On 13 April 1935 God sent a very special angel to earth and on 12 October 2020, after a full and happy life, that angel’s time on earth was done. After 63 years of married life my mom had to say goodbye to the love of her life…
Have you ever lost someone? Someone who has had a deep impact on your life? Have you ever thought back on what that person taught you? The legacy that person has left behind?
My Dad had a happy childhood in a small town in Mpumalanga, South Africa. He grew up with a deep love of nature and went to study farming. That is where he met my mom, at a traditional Afrikaans Folk-dance. For two years, with his Mom’s Opel he drove the 240km between Standerton and Potchefstroom to go visit the love of his life. After their wedding on 5 October 1957 they settled on their farm and the rest is history…
My Dad has taught me, my 5 siblings, his 15 grand children and 10 great grand children such valuable life lessons and after his passing I was reminded of some of those again. He made those life lessons an integral part of his own life and led by example. I wish for my own loved ones to also be inspired by the way I live my life, like I was inspired by my Dad.
I’m reminded while typing this that it’s the small and sometimes simple things in life that matter the most and like my Dad taught us:
Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and all your strength.
Be proud of who you are and never forget your roots
Thank God for everything you have and be a good stuart, because all you have is only borrowed
Love the love of your life with all you have and then some more
Live life to the full
My memory bank of my Dad is filled with the most amazing memories because that is exactly what he did – he lived life to the full.
I remember Dad being so upset the evening before Easter Monday one year when he went to hide easter eggs for us and the dogs sniffled them out and ate it all.
I remember sheep shearing seasons on the farm when we had to step on the oily wool in the wool bags to make space for more. This always left our skins shimmering from all the natural oil on the wool.
I remember the most amazing Caravan holidays camping in Sodwana with extended family and friends and Dad and his best friend “Oom Louis Spies” making “mieliepap” porridge in the biggest black pot on the fire. The smell of “mieliepap” today still brings back memories of gas lamps and campfires. And definitely the fun on the beach where Dad would pull us behind his trusty white Land Cruiser on a conveyer belt in order for us to “ski” on the sand.
I remember intimate family meals where we could sit and chat for hours around the 16-seater dining room table, heavy with the most amazing food and where Dad would always end off by giving thanks to God for the meal and special time.
A very special memory that I’m sure will stay with our family forever is Dad reading the Nativity story in the Bible every time we had a Havemann Christmas.
My Dad is gone in the physical form BUT his presence stays with everyone he left behind in the form of memories and the legacy of unconditional love and kind-heartedness. We have such peace and joy that Dad has a special place in heaven, looking down on us all.
Just after his passing I remember being heart broken, standing in the shower saying to my Dad how much I missed him… It was as if I could hear his voice audibly saying “I miss you too, but it is so nice here”.
My Dad was 85 years, 5 months and 29 days old when he passed away. He lived a long and full life and still his death was sudden for us…
The last time I saw my Dad was just before his operation, 5 days before he passed away of most possibly a blood clot. His last words at the elevator of the hospital was “Totsiens my Poppie, ek is lief vir jou” “Goodbye my Poppie, I love you”. When he saw my sister Louise the last time a while earlier he said “See you in heaven”… Almost as if he knew…
What do you know about your life at the moment?
Is it how you want it to be?
How are you living your days?
Are you present in your life, making the most of each opportunity?
Are you appreciating your loved ones?
Which memories are you leaving behind?
I’m sure those people who are no longer with us, who had a deep impact on our lives would want to make sure that we all appreciate each and every single moment on earth and to make to most of every situation and to LIVE.
My Dad taught me that if you are breathing, there is a reason that you are still dwelling on earth and that God is not finished with you yet…
Pauli Nigrini, founder of The Butterfly Diaries, is an ex preschool teacher with an absolute passion for special needs, business owner, wife to an angel out of heaven, mom to two beautiful boys, lover of God, people and life, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and a sucker for anything inspirational.