Time to let go

11 Jun

They are exactly the same age, Nelson Mandela and my gran. And both have been playing in extra time. Two frail old people with a life story that could easily fill a couple of bookshelves.
‘It’s ok’, said my gran when my mom and I visited her yesterday. ‘It’s time to let him go’ said a friend of Mandela’s this weekend.
Letting go, it sounds so easy. But it’s easier said than done when you love someone. So we burn candles, pray for a quick recovery and see to it that our loved ones empty their plates. ‘But I am not hungry at all darling’, said my gran to my concerned mother. ‘But he must get better’ said a worshipper at a church in Soweto.
In our moldable manageable world we sometimes seem to forget that death is part of life, too. Actually, death seems to frighten the living more than the dying. Some kind of belated separation anxiety kicks in, as soon as death comes closer, even though our loved ones may be ready to go.
‘The body reconciles the spirit with death’, said a friend of my mom’s. ‘An accomplished life seems to make it easier to say goodbye and detach.’ She works at a hospice, so she knows what she’s talking about.
I once balanced on the edge after a severe allergic reaction. I remember vaguely that the doctors were busy with needles and drip-feeds, while I was floating fearlessly, a few meters above that hospital bed. Scary? Not to me. But to my family on the other hand..
Ever since that moment, I let go of my fear of death. My own, that is. But the death of others, that’s a different story.
Time to let go they say? I’m doing my best. But dear gran, dear Nelson, please stay with us for a while, if you can.

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