Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in…

On my 40th birthday with my Dad Alex and my Mammie, Yvonne.

On my 40th birthday with my Dad Alex and my Mammie, Yvonne.

My Dad Alex was not there in 1972 at my conception. Dad Alex has however been there for me every day I would allow his comfort since.

I moved from the warmth of my Oupa Mike and Ouma Chrissie’s home in Potchefstroom to the stark contradiction of the concrete jungle in Hillbrow, Johannesburg to live with my Mammie and my sister, Rentia after my father died in 1984.

In writing I always refer to him as “my father”, but in person, I called him “Pappie”. His name was Johan. He died shortly after his 30th birthday in a car accident. I was 11.

I have never really spoken to my Mammie about why I had to move, I just know I hated it. My Mammie was in mourning. We were not close emotionally then, but I was petrified she was going to die. My panic attacks were flying off the charts.

Not only was there grown ass black men walking around freely and not terrorists as all as I grew up to believe, but I had no idea how to get home should Mammie succumb to her grieve. Home being my grandparents. Then there was my sister. What would I do with her?

Thankfully a constant arrived in “Oom Alex” who applauded every small victory I made. First bus ride home alone, getting into art school, winning “Miss Joubertpark” (don’t ask!) he would always be there with a “Well done my girl!”.

“Oom Alex” had worked with my Mammie for as long as I can remember. They both are experts in labour law. “Oom Alex” encouraged my Mammie to study, they shared an office and gave up smoking. He was in the details, the gold nuggets of life.

I would make him flapjacks and a note my Mammie was to give him at work. When I messed up in years to come, he would stand as a go between my Mammie and I. Nothing shocked him and if it did, he never led on or judged. I was enough. Even when I didn’t believe it.

“Oom Alex” and his wife was there when my Mammie married the evil stepfather. I hated that man. “Oom Alex” danced at her wedding. I recall a ice sculpture. A swan? Anyway, we were close. “Oom Alex” was the closest resemblance in value and moral high ground that I have ever met, next to my Oupa Mike. Oupa remains a giant. Nobody will ever quite be as tall as our giant.

Thankfully, by some miracle my Mammie divorced that evil stepfather (although sadly for me, the damage was done) some years later….and I when I was 19 my Mammie and “Oom Alex” got married. A true celebration of good kicking evil’s ass! They paid a price I am sure to be together, but it was a match made in heaven.

Dad Alex has never taken anything from me. Nothing. Not once. He has only given abundantly. He has cared for my Mammie and my sussie (no easy feat!), lovingly looked after them while he supported and cared for my grandparents until their deaths. Working to take them places they had never thought they would see.

Dad Alex was there every time I got married, (well, except for the eloped third marriage! LOL Sorry Dad!) and waited outside the theatre every time I had a baby. My Mammie and Dad were the first people to see my children, next to their many fathers (sounds more dramatic, doesn’t it! Haha!) and medical staff.

Dad is a man of simple tastes. Old Brown Sherry and dark chocolate wins his heart. He is calm, confident, reliable, trustworthy, unbelievably giving and hard working. He walks his talk.

The two giants who shaped me, gave me the greatest gift any child could have – they loved and cherished my mothers, Ouma Chrissie and Mammie. Thank you Oupa Mike and Dad Alex.

My gratitude is deep, swimming in royal colours in my heart. I can never repay your l♡ve, comfort, understanding, unwavering commitment to my sister and I, or to my Mammie and grandparent. You are an unbelievably involved and loving grandfather. You know my kids because you helped raise them. They turn to you. I respect that. You earned every Oupa that ever came out their mouths.

I l♡ve you Dad. It may have taken me some years to take your hand, but I always knew you would dance me to the end of l♡ve… If I let you.

I wish you……enough.
Stel x

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of l♡ve
– Leonard Cohen


10 thoughts on “Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in…

  1. yvonne griffin says:

    I have no words. This man we can call ‘ours’ is, above all, a REAL Christian. My respect and love for him is unmeasureable. His respect for other people and the humbleness of his soul is just the most beautiful of all. I know he will dance you safely to peace in yourself…allow him to take you there. Love you, Mammie


  2. Tina says:

    Your dad is an exceptional man. I remember when me and your mom still worked together. Your dad would make your mom toast or sarmies for work and everyday he put a note in them.


  3. moragdavis says:

    Thank you for sharing! I praise God for this amazing man who has been a constant thru your life. ((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))))


  4. Alex Griffin says:

    I am deeply humbled and embarrassed and you have put me on a pedestal. I am just a simple man! We all haver dreams and aspirations but sometimes we just look through the window and don’t realise that the door is open …so my blessing for you is that your dreams come true and your aspirations be fulfilled. So close your eyes, and listen to the symphony of love and let us dance till the end of time.
    God bless you and I love you


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