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My father, my country

04 November 2012, 08:27

A few quick thoughts. My father is dying. Slowly, but surely. Alzheimer's and dementia and a whole host of other things. My relationship with him has been tumultuous for 40 years. On the surface, he was a violent, insecure and pitiful man. His family often took the brunt of his own lack of self esteem. It would be so easy to say - die, bastard, die! That is why I’m writing this. My father is like my country. As I realize that my experience of him doesn't constitute his depth as a human being, as I begin to overcome myself and understand what I do or wish for others is what I do or wish for myself, I begin to see things in a different light. That when I react to things from the core of who I try to be, I become who I really am. I will try to pull an analogy through. Hopefully full of meaning.

None of us can ever know what really happens inside another. Especially in a country as divided as ours. We live in a reactionary world. You hurt me and I’ll hurt you back. We live with balled fists. We need to become silent and introspective as a country. And in those moments we will discover the real truths, as painful as they are. And also in those moments we will realize that our own truths are not the whole truth. It cab only be the whole truth when we bring them together.

Right now we are going through an ANC election year. It is heating up. It has been the culture of the ANC to sow division to garner support for many causes for many years. It has been the habit of the opposition to in-your-face challenge the ruling party. Statements are made, followed by counter statements. And none of those heal a nation or bring any of us closer together. Politics cannot do that for us. Churchill said - democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others. Gotta agree with the dude...

Regardless of the pain my father has caused in my life, I will stand by him. I will not only forgive, but forget. As I see him losing his mind day by day, I will bring to him the only thing I have - my love. I will use all my wits to find a memory inside him with which I can elicit a smile or even a laugh. If he needs my arm, it will be there before he asks. If he needs to rant and rave, my heart will be his. That is what gives me credibility. It is what gives me restful silence and the understanding that I am bigger than the shit. Not because he asks, but because I give. That is how I learn and become wise. My heart belongs to my country as it belongs to my father. My father is dying for real.

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