One comes, one goes

Life as we understand it is a magical experience filled with emotions and feelings and life consists of an eternal learning process.  Life is a long journey of ups and downs, sunrises to sunsets and we all hope to be able to lead a long and successful life. The long and the success is measured and interpreted by different people differently and what one might perceive as success could be considered by another in a vastly opposite or different light.

I started my blog today this way because unfortunately I have a family member that currently is ill and the prognosis is not good. So, while one the one hand we are expecting a baby and eagerly await the arrival, our joy is overshadowed with the knowledge that my stepfather is not long of this world anymore.

I must admit that all is not as terrible as it at first might seem. Stepdad is almost 82 years old and certainly has led a long, hard and fruitful life. As a farmer he spent most of his life on the land in the harsh sun with his sheep, cattle and game. He had grown up in what some might term a somewhat poor household. Thus, from an early age he knew the importance of hard work and never shied from it either.

His labour, dedication, determination and his uncanny skill at understanding business in his region soon saw him and his farming endeavours flourish. When he could afford to, he bought livestock when the price was low, tended them and the land until the price was right for him and then sold these animals again at a healthy profit. Of course it did not pan out favourably every time, but he was persistent, patient and soon his wealth started to show and grow. From small and humble beginnings grew a little pool of wealth.

Stepdad wouldn’t let it lie here either. If anything, his success fuelled an even bigger hunger. Call it ego, call it industrialism, call it what you like, but it certainly never was greed. He simply was a hard worker, a shrewd businessman and he continued in much the same manner as when he had started. He shifted his focus slightly from farming to property and became an astute property owner as well as small-scale property developer. All this whilst still maintaining full control over the farming side of the businesses.

Stepdad was hard-working as well as generous. He was by no means a philanthropist, but he was no miser either. I think his most endearing feature probably was that for all the wealth he had, he had both feet firmly grounded and his head square on his shoulders. He fathered five children and has numerous grandchildren too. I guess you could say that Stepdad had done very well for himself. He was always willing to listen, willing to lend a helping hand or offer advice and guidance. I most appreciate that he never was forceful or demanding. His method was more one of suggestion and offering the listener the chance to take the advice or leave it.

So whilst Stepdad is withering away in a hospital 15 000km from here, we are hoping to receive a new bundle of joy in our lives any moment. One new life is about to begin and on the other side of the world in the same family another life seems to be coming to an end.

I would like to thank my stepfather for all he has done for me and my mother. Before he walks out into his African bushveld for the last time, I want him to know that he is a very special man. I will miss him. He has been an inspiration, a pillar of support and a strong guide and influence for the last 15 years. Thank you very much and I wish you all the best and strength for the next part of the journey and the adventures to come.