Parenting beyond the grave...

Last week I celebrated my parents' birthdays - my father on the 12th of June and my mother, the 13th. It's been 17 long years since their car accident, and every single year I think about them on their birthdays. This year, the celebration was particularly special...


I'll never know how it feels to have my parents navigate me through puberty and adolescence. I'll never how it feels to have my father or mother guide me through the process of choosing a career, getting married, becoming a parent... All I'll ever know about having parents is the 10 years I was blessed with. This may be true, but last week as I celebrated my parents' birthdays I came to the realisation that my parents continue to parent beyond the grave. The lives they lived (the bit that I know of) are a constant reminder of their morals and their beliefs.


I remember my dad and his laughter - he was a hard worker, yet he never hesitated to take time to laugh and have fun with his wife and daughters. I wouldn't say that he wore his emotions of his sleeve, but there was no doubt that he loved us - that "in your face" kind of love; that "I'll always be here for you" kind of love that some fathers seem to find difficult to express in words. Whenever I find myself overworking and subsequently missing out on valuable time that I could spend with my daughter, I remember how present my dad was in my life and how warm it made me feel. Thinking of my father makes me re-evaluate my priorities and helps me value family-time and pure laughter. It reminds me that working hard to provide doesn't have to mean that certain things are neglected.


Oh, and my dear mother teaches me so much - woman to woman. On her birthday I decided to Google her to get a sense of all the inspiring work she accomplished as an advocate. I came across achievements I knew little to nothing about - her advocacy for human rights, her activism against gender-based violence on the African continent... Remembering my mother makes me feel fearless and strong. She was not only a wife and mother, but she was a hard worker and a voice for marginalised African women and children. Her calm yet strong presence is a force that pushes me towards my purpose in life.


I try my best to remember as much as I can about my parents and the life we shared as a family. There is so much I've forgotten (which breaks my heart), but the bit I remember has seen me through countless struggles. My parents continue to inspire and guide me. So yes, I guess my parents do indeed "parent beyond the grave"...

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