking of all his friends and loved ones at Body and Soul xxxx

  • Livia at 11:41 on 9th May 2013

    A good poem – the right words in the right order – is human experience at its most concentrated. Open the right poem at the right moment and you will be intoxicated by the distillation of meaning…

    The last week has been a challenging for us as Body & Soul as we grieve the loss of loved member, trustee, volunteer, and most of all friend. Balancing the need to grieve with a very pragmatic impulse to keep on going, I found myself running on autopilot and burying any sense of grief or sadness deep beneath a mountain of tasks, errands and to-do lists. Yet occasionally, when I least expect it, my sadness and anger creep up on me with a tenacity that is almost overwhelming. In the queue at the supermarket, walking home after a long day, or whilst crossing a busy intersection, indignation burns inside my heart and I find myself rebelling against the basic facts of life, the injustice of it all, the grotesque inevitability of death.

    During my moments of grief, I have found great solace in a handful of poems that seem to articulate my feelings when my own words were stagnant. Elizabeth Bishop perfectly matches my own reluctance to ‘open the floodgates’, feigning composure in the face of calamity that starts to fall apart at the seams as the poem goes on. Edna St Vincent Millays’ Dirge Without Music is an unapologetic howl of pain and despair at having lost a loved one – “A formula, a phrase remains – but the best is lost.”
    It has become my rallying cry in times of anger at the injustice of losing a beautiful soul who had so much wisdom and kindness to offer the world, and yet was taken from us prematurely. I am aware of the facts. None of this came as a surprise. Yet I refuse to accept, as acceptance just now seems a tad too close to resignation.

    “I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”

    One Art
    Elizabeth Bishop

    The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

    I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

    I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
    I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

    —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
    the art of losing’s not too hard to master
    though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

    Dirge Without Music
    Edna St Vincent Millay

    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
    With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

    The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
    They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

    Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

  • Munya Chidakwa at 11:47 on 9th May 2013

    I knew a warrior.

    I knew a warrior who spent his life battling. He battled with scars that were both seen and unseen, but he always carried himself on the battlefield with his head held high. His fellow warriors mirrored him when fighting their own battles. For he fought beyond skill. Battling with a ‘passionate intent’ and a smile on his face. He intended for change!

    This Warrior had a direct mind-set and spoke with authority. His heart oozed out love and this love drew many around him. Now, there comes a time when a warrior has to put his sword to rest so he can let those pick up their swords and lead the line he once led for many years.

    These warriors who once mirrored him, and were guided by his voice and example are the ones that can continue his legacy, for more to carry on!

    That’s why I thank you M for battling by my side and for showing me a prime example of how to love!

    I will forever miss you!

  • Meryl at 13:49 on 9th May 2013

    I never met M but his inspiring reputation spread to me through those who knew him and through where I work. Wish I had the honour of meeting him.

  • MY at 14:24 on 9th May 2013

    M is a person that genuinely cares for people and always works hard to create a positive vibe, I’m glad to have known him in that short space of time, however it felt like I’d known him for a lifetime because we connected creatively on many levels. M always encouraged me to be me and to do what I love regardless. I thank you M for everything Bless your soul and may you rest in perfect peace.

  • Rosie at 18:08 on 9th May 2013

    Sometimes words can’t say what they need to. To me, M was not describable. He carried a feeling with him. It was in his smile, in his contemplations, in his essence. He carried a loving kindness and a fighting spirit which was palpable. It was such a privilege to know him, even for a short time. The last time I saw M he said something I will never forget. While contemplating mortality and how people choose to spend their lives, M simply said “There are so many people rushing around chasing something they can never find. They don’t even know what they are searching for. They don’t realize it’s about love. It’s just love. That’s all.” M’s essence and his wise words will stay with me, and with so many people he touched. Thanks M! x

  • Show Show Traore at 18:08 on 22nd May 2013

    Monday was one of the hardest days as we put you to rest, still feels numb and hard to digest that you’re actually gone and knowing that I will never see u again, we have been through so much u were more than a friend to me u were my brother, i know the struggle and the fight that u have gone through these last couple of years but i always saw u as a fighter and you fought well and hard, you taught me a lot about myself and always pushed me to put 110% in anything that i did. I’m going really miss you but i know that you’re resting in peace now and you’re up their with Mr Del Boy hanging out and watching over us. You will truly be missed because you were such a beautiful person inside and out even though you were rude at times… Love You M and R.I.P

  • Nimisha at 15:51 on 23rd May 2013

    As many folk have said below, I have also been pausing before writing this as it’s hard to put my thoughts into words. I will really miss M. His is a huge loss to the world – a person so rare who had a natural ability and instinct to see what was real, not getting distracted by the things that didn’t really matter, a way of making people feel important, led by example and did a huge amount of good along his path. I think the word ‘warrior’, used below by a good friend of his, is very apt.

