It has taken me quite some time to work up the courage to post this as it causes me great sadness to read it, but below you will find the speech I gave at my father’s funeral. I post it because I feel it brings me some closure and might just inspire some of you to have the opportunity of enjoying your loved ones before it is too late.
A great philosopher once said that, “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way, and not starting.”
As a young boy I used to lie awake in the darkness of night trying to imagine a world where my mother and father were no more and every night I envisioned this hurtful activity I would cry myself to sleep. All grown up and understanding of the naïve child I used to be, I realised why it upset me so much to picture this scenario.
The life I have been gifted with by my amazing parents is so wonderful, the experience so beautiful that imagining them no longer a part of it, was too cruel a world to live in. Yet it is because of the finality of death and the gaping hole that it leaves within ones heart, that this ride is so very special and unique. It is absolutely mind-blowing to know that in all of time and in the vastness of space, I have had the opportunity of experience; I can do nothing else but thank my parents from the bottom of my heart, for their love and for their guidance. In the end all that matters is what we do with the one short chance that we get, how wonderful it is to have it, how amazing to have truly used it.
My father, the remarkable man that he was is most definitely the greatest example of how to live this thing we call life. He is the only being I have had the pleasure of knowing who walked with absolute determination and meaning, he always had somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. In all honestly I cannot recall one instance that my father had to offer up an excuse for a mistake, he would admit to it but always managed to move on.
If he was faced with a problem or situation, his mind was already working on a solution and way forward, sometimes his mouth would precede him and he would talk utter nonsense, but with time he always had an extraordinarily good answer. He lived his life until the very last moment and managed to fill it with tremendous love, passion and meaning.
I recall telling my dad that the work and stress would kill him and that he should take it easy and try and find something else to do so that I can have more time with him in the future. How selfish of me to have thought like that, how wise of him to have ignored me. He did the things he loved doing most and had he not; it would’ve been an utter waste. He was my hero for the very reasons I asked him not to be and he will remain my hero for all of time because he stayed true to whom he was.
Once you have a bite from the apple of success, no matter how many times you eat from it, you will never be satisfied. My dad managed to circumvent this truth by not making his life about himself, but instead about his family, friends and loved ones. He succeeded to live admirably by doing everything for others who could never repay him the favour.
He knew all along that giving would always trump the easy path of taking and that he would have to increase his ability to give through hard work and vigorous dedication. He was not someone who disillusioned himself and it was not within him to give up. He tried his utmost best to follow through on his promises and took it upon himself to worry for everyone else’s sake. He was an honour bound warrior, set on his ways and extremely resilient to pessimism.
He lived larger than life itself, with dreams that kept him in high spirits and the people sitting here serving as the reminder of why he did what he did. I am so very happy that I still have my beautiful mother and three strapping brothers in my life, they along with my lovely girlfriend now become my reason to do what I must do.
Our father’s genetics and mannerisms lives on within each one of us, his words now become our words and his memories serve as our foundation. How fortunate and lucky I feel to have had a father at all, to share the time I did and to have created the fondest of memories that I possibly could.
Just like the stars that dot our night sky he has now burnt out, but not before leaving behind his way of life within us, so that we may now go forth and shine, not as brightly only differently. My fondest memory is of my childhood when dad would tell us bed time stories until we would fall asleep, sometimes he would fall asleep right next to us because he’d be repeating the same story over and over for our amusement.
He is now asleep and we must wake without him, his work is now done and he can finally rest. Fluit, fluit, pappa se storie is nou uit.
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