Monday, November 26, 2018

My father

Henri Viljoen, 29 November 1932 - 23 November 2018

There will be a remembrance for my dad in my parents' garden on Saturday December 1st at 5pm. 

I do not believe we will meet again, but ever since I heard Laurence Olivier reading it (as a very old man, in a documentary of his life, which my mom and I and my dad watched together), I have loved this poem. 

Death Is Nothing At All, by Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all. 
It does not count. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 
Put no difference into your tone. 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 
What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
somewhere very near, 
just round the corner. 

All is well. 
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

For more about my dad, you can visit Seven Lessons from My Father


  1. In communion with you, I Lost mine last July. My warmest condolences. Carine

  2. How lovely. Thinking of you and your family.

  3. Oh, how much the poets help us at times like these. A beautiful picture of your Dad and how I shall remember him. Andy x

  4. So sorry for your loss and a lovely way to remember him hugs xx

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss. My father has been gone for 11 years now, and my fondest memories are of him coming in to the house in the morning with a flower he had picked for my mother on his walks through his garden.

  6. Sincere condolences to you and your Family.

  7. And yet, the world is a very different place when a loved one is no longer in it. Thank you for the poem. I know, from my own experience, that you will remember him well and every day.

  8. Jy en jou familie is hier in my hart, vriendin.

  9. "What privileged lives we lead." I couldn’t agree more with these words from your father.

  10. That's a wonderful poem, and if he loved it, then it's the perfect to cope with this sad time. My sympathies.

  11. I saw Laura Silverman on Saturday and she relayed the news. I'm so sorry, and very glad you could be there.

  12. My thoughts are with you and your family. I lost my father in 2017 and I think of him often. The poem is new to me and lovely.

  13. How privileged you both were to have each other. Keep that warm

  14. I am so sorry Marie. Heartfelt thoughts to you and your family.

  15. Sorry to hear about your father passing away. One of the Viljoen "adel". Condolences to all the family.

  16. My deepest condolences on your loss.

  17. I am so terribly sorry for your loss, Marie - I also lost my dad in June of this year and although we were expecting it, it still hit us like a ton of bricks. He was suffering terribly and I know he's in a better place, as is your dad. Lovely poem, I shall share that with my sisters. Prayers and hugs to you and your mom. xo

  18. It is wonderful that you and Vince were able to get to SA fairly quickly. Your presence must mean a lot to your mother. My condolences on the death of your father. It leaves such a big empty space in your life to lose a parent. I hope that your ability to create beauty all around you will give solace to you and your family.

    Nancy Mc

  19. I'm sorry, Marie. I know you will miss him. In some ways I was closer to my father than ever after he died. And, maybe that will happen for you, too. He may be right there whenever you think of him. It's a comforting feeling.

  20. Sad news! I am so sorry! The poem is beautiful and I'm so glad it gives you comfort.

  21. My heartfelt condolences, and thank you for sharing this lovely poem, Marie. My dad passed away this summer, and my Mom misses him terribly - they were married 65 years! This poem will make her cry, I know, but I am hopeful it will be comforting as well.

  22. Tough days... thinking of you. love.

  23. I am so sorry, Marie. I have been a reader (lurker?) of your blog for years now, but I don't think I've left a comment before. Thinking of you at this really hard time. Linda, Wales, UK

  24. I am very sorry, Marie. I hope the memories you and your family share of him will provide helpful consolation.

  25. I feel as if I've known your Dad through your writing. Sorry for you and V.

  26. I am so sorry for your loss Marie. I too lost my father three months ago and I miss him terribly. I send you all my love and prayers in this truly difficult time. May he rest in peace.

  27. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another. Sometimes I like to think that physics confirms mysticism.

    My heart is with you and your family, mon vieux.

  28. He gave you impossible strength or you created it out of the strength you needed to survive him.

    Indomitable personalities become more loveable as they soften with age. Beautifully written.

    I am sorry for your loss isnt good enough

  29. I think I remember a while ago you wrote that your father's favorite fragrance was Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet. From this photograph, so elegant and debonair, I see why he would like this fragrance. Would you want to smell this fragrance now? Or would it be too emotional? I don't mean to pry. I believe we become stars in the sky when we pass from this earth.

  30. sending our love xo Susan & les Gang

  31. I'm so very sorry Marie, I miss mine still.

  32. What a handsome man! Know you loved him so much.


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