My liefste boykie,
They say when you lose someone, the firsts are the hardest. First birthday. First Christmas. First everything. They weren’t lying.
Vannah had her first birthday without you on Friday. Pappa was already in George for the week, so I drove up to get him on Friday. You remember how I used to close my eyes when I drove across the Du Toit’s Kloof bridge? Not anymore. I think when you lose a child, the worst possible thing that can ever happen to you, has happened, so you become fearless in a way.
But the journey wasn’t easy. Once I was through the toll gate at the tunnel, I started crying, and once I started, I literally couldn’t stop. All I saw before me, was you on your bike, weaving in and out of the traffic. The road you took to work every day. I could see you as clear as daylight. It was as if you were guiding me through. I had to stop at the garage just before Worcester, just to compose myself. I kept seeing you all the way through Worcester, until Robertson. And then you weren’t there anymore. Thanks for being my guide, boykie. It was incredibly sad to drive with you, but also incredibly cathartic.
I wish we didn’t lead such busy lives. Ever since you kids were teenagers (didn’t matter if you had a party or not), we would all get together and have a birthday dinner somewhere. The last time you three were all together, was at Vannah’s birthday in 2016. (Pappa was on a business trip, remember? We always seemed to have one missing family member!)
We had so much fun that night, and our customary birthday shot.
Friday night was bitter sweet. We had so much fun with Vannah, but missed you, Phoebe, Teri & Sky terribly. Our traditions and rituals will continue, but it will never be the same again.
Pappa said we should have the customary shot, and Vannah & Pappa chose a Jagger-bomb. I love you very much, boykie, but not enough to torture myself that much, so I had a caramel vodka. Vannah was very brave! She even added a napkin to mop up any spillage, because she insisted on drinking it like you did.
We visited her at work on Saturday. You would’ve been so proud to see her in action. We were lucky enough to see how she did an encounter with visitors and then we did the adult cheetah encounter with her. Remember all the stories she used to tell us about tourists? Well, your eyes would have popped out of your head. She speaks with such confidence to all the people, in both English and Afrikaans. Do you remember how she used to be too scared to even ask for something at the local cafe and always send either you or Phoebe to get stuff for her?
We drove back on Sunday, and when we got close to Worcester, Pappa took the back road. I was so grateful, I don’t know if I could’ve done the whole drive-through-Worcester thing so soon after Friday.
Sunday night we just chilled with Teri & Sky, ignoring that Monday was coming. And then it was here. 5 Weeks since you left… And now Teri & Sky was leaving too. The truck came last week, and today they left. I tried to be strong on the way to the airport, but the tears kept coming. It feels as if we didn’t just lose you. We lost Teri & Sky, we lost our lifestyle, our rituals and traditions. I know they’re just in Joburg, and that is where they need to be now, but it is super hard. We kept saying to each other ‘don’t cry, because then I will cry’. We tried really hard to be brave, but in the end there was snot en trane.
Sky looked just like you this morning. That smile and laugh. It made it even harder.
Yes, I know. The bed is even made yet. But it was a rough morning. At least Sky had a jolly good time with my jewellery.
Back home, I had some work stuff to do. Then I started with the cupboards in the guest room. Phoebe has moved back to Paarl, and Teri’s been staying in the guest room, so now I need to get everything sorted out. But everything is a follow-on effect (the joys of living in a small house). So I opened my cupboard in the office and there it was. The. Bloody. Red. Bag. From. The. Mortuary.
I opened it on the day we received it, because I had to see in what state your things were. And then I closed it up and stuffed it in the cupboard. But now I had to box it up. I burst out in tears and almost had a panic attack. Anyway. It is now in a box in the garage. I’ll deal with the contents later, when I’m not as raw as I am at the moment.
Ps. Facebook is both a brilliant and a very sucky tool. The memories are great, but flippit…. it also serves as a reminder of what we’ve lost. Last year this time, we had our first braai on the new stoep. The floor wasn’t even sealed yet. It made me cry and smile, all at the same time.
Al die liefde,