    I was really struck by hearing how many people have recently said how much he inspired them and enabled them to reflect positively on their own lives. I think this will be part of his legacy and (as Jed said) his brightness will continue to permeate Body & Soul, as those who loved and cared about him strive to reach their goals and live their lives closer to the principles he had. M, I believe we will remember you very clearly as life goes on..

  • S at 10:25 on 28th May 2013

    I thank the stars above,
    I thank the moon above
    That arranged and re arranged
    Time and space
    So that I may encounter
    A soul so beautiful
    That even in the dark it shines

    A warrior so strong
    Even when his amour is tarnished
    And no longer shiny
    He still stood strong
    Against the odds

    Battles unseen
    Battles shown
    He always walked to battlefield
    Integrity heavy in very step
    In our battle unseen
    He is my greatest hero
    Who fought viciously

    His weapons; love and honour
    And when the enemy shot
    And bullets raced through his Body
    he may have stumbled
    he may have even fallen
    but down wasn’t his position
    and somewhere deep and magical
    he would rise the face the enemy
    coz he knew his soul wasn’t for the enemy to keep

    M was so brave
    He smiled in the face of death
    And although my heart aches
    I thank the God
    Coz now M knows no more pain
    Knows no more struggle
    And for M … death didn’t come in vain
    I now know it was to teach me how to love
    How to care
    How to live life beyond existence
    How to fight the battles
    Life sends

    And I guess he lives forever
    For me …coz in life he taught me lessons
    And even in his death he’s still taught me lessons
    But now my greatest soldier
    Peace at last

  • Beanie at 13:52 on 27th June 2014

    My best friend growing up my brother from the start and until the end when we meet again what can i say about mister m (Tiny) that touched so many people wit that big smile with his sometimes out of breath laugh even now i still struggle to break down what u ment to me 13 years 10 of them were strong it still hurts so bad an i just want u to know i loved u we love u even though we all ventured out i can say so much about u look all over the place but it all make sense along the way i can say so much about him how he was so inflluencial in mine an the boys growing up.
    the talents u had was amazing an any 1 that came across his talents will take what he showed with dem because he knew how to attract a crowd. from when we started our music crew to getting in to dramas with people from the girls the way we use to think me u as sash had powers coz our birthdays was in da same period to jus litrally living laughing boys being boys enjoying life the stories we have together as a group and a hole are immense as we do growing up u was a man all ways putting people in there place because more time u was write an coz u could because u was real.
    i know its not jus me an 100 others would think the same i jus wish i got 2 see u more often b4 u left us the last time i was ment 2 see u i couldnt make it an then never spoke to u for months an then to get phone call to hear u had gone crushed me if i knew i would have been there so much more i know we can all say dat but u cant change how you feel but as u are an always have been a lovable man im sure u was surronded by love.
    even though we all went our ways 4 a bit before then we always got together when adulthood started taking its toll on things but dats life. im just so proud to know dat u acomplished so much especially when it came to music i memba sitting dere from nite to morning light watching u make tunes on your lil chair on your computer dat was over loading to see u gradually get to a level glad to know that u did hit targets dat u said u would hit even down to this with this website that is new to me proud that u was pushing your energys in to something as u always did an i would like to get involved in your group you have left behind, i feel u would of wanted some one to.
    like i said i can sit here say stories about m i jus wanna say i love u more then u ever know an the major words i got playing in my head is u telling me to fix up i can picture u now poking man but i love u bro and all da boys ill will be there 4 your bros if they ever need me or any of us were there they no and your body and soul group u was the realist, top stylists (the swag was peak from day) funny cheeky respectful, positive attitude with all things,Artist an more with love Tiny MISS U 4EVER SEE U SOON your legacy will live your bro Beanie

  • Janet at 13:52 on 27th June 2014

    It’s taken me nearly a couple of weeks to process that I will never get to see you smile , never get to hear you make me laugh, never get to have that bonding time we have had. You are my big brother and my mentor my best friend. I know for this to come to an end you suffered a lot of pain but i now can accept you are in a better place. I will never forget your wise words, never forget your smile. Never forget your passion for music and passion and swag in clothes ….. Burying you has allowed me to understand who you were and what you’re about! What effects you have created on earth. Thank you for being you, thank you for being there for me M….
    R.I.P My BIG BROTHER M xxx

  • Anya at 13:53 on 27th June 2014

    In recent weeks I’ve talked with a lot of people about M. Sometimes, after you’ve spoken to enough people expressions of love and gratitude can start sounding the same. However, regardless of how long they knew him, each person in remembering M has described a relationship that was unique, that was theirs together. For me, this identifies M not only as a person who was truly loved but a person who knew what it was to love truly.

    M touched my life deeply and in ways still untold. Вечная память – Memory eternal.

  • Ethan at 13:53 on 27th June 2014

    There are a few people in the world who make an incredibly deep impression on you in a very short time. M was one of those people. It was more than the smile, friendliness or even his incredible patience. It was his integrity and authenticity. He had that rare gift when he spoke with you, you felt like the most important person in the world. He was genuine in his care and love for others.

