I had to go to the shopping mall to buy a gift for our daughter’s birthday. I search for your familiar silhouette among the people. I do not see you. I have to remind myself that I will not meet you around here again. You now live in a different sphere that I cannot reach.
My tenant’s car broke down. I did not have any appointments the next day and lend her my car to drive to work. I removed the key to give to her and put the bunch of house keys in a safe place, which was so safe that I still have not found it after two weeks. When she brought the key back, I looked at the loose car key and the remote for the gate in my hand. How fitting that there is no keyring that binds them together now. Our covenant was to have and to hold each other, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I was not prepared to face a broken covenant now. Death has parted us and I feel dis-connected.
As part of my self-care, I plan a facial. I look forward to this treat the whole week. I get dressed and ready to leave for my appointment. I pick up my handbag and look for my cell phone to key in the address on the GPS. I walk through the house, but I do not see my phone anywhere. We had a very special family value. When someone lost something, they would stand in the corridor and call: “Family, I need help – I cannot find my cell phone” (or keys, or whatever was missing). Everybody would stop what they were doing and come and assist. We firmly believed that several pairs of eyes would trace what needed to be found. It surely did, every time. ”André, I need your help to find my phone!” Of course you are not coming to help me when I call you. You have been dead for four months now. I am still busy adjusting to that reality. I remember about your phone that is still in my cupboard. I switch it on to call my phone. A mechanic voice announces: “Your contract has expired.” I fall on my bed and in desperation I call on God for assistance. “Lord, there is no human being that can help me find my phone. Please show me where it is.” And then there was silence. I start crying. By this time I am angry at everybody. I am angry at myself for not putting my phone in a set place where I could easily find it again. I am angry at André for dying. I am angry at God for not opening my eyes to see my phone. I thought He was supposed to have a soft spot for widows. I am angry at my beautician for moving to a new venue that I am not sure I will find without the GPS on my phone.
I pull myself together. My grandfather told me at the age of five that women have no sense of direction. Should I ever get lost, I should not ask a woman for directions. Right there and then I decide that I will show him women can be good at having a sense of direction. Having reassured myself that I will be able to find the place, I sit up and take my watch from my handbag. The pin of the clasp broke the other day and I caught my watch as it fell from my wrist. Another broken connection. If I leave now, I can still keep my appointment, although I will be a few minutes late. I get up with new resolve, wipe my tears and decide to trust my sense of direction and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I find the new address and enjoy my facial. That evening I have a counselling session with my emotional logic coach and identify my loss of emotional safety because of your death. You were my person. My soul-mate. Even the dis-connect of depression could not change your position in my life. I am not a scared person. When you were alive, my Beloved, I would drive the R300 to the N2 highway without thinking about the possibility of a stone being thrown at me or the scenario of being high-jacked. Suddenly, I hesitate and take the safer route via Stellenbosch. Why am I doing that? Because I can no longer call you if I have a crisis. Your death has stolen the safety of my routines and habits. I need to relearn being just me and no longer part of the identity of us: the de la Porte couple is no more. I remember that I cancelled our AA membership. I suspect that there is a road side assistance on our home and vehicle insurance. I do not have their number. I have yours. Now I must delete your number from my contacts. Your number is no longer valid because you are no longer a phone call away. Your number was dis-connected too. Your cell phone contract has expired like you.
Acceptance of the reality of your death, asks of me to re-examine what works and what does not work now. The value of searching together as a family for something that is lost, is now a precious memory. It is not valid anymore. The children have their own families and you are dead. I need to find new workable and effective solutions for myself as a person who lives alone. It is time to find new resources – someone other to call now that I deleted your number from my phone. I will contact the insurance company and get the number of the road-side assistance and add it to my contacts. I need new solutions: a hook for the keys in the kitchen; my cell phone in a set place – next to my laptop or in my handbag. And when I feel emotionally unsafe and insecure I will remind myself that my emotional safety is not only found in my relationships with humans. Isaiah 52:12 “But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” My Beloved, I have lost your presence in my life. You are gone – never forgotten. In reorganising my life without you beside me, I need to find my security anew in my relationship with God. Isaiah 33:6 “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure…” You are my new set of keys and my treasure, Papa God. Thank you for the promise of Your covenant with me which is unbroken. Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”