A short while back, I wrote this article, and at the time of writing it, we were all overjoyed with my father-in-law’s progress since December. He was genuinely feeling the fittest he had felt in years and was looking great. Consider then our shock when just one month later, my brother-in-law called me with the tragic news that he had passed during his dialysis session.
Pappa had been sick for the last two weeks. It appears that his heart was very weak and as a result of water retention, he was suffering from pneumonia. During his dialysis session, on the Saturday morning, his blood pressure completely dropped and he passed away.
Although we knew he was not well, the news was still a huge shock to all of us and was difficult to take. We managed to all get aboard the next flight to SA and was back there on the Sunday morning.
Pappa was truly a great man who was loved by many people. I had the great privilege of having him as my father-in-law, and from the first day we met, nearly 12 years ago, he treated me like a son.
After his stroke in 2004, his heart was not physically strong, but it was big and full of love. Pappa was at his happiest when he was giving. Nothing pleased him more than seeing others happy and he would do everything he could to achieve that.
Pappa also loved to laugh. He laughed at everything! He would almost split his sides laughing at his vicious parrot, or from some of the stories we would tell him of Nigeria. But what really cracked him up was if the stories involved Mamma. No matter how many times the story was told, he never ceased to break out into a chuckle.
For us who have many years of special memories of him, we can look back and enjoy those times we had and recall the funny and loving things he used to say and do. It hurts most to think that the grandchildren were not afforded more time with their ‘Oupa’. He so loved his grandchildren and they were just as equally fond of him. He could be upset or just feeling down, but that would change in an instance and he could light up a room simply from the joy of seeing his grandchildren.
Not only will Pappa never be forgotten, but the love, joy and happiness he gave to so many others, means his memory will live on. It is our job to pass on the wonderful things he taught us and the great experiences he shared with us, to our children.
We will always miss you, Pappa. May you rest in peace.