Making sense of my grief: Your death scores an 8 on my Richter scale

Size matters to me. The size of a teaspoon for the ‘just right’ measurement of coffee. The
size of the mug. I do not like cups. They are too small for my need. I do not remember much
of what I learnt about earthquakes in geography at high school. I was never an A student in
school or at university. However, my inner circle will tell you that I score an A+ in relating and
caring.


I needed to downscale the size of your death to a mere shiver, a slight rumble of thunder. I
could not. The fact that I have been expecting it for so many years and lived with death
before I tasted it, could not limit the impact it had on me. Mr Google says that an earthquake
is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. The tectonic plates of the earth are always slowly
moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge
overcomes the friction, it causes an earthquake. You never liked change. The familiarity of
routine gave you a sense of comfort and safety. Not being able to go to gym three times a
week and cycle away at a frenetic pace to pump endorphins into your body, left you like a
gasping fish on the seashore. Lost. Lockdown intensified your inner shaking. The unsafety of
the unknown catapulted you into death. You had a sudden slip on a fault.


Expecting death is different from experiencing it. During Covid-19 we lost the safety of
predictability. Nothing was sure anymore. Nobody was safe anymore. Ask the people who
lived in Ceres, Tulbagh and Wolseley during the 1969 earthquake that measured 6.3 on the
Richter scale. It was devastating. They thought the world was coming to an end. Houses
were destroyed and people were left with only the clothes they were wearing. A newspaper
article said: “The earthquake took them by surprise.” Your death took me by surprise. We
had our crisis a month before lockdown. In our joint session with your psychologist you broke
off your engagement with death and decided to put a stop to its flirtations. You closed that
escape hatch out of our relationship. The psychologist said: “You need to take that option off
your menu of choices.” On the 21 st of March you wrote in your journal that you ended your
relationship with self-death and closed that door. I feel cheated.


I was so geared to “keep you alive”. How did you manage to slip through my fingers? You
were not supposed to. I look at all the books on depression on your bookshelf. We studied
them, applied them. We really did our best. Our best was good enough. Your own suffering
enabled you to become a wounded healer par excellence, affecting the lives of many. Like
the HospiVision motto says: “Touching lives, giving hope.”


In his book ‘A grief observed’ CS Lewis says: “Whatever happens has consequences and
they are irrevocable and irreversible.” I have not even begun to assess the damage of the
earthquake of your death to the building of our family or to my being as an individual. Where
will I file my claim for repairs? Psalm 22:3 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are
out of joint. My heart is like wax; it has melted within me.” The grief counsellor from England
taught me last night that there are toxins in tears. The structure of tears is also different
when you cry tears of mourning and when you cry because you are cutting unions. I need to
cry all the toxins of the heartache of your death out of my body.


Selfcare = soulcare. As Anne Sexton said: “Put your ear down next to your soul and listen
hard." In my book about our journey with depression I wrote: “Your body cannot send you a
WhatsApp. It sends you emotions. If you ignore or suppress those emotions, your body will
send you pain in different areas to alert you. Should you merely swallow a pain killer and
ignore it, your body could choose to send you a sickness to bring you to a halt and get your
attention. Andre’s death brought us as a family to a halt. On Thursday we would have been
married 37 years. Death has jumped into my physical periphery and is asking for my focused

attention. Emotional logic has taught me that our emotions do not line up in a neat linear
fashion. I can name 20 different situations about which I have 20 different feelings. I need to
give permission for the aftershock to land. To allow the full destruction of death to come into
my awareness. To know that nothing will ever be the same. To know, that after an
earthquake, you can put scaffolding next to your building and restore it. Perhaps draw up
building plans with the help of your Architect and add a new room. A sanctuary. A safe
place. Perhaps I can build that safe room in my heart now because the threat of your death
that I lived with for so long, has lost its power.


I went away to the sea. It is my safe place. My happy place. The eb and the flow of the
waves invite my tears and my anger to express themselves. At the back of my business card
I wrote this statement: “You can only care for others if you care enough to take care of
yourself.”


