I will never hear his voice or see his smile or feel the energy for living that he so generously radiated while he was alive. It is a strange thought: losing someone. 'Losing' someone can be very hard to describe to anyone that has never had the misfortune of experiencing the death of a loved one.
It was hard for me to understand. Until it happened to me and then it became hard for me to describe the eerie feeling of 'having an empty space' in your heart. Then I came across a very interesting city in New Zealand, called Christchurch.
It was here, in Christchurch where I learned a few things about the human race. It is quite a sight to see how people can simply get up from the ashes, dust off their knees and carry on to fix what is broken. Christchurch experienced some devastation after being hit by multiple earth quakes over the last few years. The most devastating happened on 22 February 2011 at 12:55 reading 6.3 on the Richter-scale.
The earth was shaken; buildings were flattened, leaving open fields where skyscrapers used to rub shoulders with one another. It was a dark day for Christchurch, 185 lives were lost. While driving through this city, I could feel a tragic mood in the air. The city seemed to be telling the story, it was like watching a movie, no tour guide was needed. The buildings recited stories about the unforgiving devastation, the wind whispered about the fear that filled the unstable streets on that day.
These open fields are now called 'gaps' by the citizens of Christchurch and they have started to fill them with fun works of art and touching tributes. The idea behind filling these gaps was initiated by a woman who decided to make Christchurch a town of beauty again, and these gap-fillers truly lifts the mood around the devastation. Some of the 'gap fillers' include a book shelf with chairs and anyone is welcome to take a book and read it and other gaps are filled with tributes to the families who suffered in the wake of the earth quake. The tribute that touched me the most was the one situated just behind the Cardboard Cathedral, the Chair tribute.
In a field where a church was flattened by the earth quake, 185 white chairs were set up in rows facing the cathedral. It looks as if these chairs were arranged like one would arrange them in a hall or in a church. There were many different types of chairs, each representing a life lost: a baby's bassinet, a rocking chair, a wheel chair, wooden chairs, ect.
Then I read the tribute and I realised just how to describe the feeling when you lose someone. It is like having an empty chair. It is like walking into a study of the person you lost and finding an empty chair and no matter how many times you return that person will never warm the seat of that chair again. It is a dreadful realisation and unfortunately all of us will experience this feeling at some point in our lives.
I wondered how people move on, then I saw a letter mounted on the information block of the tribute. The letter was about how the loss of loved ones affect our hearts and the line that touched my heart so deeply that I just have to share it: "It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly-that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn how to dance with the limp.".
The hardest part, I suppose it is obvious, is to accept that the person is gone. I hope that if I should ever lose someone so close to me that I cannot bear to be without I remember that, that person is not completely gone. It may be easier said but done, but we should try to remember that, that person still lives in our hearts and they are smiling down on us from heaven, wishing they could make us see that we shouldn't be sad. We should be happy instead. They are with God and they have found peace in heaven. One day we will join them and we will be whole again, dancing (without a limp) amongst angels and friends.
Leanne van Rensburg was born in 1988 and grew up on a farm in a small town in South-Africa. After school she chose a career in science and obtained degrees in biotechnology and microbiology. She moved to Australia in 2012 and is currently working as an oncology technician in Sydney. Family, friends, horses, photography and travelling are a few things that add value to her everyday life. She is a adventurous person that loves taking risks and trying new things. Writing comments for Christian Today is one of her latest undertakings.
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