31st December 2014
I was sitting by the pool and reading when my brother came running up. He told me I had to go back to our villa immediately. I went back to find my mom sitting and staring blankly at phone.
I don’t know how to feel. Right now we are alternating between crying and tense silence. Just going through the motions. I feel numb.
1st January 2015
Today we woke up at 5.30am and spent the whole morning travelling home.
We got home, changed and immediately left for the wake. Seeing my family was peaceful. I finally felt like we were together and that was good.
My grandfather’s body had too much makeup. He didn’t look like himself and I guess that made it easier for me to accept that his body was just an empty shell now. Everything that made him the amazing man that he was was now in heaven with Jesus.
I cried when I hugged my grandma because she was crying and kept saying “Your Tata is gone.” and “Please come and see me after everything.”. As if we were going to forget about her. As if we have ever forgotten about her. It broke my heart how fragile my strong grandmother had become in that moment.
The service at 7pm was short but emotional.
We were asked to line up and everyone came around the coffin and then came to hug us one by one.
I didn’t cry until I saw my aunt’s helper coming around the coffin. She was sobbing. She was the one that was probably with my grandpa the most. Second to my grandma of course. She fed him, bathed him, took care of him, made sure he went to bed and got up safely. She was there every step of the way for him with my grandma. When I saw her crying, I broke down. I hugged her for a long time.
We got home at about 11pm. The last thing I ate was crappy airplane food at like 1pm. After that, I had nothing till 11pm when I had some chocolate milk. I didn’t even think about that. I wasn’t even hungry.
2nd January 2015
Today was the funeral and cremation. We got up at 6 and went to the parlour. I spent most of the morning by my grandma’s side. She really needed us.
The encoffining was so hard. I was crying when they closed the coffin because I couldn’t take it that they were shutting my grandpa up in a box. My cousin, brother, dad and uncle carried the coffin out of the parlour and into the hearse.
I was sobbing and my grandma was too. Everyone was. We then followed the hearse out a little way. I couldn’t stop crying.
We then got into our cars and followed the hearse to Mandai crematorium for the funeral and cremation. I was in the car with my parents, grandma and helper.
My dad had given my grandma his handkerchief because she was struggling with the tissues. In the car, he told her to hold on to it. “It was his anyway.”. My grandma let out a sob as she looked at it and hugged it to her. That was the saddest thing to watch.
We arrived and the funeral started. The coffin was opened again and I was sitting next to my grandma. We sang two of his favourite hymns. ‘Abide in Me’ and ‘Rock Of Ages’.
My dad gave a beautiful eulogy that made us laugh and cry.
We then did another line up and people came and put flowers in his coffin and hugged us. I remember I was crying so hard.
Lastly, we were given flowers to put in his coffin. My grandma was told to put her flower in his hands. So she did and then all us grandchildren did that too. We put our flowers in his hands. We were given a moment and then they began to close the coffin for the final time. My cousins, brother and I were standing together and we hugged each other and watched.
We were then led to the cremation room to watch the coffin go in. I was hugging my cousin the whole way and we were both sobbing pretty hard. We walked to the room and we were told to stand in front of a huge window. We watched the coffin come out and go into a door sort of thing. When the door began to close with his coffin in it, I was biting my lip to stop myself from saying ‘no’. I didn’t want to leave him. I couldn’t take the fact that he was doing this alone. Without us.
We were led out and we were crying and hugging people and it was awful but peaceful at the same time.
We spent the whole day hosting people at my aunt’s house and we went home at about 9pm.
3rd December 2015
Now there is only peace. I dreamt of the wake last night and of my grandma crying. I woke up panicky. I went to bed panicky too. My heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t breathe. It was scary but I made it through the night.
I’m feeling better because I know he is in a better place. In heaven, there is no dementia. Where he is, he is strong and healthy and he can remember all of us and he loves us so very much. And that makes me feel so much better about everything.
Knowing that he loves us so much and that he is up there continuing what he loved to do here on earth. He served God all his life and he is back up with the Lord and I know he is highly favoured and he is blessed.
I’ve never experienced grief but every other emotion has driven me to write so even though I’m new to grief, I felt that I needed to write. This post is not well written. It’s raw and probably peppered with mistakes.
My grandfather was the most amazing, humble, generous, God-fearing and loving man and there is no way I could ever convey that to you without this post being miles long.
My grandfather and his belief and love for me made me who I am and I hope he is proud of me and of what I’ve achieved. Things I’ve only achieved because I knew that he believed in my abilities even when no one else did. Even when I myself didn’t believe in me.
He has done so much for us and his love for us, even when he couldn’t really remember us, was admirable. I’m proud that his blood runs in my veins because who wouldn’t when you knew what an amazing testimony and character he had.
This post is dedicated to him. I love you so much Tata and I’m going to miss you every day.
Thank you guys for your patience with me and for all the support and love I’ve received.