That is what I am going to do for the next two weeks. I need to draw up a disaster action
plan for inner repairs. Listen to my heart, feel all of my feelings, breathe deeply, ask God for
the new GPS directions for my new season. I am not going to write a blog, not answer a
WhatsApp or keep myself busy with emails. I am facing death and its realities for me.
My Love, your death deserves a halt. Your racehorse will not only slow down. I will stop. As
you have often said to me when we go on holiday: “We are not in a hurry to go anywhere.” I
will do that now. I will not hurry through your death as though it was just a blip on my
horizon. I will search through the rubble at my disaster scene. I will pick up the pieces that I
would like to add to my new building. The memories of the beauty of your being that got
hidden and obscured under all your suffering and despair. Psalm 31:15 “My times are in
Your hand.” Verse 20: “You shall hide me in the secret place of Your presence.” 

I will hold on to my Architect to restore the building of my being.
My next blog will appear on Monday, 6 July.

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: Death sucks!

Friday night was our pizza and movie night. The night before you died we had pizza and watched the old movie of Forrest Gump which we both loved. Forrest often quoted his mother. “Mama said, life is like a box of chocolates ‒ you never know what you’re going to get.” Indeed, Forrest, I did not know what I was going to get.

It is Friday night again. I walked aimlessly through our local grocery store. Since your death, I mostly feel nausea. Yeah, the counsellor in me knows that is how shock shows up. Definitely not able to stomach pizza tonight. How intertwined did our tastes and habits become in 37 years? No need to put a red pepper for you in the trolley. No cheese for pizza. I walked past your All-Bran, Muesli and favourite peppermint chocolate. No biscuits and Marmite for a late-night snack. Only the strawberry yoghurt looked appealing. I returned home with yoghurt, milk and cat food.

Today I had to complete your death-papers. The courier was fetching these at 14.00. I pulled open a drawer to search for a document. A box of smarties stared at me. Danica and Githa loved opening that drawer of your desk because there was always something to chew on. How do I chew on your death? Find ways to swallow it when I just want to spit it out?

Danica and I talked over the phone about what we will miss of not having you around. You offered such wise counsel on her research proposal, being a scientist and researcher yourself. The 21st of June is Fathers’ Day and the 25th of June would have been our 37th marriage anniversary. She sighed and said: “Death sucks.”

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn.” My Love, you often mourned the loss of feeling alive while you were still breathing. Henry Nouwen said: “Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to a place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”

You never flew from your suffering. You braved it out, willing to learn from it and become a more compassionate healer for others. You lived with the suffering and mourning of being a wounded healer. When we fell in love, our favourite song of the King Singers was: “You are the new day.” The last verse says: “One more day when time is running out for everyone, like a breath I knew would come, I reach for the new day.” You are living your new day. It was prophetically announced in August 2018 already by your accommodation in Rome when you went on your pilgrimage to Assisi. It was called: “New day – bed and breakfast.”

Tonight, I agree. Death sucks. I will Hold onto Him as I reach for my new day on earth. Perhaps your death was a re-birth for both of us: for you a birthing into eternity and for me a birthing into a new season after journeying with depression for 35 years. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. God will encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of self-death, just as He encouraged us.

Annette de la Porte (author of Hold onto Him).

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: I lost my fragrance

I loved wearing Issey Miyake perfume. To remember the name was a struggle. Eventually, I linked it to a Kawasaki motorcycle – both are from Japan… The perfume became expensive and my purse flatlined. Fake little bottles from kiosks in shopping malls did the trick. At least I had the faint fragrance of the real thing for a while.

The wear and tear of depression stole my fragrance. I lost my essence as your absence became more than your presence. We found fun ways to rouse your awareness of me. I would say: “Earth to Andre, in which solar system are you orbiting now?” When I had a haircut, I would walk into the house and find you behind your computer. You would look up and I’ll clear my throat. That was the signal that you had to do a double-take and see if you could notice something different about me. You would exclaim: “You’ve cut and coloured your hair. It looks beautiful.” When I wore Issey Miyaki and we gave each other a one-minute-connection hug, I would make a sniffing sound and you would give me a kiss on my cheek and say: “You smell nice.” Later on, it became too much hard work to get you to notice me. I lost my fragrance.

