Dear uncle Dawie

I know this comes too late, but thank you! Thank you for always having open arms when we visited your place during the school holidays. Thank you for allowing me to express myself. Thank you for the many Sunday morning road trips on the Harleys. Thank you for treating me and my sister like your own daughters. Thank you for keeping me motivated on an artistic level. Thank you for allowing me to have a friendship with your sons. Thank you for always treating us to lunch at your restaurant whenever we popped in. Thank you for always having something funny to say, making me laugh when I needed it the most, and also laughing at my childish jokes.

I never had the opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate the time you took to tell me about my family, the past, your life growing up with four brothers and about my grandparents. Little details I didn’t know about my family and often the shameful events that no one wants to talk about. You told these stories with no judgement, no pre-conceived thoughts, just the humbled truth. I remember the night you and aunt Jenny took me out to dinner, I was a young adult, and I remembered wishing that the night will never end. We ate, drank and laughed (a lot), but what I remember most was the honestly in which you approached all my questions.

I wish I knew you were feeling alone. I wish I knew that you were struggling with ‘bad’ thoughts. I wish I knew that you too needed someone to talk too. I understand the darkness you faced and the utter despair you must have carried with you for some time. I do not know your circumstances or personal issues, but I do know depression. I am sorry you had no other way out. I wish I could have told you that everything will be okay, that your family, wife, sons and friends need you. That you will leave us with an emptiness that can’t be filled, and that over time our memories eventually also fade.

Today in remembering you, my thoughts are on the open road, the roar of Harleys around us, nothing but excitement and the thrill of being on a journey. Today I will remember you and know that even though you are not with us anymore, you are not forgotten.

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