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Home Again

I have always referred to my parent’s house as “home”, even though it is not the house in which I grew up. Having both parents alive at the age of 54 was always something quite incredible for me. We loved coming “home” to Witsand. And now we are home again, but my Dad is no longer here.

There is a strange silence in the house. My Mom seems quiet. Sally the dog is ecstatic to see us. She always is. As soon as she calms down the silence sets in.

Somehow we don’t have much to say to each other. My Mom tells of more people who visited. The silences in between grow longer.

My sister “sorted out” my Dad’s study. Mom gave some of his clothes away. Most of his stuff is still in the cupboards. Somehow I have not managed to do any of the admin. I started filling out the Sanlam funeral policy claim, made a mistake and threw the forms in the bin.

At ceramics, someone asked me if I was grieving. I had to think. “I don’t really know how to grieve,” I said. What am I supposed to do/feel? I go through the days aware of the fact that I am in limbo. I sit and stare out the window, drive very slowly into town, weed the veggie garden, and hang in the hammock.

We decided to go for pizza. The sea air is chilly, I put on one of my Dad’s jumpers. I can smell him on me. I see his photograph on my Mom’s cellphone. The two framed photographs of him on his bike. His earphones on his chair…

It is the finality that is incomprehensible. I have complete peace with his transition. I have no regrets. I suppose it will take time to fully come to terms with the reality of his transition. What it means for my Mom, for us as a family. How it will change my role.

I decided to keep his bike. Somehow I cannot get myself to put on his helmet to take the bike for a spin. Somehow his bike is the most personal belonging of my Dad’s, almost a sacred symbol of the man that he was, the enigma. Maybe tomorrow I will have the courage. For now, I will just sit with the silence.

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