According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means that to the average person if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

Having walked the last 3 years of his life with my father, I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement.

Before that fateful day, 14 December 2016, when I found him collapsed on the bedroom floor, my memories of dad were that of a hard-working, figure of strength. A superb grandfather who took that role very seriously. So seriously in fact, that he insisted on taking his granddaughter on little trips to the shops every day after school – sponsored by me, of course. An outlier, he raised us fearlessly independent, always marching to the beat of our drum. So I will eulogise him in a way the honours that. A way he would neither agree or disagree with, because as he always said – you know the consequences.

He is no longer here, and I am at peace with that because he is finally at peace. It’s the reason I wore blue, not black. Because I celebrate his life, his legacy and mostly that he is no longer suffering. It’s an understatement that these last three years were difficult. While it was hard to watch his health deteriorate, it afforded me the opportunity to not only show my father the type of daughter, woman and mother he raised but also allowed me to say and do everything I needed with him. To get my closure while he was still alive.

So lieu of a narrative of my father’s courageous fight with renal failure and his battle with death, I want you all to know that he died as he lived for more than seven decades – stubborn till the very end, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and marching to the beat of his drum. Even till his last breath, he had it his way – intent on proving everyone wrong and outliving his prognosis by more than a year.

Never one to be idle, he decided to take an offer too good to refuse, for an assignment from which he will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with the family he has not seen in a long time, a chance to see his beloved brothers once more. His new mission takes him to a wonderful place where he will be cooking, reading, writing, gardening and carpentering to his heart’s content, and most importantly, his hands and feet will always be warm. His work here is done, and he is free. He is resting now.

In loving memory of John Chaipachinyi Makina. Nzou