Today we buried my grandfather's ashes at Roodepoort cemetery. We decided on this place as my grandfather's father, grandfather and grandmother were buried here. My grandfather's grandfather and father came to South Africa from the Netherlands. We are not precisely sure from which town, but have a hunch that they lived in Amsterdam. There are still quite a few Van Goeverden's listed in this city. My grandfather's father died at age 33 when my grandfather was 3, turning 4. He had a weak heart. My grandfather's mother then remarried. It was strange to see my great-grandfather's grave. My grandfather barely knew him, as he was my age when he died, leaving behind a young wife and a very young child - about our Nathan's age. And so we buried Oupa Goewies' ashes at his father's feet.
I could, for a moment, imagine my great-grandfather embracing his son, spending time to get to know each other and telling stories of all that had happened during the last 70-odd years. Just as I sat on my grandfather's lap, it was now his turn to sit on his dad's lap, to be embraced and loved, to be assured of a love that surpasses the boundaries of life and death.
Not too far away are my grandfather's grandfather and grandmother's grave. I felt extremely sad for my great-great-grandmother as she buried both a husband and a son.
Here lies my grandfather, under a bottlebrush - a plant he loved very much.
As we left the cemetery, I saw in my mind's eye my ancestors, who rest in this place, welcoming Oupa Goewies. I imagined him looking at me, smiling, saying that he was going to be ok. He will not be going home with us today. He will wait here for our next visit. In the meantime he has some catching-up to do.
We laughed as we left this hallowed site, seeing the signboard that welcomes all its visitors. Oupa Goewies must have seen this when he came to visit his ancestors and I know what he was thinking.