Life is unpredictable and there will come a time when the inevitable passing of a loved one hits you when you least expect it. When that morbid and dark cloud sets foot on your doorstep, you need to embrace it, as hard and as emotionally taxing as it may be. As men, we are taught to be rigid, firm, fierce, and tough as nails, but the truth is, we too have emotions and tend to be susceptible to heartache and pain. Understanding that life is never one-dimensional is a starting point for easing the load of grieving.
In the past 6 years, I have lost loved ones that I never imagined living without. First was a very close friend of mine *Skateboard P. Losing someone who you once shared a close bond with can take its toll on you and Skateboard P was one of those guys whom I had deemed immortal, upon forming our kinship. Us befriending each other and eventually forging a brotherhood is a story meant for the cinema. I had just moved to Dobsonville and being the new kid on the block meant that I’d have my fair share of ladies that would take a keen liking and interest in me; I was (and still am) a good-looking brother, might I add.
It was December 2009, and there was a girl who had come to visit our hood for the festive holidays. While I was away at my pop crib in Edenvale, Skateboard P made a move on *Dintle and they hit it off. Upon my return, I came across Dintle, and let’s just say, my peers didn’t nickname me ‘’KidCasanova’’ for nothing. I took P’s girl and word got around that I was the guy who took his queen from him. Long story short, we buried the hatchet and became brothers.
Sadly, in August 2019, I received a call that my friend of exactly 10 years had departed from this world. I was heartbroken. Skateboard P was the life of the party and a genuine soul, digesting the fact that he had passed away, left me in tatters, but life had to go on.
Fast forward to 2022, I lost the ONLY girl that knew me best…my MOTHER! Look, I do not care who you are, how old you are or even how tough you are but losing a mother is one excruciating pain that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. I was lost, distraught, suicidal, and defeated when my mom passed away. My grieving process took me to the depths of what some might allude to as a sunken place, a dark and deep hollow hole without a definitive landing point. I drank heavily, every single day, I thought I was numbing the pain but when the dust settled a few months later, I had to stare myself in the mirror and confront the demon that had become me.
I went through a self-rediscovery journey and remembered that, although my mom knew that I consumed alcohol for recreational purposes, she didn’t endorse being a functioning alcoholic, a role I seemingly felt comfortable portraying at that time. I went cold turkey and took a sabbatical, and the pen and pad became my trusted allies. Every emotion or ounce of anguish I felt, was documented in my journal. I even started opening up more in conversation and that helped me put things into perspective. The year 2022 continued its onslaught and I lost a couple of more people that were very dear and close to me. I then began realising that time is of the essence and that one needs to constantly make a conscious effort to check up on the people that they love and care about.
Grief is inevitable and an indefinite part of life, the best way, well, in my experience, is to allow time to do its thing and however long it takes, be sure to feel every emotion, shed every tear drop at any given point in time because, that’s when the healing process begins…
Writer: Tebogo Kawawa