Our sense of smell is described as the most powerful of the five senses. It is a time-consuming process to make perfume. Flowers have to die in a process of extraction to impart their fragrance in an aroma that could boost our emotional state. It takes time and effort and the best ingredients to create a perfume. Matthew 26:6-10 “And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done good work for Me.”

My beloved, you no longer have to attempt to notice anything but God’s glorious presence. Your life is a fragrance poured out before God ‒ a sweet aroma to Him. A friend put cash in my hand and said: “Go and buy yourself something that you do not need. Something that will be a treat.” I immediately knew that it is time to buy a new bottle of Issey Miyaki. A new fragrance for a new season. It was something I urgently needed. I will Hold onto Him. He will give me a new alabaster jar and restore my fragrance as I encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of self-death.

Annette de la Porte (author of Hold onto Him)

Making sense of my grief: I need scaffolding

Making sense of my grief: I need scaffolding

I remember a day in 1979 when I studied social work, and our lecturer taught us that you
might be busy with a client and receive a phone call to say that your mother had passed
away. She taught us that professionalism meant to be able to put the phone down and
continue your conversation with the client as though nothing has happened. I did not agree
with that formulation of professionalism then and I do not agree with it now. Such a reaction
would mean that you are a robot – not a human being.
In some ways, that was actually how I acted the past fifteen days. I became a grandmother
for the first time on the 27 th of May. Three days later I also became a widow. I liked the first
title very much. I detested the second one. I managed everybody’s shock, became the
catch-net for the clinical course to enable it to continue, debriefed two groups of 25 students
(narrative course for Coram Deo and the clinical course for HospiVision), answered phone
calls eight hours a day and made all the arrangements to greet my husband of 37 years in
unnatural ways like recordings and webinars. Ministry taught us that your own needs are last
in the queue.
On Wednesday morning last week, I was busy with the task of logging people in on Zoom for
the webinar training. Ten minutes before it started, the bell rang at the gate. When I got to
the gate, it was someone from the funeral parlour who came to deliver Andre’s ashes to me.
“This is part of the services we extend to you amid the guidelines for your safety during
Covid-19.” Yeah right, what about the safety of my heart at this unexpected pleasure? For a
moment I stared at the small box of your last remains and fleetingly wondered if I could give
it back to her and say that I do not want it? I did not want your death to become so real, so
soon? I walked hurriedly back into the house, marched into your office and put your ashes
out of sight in a cupboard in your own study, my Love. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. So
fitting that you rest here a while where you poured yourself out for HospiVision and pastoral
care every day. Like a robot, I continued with the tasks of logging people in on Zoom and
started the training by welcoming the guest lecturer. That afternoon I had to sit with our
daughter Danica to make a photo slideshow for the celebration of your life. That evening I
was supposed to do a video clip to greet you. There was no time in that day to sit down and
figure out what I wanted to say. I have a pile-up accident of grief on my highway and the oil
in my lamp has gone dry.
When a building has been damaged and needs repairs, they put scaffolding on the outside
to support the workmen during the process of restoration. I am not a robot. I am a
compassionate counsellor and I need to show compassion to myself as well. I know how to
deal with depression and has lived for thirty-five years with the threat of suicide. The grief of
death is new to me. The scaffolding I need will look different as time go on. For now I need
to go underground for a number of days, into the bomb shelter of God’s presence, waiting for
the aftershocks of self-death to subside. My Trinity-God is my ultimate safe space.
What I need now is some time and space to grief and learn about being a widow. Becoming
a grandmother was easy – another human being to love fiercely. At the moment nothing
seems to be more urgent than death. It is asking my focused attention now. I teach people in
my self-care workshops the statement on the back of my business card. It says: “You can
only care for others, if you care enough to take care of yourself.” It is time to practice what I
preach. Psalm 71:20 (Passion translation) “Even though you’ve let us sink down with trials
and troubles, I know you will revive us again, lifting us up from the dust of death.” :22 “My
loving God, the harp in my heart will praise you. Your faithful heart toward us will be the
theme of my song.”

