Grief is something else, it can make you cold, make you isolated as well. No can tell the next person how to deal with their grief because its different and if you don’t face it will come up in more unpleasant ways in the future. I usually burry myself into work and it works at first until it doesn’t work but its not a solution, others use alcohol, sex, party or get away just to cope. Everything is different after you lose a parent, nothing is the same anymore, you will change friends because the George they are looking for is no longer there, he is gone.
You then start looking for a new tribe that gets you, that understands the pain even without having to explain yourself because “I can imagine what you are going through” doesn’t fit the bill anymore. Moving out was something that i knew that i had to do but the reaction from my mother was unexpceted at the time, i thought she would be happy because she always preached independence. What i didn’t understand at the time was that she saw it as loss, she hasn’t come into terms with losing a husband now she has to lose her first love, me. My mother has never not spoken to me for that long (she didn’t speak to me for a month), anyways I moved out and I was tv at the time and there was a lot going on in my life – good and bad. I started drinking a lot and working a lot this was the time I started Studio83 and you will find people are similar to you as well. I needed a voice or rather to be heard, I figure a magazine is a perfect place to make my voice being heard. My little brother was wilding out at the time and looking at it now, he was also starting to deal with grief in his own way. For some reason my mother and I grew closer because I have to help out with regards to getting my brother inline or just helping out with money. I stayed in Rosebank at the time and I lived with a guy called Dumisani Maqutu, rockstar of note that guy, very smart but also had a destructive personality. Funny thing about Dumisani is that he always tried to protect me from the world of destruction. We later both moved to Craighall, while we lived together he passed on and I was at a loss again.
My mother was not necessarily one to show her emotions around us specially crying, but I remember when I told her I lost a friend she felt the pain on my behalf. I just felt pain at the time, not really grief but just pain of losing a friend. My mother was the only child so I kinda understand how she had to be strong for herself and depend on herself alone. She figure that her not showing her emotions was her being strong for me because also how do you deal with a young man who has dealing with loss – I can hear her saying if Moss was here he would be dealing with this. I am sure she is used to being both parents to us all but I’m sure it would be easier if my father was alive. The funny thing about grief is that it reminds you that you are at a loss, 5 or 6 years later – it doesn’t matter the time. Birthdays are not the same, fathers day is a day that you would want it to pass.
The older I got, I got closer to my mother we were a team more than anything else – helping her deal with my brother and my sister. My contribution was to atleast pay their school fees so that the burden is not just on her alone. At the same time you are dating and trying to build or get ready to build your own family, while you are trying to build your dream of running your own magazine that sustains you. I understood the impact a first born has to parents, I was my grandmothers first grand child I remember when I was young my grandmother had an bank account in my name – she later changed it because my siblings were born. A lot of my mothers first times were with me I am that game changer for her, I know my parents more than my siblings will and they relive those stories through me. The older I got I understood and appreciated my mother more as I also tried to be the man of my own dreams. I didn’t know that my mother was proud of me and proud of the things that I’ve done until the end of her time. She was the one person I didn’t want to disappoint because she already had a lot to deal with so instead of quitting jobs I started getting a corporate gig that was more stable than my hustle. My grandmother has been helper for as long as I can remember and now her dealing with water has caught up with her, she begins to get sick. The fights between my mother and brother are still hot and happening, so I suggest that Nkateko moves out and lives at my grandmothers place and my grandmother moves in with my mother because of her health. Everyone agrees and there is a bit of peace for a minute or two. As time goes on we do hospital runs and we notice that my grandmother health is getting worse and now you have to make peace with the fact that she will never walk on her own again or even do anything for herself.
Writer: George Gladwin Matsheke