Love is Eternal

(It is only fitting that after such a long period of quiet, the first piece on here is one that comes from a place of such deep love. It is an honour to host this tribute by a daughter for her father. Thank you Maureen for bringing flowers, wisdom and such vivid beauty to the shade. Thank you for sharing your father with us. Thank you for sharing your heart.)

By Maureen Sande-Munyi

It’s been two years, today, since Daddy left his girls. Two years through which we have grappled with anger, confusion, despair, occasional acceptance and unrelenting questions that will forever remain unanswered.

I am still learning a new normal, and there are many moments when I need his wisdom, his counsel, his care. It is gut-wrenching seeing my mother have to navigate life without him, yet they had become the same person; seeing my sisters endure the same searing loss that I do; hearing my nieces & nephew ask why they didn’t get more time with their Kuka.

Two years on, it doesn’t hurt less – it hurts more deeply, a constant dull ache in a place that nothing can reach to soothe, yet which consumes me. The pain has become a part of me – or I, a part of it.

But I am thankful that, two years on, and through the pain, we laugh at the memories and speak knowingly of the reaction or response he would have had to situations happening now. And we look back on his life and realise, with gratitude and awe, that he lived a large, full and blessed life.

I am thankful because I am learning that he left, yet he is with me. I still hear his voice, see his face, replay conversations, imagine conversations. His love for music and singing (I cannot carry a tune, but he taught me to sing “It Is Well” in a perfect Soprano 2 and it’s probably the only song I can sing). I remember the fights, and boy, were they epic – we were too alike for them to be anything but. I remember the mending, and forgiveness and the restoration – much healing was needed and we did the work. And I will always cherish my dad for being a father that learned to say “I am sorry”, even when it didn’t come easily. I remember, vividly, the long conversation we had before he met my boyfriend, now husband, who wanted to ask his and Mama’s blessing – he taught me that kindness is the true measure of a good man, and that it cannot be feigned.

And in my moments of despair, when I need my dad, and I hear myself asking, “Daddy, what should I do? What would you say?” I realise that I know, because I hear him. That without me ever knowing it, he prepared me to navigate a life through which I could carry him only in my heart.

I still struggle; I always will. It’s said that grief is the price of love. For love is eternal, and those we love shall be with us throughout all eternity.

And Mama’s girls will love and protect the love he left behind.

Charles C. Sande | 16.01.1942 – 22.04.2018.


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