By: Thembelani Twala
Sometimes the best way to express how you feel is to write it all down. In the hope that it will all make sense once you have read it.
I never knew it was so painful to lose a parent, especially one that was a father, best friend, mentor and my role model. It’s been three months since his passing, yet every time I talk about or even think about him I am reduced to tears, and at the same time I consider myself blessed to have shared time and space which such a wonderful and strong person. A person who shaped me in to the person I am today.
Philippians 3: reads: “To live is Christ and to Die is Gain”; and my father was a true example of what that verse really means. He loved God with all his mind, heart, body and soul. He loved his family, loved his neighbor and loved his brothers and sisters in the Lord. Through seventeen years of severe pain and sickness, he worshipped God until the end and his last breath was in prayer.
When being comforted by friends and family, they say “things will be fine and this too shall pass”; but my mind and heart tell me that in this lifetime things will not be fine. I can never talk to my father again, I can never seek his advice, I can never sit with him on a lovely Sunday afternoon sharing a laugh and talking about sweet old nothing and switching back bible matters. I can never pick up the phone and say “wola timer”.
In all of this I found that life goes on, whether you are in pain or jovial. Life pauses for no man and there is no time out. In the middle of mourning, my second son was born barely two weeks after my father had passed. As sure as the night makes way for daylight, I had to transition from pain to gladness. Emotionally drained and spiritually at a low, I had to be there for my family. Looking at my son, named ‘Owenkosi’ for the first time, who is identical to my late father, I knew right there that a life had been taken and a life has just been given; a new chapter had just begun in my life. Was this some kind of sick joke or was it all part of God’s plan. At that moment a question struck me. Do I stay rooted in this pain and anger that I was carrying? I did not know where the anger came from. Nothing seemed to make sense. The answer came two months later. I had to move on and take the next step, in honoring my late father by living up to the principles, values and life lessons that he had instilled in me. Accomplish all the goals that we had spoken about; such as finishing my MBA, starting a business and much more.
Losing my dad is not about being fine or ok about it. I will never get to that place, but it is about accepting that he is gone and re-adjusting my life to the fact that he can never partake in this life; but in God’s kingdom when the trumpet sounds and the Messiah returns, we shall meet again. Until then, I will not stop living, but will stay rooted in Christ, love my wife and family “giving my son’s the same love and care that I received and even go beyond, so that they grow into what God intended”. I will press on in the life that God has given me.
If someone had to ask me: “have you healed?”, my answer is: part of taking the next step is walking the path of healing and healing can take months or even years until you find a place of total acceptance and peace. But through it all my redeemer lives.