“I promise you, Dad, I will go home” was the last sentence I spoke to him in the dark hours of that night that he left this earth. I think he heard. And I think he understood, because he seemed to look at me in that moment. About an hour later it was all over.
The last link, the man whose genes were always a mystery, seemingly only to me, is gone. Did a part of me die with him too? Will I ever come face-to-face with that other side of me? Part of me panics. Now, more than ever, I need to go back, retrace the steps my great-grandfather and his young wife took so many years ago. I need to know why they left – what was the dream that was so compelling and the allure that glittered so brightly that a young man took his new wife, left their families and their homes behind, and sailed into the unknown and away from who they were to set up a new life in a foreign place? For closure, I need to take Dad’s memory home.
…At the dawn of this new era in my life, I am finally going ‘home’. The anticipation is thrilling. I am also afraid. Afraid that I will feel nothing – no connection, no emotion – and that I will return to my home in Cape Town unchanged, still just the girl from South Africa. Tickets are booked. Bags are packed. This is real.
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