Death teaches one valuable lesson … to cherish every moment of waking life

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Death teaches one valuable lesson … to cherish every moment of waking life

By Thabiso Mahlape | 2017-10-05 09:38:04.0

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" Jo, ke mohlolo-hlolo, Ha ke ratwa le nna, Ka rato le lekalo ." This quote, a chorus, is from my father's favourite hymn. Loosely translated it says: "It is indeed a miracle that I too am loved in this great way."

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When I was blessed with my daughter three-and-a-half years ago, as premature as her birth was, she came bearing yet another gift with her. An incredible gift of insight.

The first day I held her I was overwhelmed by how much I loved her, a feeling I carry to this day. It is through loving my daughter that I finally understood and knew how much I too must be loved by my own father.

From the minute I walked out of hospital with her in my arms, I knew the one place to take her was where I was loved beyond my wildest dreams … home to papa.

And that is how it has always been since I have had her. Every time the world gets too much, when I cannot withstand the beating and the bludgeoning any longer, I pack up and take my daughter home, for love and peace – and really great food.

The month of August was, for me, exactly the kind of beating that the universe delivers from time to time; a really messy, public and humiliating drama around my work and an equally difficult break-up.

So as soon as I could I packed my bags and cleared my diary and headed home, to Limpopo, the place whose love is miraculous in its healing.

This time I did something that I never do. I was sleepy and needed coffee but didn't feel like stopping at the one place I always stop for a break – Kranskop. So, I opted to go via Bela-Bela instead.

On the way there, I quickly regretted my decision, but I carried on driving. When I eventually got back on the N1 freeway, the traffic was not moving.

This was irritating because I needed to get home. Then I realised that it must be an accident that was holding us back.

When we eventually drove past the scene, there were bodies lying on the road and covered in blankets and sheets. A disturbing scene by all accounts.

An unsettling feeling came over me: had I not opted to go to Bela-Bela, it could have been our bodies on that tarred road. We could have been dead.

A few days later, while in Polokwane, I drove past yet another crash scene. And the unsettling feeling came over me again.

I had gone home to rest, I recommend this highly, but I came back with a new view and outlook on life. Death is final. No amount of negotiation or arguing can reverse it, death will not be pleaded with.

And so here I am, resolute in my new-found attitude about my time while I am still alive. I am going to live.

I will take each setback as it comes, I will allow myself to recognise it and even sit in it for a while. What I will never do again is to treat it as some kind of death. For as long as I am alive, for as long as I am loved in the way that I know I am, I will live my life fully. I will negotiate and even argue for the things I want, and for the people I love, because a day will come when I will not be able to.

And when that day comes, I do not want to be filled with regret over the things left unsaid or what I could have discovered had I followed a new, unusual turn.

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