Picking up the pieces

When someone has been taken from you suddenly, it doesn’t really matter how it happened, the pain is just as bad.  If it had been a heart attack, I wouldn’t have been any less sad.  I just wanted my Daddy back, just one more day to spend in his wise company.

The murder case – well that’s a story for another day.  There is only a 7% conviction rate for murder in South Africa.  Our chances are slim.  The police detective working on our case has 110 cases on his desk.  I spent a long time working it over in my very logical mind.  Where was he standing?  What did they say to him?  Who shot first?  I studied the autopsy report as clinically as a doctor would.  How could a tiny bullet in the abdomen kill someone?  I took it to a doctor to have it explained to me.  I studied the ballistics report, and pointed out some information on it that the police had missed, the serial number of a gun dropped by one of the murderers.  I spoke to psychics.  And then one day, someone helped me to realise, that I was focussing far too much on my father’s death.  Those few last minutes were consuming me, and preventing me from experiencing my grief.  And on that day I started to think about my Daddy’s life, the happy times.  And the floodgates opened.  I sobbed for days.

Winding up the estate – well I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  18 months down the line and we still aren’t there.  I feel it’s worth a mention because it has taken up so much of our time.  I have this message for you.  Write a will.  Tell your family where it is.  Talk about things like investments, how you choose them and why.  Have a plan for when you aren’t there.  Although my father had provided well for his retirement, we had to do a lot of searching for documents!

There are blessings.  I had the privilege of having an amazing father for 36 years, a man who was always there for me.  Always had the answers.  Always prepared to take me places.  Always had a kind word, I never heard my Dad speak badly of anyone (OK except maybe politicians).  I had a fantastic childhood because of my parents.  I learned a lot of important things.  They were my springboard into the world.

I still have a fantastic family.  My mom and two sisters and I would do anything for each other, and now our family has grown by two beautiful little granddaughters for my mom and two wonderful sons-in-law.  We have grown closer, not apart as some families do.  We will look after each other always, and we will always serve my Dad’s memory and make him proud.

My father is no longer with us in the physical form, but his spirit will always be with us.  There are days when I can feel it, literally when it’s as if he’s standing beside me.

To survive this kind of thing, you have to make a choice.  The choice is simply to survive.  You cannot dwell on what could have been.  You cannot live with the poison of anger destroying your life.  As the saying goes:  “bitterness is a pill that we swallow, hoping that someone else will die from it”.  Life is very, very short.  One of these days it will be our turn to meet our maker.  On that day, I will be reunited with my Daddy.  I have no fear of death and I’m really excited to see him again.  Until that day comes though, I am going to make him so proud.  I refuse to wallow in misery.  I refuse to be knocked down.

My mother has astounded us with her strength and courage.  She hadn’t worked since she was 22, and is now successfully running my Dad’s business.  She refuses to sink into depression, and is suddenly coping with more things than she ever thought she would have to.  She has her days of course, where she wonders if she can carry on, but those are few and far between, and she’s determined to become independant.  Sometimes she phones me with a little victory – “I phoned the plumber and he fixed all the taps”!  These are things that Dad would have fixed himself, and she never considered having to find someone else to do them.

And so we plod on, day by day.  And there is hope for us.  We will find happiness again, it will never be the same as it was with my Dad, but our own lives are not over yet.

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