What do you say about a year where your wife and soul are taken away to heaven? That day is the only thing which 2014 will be remembered for by me. The rest is unimportant. I know it is an exercise in futility to complain or argue with God about her early departing. It happened and as she always said when the going got tough: "Get a helmet Honey."
In fact I can say a lot about that day of horror, 21 May, but suffice to say I greatly surprised myself. I ran towards God and not away from Him as I would have done a few years before. I studied the Bible and wrote a book called When the Tears Stop about death and the Bible. Something which gave me peace - I now know exactly what the process is after death though of course, it is only faith which allows me to believe I will be with her again on the right side of the valley. Not as her husband but that is fine, we will be one again as we were on earth. It is enough for me. Was the knowledge gained worth it? I don't know for I am tempted to say that the price I paid for writing that book made nothing worthwhile but then it is also written that our Lord uses all things to the greater glory of His Kingdom. Yes, even the bad and worst things in your life are used to His advantage. Not everything bad is from satan.
There is a lesson in that too - you may not understand why such things took place (I don't) but with faith comes an unnatural peace and acceptance. Why I would not know for it is contra my nature to take such an insult lying down and the first thought is always revenge. Who can be made to suffer the same anguish as I went through and am still going through? Shall we go on the attack and start the blame game to score a few points? Shall I make a few phone calls and create havoc in their miserable lives? Or will you do what God demands, turn the other cheek, and run to God so that His mercy and love can surround you?
Obviously the last choice is the hardest and the correct one but the rewards are great...you emerge a better man. Truth to be told, it is not getting better emotionally, I still wipe tears every day, but I am tougher and stronger than ever before. In many ways I grew up and paid for it with grey hair and deep lines on my face. I can even laugh at the irony of the situation. She made me a man, a human being with feelings, and now I am alone stuck on earth where I really do not want to be and will leave as soon as God allows me to do so. Yes I get God's sense of humour and have no objections about it. In my heart I thank God for bringing such a wonderful woman in my life. I regret nothing and even if I knew how it would have ended I would have done the same again. This mountain of grief I can climb, of that I have no doubt but why I feel that positive about my abilities to do so, I don't know. It ain't natural. I should be angry and out for revenge but I am only sad and compassionate. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit at work and for that I am grateful.
On the book side we did very well with about 140 000 downloads and many great friends because of them. Sometime in the near future I plan to write a short military history prayer book - you know - where we look at the different prayers used by men before battle. At the moment I am still researching it and have found some truly amazing stories and testimonies. There is no such thing as an atheist in the trenches, it is rather remarkable but then you most often find them far away from the trenches sprouting their brand of crap for everyone bored enough to listen.
I have also redesigned the various book and JKLS websites and am much happier with them now. They are shorter and to the point. I have a feeling that all will be good for 2015 which leaves me with the old song of Robert Burns we sang on the border and other places. I am sure you know it too:
Auld Lang Syne
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Yeah, so it was for 2014. Happy New Year my friends,
God bless and may all your dream come true.
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. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. 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 commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in hostage survival training and reducing legal risk in Sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters. Koos is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.