Life and death are related.

black rose

The recent passing away of my grandmother made me reflect on death. I realised that in reflecting on death I was simultaneously reflecting on life. Life and death are related. Contradictions and ambiguity are part of life. Death is as much part of the process of life as life itself.

Death might feel like one big loss or like a door that shuts in your face. However, if we can sit in the mystery and stay with the process it can open doors to new discoveries. Denise Ackerman beautifully writes that ‘holding the tensions of opposites in our lives can open doors to a new acceptance of things the way they are.’ Life is not just about focusing on the light or being positive all the time.

We experience death in all aspects of our lives. Whether it is the death of someone close, a relationship, a dream, a career, a business, it is important that we use death to pause and allow ourselves to mourn. In the mourning many questions may arise of which some can be answered and others not.

If we can accept that life is lived within this ambiguity of what we think we know and what we do not know, then it becomes easier to let that what is dead go. Part of the suffering lies in the not accepting and holding on. Before we can inhale we need to exhale. We need to put a period at the end of a sentence before we can start a new one.

The following wisdom of Augustine comforts me in times when I struggle with the questions of life:

Let us, you and I, lay aside all arrogance

Let neither of us pretend to have found the truth

Let us seek it as something unknown to both of us

Then we may seek it with love and sincerity

When neither of us has the rashness

Nor the presumption to believe that he already possesses it…

I do not pretend to understand.

Learning: Make time to mourn what is lost and grow in the ambiguity of life.

Healing questions: How can I learn to live with the ambiguity and questions of life?

A poem for my granny

Ouma Jo

My grandmother passed away this morning at the age of 96. In memory of her I want to share a poem that I wrote to her many years ago when I was 17 years old.

Ek ken ‘n Engel

Ek ken ‘n engel

‘n Engel is altyd besig om goed te doen

besig om te gee

en beisg met die verheerliking van die Here.


Die engel wat ek ken

deel altyda haar liefde uit aan almal groot of klein.

Niks is vir haar onmoontlik nie,

want sy weet waar haar krag vandaan kom.


My engel geniet nog die klein dingetjies in die lewe

‘n bossie blomme, ‘n kaartjie of ‘n oproep

Sy is mal oor ‘n goeie fliek en

waardeer altyd ‘n brief van ‘nkind of kleinkind.


Net soos ander engele leer sy jou lewenslesse

en deel met jou haar ondervindings.

Sy stel altyd ‘n goeie voorbeeld

en bid elke dag vir jou.


Ek is so dankbaar vir die voorreg om ‘n engel te ken,

want sy vul my lewe met sonskyn en

kleur die dag vir my in.


En vandag wile k dankie sê vir haar

vir die engel wat sy vir my is.

Dat sy altyd ‘n oor het wat hoor,

‘n hart wat omgee en ‘n hand wat lei.


Ek ken my ouma.

Ek ken ‘n engel.

She was an angel on earth and now she will be one in heaven. I will miss you deeply, Ouma Jo!