Monday, July 31, 2006

Willem Visser - did I forget to say goodbye?


I wonder how many of us proscratinate. We proscrastinate about silly things. We procrastinate about semi-important things. And we proscrastinate about important things in our lives.

We procrastinate where people are concerned. And hold fast to our precious time, giving it a place in the highest echelons of our minds, people-procrastination is the most dangerous and unthinking thing we can possibly do.

To procrastinate is a sin, a spiritual crime. There is a universal law in place (for all of us) that says "do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today". And another that suggests we not let the sun go down on our anger or unresolved conflicts. Most laws are "for our own good". This could be debated to the end of time, but I believe in my heart that THIS law is definitely there to protect us. From ourselves. From our terrible selfish selves at times.

I remember well the time my precious grandfather passed away. He was senile and often mean. The only people who ever took the time to speak with him (not AT him) were 4 family members; his wife, my mother and her sister, and me. Everyone else avoided him as if he had an infectious disease. At the funeral, barely into my teens, I felt an enexplicable rage when I saw the church filled to the brim with weeping and mourning people. Including his son and the other grandchildren. I started to run, and I ran and ran until I collapsed with my grief and anger burning inside my 15 year old body. To this day I am contemptuous of funerals. It's too late to gnash your teeth and say kind words. Why don't people understand this? Dead. Gone. They don't need your throw away pity and rose-coloured remembrances of the past. For most of the black dressed mourners standing around in a funeral home, this an exercise of pure selfishness (or voyeursim?), and it turns my stomach. Let the FRIENDS of the deceased celebrate the life lost. Nobody else belongs there. Did they bother to say goodbye?

And yes, you always have a chance to say goodbye. When you put down the phone, when you leave after a cup of coffee, when you go to bed at night, when you leave for work in the morning - we all say goodbye. None of us can be so arrogant about the fagility of life to assume otherwise.

Willem Visser, a colleague and friend, was killed in a motorbike accident on July 15th. His body was eventually tracked to a morgue in Johannesburg. He had ALL his identification on him. They didn't contact the family. They contacted nobody. He lay there as a John Doe for 2 weeks.

I wonder how many people said "goodbye". I wonder if he even managed that.

For me in this instance, goodbye would have been a hug the last time I saw him, a congratulations on his last great project, a phone call every few days to say "are you ok?", saying "I appreciate the person you are". It's saying "let's do lunch", and actually doing it.

In our arrogance we forget to love. We forget to say "goodbye". And we are punished for this transgression when people we love are snatched away from us. And we all know this age-old theory so well. How can we be surprised, still, when it happens to us? I'm not talking about the shock and the sorrow that comes with a sudden young death, I'm talking about the guilt that sets in afterwards, the "why didn't I?" and the "I could have" thoughts that hound us.

A little while ago I said that I don't believe in "fate". I don't believe that everything "happens for a reason". I said that the biggest tragedy is when we don't walk away with a lesson learned.

I have no idea why it's taken me so long in my life to learn this lesson. Didn't I know it all before?

I will no longer proscrastinate with people who are meaningful in my life. I will never forget to say "goodbye".

8 Comments:

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hai I'm a good friend of Willem...
I was missing him for some time we called the day before we'd do lunch and chat a bit ..... couldn't get hold of him anymore .... well with Willem this happens ....but he returns joyfully at week after or so .....

this time Willem was gone to long .....I couldn't get hold of him any more ....to long even for Willem :-)

I started calling friend .... companies ....today I surfed the net....

Sorry Willem I could not say goodby

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Alexander Hoek said...

Hai ...still me
pls if anybody can tell me more pls contact me on alexhoek@hotmail.com

 
At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Ric said...

hi there guys Willem was a great guy who worked with us for many years soreley missed and sitting in the uk for a visit nearly a year later I thought we should say hi and thanks for keeping the web prescence alive.

ciao rock on!
Richard and Allen (last gig together was Coca Cola massive Mix with Fat Boy Slim on the Dance Stage and Metallica on the Rock Stage)

 
At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koebaai Willem Visser - ons mis jou passie & vriendskap.

 
At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Gwendoline Kriek said...

Willem Visser....

Toe ek maar net 'n jong tiener meisie was, standerd 6, graad 8, het ek vir Willem en Heinrich Richter op Stilbaai ontmoet. Daardie jaar, 1988, en die jaar daarna het ons twee wonderlike Desembers op Stilbaai gehad. Ek is saam met Willem na my eerste beach party :-)

Ek het die tragiese nuus eers in November gehoor van my ma, wat dit weer deur vriende van vriende van Willem ouers gehoor het. Ek was met ongeloof geslaan.

Willem was nog altyd die persoon wat ek in die skare verwag het. The face in the crowd. Hy het eendag sommer uit die bloute, sonder waarskuwing, by my ouerhuis opgedaag in die Kaap. Hy was die vriend wat ek altyd gehoop het ek eendag weer sou raak loop en dit sou wees asof ons nog laf en jonk was.

Die naweek was ek saam met my man by 'n werkskonferensie en het daar 'n Visser-man van Gauteng ontmoet. Die Kaap is maar klein, en as iemand uit Gauteng kom EN sy van is Visser, dink jy hulle was familie van Willem :-) HOOP! Net vir kontak, vir oulaas.

Ek het nog die heeltyd 'n behoefte om vir Willem op 'n manier te groet. Om van hom afskeid te neem. Gedink ek moet dalk vir sy ouers 'n brief skryf. Toe dink ek, kom ek kyk of ek iets op die net kry. En hier is hy. Soos ek hom onthou. Uitgelate, aantreklik, lewenslustig! Dankie vir foto.

Dis so moeilik om te groet...

Willem, jy leef voort in my hart en jy bly 'the face in the crowd'... ek bly uitkyk vir jou.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soos in 'n oogwink is 20 jaar verby. So gou, so sonder gedagte, woorde of dade. Sonder onthou...

Eendag kry jy die boodskap via jou tannie wat nogsteeds dieselfde posbus van jou hoƫrskooldae gebruik. 'n Brief op jou nooiensvan. Huh?!

Jy maak dit oop en daar staan dit - reunie. Kan dit al so lank wees? Wat het van almal geword?

Onderaan die woorde: "As jy van iemand weet wat dalk oorlede is laat weet ons asseblief. Ons weet van Linda Fourie en Willem Visser..."

En dit tref jou - die waarheid - die ek-het-vergeet-van. Dan speel daar mals 'n stil rolprent in jou kop af. Jy onthou!

Ek was nie deel van die crowd waarin jy beweeg het nie, Willem, maar ek onthou toe jy Anja se dampkas amper opgeblaas het. Ek onthou die kamp waarop jy jou kop amper afgeblaas het. Wie sou nou kon dink dat 'n botteltjie Schweppes Suurlemoen in 'n glasstuk granaat verander as dit warm word. Dalk moes jy maar nie die prop met jou tande probeer losdraai het nie... Jy was altyd daar, in your face. Jy was altyd besig. Wou fotos neem....

Ek onthou jou. Ons gaan jou mis... Die reunie sal nie dieselfde wees sonder jou daar nie.

Annelize

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Sorry for offtopic

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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