​Death of a loved one (Ibali lika Sihle)That feeling of hearing that someone close to you has passed on, is life a life sentence itself. Death is a very ugly monster. A monster that always leaves us falling apart. The way the heart aches as the news sink in, like the world is on standstill. You struggle to breathe, because you are trying so hard not to burst into tears and cause a scene. The pain is forcing you to explode and just fall apart, but you try to keep it together. You are losing your breath, so you become dizzy, and see an urgency to sit down. Your world is literally spinning out of control. You at some point feel like vomiting because your stomach is turning as your heart pounds misery and pain. Death leaves you weak, with no energy to collect the pieces of your heart and mend together.

When Sihle heard that his mother had passed on, he knew that his world would be turned upside down. His mother was the only honest person in that house- she didn’t deserve to die. He knew that his father would betray their trust, again. He broke their trust for the first time, the day they heard that their father cheated on their mother and got her infected with HIV. Sihle lost all respect for him. He knew that he was going to let them down, again. He also knew that it would hurt more, because his mother would not be there to make the pain go away. As young as he was, he had to be strong for his sister, who was still very young to understand what was going on. As broken as he was, he emotionally availed himself to his sister. He had to act tough and deal with everything that their father put them through. It hurt so much, sometimes he would go to bed with tears in his eyes. His mother’s death was a wound that refused to heal. No pain amounted to the pain of losing his mother. He felt empty inside, as if a part of him died the day his mother died.

Death leaves that type of emptiness in one’s life. It feels like it is one big joke, like the person is pulling a prank on you. Life just becomes meaningless. You even go as far as trying to imagine how it feels like to die, trying in the best of your capacity to connect with who you have lost. You try and imagine yourself in their shoes. At that point, you are at a verge of depression. As much as it is on your mind all the time, but you still try and think about some other things. The pain just never goes away- you just learn to live with it.

Earlier this month, I received a message from my younger brother, telling me about my cousin’s death. I read the message in passing, but my heart nearly stopped when I got the hang of what the message was about. I stopped and reread the message. My cousin was one of the people that I knew that really loved me. He always made sure that I knew that he loved me. He called me often, just to check up on me. He cared about my wellbeing, as much as I cared about his. He had always been a protective big brother to me and my sister. He protected us from boys when we were growing up, and it felt so good to know that we had him and we were under his protection. I always thought of him as someone I could run to, when in need of safety. His death left me feeling vulnerable. I, all of a sudden, felt unsafe. The day we laid him to rest, is one of the worst days of my life. When they were explaining how he was killed, I could not help but cry. How could people be so heartless? He did not deserve to die like that. Just as I was trying to learn to live with the pain, I lose a very close friend of mine. My cousin’s death is still an open wound, how am I supposed to deal with another death so soon? How can life force me down that road again, so soon? I know I sound so selfish right now, but that’s just how I feel. My friend was once literally the centre of my world. We spent almost all the time together, We talked about everything, and we were honest with each other. We fought a lot, like normal people do, but we still loved each other very much. There was a point in our lives when we shared the same dream, a time in our lives when we shared the same vision. We worked very well together, because we had the same spirit. Our friendship had gone beyond just friendship, to something close to sisterhood. Her death has hit me so hard, as the memories can’t stop flooding back. I remember how proud we would both be, when our work gets recognition. I remember how excited we would be, when planning our next move. As much as we worked so hard, we still made time for our friendship. We would go out and have so much fun on weekends, or anytime we felt like it. It did not matter how long we had not seen each other, but when we met, fireworks were shot all over the place.

I was talking to this other friend of mine, the other day, and he was telling me that I should not rush my healing process. He told me to allow myself to feel everything, so that I can be able to heal completely. He was right. The only way to heal is by letting the pain sink into your system and not rush the healing process. I feel his message was so powerful, that I should share it with my friends. I know a lot of people are going through what I am going through, so the message will come in handy to a lot of people. Dear friends, let us allow ourselves to feel everything, as my friend has advised. Let us allow our emotions to take us on a trip down the memory lane, so we can relive all the moments we shared with our loved ones. Rushing the healing process will only give the pain power over our lives. We will fall apart in the long run as the pain will haunt us all our lives. Cry. In everything you do, do not forget to cry. Don’t let people stop you from crying. Don’t let them force you to act strong when your heart is in pieces. You don’t owe strength to anyone. This is your life. Your healing. I know it sounds like a fairytale at the moment (to me too), but the pain does eventually hurt less. Sihle drew his strength from supportive family members and friends. Talking about pain is another way of making it hurt less. As you go on and on about it, it starts hurting less. I talk about my cousin and friend’s passing all the time, people around me would testify.

I am sorry for starting our week on a very sad not, but this is something we should be talking about, because it affects us on a daily basis. Instead of weeping hopelessly, let’s rather invest all our love on those who are still in our lives. Life is too short. We don’t want to cry helplessly when our loved ones pass on, while we failed to show them love when they were still around. Spread love. Spread positivity. Let’s carry them in our spirits and live life to the fullest- that’s what they would have wanted too. Let’s enjoy our week ahead, and not forget to let the pain run its course without interrupting it by trying to act strong. Admitting that you are weak, is strength on its own. Enjoy your week, I love you.