Today the world mourns and celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela.
From the news coverage on the BBC it seems the people of South Africa see this more as a time to celebrate his life than mourn his death.
Listening to the radio, I heard two young boys being asked if they were sorry he was dead. One replied “he may be dead but his spirit is with us.”
On hearing this line I was reminded of Matthew Parris’s Spectator article, “I don’t want to ‘get over’ my father’s death” Although his father has been dead for 5 years, hardly a day goes by that Matthew doesn’t think of him. He’s realised he will never get over his father’s death and has no wish to do so. He doesn’t see this as a negative thing. Matthew said:
“With this realisation has come another: that this sorrow is not itself a cause for sorrow. Regret is not a cause for regret. We ought to be sorry. We ought to regret. Death is not a ‘wound’ to be ‘healed’ or a ‘scar’ to ‘fade’. Once someone has been in the world, they have always been in the world; and once they have gone their absence will be in the world forever, part of the world; in Dad’s case part of mine. This is a good thing.”
From a young boy in Africa to a cosmopolitan journalist in London we have a common thread. The body may die but the spirit lives on.