Tag Archive: death


i miss my friend.

i know his wife Nicky misses him more.

And some of you probably don’t miss him at all.

And that’s okay. Continue reading




but not forgotten.

but gone.

too soon.

not that any other

time would have

felt any more right

but this one

definitely felt

every bit of wrong

i miss you, friend

not forgotten!

[For other of my shorter Micropoem types, click here]


Sometimes well-meaning people do bad things. Let’s work together to not be one of those…

i have two good friends who have recently faced different kinds of grief – one is desperately sick at the moment and the other lost his mom a couple of weeks back. They are surrounded by a lot of well-meaning people. Which sounds like a good thing. But sometimes it’s not. Here are a few things i’ve learnt/observed: Continue reading

their pain

no words

just empty-feeling



after the service

has ended

and possibly

a small plate

of scones.

[for more Micropoems, click here]


tbV and i were watching ‘The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz of the Year’ last night as we had some internet to use up before the end of the month [and it all got eaten by the Invisible Internet-Data-Eating Monster] when suddenly Russel Brand and Noel Fielding [in top form in terms of doing fairly little resembling traditional quiz participation] had this moment where they caught a fly, who they named Chris, and then released it. They claimed it should be worth 10 points, but the host Jimmy Carr, feeling sorry for them i imagine, only gave them a single point.

And suddenly i got very sad. Because it flashed me back just a couple of hours ago where i had inadvertently become a murderer of the animal kind.

i was driving home from an afternoon of board game playing with my brother-in-law Carl [cos clearly being at his all day birthday board game playing event the day before and staying til 4.30am hadn’t been enough] and this squirrel suddenly ran out into the road too close for me to do anything about.

There was a brief moment when he looked like he saw me and was going to stop and then he suddenly changed his mind and ran and there was nothing i could do and it was the sickest feeling as the car drove over him, killing him instantly.


i didn’t even have time to give him a name. And while those who know me may know that i am not the hugest animal person in the world, and while seeing roadkill in the streets before has given me a brief ‘oh, that’s sad’ kind of feeling before life returns to normal, actually killing one of the little critters was quite a horrific thing.

Which on many levels is good. [That my response was to be horrified i mean]

Picture of Wes Craven and movie icons

And then waking up to the news that Horror specialist Wes Craven had died. And realising as i was writing this how these things are connected.

Wes Craven, as you may know, directed the movie Scream back in the day, which, back in the day, i watched and enjoyed [or enjoyed the experience of watching at least]. i have never been a Horror movie fan and yet for some reason the Scream movies appealed to me [possibly the ‘who is the killer’ mystery vibe appealing to my curiosity].

And then suddenly i couldn’t. i can’t remember there being a specific event or moment that changed things, but i do think it might have had to do with the idea that the gratuitous kind of violence that happens in slasher movies [I know what you did last Summer being another franchise i enjoyed back then] was something that happened in real life. And that it wasn’t entertaining at all. And how could i be entertained by scenes of the kind of violence that happens all around us in the world today.


Well yes, but also no. Because i noticed in myself the desensitisation that started to occur. Because i have watched twenty people ‘die’ in a movie, the news that someone was killed in a car accident actually doesn’t seem like such a big deal cos ‘only one person’ right? And also just seeing those kinds of ‘deaths’ again and again and again takes the shock and the edge off of it and in some ways makes it seem normal and okay.

May it never be normal and okay.

So it was the idea of being entertained by graphic violence as well as the desensitisation that really got to me. And so, i stopped watching those types of movies. And have noticed and increased and gradual sensitivity growing in me over the years since then, which i am really grateful for.

i spoke about this a little while ago using two incredible Pearls before Swine strips that really bring the point home well. When it comes to insects and any form of life really, if i don’t need to kill it, or if there is an opportunity to preserve life, then choose that route. It features to some extent in tbV and my attempt to reduce our meat consumption by fifty percent, by having meat free weeks every second week.

Yes, there is still some hypocracy evident in some of the movies i choose to watch [how is a James Bond ‘death’ any better than a Scream ‘death’ for example] and in the decisions we make about what we do make, but we are on a journey and we are trying to get better at it, and i think that’s a good thing.


picture of squirrel

i think if i had had enough time to name the squirrel i killed, it would have been Fred. i don’t know how to determine squirrel gender [and it feels highly inappropriate in this post to suggest you could maybe do it by looking at their nuts] so i’m just assuming he was a dude. Because for some reason that feels a lot better to me than if i had killed a lady squirrel.

It was not intentional, i don’t think it could have been avoided and it was a complete accident. But it still felt quite shitty and i don’t even say that.

The taking of a life, any life, when i had no real choice about it, also makes me pause for a moment and consider the taking of lives when we can and do have a choice about it. i’m thinking the death penalty, i’m considering abortion, i’m thinking of war, and also euthenasia. And perhaps even taking it a step further to say that the violence that erupts as the norm when we allow the kind of disparity between rich and poor that we see in our country today, without doing enough about it.

