My amazing, talented cousin!
We were not ready to say goodbye. How could we be? A life as full as yours should never come to an end – a man so loved for the smiles he brought through the music he made should never have to be mourned. It just doesn’t seem fair.
Johan, we can never understand why you chose to leave us. The shockwave after your Facebook farewell post and the awful news that followed has touched innumerable lives. Proof, if it was ever needed, that you were so deeply loved.
The ripples spread out and sting. Family. Friends. Fans. Your mom and dad; step parents. Sister. Your brother. Your beautiful daughter. Your soulmate, Laetitia.
God! If only we knew your pain! If we knew beforehand, we would have stopped you. Could we? Would we have a right to? Could we understand and protect you? Could we help you find healing, and peace? We’ll drive ourselves to the edge of sanity trying desperately to answer these.
But perhaps we shouldn’t. Perhaps as we alternate between intense agony and numb despair, we should accept for ourselves that your soul has done what it set out to do in this lifetime, and it’s on its way home, to find its own peace and rest.
You’ve gone home, Junior. And we have to find a way to let you.
Though you’ve discarded this life, your touch cascades out through Candice’s eyes, and through your mom’s; it warms in our hearts as we think of you in happier times, and it roars out loudly through your music, drowning out our pain as we close our eyes and see you take up the sticks once more, test the cymbals and kick off in a raucous celebration of everything that you were: a man, and a musician, and a father, and a friend. A son. And a brother. A mentor. And our beautiful, creative, thoughtful, sensitive Junior Botha.
May your soul rest in eternal peace.
For those of us left behind, we’ll hold the memory of you tightly in our hearts.
And the beat goes on…
© Dave Luis 2016.