A Tribute to a Fallen Friend

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Loss, friendship and the gift of memory

On Saturday, 20 October 2018, I was getting ready to go outside and take a walk. I had been indoors most of the day. I was feeling low, for no reason I could explain. But I dismissed the feeling. It must have been 2am in South Africa. I decided to log onto Facebook, to see what people had posted. I was also hoping to find something that would distract me long enough, until it became too late for me to go for a walk. Well I did find something. I found out a dear friend of mine, Lieze, had lost her battle to cancer. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April this year, and now, her body is no longer in pain.

My heart is sore. Because loss. Because friendship. Because it seems unreal that someone with so much life is no longer with us – in the flesh that is. Her lively spirit will always be with us.

The news of Lieze’s passing made me reflect on friendship. Friendship is a beautiful gift, when it is healthy and genuine. Our friendship was unexpected, authentic and soul enriching.

I will always remember her for being an extraordinary leader – I remember how devastated the people she worked with were, when she was first diagnosed. They all described her as a visionary and courageous. She inspired confidence and encouraged people to strive to reach their fullest potential. She was physically fit – loved hiking, walking and being active. She was a reader – her bookshelf was vast, and she was always consuming new writing from all over the globe. She was patriotic – loved South Africa, engaged the politics and was very involved in matters that involved her community. She was funny – never took herself seriously, and could laugh at herself. She was generous – She had time for people and cared about them. She was inspirational – she led teams in many parts of the continent, and travelled Africa extensively as a result.

She lived her life purposefully. I am grateful to have witnessed a small part of it.

See you later Lieze. May you rest in eternal peace my friend.