The baby was sleeping soundly tucked close to me in the Bjorn. My sister, nephew and I were sitting closely at the back of my brother-in-law’s pick up as Zahara belted out Loliwe! Loliwe! It’s sad that for me, that song will always be synonymous with grief, anxiety and death. I’d prepared myself for that phone call, somehow rehearsed how I’d react but you can never be ready to get a call that came on the 21st saying those tragic words that had my mind paralyzed.
Today would’ve been my Dad’s 65th Birthday. It’s hard to celebrate without feeling inextricable grief by the fact that these were his last days. I’m still always brought to tears by thoughts of him, but especially today. My Dad like me, was born on the 15th day of the month. I sometimes think we were really similar. I know I got a lot of my confidence, humour and sociability from him.
My Dad lived an amazing life. A full life. A life worth coveting. My Dad loved life. He loved people. He’d be the last person to leave events because he’d be chatting up everyone and he’d be the first to welcome them and make them feel like they’d been old war buddies.
He had an amazing sense of humour. Always finding something to poke fun at and his laughter was infectious. He’s probably up there joking around, calling Madiba a Galatian.
He loved to eat. Boy, did he love to eat. There’s nothing that he wouldn’t try! He’d treat himself to simple delicacies like ‘the laughing cow’, yoghurt, polony, prawns (which he’d cook himself) and assorted flavours of Maheu.
He loved to travel. He always had great stories of his travels and even greater pictures. He loved to go site seeing and mum says when they travelled together, they were never bored. He loved sports, golf in particular. I remember going to the club with him and spending an entire day following him around 18 holes. He always came home a winner. I loved waiting to see what he’d won and the story that would go along with it.
It’s been difficult to find the courage to write again, to write about this. But I must write in order to start the process of moving on. I detest those words- ‘moving on’. Carrying on with life like the person never existed. But he did. He does. Through our laughter, our spirituality, our inside jokes and all the Dad-isms that my siblings and I inject randomly into every conversation.
There are so many memories, ones that I will hold dear for as long as I live. Memories that I will share with my daughter; lessons and laughter from her grandpa. She said “grandpa” about a month ago when I showed her his picture and I just almost burst into tears.
Remembering Dad isn’t the problem. Accepting that he’s not here is.
I will remember and honour with unspeakable love, my father’s life. I will forever be his daughter and I carry his name with pride. When I look in the mirror I see his face, I am afterall, the only one who has the exact mole on his left cheek that he had on his.
Dad, I miss you. Everyday. It’s weird not hearing your voice. Calling mum and not hearing you in the background. I miss your voice, your optimism, your infectious laugh and your wit.
Rest in perfect peace.
I love you.