Miss You

A Letter to My Aunty Joce

Aunty Joce,

I’m sitting here thinking that I cannot believe it’s been a whole year since you passed.  It’s been a whole year since I felt the shock of those six words, uttered from my mum’s mouth.  It’s been a whole year since you were cruelly taken away from us, without warning.  It’s been a whole year without you and it sucks.

The time has flown by and I guess that doesn’t make dealing with the pain any better.  It feels like you should still be here among us, making me laugh with your dry humour and many brilliant stories.  You should still be in the kitchen, whipping up food like it’s a sport.  You should still be out shopping for your bargains, leaving your reading glasses here and there, watching Judge Judy on TV.

You should also still be here to bring light to our family.  Seriously Aunty Joce, family gatherings and special occasions have not felt the same without you.  It’s like there is a big, gaping hole that will never, ever be filled.  I remember thinking how much you would have loved Uncle Selo and Aunty Doriel’s masquerade party.  There were numerous times when I thought about how you would have had me overflowing with laughter at grandma’s last birthday celebration – there were some wise cracks that only would have come from your mouth and I genuinely missed that.

Twelve months have passed, but that hasn’t stopped the pain I feel and I don’t think that pain will ever fully go away.  That pain feels especially raw now, as I mourn an uncle who was snatched away suddenly – not only am I reminded of the cruel way we lost you, but I don’t have your kind and supportive words to comfort me at this time.  I know that you would have sent me a message, because you were so wonderful like that.

August felt really raw as well, because you know, that’s our birthday month.  I didn’t get a lovely message from you and I wasn’t able to send a message to you either, which felt horrible.  I hate that a month that was so full of birthdays is now emptier without you in it.  However, knowing that we shared that bond will always make it extra special.

I still miss you so much Aunty Joce, but the many memories of you still remain and I hope they will never fade.  They bring a smile to my face as I remember you at your best, rather than the tears that spring to my eyes when I recall that you’ve passed.  I just live in hope that I’ll see you again on that great day when my Jesus returns.

I love you with all my heart, always and forever.

Shan x

I’ll Miss You Uncle Dale

I never imagined I’d be faced with death again so soon; like, this life is mad.  Actually mad.  How can you see someone one night and then the next day they’ve dropped dead – with no warning at all?

When I learned that my Uncle Dale had died yesterday, shock hit me like a slap in the face and I didn’t know how to feel.  Why was this happening to me again?  Why was I being faced with another shock death in just under a year?  Why, why, why?  I mean, I could not understand it, as I’d just seen him last night at another one of my uncles’ houses.

My Uncle Dale was full of laughter, jokes and conversation, with eyes that twinkled like my beloved grandad, whose own death last year continues to feel surreal to me.  Like my grandad, he also told the famous “Burton jokes” and had a kind heart.

Each year, he was one of my uncles who regularly remembered my birthday and gave me a card, or just some money, because he wanted to give me something.  Unfortunately, I think I took that for granted, but I appreciate it so much now that he’s gone.

My uncle also had a special place in my life because he was my mum’s “twin”.  Although there were three years between them, they happened to be born on the same day.  Imagine, ten children and two of them just happen to be born on the same day – how weird and amazing is that?  I’m so grateful for the time we were able to spend with him at our house this year when he and my mum celebrated their birthdays together, which was something we had done for the first time.  That is going to be a memory I’ll now cherish forever.

I’ll miss my Uncle Dale greeting me with, “Hello Shani” and a kiss on the cheek, asking how I am and engaging in conversation at times.  I’ll miss his generosity and I’ll miss his presence at family gatherings – he truly was unique.

Although I don’t understand and struggle to comprehend why he was taken so suddenly and so soon, God knows what He’s doing and I’ve just got to trust in that.  Now my Uncle Dale is soundly asleep, resting away from this cruel world, but I hope to see him on that great day when my Jesus comes again and I can embrace him and my grandad together.

I don’t think I told you this Uncle Dale when you were alive, but I love you and always will.  May you rest in peace.

A Letter to My Grandad

Grandad,

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you passed, time flies by so fast, yet it still feels surreal.  I don’t see you anymore and you’re not here, buried how many feet down in the ground; but it feels like you should still be here.  Not seeing you feels wrong.

Going to your house, it’s weird not having you greet me at the door with one of your famous lines or watch you slowly descending down the stairs.  It’s sad not seeing you at church on a Sabbath and not hearing from you on my birthday wasn’t nice.  In fact, not being able to tell you happy birthday wasn’t nice either – August is our month and it’s a whole lot emptier without you.

There are times when sitting there thinking about you, suddenly remembering that you’re gone, can bring me to tears.  However, there are times when those thoughts bring a smile to my face, as I remember all the good memories I have of you.  Simple little things I took for granted are no longer the same and I wish I could hear another one of your Burton jokes again – you genuinely did make me laugh.

I still miss you so much grandad, a whole twelve months later, and I still want you to come back.  The pain isn’t so raw, but I don’t think my heart will ever fully recover from having you taken away.  There was still so much more for us to say, so much more time for us to spend together and a whole lot more for me to learn from you.  I keep thinking about the joke you told me about Job’s daughters, which you never finished and I never heard the end of, which saddens me more than I can describe.

Grandad, you were my inspiration and my hero, one of the people I looked up to most in the world.  I just hope I can make you proud and continue your legacy, because you were the most humble, loving, genuinely caring, considerate individual I ever knew.  I can’t wait to see you again.

Love you with all my heart.

Shan-Shan