Deon and Renche Haupt – May you both rest in peace.

A dear cousin of mine and his wife, Deon and Renche Haupt, passed away on the afternoon of Sunday 1st February 2009. The worst part about their passing is the fact that they have left behind three beautiful children: Felicia (15), Diona (12) and Renaldo (8). Furthermore, this loss has come so soon after the loss of my good friend, Mark Anthony Da Mata.

For a time after learning about their passing, I felt numb. I was unsure of how to process this kind of loss when I had only just begun to accept the loss of a friend. All the wounds I had so carefully tried to sew and mend were viciously ripped reopen. As a result, I was unable to exhibit any kind of emotional grief… until the day of the funeral when the funeral service began. The pent up grief, held back by sheer disbelief, finally and savagely clawed its way out of my already tender and torn heart, exploding in a torrent of uncontrollable sobs and savoury tears. All I wanted to do, at the time, was to bolt out of the church and revel in the despair which consumed me completely. However, I held steadfast and, like a faucet, controlled the flow of emotion which yearned to be set free.

My sincerest condolences, love and support go out to all the parents, brothers and sisters of both Deon and Renche respectively, but most importantly to their three children.

We are all in the process of recovery, myself included. Life is meant to be lived and celebrated. An ethos I have taken to heart! Above all else, we must never forget that time and faith are the greatest cobblers of pain and suffering as they allow us to walk away from grief into the arms of hope.

Mark Anthony Da Mata: 8th May 1985 – 18th January 2009

A dear friend of mine, Mark Anthony Da Mata, passed away in the early hours of Sunday 18th January 2009. The irrevocable loss I feel is indescribable. This is the first time I have lost a friend in death. Mark was a very close friend of mine whom I had known for over five years and whom I will miss dearly.

My sincerest condolences, love and support go out to Mr & Mrs Da Mata, his beloved parents, and Michelle, his cherished sister.

The funeral will take place at Saint Luke’s Methodist Church (43 Kosmos Road, Wilropark, Roodepoort) on Thursday 22nd January 2009 from 14:00 (2pm).

As a good friend of Mark’s, I have been asked to say a eulogy and to be a pall bearer. The following is the eulogy I have written for one of my best friends:

Mark Anthony Da Mata
8th May 1985 – 18th January 2009 

I can still remember the very first day I met Mark, over five years ago. It was our first day at Monash University. As I walked through the primary quad, I heard a distinct voice accompanied by a cacophony of laughing. That unique voice belonged to Mark and the laughing to a group of friends who, over time, would become very close – almost all of which are here today.

From Mark’s Colgate smile and warm demeanour to his caring eyes and infectious laugh, everyone knew that when Mark was around there truly was never a dull moment to be had. I cannot recall how many times we would all burst out laughing, often mid lecture, to something Mark had just uttered about the Lecture, Lecturer or something completely off topic, but somehow, ridiculously relevant. Without a doubt some of my fondest memories of Mark are from our days at University.

I have always admired Mark’s character and his ability to always say what was on his mind, regardless of the often hilarious repercussions, which always allowed him to walk into almost any situation fearlessly and without hesitation. I do not think I ever told Mark this, but it was through our friendship that he had the greatest impact on my character and the person I have become today. He taught me to never be afraid to speak my mind and to always accept myself for who I am because, as he would always say, “you’re fabulous”. 

Mark was a beautiful, kind and gentle soul who touched many lives with his love. It has been my absolute privilege to have been his close friend and to have had him in my life. The times we shared will forever be cherished, never forgotten and will always have a special place in my heart. To one of the greatest friends I will ever know, this is not the end but merely a new beginning with our Heavenly Father. I know that if Mark was here now, he would most likely turn toward me and say “Garra, enough now, pull yourself together, everything will be all right”.