Today would have been your 80th birthday . . .

You were born 30 May 1941 not knowing that you would be the oldest of eight boys and three girls and being the oldest boy, you were given the name of your dad, strangely enough, nobody ever called you Junior.

You were not able to complete your schooling. You had to leave school early so you could go out to work to help financially support your siblings at home. Not finishing school never stopped you from grabbing every opportunity to advance in your career and to earn more money. You started your working life as a Telegram boy at the Post Office delivering telegrams to people. When you met the girl of your dreams and later got married, you started married life in a little Council sub economic house which you knew you would never own because it was issued on a permanent rental basis but you were determined not to live like that for the rest of your life. You were determined to earn enough money to eventually buy a house so you eventually left the Post Office and went to work elsewhere until your retirement nearly 30 years ago. Your wife shared your dream and supported you by also working outside of the home to supplement your income. The only time she did not work was when she took maternity leave to give birth to your oldest daughter and then again, when the same daughter came home from hospital after spending some time there due to her disability.

Kalk Bay,Cape Town, South Africa

Growing up in your parents house was not easy. You came from a very twisted family which unfortunately damaged you psychologically in a very big way. Love, to you, meant giving of material things. In your mind, the bigger and more expensive the gift, the more the person receiving the gift would know you loved them. At the same time, your love came with a price tag. You never loved unconditionally – there was always terms and conditions attached to your love. You constantly reminded those you loved, how much you did for them, how much you gave them (materially). Unfortunately, you were never there for them emotionally or psychologically – physically present but emotionally absent. Yet, you expected unconditional love and respect in return.

You demanded respect from everyone you came into contact with – especially your closest family but felt there was no need for you to respect them. You bent over backwards to help neighbours and friends when they needed help and with the result they thought you were the most fantastic husband and dad anyone could ask for. Meanwhile, back at home, your wife and daughter were left to fend for themselves while giving friends and neighbours the impression that there was nothing you would not do for your family. You boasted to your friends and family about how independent your wife and daughter were, but at home you lashed out because, in your view, they made you feel worthless and not needed.

Franschoek, Cape Town, South Africa

When your only daughter was 14 years of age and a little “late addition” came into the world, you became more twisted over the years and it broke their hearts to see you turning into a completely different person. Two daughters from the same parents, yet knowing two completely different dads. This seemed to be a turning point for everyone in the family home, things were just never the same again. No matter how your wife and daughters tried to make you feel loved and included, you kept pushing them away until the relationship snapped for good after 38 years of marriage.

Life could have been so different, but you chose to believe whatever warped thoughts you had floating inside your head. It really is unfortunate that your life turned out the way it did. Your life could have been so different, had you just even attempted to meet your family halfway.

Today would have been your 80th birthday . . .

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