My wife, it is a funny thing how dates work. What is for some a wonderful day is for others a day from hell. For me, 21 May, will always be a day from hell...it is one year since my wife went to our Lord and I have frequently wondered as it approached what I will say in this blog. It is not easy to find the words. What can you say when your hopes and dreams and the love of your life goes to a place which you know beyond doubt is better than this cruel earth, but you are left behind, alone and in a mess with a broken heart? I don't know really. Everyone reacts to grief in his own way. For me, I write books with codes in them which you will understand. Most won't and what do I care? I know and you know and sometimes I will tell your friends and sister about the codes and why I did so. Other times I keep the codes to myself and smile about the memory it evokes in me. It is like looking at your pictures, which I often do and I get lost in thought or reminiscences so vivid I only realize I lost track of time when the computer or cell phone screen goes blank and I see my own face with a smile on it. Yep, I had never seen your picture without smiling and feeling blessed to have known you.
I said it often and will say so again, even if I write a million words they would still be inadequate to say how much I loved you and still do. You used to say to me I "am your air" but the fact is you were my air also. So, I don't have the words to say this sucks beyond belief and I miss you, every day, every moment and I am tired of people (well meaning) saying to me "carry on, old chap." I am carrying on as you expect me to do and it is by the grace of God alone. Still, I wish it was different. I really wish you would still be alive and hold my hand and I could hear your voice saying "Hi Honey." Yeah I miss that too. I never expected not to die first. I am the man and older than you. In all normality and expectations I should had gone first and did not. It puzzles me, what on earth is so important that I needed to stay on? I am sure I will find out but know this, if I could have exchanged places with you so that you could live, I would have. In fact, I offered my life to our Lord to spare you but He decided differently and I accept that.
I decided and kept my vow never to argue with our Lord about this aspect of you leaving. He gives and He takes back the prettiest flowers first...it is His prerogative and in a way I am glad I am past this. Many reading here will face this one day and know this, you reading here are in my prayers. We can learn many lessons and the first one is faith as is the second and the third. It is all about faith. Without faith I would not have survived and I know in my heart we will meet again in a place without hunger, sickness or hatred. A place where love is abundant and there is no ocean or silly visa people between us and where nothing can part us again.
I cannot wait to get there and will leave the moment I am allowed to do so, but not before. Hence this not the end and I often wonder what I will say to you when we meet and embrace. That I am sorry I did not do more and could not do more, yes, I will say that. That I tried my best and yet I could not save you, yes, I will say that and apologise. But above all I will thank our Lord for giving me hope when there was none. To be sure I will tell you about a girl in Port Elizabeth who talked to me for months and told me to write, which kept me sane. I will tell you about a widow in Pretoria who showed kindness and friendship to me without reason and I will tell you, since I remember everything and forget nothing, of the hundreds of letters you got from people all over the world who read our books. I will tell you, my wife, of your many friends who contacted me to say what a wonderful person you were and how your memory will never fade. And you know I will always honour and love you no matter what happens further in my life. Whatever I achieve will be worth less to me than stating "Melissa was my wife." Nothing will ever replace you in my heart where you are safe and loved. I can tell them who knew and loved you that I saw you three times this year as unlikely as this sounds. You looked radiant, happy and full of life and you were always smiling so I know you are happy where you are. I will join you one day when I have done what is expected of me. Be patient my wife, I will arrive and hug you and we will be "us" again.
When it is silent at night I often wonder what our kids would have looked like and if I could have been a good father to them. In fact I am sure with your help I would have and been able to be a good husband to you. Such is life and I do not regret one moment with you or loving you. Not one and want you to know that, I love you for many reasons besides the fact that you are my soul and all I ever wanted in a wife. You saved my life three times. First when you got to me when I was in desperate need for friendship and love from my soul. That I was broke did not matter to your great heart that alone says everything about you in a harsh world where dog eats dog and the poor are kicked into the gutter. Then you got me to breath properly and with your love chased the nightmares away as I described in one book. For the first time in fifteen years I could sleep and I lost 125 pounds because of it and feel like a new man. You also encouraged me to write and I still do. I wrote nine full length books which are widely read and I still imagine you sitting across me as I type and I see you smile. Without you I would not have bothered to write even a blog. And lastly you gave me a reason to take heaven and God seriously. Before your departing I did not consider eternal life as any reward worth chasing. But now, I understand so much more and this is what I live for. My priorities are not in this world and never will be again. I pity those who scramble like rats for nothing and abuse their blessings on selfish things. They will one day get a terrible awakening and it will be too late.
Do you know my love, some of our American readers said to me you were the last good American woman left and I found you or rather you me? I don't believe that, by the way. I believe there are many like you and many like me, decent people but such comments do make me proud to have had the honour to hold your hand and see the love in your green eyes. Yes, it means a lot to me and hence I don't care that there are probably many alive today who deserve death a lot more than you. To me it shows the mercy of our Lord to give them more time to change their ways. So this is not a road I wish to go on to, I do not doubt our Lord did what was right and I will get the reasons later. At this stage I just know I will get to you at some stage and this cannot be taken away from me.
I have gone completely grey in the last year, shrug, it happens they tell me when you grieving. I have deep lines in my face which I never had before. But you know what? I have a great many happy memories because of you and I have hope. More than this I cannot ask for and you should not worry about me. I am good, my wife, you can rest in peace until I find you again. You will always be my "American Patriot."
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.