New Zealand Law Society - Contemplating loss

Contemplating loss

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

(A piece written after being inspired by a kerbside discussion with Olakunle Ajayi about his 2018 Masters of Psychotherapy thesis).

Walking into a prison hidden behind stark concrete walls, the first thing you notice is the apparent calm, a calmness which you cannot feel. There is no sense of foreboding as you follow the broken line from the gatehouse to visits. There is no discernible crackle in the air. The visible staff in the buildings matched in number by the ever-present cameras. As I walk, I look up and out to the hill covered in exotic pine that protects all from the scrutiny of passing motorists.

I often reflect, as I walk, as I drive, as I work, as I read, as I interview and as I talk to others in our system. What do these islands of containment achieve? For many, they magnify the intensity of anti-societal rage. Dispossession is not displaced. The young try upon release but are easily triggered and find themselves back for longer. As the inhumanity ages them change comes through the fatigue of life. The wisdom gained in these hard to find places exceeds that of the teachers. Then one day, on a day that is hard to predict with any certainty, most of the many change for their loved ones. Whether in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s, that day comes when with or without treatment they gather together the fragments of their identity and choose to live a better life than the rest of society ever expected. A stoic walk after all the eye watering trauma. People that have often suffered more hate than they have ever meted out with their own fists. Heartfelt rage replaced in an instant – when peace comes upon them – by the dignity of acceptance.

David Allan is a Hamilton barrister.

Lawyer Listing for Bots