Last Thursday (10/12/2015) I had to do the singularly most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I had to bear witness to my Mother’s passing…her death. Tomorrow I face the next toughest thing…attending her funeral. These are the words I hope to say about her there.
Johnny Clegg wrote a song that I think best encapsulates, in a few words, my mother: it is called:
The Great Heart
The world is full of strange behaviour
Every man has to be his own saviour
I know I can make it on my own if I try
But I’m searching for a great heart to stand me by
Underneath the African sky, a great heart to stand me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart to hold and keep me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart under African skies
Sometimes I feel that you really know me
Sometimes there’s so much you can show me
There’s a highway of stars across the heavens
There’s a whispering song of the wind in the grass
There’s the rolling thunder across the Savanna
A hope and a dream at the edge of the sky
And your life is a story like the wind
Your life is a story like the wind
My mother was a person who loved and cared too much if that is possible. I believe this is because she had the greatest of hearts. My mother cared and loved more than anybody I know. She had the greatest of hearts, and she had to. Life was rarely kind to her. She had terrible things happen to her but she always kept going and she was always hopeful. She was immensely strong like that. She was a fighter. Testament to that is her 15 year battle with a chronic disease. 15 years!
She was also the most spiritual person I know. She rarely went to church. She believed that you did not need some building or set time to worship because God was always with you. God and my mother had a very personal and special relationship and I believe He is getting a real earful from her now that she is with Him.
I will always remember the times when she was at her happiest though:
At 21 Dawson Road with her boys; Dave and I, and a house full of people; family, children and animals
And then later in her life when she was with her girls on the Bluff, with Kelly and Kiara.
My mother raised three families, and at Dawson Road, virtually an entire neighbourhood. Despite the tragedy of the early death of the love of her life, my father, that house was always full of joy. So those are the memories I will keep in my heart.
I would like to share just one of many with you. When we were children, on Fridays, after a long week of work she would still rush home, cook up a batch of burgers and popcorn and load her car (generally a Volksie Beatle) with us and the neighbourhood children, and off we would go to the local drive-in. On the Fridays that the weather was bad or nothing exciting was showing we would turn our lounge and dining-room into a movie theatre, projecting the movie onto a sheet stretched across one wall. The children would be on pillows and blankets in the front with the adults on chairs at the back with my mother the projector-operator. The house was always packed with children. They all adored her.
I am sure that you all have some special memory of my Mom too. Those are mine.
In conclusion, I want you to know that I think my mom, despite all her suffering, left this world happy. In the end she died surrounded by her 3 children knowing she was loved. She drifted off to sleep with tears in her eyes and did not awake again.
Go and get some well-deserved rest, mom, and I will see you again when it’s my time.
Thank you for everything and say “hi” to Dad..
I love you.
And thank you all for being here to mourn the passing of this great heart, my Mom.