Waking up in the morning she sometimes wishes she’d just had a particularly bad nightmare – that her husband hadn’t been brutally murdered and that he’ll come walking into the room at any moment. But nearly five years after the horror incident, the truth is cruelly evident these days: it wasn’t a dream.
For Carin Janse van Rensburg, mom of six-year-old Jayvan, the past five years have been nothing but an interminable hell – one that’ll never end for her and six children.
While the world keeps turning; while others have forgotten her pain and moved on with their lives, she’s haunted daily by the painful fact; her husband was plucked away – and five years later there’s still been no justice for him.
“How can I move on? Even forgive? You can’t. Not when you know that the brutes who mowed him down with a single shot, interminable still are walking around freely,” an emotional Carin told YOU on Thursday.
The pain she suffered with her husband, Anton’s sudden death surfaced again recently when she saw a post she made on social media three years ago.
Anton was shot dead by robbers in August 2015 at Drie Riviere, Vereeniging. The shooting happened in front of the house where they family had been staying for just two weeks. The robbers fled with some valuables.
In her 2017 post about Anton’s tragic death, Carin writes: “I’m the mom of six beautiful children who now have to grow up without their dad – their hero. I’m a mom who must wipe away every tear, who for months had to listen to my own and their sad sobs and still do that. I’m the mom who has to read the letters the kids wrote to Dad, far away in heaven. A mom who’s alone and lonely after my husband was stolen from me.”
Three years later, Carin says, her pain still hasn’t lessened.
“It doesn’t get easier. To be honest, it’s becoming more difficult. Every day is worse; the longing never goes away. You have so many questions and so much rage inside you. He was my dream husband. A wonderful, warm person but he was mowed down like he was nothing,” Carin says.
Moving on is hard in light of the fact that no one has been brought to book for her husband’s death, she says.
In the five years that have passed since that fateful day the police haven’t succeeded in apprehending the culprits on murder charges.
“We’re in exactly the same place we were five years ago. And that’s what’s shattering to me: knowing that the people who stole his life have moved on with their lives in every way. They have long forgotten how much hurt they’ve caused us,” she says.
“And what’s even worse is the persistent fear. We don’t know if there’s a larger motive, if the men will come back. We’d like to move on – both the children and I – because we owe it to him.”
She keeps in contact with the police “every now and then”, Carin says. But she’s losing hope with every passing day that her nightmare will ever end.
“It’s not coming to a point. After all, everyone deserves justice – don’t they? Maybe I’d have been able to make peace with it if it was a car accident; or cancer; or a heart attack. That’s traumatic and painful, of course, but at least you know who or what was responsible for the death. We know nothing.”
But Carin isn’t in a position to focus on her own pain. There’s little Jayvan, the young cancer victim who’s stirred hearts since 2016 when he was first diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer
He’s had more than 50 surgeries – in the latest procedure in December last year, a plate was fixed with screws to the outside of his leg. Doctors performed a bone transplant in a bid to unite the two parts of his femur.
This was their last resort to prevent that Jayvan loses his leg – and his family will have to wait a while longer to hear if the operation was a success.
“He’s doing okay,” Carin tells us. “He was really ill with an infection two weeks ago. He wouldn’t eat and lost a lot of weight. But after a course of antibiotics he’s better again. He still can’t walk and the lockdown is really getting him down.”
The family is now mustering up the courage to take Jayvan to hospital for a check-up next week. “But we’re very worried about it – he’s rundown so any virus can spell the end for him . . . but we’re praying, like over the past five years, because that’s all I can do now.”
* Gauteng police didn’t respond immediately to YOU’s request for comment.