I will Hold onto Him as I encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of
self-death. A community of compassion that can offer scaffolding to each other as we rebuild
and restore the damage wrought by death.
Annette de la Porte
(author of Hold onto Him)

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: Death is a wobble

It is two days after I found you dead. There was some unavoidable laundry to be done. The washing machine flooded the kitchen floor on my behalf. Mourning your absence. At least when you were still breathing, there was always the hope of resurrecting you in dry bones fashion. No such hope existed for the washing machine.

A beloved friend ignored my firm instruction that I wanted to be alone. She brought herself, breakfast croissants and cheese as well as lunch. My shock nausea could not stomach a croissant. It did welcome having another breathing body in the house. After a cup of coffee, we left with the mission to find a tear-free, leak-free washing machine. We walked into the appliances store. There were no replacement-husbands for sale. The washing machine on the floor that met my budget, was appropriately named “Wobble”.

Is your death not a major wobble in our journey together? My phone rang just after Wobble and I met. It was the husband of your Aunt Johanna from Australia on the line. Uncle John spoke in his dry voice about his unbelief of the news of your death. I have not spoken to your dear Aunt Johanna since we moved to Cape Town. They did not believe in using cell phones and being close to their nineties, I could understand their unease with technology. After Aunt Johanna developed a disease called Aphasia (difficulty finding words and formulating sentences) our communication was limited to email communication with Uncle John. I thus did not expect to talk to her, but the next moment her voice filled my ears and I started crying next to Wobble. I did my best to keep the mostly one-sided conversation going. Her words were few but profound. She kept on saying: “Oh dear, Oh dear.” And then she said: “No more trouble, no more trouble.” And in the most awkward space of an appliance store, I publicly burst into loud sobbing. I no longer needed my old washing machine to cry for me. I was quite able to spill some water myself.

The store could only deliver three days later. Backlog with lockdown. My cleaning lady was coming for the first time and I needed that washing machine as urgently as a fish needs an ocean. I looked at my friend who was insistent that Wobble would fit into her car if the rear seats were down. And so we proceeded and got Wobble uploaded. After some lefts and rights we navigated to a place called home and parked as close to the front door as possible. Now these two 60-plussers were going to discover their strength. Ten steps took us to the small wall of the stoop. We balanced Wobble on the wall and I announced that I am now going to climb over the wall, without it being an indication that I am “over the wall”. We laughed our tears away. Our next target was to get halfway through the sitting room on our way to the kitchen. She called her husband who was our appointed on-line man to advise on the plumbing. It was clear that we lacked the tools for that part of the job. Another friend could master linking the in and out-flow that would prevent Wobble from spilling on the floor.

The next day I drove somewhere with the bakkie. At 100km an hour there was a distinct shivering that announced that the wheel balancing was out. Yet another wobble. Papa God, how am I going to navigate this wobble in my life journey? When I wobble, moving unsteadily from side to side in my grief, I will Hold onto You. I will balance my wheels in the anointing of Your presence and spill my grief in the safety of Your embrace. In the valley of my dry bones of mourning, I will prophecy to myself from Ezekiel 37:4-5 “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to Annette (and to all those who feel like dry bones). “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live.”

I will Hold onto Him as I encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of self-death.

Annette de la Porte (author of Hold onto Him).

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: Lazarus come forth!

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He said: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” During your life, I often called you back to life, like Jesus called Lazarus from his grave. I proclaimed the words of Jesus in John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. :43 “When He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

In February, our dear artist friend Ina Ziady gave us a unique painting of an iris flower. She painted it as a prophetic statement about our marriage and our journey with depression. The iris has a purple petal that flows downward and a white petal that stands upright. As she conversed with God about the painting, she asked Him which petal portrays me and which one symbolises Andre. To her amazement, the white petal standing tall was the symbol for Andre and the statement God gave was: “I am raising him up.” This type of iris is also known as the ‘Dream Lover’. It is described as follows: “Noted for its tall stature and sweet fragrance, ‘Dream of you’ is a very impressive bearded iris. Its large flowers are held high on sturdy stems. The lovely sword-shaped foliage will continue to add interest in the landscape after flowering is over. It is easy to grow, deer and rabbit resistant and quite drought tolerant once established.”

