“You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
It almost seems wrong to start a Monday with this post, but it’s what is on my heart and writing about it is a part of my healing process. It’s even more surreal when you get a call from your youngest sister to say that your cousin just passed away an hour ago. The moment my brain started making sense of what Ally was saying was when it hit me so hard, I was left speechless and so clueless about how to react to the situation. Our cousin just passed away in a tragic accident and there was nothing we could do about it, and just like that, it was the end of his life.
Memories flood my mind as I think back on the good times. I haven’t seen my cousin for a long-time as he decided to live with his family (daughter and fiancé) in another town. But I often saw his parents as he’s my dad’s brother’s son. He was the one of the only two Brandt male cousins that would carry on the surname of the family, and now preparations to lay him to rest are being made. Every emotion, what if, and how could God do this to his family? Has gone through my mind. The questioning is so exhausting. The loss of a loved one is one of the most tragic and devastating things a person could endure.
I built up the courage to go see his parents and his sister, I was strong all the way, thought I had it all figured out. But nothing prepares you when you look deep into a grieving mothers eyes and see how a sad father tries to fight the tears. I could not contain the tears, the shock hit me again and it was a terrible feeling. Our cousin is gone, and there is no way to get him back.
When I think back on my cousins personality, I thank God for sending him down to be the younger brother I never had. Gavin and I had so many memories, for example, He was with me in the car the day before I was suppose to get my driver’s license, when I drove into a vibracrete wall with his dads car. I remember him saying “Oops! Zanny what just happened? Both of us left in shock but thinking back it was the funniest moment ever because we were so scared to call our parents!” or when I’d see him almost daily after school and just go chill in his room before my dad fetched my sisters and I after work and we’d laugh till we cry. I’d help him with his school work and he’d buy me chocolate, it was our deal. Those memories no one can ever take away from me.
Cousins are usually the first friends in your life, they are your brothers and sisters when you don’t have, they fill an empty space when no friends are there to support and most importantly, they are family, blood and just special in every way. My cousin would have wanted me to end this post on a positive note. He was not perfect but always smiling. I love that I had him my life. There will never be another Gavin Brandt like him, there will never be a “Gavintjie” to replace him.
But if Gavin had one message to share, it would be: Live life to the best of your ability; Enjoy your food (He loved his moms cooking) Love your family and never stop laughing and making jokes.
Today we have the opportunity to live our life as and appreciate the ones in it. Yes life is not perfect, but If you were to die tomorrow, would you not want to give only your best today? So forgive, love, love yourself more, help others and just go home and hug your family. Appreciate them and enjoy every moment with your loved ones.
Ps. Gavin has left behind both his parents (Aunty Pearl and Uncle Benni), his sister (Lucinda)and 1 month old niece (Lameike), his daughter (Cassy), her loving mother (Charleen) as well as his beloved grandfather (Mr Sinden). I wish the family all the strength through this time. We feel your pain and we pray for God to grant you acceptance during this time. We will never forget him. Never.