We tend toward violence. And so any moment when i can reduce the practice or celebration or glorifying or condoning of it in my life and maybe even in the lives of those around me, the better.

These are important things to think about. And they are even more important to act on.

Where are you in your thinking of any of these things at the moment? Please share some thoughts in the comments section… but play nice. 

This is a post Dimakatso posted on the Education Ambassador’s blog which you can find over here, but she gave me permission to post it in this section as well, sharing the story of someone who lost a best friend in Claire:

The 7th of April is fast approaching and I’m already feeling a wave of emotions that sometimes cannot be adequately explained. When I feel like this, I know prayer helps and another remedy would be to put my pen to paper or in this case, fingers to keyboard. You see, the 7th of April is not just an ordinary day. From the day my best friend Mangese ‘Claire’ Buthelezi and I met back in varsity, we made this day our “friendship’ day because we were both born on the same day.


On the 16th of June 2014, Heaven got another angel, my friend Claire. She was more than a friend to me, she was like a sister. I still tear up like a little child every time I think of her. In fact, I’ve just realised that writing this blog post is not going to be easy. I know that almost everyone has lost someone, and that losing a parent or an aunt or a partner must be painful (I’ve lost my father and many others too) but losing the woman who taught you to be happy in tough times, convinced you it was OK to admit you’ve gained some weight, and made jokes about your ugly feet in front of the whole world is one painful experience. Claire’s death was the most shocking and painful thing I have ever gone through. A pain which I still don’t understand. Soon after she passed on, I couldn’t call her to tell her how mad I am about her leaving, about how I was feeling, because I would discuss these things with her.

Even when she was weak and going through the world’s most deepest pains, she would visit with a smile on her face and listen to whatever I had to say. She didn’t want to talk about her circumstances a lot, she wanted to focus on the bright and positive things of life. I had a beautiful friendship that I will cherish forever but I can’t deny the hole that has been left. I wake up and wish I could talk to her about how hard it is. But I can feel Jesus giving me the strength and reminding me of our love to carry on.

The last time we were together, I drove to Pretoria and as always, whenever I was in Pretoria she was the first to know. I went over to her place and she had wanted us to go watch a game of football between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs the next weekend but she suddenly got sick. This June will mark a year since Claire’s passing. And although the deep pain has altered to certain numbness, some days the grief paralyses me all over again. Claire will always be 26, the girl who loved clothes and looking good, who used to wash dishes after a fun and crazy night out (which I still don’t understand up to this day :-) ), who used to put up with me listening to Simphiwe Dana in her presence (our taste in music was sometimes different). What would she have been like at 30? Would we both have had our kids on the same day too (that would have been uber cool)? Would she still be into fun times and fashion? Would she have helped her little sister and nephew like she always wanted? Would I be the maid of honour at her wedding? Would she be the maid of honour at mine?


When someone close to you dies, everyone seems to understand. They want to hug you. They give you encouraging scriptures. They write you inspiring messages and they say things to you… “She’s in a better place”, “It’ll get better with time” “Celebrate her life and existence” etc. But I’ve realised that when dealing with death, whatever anyone says really doesn’t make sense. The pain is unbearable, distasteful and unpleasant. When you get these messages from your loved ones, the messages eventually stop coming in. Everyone starts to move on, but you. I’ve found it a little difficult to move on and I’m really thankful to God for the strength because I still don’t know how I could have dealt with all this without the strength from Jesus. Yes, sometimes it seems as if my grief only amplifies with time. Sometimes I would go to sleep thinking of her, dream about her, and then wake up only to be reminded that it had not been a dream. It had really happened, and she was gone.

I’m certain that a day will come when I won’t cry over her like I do now. But sometimes I’ll find myself listening to music and I’ll hear a song that we both loved by Rihanna “Life’s too short to be sittin’ round miserable, People gon’ talk whether you doing bad or good, yeah… Cheers to the freakin’ weekend, yeah-ah-ah-ah” and I’m once again singing along with her. And then I’m reminded that I am blessed; I have had my best friend for as long as I can remember.

I’m comforted by knowing that one day we will see each other again with Jesus by our side. I believe, mostly because I have to believe to keep standing, that Claire never doubted that she was my best friend, that I adored her, and that I would never have been half as awesome a person as I am without her influence. But I want to make sure that if I ever again lose someone, I can stand up under the weight of all the grief, knowing, at least that, that person never doubted my love. Even if it’s too late, there’s some comfort in knowing that I’ve learned a crucial lesson — about love, friendship, paying attention to what really matters, about letting petty disagreements go, about sharing my feelings. And also about washing dishes no matter what (lol).

