I was born in December 1976. My first cousin Luke was born in January 1978. We grew up together as cousins do, only a year apart. We had similar childhoods growing up in South Africa. We went to the same family events, we hung out.
If the photos are anything to go by, we might as well have been brothers in the early years.
Our family, the Potter family, has always been bad at communication. Spread all over the world, life and time zones get in the way and even the great Internet wasn’t enough of an equalizer to remedy that. I hadn’t spoken to Luke in years, and when I heard he was going to be a charity worker, I probably scoffed.
Now our family has a Luke-shaped hole in it, and he was one of the good ones.
We can’t all be charity workers in Africa, but I hope in his memory we can recognize humanity wherever we live. My cousin Miriam is going to focus on unity and equality. I’m going to continue banging the diversity and inclusion drum. This is no time for hatred.
This whole planet has over seven billion reasons to show compassion and empathy. Luke embodied that, and we should take a page from the same book.
The BBC has a photo and an article here if you’re interested in reading it.
To my uncle and aunt, to his brother and sister, to his partner and daughter, I am so sorry for your loss.