The loss of a great man

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.  ~Kahlil Gibran

I have always believed that we meet certain people in our lives at specific time when there is something that we need to learn from them, and when that is done, the ‘relationship’ tends to wane (not in a bad, I-never-want-to-see-you kind of way, it just sorts of runs its course). It could be a simple lesson or something monumental, it doesn’t matter. There are a couple of people in my life that has taught me something that I needed to learn at the time. Sadly one of them passed away yesterday, and I am just overwhelmed with sadness today.

There are certain constants in life, love and loss being but one.  There was a time, almost 18 years ago, where the scales were tipped towards the former and seemed that it would never be righted again.  My sister had just passed away, with the memory of my father’s death scarcely erased from our minds, although it had been a number of years, grief does not tell time.  We were shattered, and barely hanging on by a thread. It all seemed so.pointless.  Forlorn and browbeaten, we could scarcely muster up the courage to answer the scores of mourners that trundled across our door, bringing food and condolences. Our family pastor really held us together at that time.  His words brought comfort where none was to be found. He helped.tipped.the.scales. He taught us that we are able to go on, even when we feel that we can’t.

Living in a farming community, everything revolves around the church.  All our social gatherings were there, the pastor and his family were much more than their title. They were family.

Yesterday we lost a member of that family.  Our pastor passed away unexpectedly, and the loss has left us reeling.

So today I am remembering a great man. A man that did not think twice to stop off his sermon mid-sentence to be a father, to tell his kids off when they did not keep quiet, or us too, for that matter.

I remember a man that was not afraid to stand up for those who could not do it themselves (myself included) and pay tribute to all the good that he has done in my life and everyone else that had the good fortune to have him cross their path at some time or another.

We will mourn your loss and hope that we may help carry your wife and sons that stayed behind, such as you helped carry us.

Rest in Peace Dr J Steenkamp.


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