Our marriage withstood the droughts of depression even when it seemed to become a desert without an oasis. How often did I not hope and dream that you will be able to bridge the void of disconnection caused by apathy, but it was not to be. Your life and journey will indeed continue to create interest in the landscape of depression and self-death after your flower is gone.

Acts 2:24 in the Message translation: “But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him.” And so it was that a ceaseless prayer of mine during your life, has now been answered in your death. Now you are standing upright, no more bent under the weight of depression. Your sweet spirit in close communion with your Lord. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Andre, come forth!” And so, God is first and foremost, the Lover of your soul.

I will hold onto Him as I encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of self-death. Death has lost its sting. Our victory is in our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Annette de la Porte (author of Hold onto Him)

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: “HONEY, I’M HOME!”

I opened my Bible to Job 30:31 “My harp is turned to mourning, and my flute to the voice of those who weep.” You went home on the 30th of May. May, the fifth month of the year. Five, the number of grace. 

We moved to Cape Town four years ago. Our friend Collette bought us a new welcoming doormat for the front door. During lockdown I was newly acquainted with the joy of cleaning before and after myself. The doormat deserved a close inspection, which it received followed by an expiry date. It was worn through.

A doormat is not just a functional item for me. It is a statement. A symbol. A declaration.  Nothing caught my eye to be a worthy replacement. Today I went to a specific store in search of candle sticks so that the children and I could light candles for Andre. There were only pink candles in pink tins. How unbecoming. I asked about doormats, aching for a new declaration about the entrance to our house that is now occupied by one human and a host of ministering angels.

There it was. A beacon of colour displaying the right message: Home. In our journey with depression, I used to ‘fetch’ you. “Earth to Andre, where are you?” I would ask. Reaching out for connection. I stopped calling out to you when I got home. Your body was there, but you were lost in translation, wrestling with the dark night of your soul. When I got home today, I threw the used doormat in the bin and swept the dust of death away. I placed the new beacon in front of the door and Blackie, our cat, was the first one walking over it, welcoming me home. I am anchored. I am home, here on earth. I sent you a heart-email that said:  “Honey, you are now home too.” Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

I have loved you well; and I will grieve you well as I encourage others who journey with depression and the threat of self-death. I will hold onto Him. I am home and you are now in your eternal home in heaven. Death has lost its sting. Our victory is in our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I stopped watching my wach

I stopped watching my watch

Many moons ago there was an advertisement on television of Michelle Herbelin wristwatches. My heart yearned in adoration. I seldom desired things. I desired that watch. When my mother went to heaven, I inherited a small sum of money. I used it to buy myself a Michelle Herbelin watch as an ode to my mother who invested time in raising me.

In lockdown I have taken my precious watch off and put it away in a cupboard. My focus on the hours of the day has changed. I used to measure my effectivity in making appointments and keeping them. I took pride in planning my diary weeks ahead. Now that the world has stopped, my watch has lost its meaning to measure. I get a sense of what they mean with African time being circular. Tomorrow, this time, it will be the same time again, so what do you mean that I am late? I just do not operate by the cycle of your watch. I stopped watching my watch. Might this be the time to watch my values, my ethics and my behaviour?

In the story of Hezekiah, he requested that, as a sign of his healing, God would make the sundial move ten degrees back in time. 2 Kings 20:11 “So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.” If you could turn time back, what would you like to erase?

When the time on your wristwatch does not measure your productivity, how do you measure the contribution you make? What really matters?

Today I will watch my words.
I will watch my attitude
I will watch the tone of my voice
I will watch myself develop patience
I will watch the amount of loving behaviour I show towards others
I will watch how I can grow in kindness and generosity
I will watch the guidance of the Holy Spirit and follow it in obedience
I will watch Jesus and emulate Him
My time is in God’s hands.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” On our journey with depression we will Hold Onto Him: our God, who holds the times and seasons of our lives in His hands.

