Ruben Kruger: Wife’s moving memories

By admin
05 February 2010

ormer Springbok Ruben Kruger recently lost his 10-year battle against cancer but at his graveside his wife, Lize, and their two daughters knew he was looking down at them from heaven.

Before the funeral LIZE got ZOË (7) and ISABELLA (4) involved in their dad’s death by having them help to make the bouquet for his coffin. She also put paint on their hands so they could make handprints on the coffin. “I want them to be part of the process of saying goodbye, even though we know the coffin is actually empty. It’s just his body inside. Ruben is already in heaven,” Lize said.

“When I told them their dad had gone to heaven they understood. They believe it the way kids do. Zoë said it was the greatest thing that could have happened because in heaven her daddy would never be sick again. They know their dad is in the most wonderful place imaginable.”

Nonetheless they miss him. “I know they still long for him,” Lize says. “There will be many difficult times ahead but it’s a great comfort to know where he is.”

Ruben was a quiet man, a homebody who didn’t socialise much and didn’t like people fussing over him. Even in his six years as a Springbok flank rugby was never the most important thing in his life.

“He enjoyed rugby and loved playing it,” Lize recalls. “It was wonderful to share in the joy when we won the Rugby World Cup in 1995. But for Ruben life was about more than just rugby. Our marriage came first.”

He didn’t get to see Invictus, the movie about SA’s 1995 World Cup triumph, and the actors would have meant little to him. “He didn’t even know who Matt Damon was,” she jokes. “For him our domestic’s children were just as important as Morgan Freeman, for instance. That’s just who he was.”

Read more in the 11 February edition of YOU.

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