I remember waking up at home that day and glancing at the clock. It was 07:00 am in the morning. I was 11 years old at the time, living with my mom. It was a strange feeling for a child who did not understand himself, or anything about life than being constantly happy.

I felt a sudden urge, almost a feeling of graciousness and caring, to call my dad. We did not live together. I picked up my phone, just an ordinary cell phone, for a child to keep contact with the beloved ones. I unlocked and scrolled down to my dad’s contact and dialled the number. It rang and nobody answered. It was weird for my dad not to pick up his son’s call.

Eventually after trying to call my dad again, suddenly my uncle from my paternal family reached out to me. “Good morning, son of my brother.”

I replied with a soft voice, “How are you?”

He said, “Son, your dad is no longer with us.” I couldn’t understand.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

He said: “Your father has passed on.”

I felt the world crumbling. My voice was full of anguish, like a chicken spotting a hawk taking one of her babies. I was whimpering and shocked. I dropped the call. I was in no good space to ask further questions.

During the week I had to let it sink in that he had really passed on. I was in denial. My mother helped me through that phase of torture. She said, “Son I am here with you. You will get through it with me.”

After a week, the day of burial came. I could not attend or be present because I was not in a good space or state, emotionally and psychologically. After the burial I slowly started adapting and understanding his permanent absence.

I believe that his spirit lives within me. I’m his son and I shouldn’t blame anyone. Ngiyindoda emadodeni. That was my greatest motivation to overcome my father’s passing.

I call it a “Burden of a Strange Feeling”.