Dear Dawid

17 March 2019 | Columns

Julienne van Rooyen

Thank you for taking a chance on me. Thanks for believing in me when I felt that no-one else did. Thanks for only seeing the positive in me and making me feel truly understood.

Most of all I would like to thank you for building my confidence and my faith in human beings, when the past taught me that people were just put on earth to hurt each other. You helped me realise that there really are genuinely good people in the world.

I knew you for less than a year, but in that time you have shown me what being a good leader means. It means having faith in people despite all their imperfections. It’s about seeing a bigger picture and not being afraid to challenge people or go against the world for your beliefs. I would like to use your example in my daily life, in my career and most of all, in my family.

The biggest message that you have left with me was to never give up on my dreams.

I hate praising you only in death, which we tend to do. Sorry I never got a chance to thank you personally for the difference you have made in my life, which I am not certain you even realised.

Your office stands empty and all the memories still hang in the air, while we try to move on in our daily lives, answering telephone calls, attending meetings and continuing with projects that need to be completed.

We are still trying to push through the pain of losing someone so dear to our hearts and to make sense of it all. The fact remains that you have been taken so tragically from us and you will never be sitting in your office again nor will we hear your voice or see your smile.

Your whole family’s lives were turned upside down in the blink of an eye, and being a mother and a wife myself, my heart goes out to them. They are in our prayers and in our thoughts.

I know you loved your family very much and talked about them with the utmost pride. I’m saddened by the fact that you will no longer be in their lives, to see your children growing up, and to be there for your wife through all life’s obstacles and joys, growing old with her along the way. At the same time I am very glad that they have such wonderful memories of you as a doting father and loving husband to hold on to and to keep close to their hearts.

The last words that I heard you speak were that you would see us on Tuesday and that you were going to the coast. Little did I know that you would never return.

The last image I have of you was of a head full of hair that was spray-painted in different colours done as a fundraiser in aid of children living with cancer. You were saying that your beard was getting itchy because they had decided to spray paint that as well.

Your death has been a sad reminder of how short and truly fragile our lives are and that we should not take anyone or anything for granted.

Thank you again for the impact that you had on my life.

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