This was the email that I sent out on the morning that my Dad dies:
“Just to let you know that my Dad died at 01h04 this morning(06/10/2004)
He had a massive stroke earlier in the evening,
and died in hospital without regaining consciousness.
From the way my Mom described it, he did rally,
just a little towards the end,then he let go…
It is very strange for me to write this as it has not sunk in yet.
I still have a feeling that the call was a dream, or a mistake, but I know that it was not.
Take care, love to you all,
My Dad certainly gave me a good grounding in a variety of life lessons.
Having spent 36 years with the same company he could not understand my reasons for changing jobs every couple of years! That aside he was always supportive of what ever I undertook…He also was instrumental in setting my future career, after I got a “proper job” to fall back on…just in case.
He also gave me my love of theatre…and I was glad that he got to see me performing as a stand-up comedian even though he might not have agreed with my choice of material.
He also got to see me perform in tights in a Shakespearean production
at the Port Elizabeth Opera House…
I have fond memories of his laugh.(not because I was wearing tights!)
Gone 13 years and I miss him every day
This was a letter that I wrote to a local magazine
shortly after his death in 2004
“I have been an avid reader of Men’s Health magazine since it’s inception.
But the last two editions, October and November 2004, have been especially poignant…why?
Because my Dad died of a stroke just few weeks ago.
At the airport on my way to my Mom in Port Elizabeth [I live in Johannesburg] I picked up a copy of the October edition.
Two articles sprang out at me. “Health Report” and “The Secret life of Dad”
I had received a call from my Mom at 8.45pm on Tuesday the 5th of October,2004 to say that my Dad had had two strokes.
The second one being fatal.
By 01h04 the following morning he had died.
The suddenness of it all did not really sink in at first.
My immediate thought was that the last time I had called home (on a Saturday), he was out
and I never got to speak to him again as he died the following Tuesday.
My parting words to my Mom on that phone call were “Tell Dad I said Hi”.
Not “Tell him I send love”, but a bland “I will talk to him another time” type greeting.
But it was not to be.
But “The secret Life of Dad” was the article that really affected me.
I read parts of it just before Dad’s cremation and memorial service and
I wept for opportunities I had lost in never having asked him about his life,
his dreams and aspirations.
He had stayed with the same company for 36 years,
never really enjoying it but it put food on our table and a roof over our heads.
He had always been involved in amateur theatre,
but would he have wanted to pursue that as a career?
Perhaps he even wanted to run away and join a circus?
I will never know…
Then I read the Pieter Matteus letter in your November issue.
He is lucky in that he is going to get to spend time with his Dad and
hopefully get to ask his questions.
All I can say to Pieter and the other sons who read your magazine is…do not procrastinate.
If you cannot ask your Dad questions face to face
then put them in a letter and ask him to write to you.
Even if you live in the same house!
Over the last few years my Dad and I had started hugging each other but he was never really comfortable with that.
With the exception of the theatre we never really shared
the same hobbies or dreams…or did we…I will never know.
Rest in peace Dad, I love you very much
I am proud to be your son”.
David Batzofin, Johannesburg
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I, and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way you always used.
Put no difference into your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as you always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me…
Pray for me.
Let my name be the household name it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect,
Without a trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of your mind, because I am out of your sight?
I am but waiting for you for an interval,
Somewhere very near…
Just around the corner.
All is well!