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A friend who recently lost his dad wrote the most heartbreaking post about loss, grief and not knowing how to deal with certain moments. It stirred something in me, reminded me of my grief as well.

 

Johannesburg, South Africa (13 August 2021) – A friend who recently lost his dad wrote the most heartbreaking post about loss, grief and not knowing how to deal with certain moments.

He had noticed something that belonged to his dad in his house, something that he had somehow missed since his father passed, it brought back so many happy memories, but in that same moment, all he felt was pain, sadness and then that awful-almost-lost feeling of not really knowing what to do… with the thing, with the feeling or that moment.

So he just let it be.

That post brought back so many feelings about my dad. It’s been almost 11 years but losing him still feels like it happened just yesterday. He and my mom are the greatest loves of my life, and I have to deal with the fact that one of them is just not there anymore. I don’t know what stage of grief I am in, but it lingers like fog around me. It’s always here; it never gets easier. I guess I have just learnt to live knowing that there will always be parts of me that will forever be sad.

When he died, I couldn’t even walk into his house. I wasn’t strong enough to deal with any of it. I couldn’t sort out his things, and I didn’t want anything of his, you know, like a watch, or a photo frame or even an old t-shirt to remember his smell. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking a single thing that belonged to my dad because they were his. They belonged to him, and by taking something, that would just make it real. That would mean that he was no longer here. And I wasn’t ready for that.

So I didn’t.

It took about a year to start regretting that decision. And when it happened, it felt like the heaviest weight on my chest. By not having anything that belonged to my dad made it feel like he never existed. Like he was never here. And that pain hurt even more. I had willingly given my dad away and not kept a single part of him. That became another part of my grief that I carried around with me.

One day, while getting dressed, I opened my cupboard where I keep my suits and right there, staring right at me, was this beautiful single-breasted tweed vintage Pierre Cardin jacket.

I stood staring at it, and tears starting to well up in my eyes.

I remembered.

I was busy getting dressed for some “big” night out in high school when I asked my dad to let me wear his jacket. I loved that tweed jacket. It was originally my grandfathers, so properly vintage. My dad would let me wear it out sometimes but always gave it to me with that look, like “best you look after this buddy”, but on that specific night, he gave it to me and said something to the likes of, I think this needs to just stay in your cupboard.

And so it did.

Suddenly I understood that I didn’t have to take anything in that broken moment of grief almost 11 years ago because he had given me so much while he was here.

That gold chain he gave me when I turned 16 that sits in a little box that I still have, that silly green torch that I keep in my bedside table for when loadshedding hits, that watch that doesn’t work and probably never will but somehow landed up with all my things, that motorbike jacket that used to be his that hangs under my stairs and all the colourful ties that I wear on special occasions.

So many of his things were with me… and within me.

My tequila face. My work ethic. My drive to never give up. My bravery to show up. Vinegar. The big love I have for my friends. Hugs. Hearing his voice in my head every time I get to an intersection… “don’t hesitate, make a decision and stick to it”. My passion for life. The fact that I can sokkie-sokkie. Not being afraid to be me. My heart… the list is almost endless.

And so I smiled.

Because that’s when I finally understood. That day I realised that there are bits of him all around me and even more within me. And even though he is gone, he will always be with me.

And so I found a little bit of happiness in that moment. A little less sadness-fog around me.

I am because he was.


Sources: Brent Lindeque | Good Things Guy 
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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