Chantal Beetge had practised writing her new signature often in the past year, dreaming of the day she’d change her surname to Geldenhuys.
But when the big day finally arrived she was so overwhelmed she forgot for a few moments how to write it.
She managed – but it was the first and last time she’d write her name as Chantal Geldenhuys. Eight hours later the 26-year-old bride died in a car accident en route to the guesthouse where she and her new husband, Louwrens “Boeta” Geldenhuys, were to spend their wedding night.
“I remember the little green arrow flickering, indicating my right of way, then nothing,” Boeta recalls of their tragic last moments together.
He was seriously injured and taken to hospital and is still recovering from a cracked pelvis and broken ankle.
Three days after the accident his father and a psychologist broke the terrible news to him: so soon after getting married he was a widower.
Slowly the reality sank in – Chantal, his bride and the mother of their five-year-old son, Louwrens, was dead.
“I’ll never know why God took her,” 31-year-old Boeta says, sounding grave. “And I don’t know why He left me behind.”
Read more of Herman Scholtz’s article in YOU 3 January 2013.