Mandela – The Presence of Absence

Collateral Damage

In the days and weeks before my father, Georg, died at the age of 87 two years ago on June 7, I listened constantly to the music of the Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt.

Daily, driving the 25km to and from his deathbed vigil, it was the simplicity and transcendence of Pärt’s music, and particularly the sparse and mournful, Spiegel im Spiegel, that contained and comforted the searing grief.

I have been listening to Pärt again these past few days as Nelson Mandela, my second father, my liberator, the man who restored to us, South Africans, our dignity and humanity, lingers in a hospital in Pretoria in that “middle place”, the space between life and death.

“It’s Time To Let Him Go”, read the headline in last week’s Sunday Times above a portrait so characteristic of Mandela as we have come to know and love him.  In the photograph he is…

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by on October 2, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Holding vigil @ a loved one’s death bed I believe is a privileged honour & blessing not experienced by all. Both my parents passed suddenly & I have been blessed by being their child. May God bless Madiba and his family, may they also know the great privilege, honour & blessing to be connected to him (Madiba) through kinship. As South Africans God has also rained blessings on us through him.
    Sent from my BlackBerry®



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