Annette (Joy) de la Porte (author of Hold Onto Him)

The Voicebox : a blog for those who lost their voice during their journey with disease.

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: You prepare a table for me.

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF:  YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME

Last night I had dinner for one.  I picked the serviettes you chose for Christmas.  Two red hearts on a bunch of white-grey stones.  There is a saying in Afrikaans that you eat a bag of salt together to get to know each other really well.  We got a bunch of stones to chew in our 35 years with chronic depression.  What grace that we never threw those stones at each other in frustration, bitterness or anger!  It was what it was. We designed ways to place our broken hearts next to each other time after time. On the stones.  A sacrifice of love and commitment.  Unwavering support and loyalty.  God asked me once:  Would you stay if nothing ever changed?  My answer was yes.  On the 25th of June we would have been married 37 years.

Life is to be celebrated.  I would often buy a bottle of champagne and we would raise our glasses in a toast and say:  La Vita – to life!  It was essential to celebrate that you were still alive.  I love colourful plates.  You preferred white ones – it displayed the food better, you said.  Tonight I will dish up my food on your white plate.  Only vegetables.  Grief is meaty enough to chew on.  I will use the rainbow-coloured cutlery set that our girls gave me last year as a gift.  Opening the champagne was a special ritual.  You would pull the red thread and remove the top wrapping.  Then you would slowly wiggle the cork, never muffling the sound.  You knew how much I loved the pop of the cork.  We would do a little celebratory yell as you shot the cork somewhere onto the ceiling.

Tonight I shot the cork extra loud and shouted to celebrate that your life is now an eternity in God’s presence.  I lit a candle for our many memories.  So many deep conversations about the pain of disconnect – the wall depression built between us.  The moments of laughter that gave us a window to see each other.  I look at the red roses.  I don’t like ‘funeral’ flowers.  As I ate in silence, a Scripture became a voice in my mind:  Ps 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup runs over.”

Thirty-five years of depression were meant to destroy our love and respect for each other.  Self-death was always a threat wanting to steal your life.  It will not steal your testimony.  The salvation that Jesus your Saviour bought for you on the cross cannot be nullified by suicide.  To the murderer who acknowledged Him on the cross next to Him, Jesus said:  Today you will be with me in paradise.  How much more is he saying that to you, Andre.  Christ, Who is the lover of your gentle soul. 

La Vita my Beloved:  To life eternal with God. 

MAKING SENSE OF MY GRIEF: Star gazer

Making sense of my grief:  Star gazer

I bought you a telescope for your 50th birthday and lost you to the stars. The scientist in you was fascinated. On weekends you would respectfully wait until we finished dinner, give me a quick kiss and take your telescope out in the garden for three hours a night. You did a drawing project one December, tracing the location of 100 well-known stars and planets.

Depression made you a navel gazer. You lost your vision for life. Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” You often felt adrift – searching for a reason to live. You lost yourself and your direction. The planets and stars lost their lustre as you lost yours. Your telescope stood alone in a corner.

At 11am on Saturday you still sent an email to a friend expressing your excitement to work on a new course in pastoral care, focusing on Covid-19. You had such an intense longing to be with God – for the disconnect between you and Him to be restored. You could not wait any longer for your expiry date to arrive. Only a few hours later, in your despair, in the ever-present dark night of your soul, you did not utter a cry for help. You drew a line in the sand and said: it stops here today. I refuse to be lost anymore. I am going to my home in heaven. And so you did.

Your life is not diminished by your manner of death. You have drawn a stardust map in the sky for the rest of us to see you shining brightly. You were so lost. Now you are found in the bosom of your Saviour. I am so glad for you. I sense your radiant joy beaming down on me here on earth. Your GPS tracker indicates the location of your soul as “home”. Home is where the heart is. Home is with Papa God.

Daniel 12:3 “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”  My wise guy. Your funny girl has now become a star gazer. I see the star of your life shining brightly, inviting all of us to look up and glorify God for a life that mattered. I look up as I hold onto God. I see you, my stargazer.

Annette de la Porte