Dimakatso and Claire

Dimakatso and Claire

I’ve also learnt that loss is survivable. It feels like suffocating, like drowning, like having something vital ripped out of your body without anaesthetic, but you live through it. Like many of us do, I had imagined loss. I had imagined what it would be like when I inevitably had to say good-bye to a loved one. But I had never imagined losing her.

I would like to dedicate this blog post to anyone who has lost a loved one to death. My advice to you is to never question God and to continue to show love to your loved ones. Remember that our time on earth is short, you have no clue when this ride will end. Never stop praying, stay present and live fearlessly.

” Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – (Matthew 5:4 ASV)

[For more stories of people who have dealt with the grief of losing someone they love, click here]



Nothing can prepare you for that moment when your perfect world is shattered into 1000’s of little pieces. When you receive that phone call to say that a part of your heart ‘”didn’t make it”… My sister, first team swimmer had drowned in a freak accident, walking around our pool, having a seizure, falling in and waking up in the arms of Jesus.

Lauren and I were more than just sisters, we were the best of friends! We shared a room from when she was 6 weeks old and I was just over 2. Our lives were one huge adventure of dress-ups, countless concerts and hours of giggling. As we grew older so we grew even closer. I went off to boarding school and missed her so much that I usually always returned with at least 1 item of her favourite clothing. She lived her short 18 years to the fullest, nothing was a half-hearted emotion with her. We were so excited that for the first time in over 7 years we were going to be in the same town…but all that changed the morning of the 22nd of October 2005, my life would never be the same again.

I remember being really angry at people one day, saying the thing that I still hate to hear to this day, but that were meant with the best of intentions, “time will heal”. Time will never heal it, however, it will teach you how to live with a heart that will now always have, in my case, a ‘Lauren shaped’ hole in it.

I went through all the emotions, I constantly waited for her to walk into our bedroom and jump on her bed so we could sit and chat like we always used to. Then I was really angry, why would God take my best friend from me, she was in the prime of her life, a week from starting her final exams. However as time went on, I began to see how God had been preparing us for this. Lauren had just had her final chapel service where she gave my mum and dad a letter thanking them for all they had done in her life and teaching her about the love of Jesus, she had said goodbye to my brother who was going away for the weekend with a friend and said how much she loved him, she messaged me the night before to tell me that she loved me and would phone the next day. Her and mum had watched The Passion of Christ the night before and spoken what an incredible thing Jesus had done for us by dying so we can live.

This journey is not an easy one, and one that I would never wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy. But through it all, I can honestly say the only thing that got me through was Jesus and the ‘peace that passes ALL understanding’. I remember thinking that the ‘joy of the Lord will be my strength’ (Nem 8:10), up until then I never fully understood what they meant, but through this all, they joy that I was secure in my salvation, and that in the end we would be together praising Jesus strengthened me.

Although I wish Lauren was still alive today, I don’t regret the experience that I have had. I have understood the word grief in its rawest form. I can honestly sit and cry with someone, not because I know their personal pain, but I can relate to it.

For those of your reading this who haven’t been through a loss of someone close to you here are a few practical things to help your friend in the same position:


1) As much as you mean well, telling someone that time heals is definitely a painful thing for them to hear – rather sit and just cry with them.

2) Give them a journal – read on to see why

3) In this raw grief we forget about our basic necessities, buying groceries, toilet paper and making meals is a very practical way to demonstrate your love.

4) Don’t forget about us, this first month is hard, but I promise you, the 3rd, 4th, 5th month are even harder, when the reality hits, this is not a holiday, this is now a reality – reach out, be a shoulder. Those ‘firsts’ are tough ones to get through.

And for those of you who are fresh to this pain:


1) One of the best things I was given was a journal – in this journal I wrote all the memories that flooded into my mind, because as much as we never want to forget our loved one, over time those memories do fade. I wrote everything from Lauren’s favourite song, perfume to annoying joke in that book, and one day when my children want to know what their amazing aunty Lauren was like, I will give them this journal to read. I still read it now, and love how it triggers something else in my mind.


2) Don’t ever feel like it is silly to cry, 8 ½  years on and I still sob every October, even as I write this I have had to take a break because these emotions are still so real.


3) Never stop talking about them! Yes it hurt so much in the beginning, and you will cry at what seems like the worst of times, but they are part of you. As long as I am alive, Lauren is alive in the memories that I have of her.


4) And no, that day you realise that you didn’t think about them at all, DOES NOT make you any less of a brother/sister/friend… like I said earlier we do slowly learn to live with our incomplete hearts beating in a new rhythm.


My prayer is that any of you who read have been encouraged in some way. Life will continue, and we need to choose how we will live. I chose to put my trust in Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, my constant companion, counsellor and friend. I had to choose to put one small foot in front of the other until I knew that I could run the race marked for me, and not grow tired or weary as I do it with the strength and joy of Jesus..


[To return to the start of this series on dealing with the grief of losing someone you love, click here]


%d bloggers like this: