“Life should be lived fully every day for we are not guaranteed tomorrow”
As I open my diary and plan my schedule for the upcoming month, my eyes run to the 18th of August the day I turn 25. I stare at it for a few moments and an unexpected chill runs down my spine and before I know it silent sobs escape my lips while tears plummet from my eyes.
“Stop it, why you crying” I think to myself yet my body refuses to stop trembling and my sobs become a painful low scream. After minutes of scolding myself for my inexplicable breakdown, I decide to stop fighting the moment and let it just take over me.
After what felt like hours of crying and complete surrender, I took the little strength I had, headed to the bathroom, washed my face and wiped the last remnants of my pain away.
I know what many of you must be thinking. “Who on earth cries because they turning 25” well I would be thinking the same thing because it’s utterly ridiculous without context.
Well what hit me about my birthday this time around, was that this was the age my father was when he passed away, he probably thought he had his whole life ahead of him unbeknown to him it would be the very last birthday he would be fortunate enough to celebrate.
This made me look at my life and realise how much I take for granted by merely thinking that my youth is a reflection of the time I have on earth. I’m ashamed at how haphazardly I allow stress to take over my mind, as if I have all the time in the world. How I let minute details such as what my hair looks like determine what I think of myself or even worse stressing about how much weight I have gained forgetting the incredible privilege of having food in the first place.
Thinking of my dad puts my life in crystal clear focus, I am living a life he could have never fathomed even in his wildest dreams. His 25 and my 25 are such worlds apart
When my dad was 25 he was wearing the invisible shackles of being a black man in a world where being black was a dangerous thing: He was a part of the Pan African Congress (PAC) serving Zephania Mothopeng fighting for the liberation of the South Africa we know and love today. He lived, fought and died for a better country for my brother and I.
So here I am the very age that my father was when taking his last breath and I realise that the best way to truly take the baton from my father’s bravery is to be brave, live with conviction, to love and most importantly to be of service.
I do not know how much more time on earth I will be blessed with but I sure do hope that by the time I take my last breath that I like my father will also be remembered. I however could never be remembered to be half as brave as my father was therefore all I want people to remember is how much I loved, how bravely I lived and that in the smallest way people were better off for having met me
To my dad, thank you for being my internal guidance, protection and navigation.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye
With Love Always