An Awkward Love Letter

ons hande


My dearest husband,

This might just be the most awkward love letter I have written to you so far. Today is our wedding anniversary and I realised last night that today, I will be married for longer than I have been single. And that we know each other now for a quarter of a century already.

It made me think, because it feels only like a blink-of-an-eye away that I was woken by my sister with breakfast and sparkling wine in bed, excited that day big day had finally arrived! But, thinking about it a little bit more, I realised that quite a lot can happen in a ‘blink of an eye’. I remember (not necessarily in the correct order…)

  • Communism fell and so did the Berlin wall.
  • We watched the war in Iraq on the TV in the evenings after work.
  • You went on a course to Chile for four months and five days and while you were gone, the world seemed to turn asymmetrically around me.
  • Your youngest sister got married while you were away.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • You came back and the balance of my little world was restored.
  • We became engaged without you ever asking me to marry you.
  • We got married. In between these two undertakings, I don’t remember anything else happening.
  • When we got married it was trendy for anti-marriage campaigners to say that “marriage’s purpose had been served”.
  • The ANC had been unbanned and Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • Apartheid had fallen and we (South Africa) had our first real democratic elections.
  • Three new babies had been born into the family in the meantime.
  • Racism started to change its face – not just in South Africa, but all over the world.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • Political correctness entered our world subtly.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • South Africa had been allowed back into the sports world and the Springboks had won the Rugby World Cup.
  • We had misfortunes at getting pregnant.
  • I had a heart operation…
  • …during which I was pregnant and didn’t know (the hospital made a God-intervened mistake by not testing my urine before the operation)…
  • …and medical experts advised us to have our son aborted…
  • …which we refused…
  • …and he survived and was born healthy…
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • I left my job after ten years.
  • I got another job.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • Our son grew up to become a lively toddler and the love and centre of our lives.
  • I had another traumatic operation, but by God’s grace we go through that too.
  • My father died.
  • You and I travelled abroad together for the first time. We vowed never to travel without our son again. So far we haven’t.
  • Crime became profitable in SA.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • You went on a year-long course – fortunately close to home.
  • My beloved brother died.
  • India had a huge earthquake.
  • Our son went to school.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • One day planes started flying into buildings in the USA. More than 3000 people died.
  • This started new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We watch it on TV. Again.
  • Al Qaeda became World Enemy no. 1.
  • Crime became worse in SA.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • I quit my job.
  • I had another heart operation.
  • Pluto was downgraded to not being a planet anymore.
  • It became legal to murder your own child when he/she is still a foetus.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • Saddam Hussein vanished.
  • Saddam Hussein was found.
  • Saddam Hussein was executed.
  • The Springboks had won the Rugby World Cup again.
  • We travelled abroad for the first time as a family.
  • We decided that I would become a stay-at-home mom.
  • Iran had a huge earthquake.
  • Our son got it in his head to be home schooled.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • We started home schooling.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • We travelled abroad six times more.
  • Turkey had a huge earthquake.
  • The world learned about tsunami’s when more than 230 000 people died in South Asia.
  • During the course of the last seven years four family weddings and three births occurred.
  • You travelled abroad for work.
  • There were divorces and remarriages in our family.
  • Uncles and aunts died. The older generation was leaving this life. A younger generation was getting older.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • Marriages between men and men and women and women became legal. Marriage was suddenly popular again.
  • Your father died.
  • Arafat died.
  • South Africa had hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup.
  • Crime had become an epidemic in SA.
  • One day a man in Tunisia burnt himself to death and started a revolution in his country and in Libya and in Egypt.
  • Syria became a blood bath.
  • Mubarak resigned, Gaddafi was murdered.
  • Our son turned 16.
  • Governments in North Africa changed.
  • Osama bin Laden, the alleged brain behind  the 9/11 tragedy was killed in his hide-out in Pakistan.
  • Governments in North Africa changed. Again.
  • Our son got his learner’s driver licence.
  • There was conflict in the Middle East.
  • We moved to Egypt.
  • A plane vanished in mid-air, not to be found.
  • A few months later, the same type of plane from the same airline was shot down over Ukraine.
  • Boko Haram in Nigeria kidnapped 200 girls and caused havoc in the country.
  • Ferries sank.
  • Planes crashed.
  • Volcanoes spewed.
  • A Muslim extremist group, who make Al Qaeda almost look polite, arose and wants to take over the world. They kill as far as they go.
  • Our son finished school.
  • Pluto may be promoted to become a planet again.
  • Our son turned 18.
  • (There will probably always be conflict in the Middle East.)

These were only a ‘few’ things that came to mind while I was pondering last night away. Through all these years we celebrated anniversaries and births and birthdays and cried at deaths. We have made the best of friends – which we still have – and we had family joys and tragedies. We laughed and we loved. And now we are 25 years older. In the blink of an eye.

One thing we know, and that is that change is constant and that everything changes. The world changes. People change. Ideas change. Trends change. Laws change. Life changes – in the mere blink of an eye.

Even love changes. My love for you changed. I love you more now than I loved you 25 years ago. Thank you for not asking me to marry you and then did it anyway 23 years ago.

You are the love of my life.

Always yours,



‘VrouQ’ can roughly be translated to the English non-word ‘wifey’ (from ‘wife’)


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