While we may have been as ready as we could have possibly been for the death of my grandmother, we were caught off guard by my mother, who within a short period of time got more ill. Two boys and one girl and our parents were in a situation where neither of them could take care of themselves. We had to hire help, despite the fact that my grandmother who was on her deathbed, disliked help. My mother got worse and we didn’t know what to do, so we drove them back home to Magaliesburg where my grandmother’s sister would be able to take care of them because at this point, my sister was at school, I worked and it would just not be fair on my brother to care for them. It got to a point where I drove to Magaliesburg every second day; I would leave JHB around 7pm and drive back at 9pm to JHB, until she was admitted at Edenvale Hospital. I really thought that she would get better because I always hope for the best. I remember on the 25th of March 2015 my world fell apart, my world fell apart harder than when my father passed on.
I remember getting a call from my brother at 3am and he said “Mama is gone, the hospital called” I got up and went home. My grandmother was there and so were my siblings, yet no one was crying, we prayed and said that we would deal with everything in the morning. I went back to my place and tried to get some sleep with hopes that I would wake up and it would all be a bad dream. I woke up and the air smelt different; it was stale, no longer sweet, my world was dark even though the weather was lovely. Now we needed to tell everyone that my beloved mother was no longer and we needed to get this done in the most dignified manner possible. If ever there was to be a conversation with God about that week, it wouldn’t be about my did He take my mother, I think I understood that part. The part I wanted to have a conversation with Him about, was why I had to pause mourning my mother, why did it have to be me that had to pause my pain and tears so that she could get buried. I think I had always been a warm person and always hopeful until that week, I became cold, I became cold to everyone and everything else because I had lost everything. I lost all the fire I had, the warmth, the love and now I had to postpone the tears because who else, if not me would do this?
I cried in between drives from the mortuary to Old Mutual, to the bank because that was the only time this world was willing to give me a mourning period – a 20 minute drive here and there. Relatives offered to drive with me, but I declined because I knew that it was my time to let the tears out because I couldn’t fall apart at home. My siblings had the opportunity to fall apart and come to terms with what had just happened, but for me, it had to wait a bit because if not me then who?
I resent that week, I resent everything that happened that week, that week the world showed me that I was on my own. I had no one else but myself, I know that my grandmother was there but it wasn’t the same. You could see the hurt in my grandmother’s eyes, she had thought she would go first because she had been sick for years, but we were there at that point. No amount of friends’ love mattered, no money, no “I’m sorry” and condolences mattered that week. On the day of the funeral everything went well and there were still other things I had to sort out and afterwards I went home to sleep. The week after is always the worst because it confirms everything, the loss, the coldness, the definite loss, that life has to go on, but how?
Everyone reacts differently to death, others drink, smoke or do drugs but something definitely changes after such a death. I was really worried about my siblings more than anything else, my little sister to specific; she was 16 years old at the time and still in high school. How do you raise a girl? How do we raise each other as siblings? There was my grandmother who was on her death bed, who was just as heart broken and wanted to join her daughter on the other side. That was when I decided that I’m gonna start Marvin; I quit my job and took all my savings to try one last time to make this dream work. My heart was constantly bleeding, and the only thing I wanted to do was pour my pain into my project or rather my dream, which is Marvin. If this failed, I could always go back to my 9-5 because I had a good relationship with my previous employer. For the next two years I embarked on this entrepreneurship journey and my focus was my siblings, grandmother and my dream. As if that was not enough, five months later the girl I was dating at the time broke up with me, as though my heart wasn’t in a terrible condition already. I decided to go to Cape Town for December to deal with my chest pains and with hopes that my grandmothers would allow us to spend the last December with her. In January 2017 my grandmother left us, part of me was relived because we couldn’t lose our parents twice, we were done with losing people, now we just needed to deal with the pain – everyone was gone. It was just us now, only the three of us and the world. If ever there was a time I would have understood if my heart decided to stop beating, it was at that point in time. I remember wondering if I would maybe be next, or maybe my siblings because clearly we were on a roll. I smelt like death, smelt like a fresh orphan, smelt like sadness; if ever sadness had a smell, I was it.