    I feel lucky to have known him and to have worked with him. Now I hope I can learn from his example – living my life to the full… with integrity… patience… authenticity… and full of Joy!

  • Tina at 13:54 on 27th June 2014

    M, I feel so broken hearted by your death as i have lost a brother. It was an honour to have known you and i am so proud of you. Thank you E, for being a guardian angel. Forgive me for not doing more and i continue to wish you love and peace. Your last text to me in march was “always love”. Your reply to my pathetic apology for not being able to visit you more often, but you knew i always sent you loving thoughts. It hurt to see you in hospital in pain. You really appreciated the human kindness of a gentle back rub but I wish i had been a comic book super hero with magical powers and made you well enough to go back to uni, continue doing your music, finish doing your flat up and living more of your dreams.
    You talked so fondly of B&S as a family i feel we saw you grow as we knew you since you were 8 years old. I was so impressed by your wizz in the recording studio last year, you have helped so much in ‘the life in my shoes’ campaign and to make what B & S what it is . You are not alone and you inspired many people so at your funeral on May the 20th the music will begin at dawn with the birds singing as we show our respect to you around the world from London to Lusaka and continue after dusk, with the stars shining in the universe like you did in our lives.

  • Jed at 13:54 on 27th June 2014

    The loss of a special friend does strange things to you. For me, the last week has been a blur of memories and emotions….a struggle to find a calmness to be able to just remember my friend and appreciate the good fortune of knowing him. There are so many memories that have flashed through my mind, but when they slowed down I unexpectedly found myself focusing on the very earliest.
    They’re very hazy, misty memories. I’m not even sure exactly how long ago I first met M. All I know is that it is amongst the first memories of being at Body & Soul. He’s there, right at the centre of things, with his friends in the Base group; a glint in the eye and a gift for a perfectly timed cheeky one-liner. Even then, aged 10, he just had it. I can’t really define what ‘it’ was but I can only describe it as a ‘brightness’.
    As I’ve read the blog over the last week, everything seems to connect back to this. It’s as if this brightness saw him through the darkest of times and left an impression on everyone he met. I also realise, it’s what has been shining throughout Body & Soul. This place isn’t empty without him…….I think that brightness is here for good.

  • Kat at 13:55 on 27th June 2014

    There are very few people that will impact on so many in the way that M has. His strength and kindness was rare; he is the kind of person that would always ask how you are, no matter how he might have been feeling at the time. My thoughts are with all the staff, young adults and teens. There is no making sense of this, but M has left a wonderful and unforgettable mark on the world and I feel lucky to have met him.

  • Anneley at 13:56 on 27th June 2014

    I am heartbroken & devastated. You were like a little brother, you & D. I hope so much that wherever you are it’s much better & you are ok and pain free. I will always remember you as little M, even though grew to be a wonderful young man. Thank you for all the memories and love. May you rest in peace, you may gone from sight but you will forever be in my heart.

  • Shelley at 13:56 on 27th June 2014

    I did not know M for a very long time, but the short period of time which i did now him feels like a lot. He always had a smile on his face and a great sense of humour. I do not usually believe in angels or heaven but i hope that M will be kept in a place greater than this earth but his heart will be with us.

  • Genevieve at 13:57 on 27th June 2014

    I’ve re-typed this too many times because I can’t find the right words. M was beautiful, inspiring, warm and funny, and he gave so much to everyone and everything. He was so much a part of Body & Soul and I feel honoured to have known him for the too short time that I did. Thinking of you all and lots and lots of love, xxxx

  • Denise at 13:57 on 27th June 2014

    M was one of the first people I met at Body and Soul, and I immediately felt close to him. He had that way about him, and took an interest in everyone. I have never known anyone to have the respect of so many people and everyone looked up to him. A huge loss for everyone. A perfect gentleman.

  • Caer at 13:57 on 27th June 2014

    When I think of M, I think of his gentle smile, his way of talking. I think of a young man who was 100% himself and yet able to put everyone and anyone at ease. What a gift!
    What a gift for us to have known him.

  • L at 14:00 on 27th June 2014

    I feel so blessed to have met this beautiful soul. He touched so many lives and inspired us all with his hard work, his courage, his perseverance, his kindness, but most of all his love. There is a huge hole left in the world and in our hearts, but he has inspired us to work harder, forgive faster, and love stronger. His legacy lives on in all of us.

  • Ricardo Butron at 14:00 on 27th June 2014

    I remember the first time I met M, his smile, his fashion, his positive presence and aura. It was so fresh and so peaceful. He touched my heart in every way, He would occasionally advise me with the most simple words ‘smile, live life’, I am proud to have known such an amazing guy, who touched us all.

  • G at 14:00 on 27th June 2014

    Rest in peace M. You bought compassion, humour and humility to Body and Soul and I’ll miss seeing you.