The Godfather

The title of this post has nothing to do with the Marlon Brando movies but with my Godfather.

It was just another ordinary day, except for Cape Town because it was the last World Cup match to be played in Cape Town with Netherlands clashing with Uruguay at the Cape Town stadium.

Late in the afternoon, a little after 5, I got a call from my brother with some distressing news – it seemed so unreal that I just couldn’t accept it as truth. I then contacted a good friend, my god brother who, for all intents and purposes is just like a brother to me to confirm the news. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not at all that I didn’t trust my brother, whom I do trust, but I just couldn’t fathom it as truth, it just didn’t make sense.)

A few minutes later, it was confirmed, my godfather had passed away, at home, from a massive heart-attack. Just like that, once again, the world is a little different.

The plan after work, usually around 6 in the evening, was to join friends along the fan walk (since our office is right on the fan-mile) towards the stadium, just for the spirit of it all, then head back and when things had subsided a little, head home. Since the office is right on the fan-mile, trying to drive is next to impossible, so I’m forced to wait.

We walked the fan-mile, and under normal circumstances, I’d be taking it all in, the sights and sounds, but today was just different. The only thing I can really recall, while walking the 2.5 km stretch there and back, was the Caltex garage on Somerset Road.

Why on earth, a garage, you’ll ask. Well for many years, my godfather owned and ran the Caltex garage in Rondebosch.

My godfather has always been involved with motor vehicles so much so that after he retired, selling the garage business, he worked from home, servicing vehicles at home, for family and friends. If you had a problem with your car you could ask him or have him fix it for you. Ever since I’ve had a car of my own, my godfather has always serviced it. For one, whom better to put your trust in to service your vehicle and know that it will be serviced properly and why not support family financially.

If you didn’t know my godfather and met him for the first time, you’d probably think he was your typical older generation Greek and stubborn. But that was only one side to him, he was a smart and respected man whose home was always open.

So after heading back to the office just a little before 8 in the evening, most of the people traffic had subsided and I could leave the office and drive through to my godparents house. I hadn’t spoken to my godmother yet, I didn’t want to call as I wouldn’t know what to say over the phone.

I stayed there until a little after 10:30 in the evening. Chatting with my godmother and some friends and family that were there and helping out where I could and with whatever was needed.

The next day I arranged a half-day off to pick up both my god-brothers from the airport heading into Cape Town from London and Johannesburg. We’ve not seen one another for a while now, but this was not the circumstances that any of us thought or would have wanted to meet. But nevertheless, good to see them again and spend a little time together. I dropped them off at home and headed off to work. It’s such a strange feeling, wanting to do as much as you can, but at the same time stepping back and giving them the space they need and do what they need to do, as a family.

Today, I’ve taken the day off as in a little under an hour we’ll all be meeting at the church to say our final goodbyes and celebrate his life. It’s all still a little surreal to be honest.

Peace be with you, Nonno.

Update: Back from the funeral ceremony and wake and I realised I’ve come full circle. In the exact same church that my godfather baptised me, I helped carry him in and out of. A moving ceremony and time spent with family and friends – now, we keep moving and looking forward, cherishing those precious moments from before.