If you read the Bible, you’ll know that death is a beast, a two-headed, ugly beast that is so powerful, that only God has beaten the beast when He resurrected His Son.
My ex-brother in law died a few hours ago. I knew that today was the day when I woke up this morning. My daughter says I scare her, as I know when death is coming to knock on a door close to me. I dreamt that my dad died a week before his death, I knew that an acquaintance was nearing death a few weeks ago, and quite a few more of this has happened in my life. I spent a long time with him, alone, just the two of us, two evenings ago and obviously knew it was not going to be days or weeks anymore. His eyes were misted over, his finger tips cold, where once was a fleshy male body lay a bundle of bones, with thinly stretched skin covering twitching sinews and weakly pulsating veins.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (a la Patrick Swayze) just more than a year ago, and fought a brave battle. Initially, after the first shock and operation, followed by debilitating chemo, he tried to do the whole green barley, no smoking / drinking routine, but once it was clear that the battle was slowly swinging in imminent death’s favour, he started enjoying his glass of wine and his cigarettes again. And no-one begrudged him as we saw how death was tightening its grip on his life force, by eating away at his flesh, his heart, his soul, leaving despair in his eyes, trembling hands, and weak legs.
He was lucky – his normally sunny disposition enchanted many people to love him during his lifetime, and thus, today, his last day on this earth, his previous wife, my beloved sister, and his last loved girlfriend spent precious time with him, until he was ready to let go of life and he asked them to leave him alone – clearly to die in privacy and peace.
When I drove through to Cape Town on Tuesday, I was startled when an oncoming car veered onto my side of the road, only to realise that the driver was swerving to avoid a wheat squirrel whose mate had just been hit by a previous vehicle. This little animal was dashing in from the side of the road to smell and touch the warm little body of its friend / partner as it lay freshly dead on the tarmac, and my fear was that it too was going to get killed by the next car. And then I wondered – would it not be better for it to die as well? Do they mate for life, and the one left behind is now alone until that monster called death also comes for it? More thoughts were that some people simply disregard the fact that animals have hearts and souls – if so, why was this little bereft animal darting in and out of passing traffic to be by its dead partner’s side? Why if it did not have a soul according to some people? And I think of lonely widows / widowers all over this globe – where this monster has come in and wreaked havoc without anyone having a fighting chance to ward it off.
What do these two things have in common? Nothing other than death – no animal, no plant, no person can be spared death. I asked Johan two nights ago if he is ready to face whatever the next part of his journey would bring, and with grey eyes staring at me, he shrugged his shoulders. Cause we have no choice. Death will get us – each one of us, and we better wake up and realise that this life is not to be the death of our souls whilst our hearts are still beating. Let’s live! Let’s love. If only I could spread this message into the hearts and souls of those who right at this moment are embroiled in warfare, killing, maiming others. Let us, the ones that are reading this and who care, pay this message forward.