I didn’t realize it at the time, but that would be the last time I would see him. That thought only hit home as I stood in my closet a few months later with a tiny folded white piece of paper from my mom. 

She possessively snaked around him as we pulled up to the house on the mountain. He stood there with his hand on a little boy’s head, not stepping forward.

It was an awkward moment that reminded me that I would never be a son that he always wanted and that I would always matter less than other people’s children. 

As we sat in the living room of the home my mom once occupied, I was determined to keep the tears from escaping – while that woman smugly sat there with her hand possessively on his arm with a defiant look of victory.

He was oblivious to my hurt. He was oblivious to what sat next to him. 

I remember standing there shoving things into our car, tears streaming down my face. He didn’t want anything that was hers. He didn’t want to be reminded of the family that he had. He wanted to move on with that woman and her children and grandchildren. His new family.

As my dad and I hugged for the last time the dam of emotions escaped through my mouth. I desperately wanted him to hear me this time, I yelled at him but he just stood there. I could see he was hurt that I didn’t accept his relationship – just like the ones he had since before she passed. I could see that my words didn’t find a place to land.

As we drove down the mountain in a car full of my mom’s things, I cried. I could barely see the scenic road back to my older sister’s house. 

I spilled it all in front of my sister’s teenagers. The women, the cheating, the lies – and now this woman that would be the last straw for a family that lost the one that mended clothes and broken hearts.

Communication between us died down to a trickle after that day. The daily calls I made since her passing stopped. I would sometimes send photos of my kids in the hope that it would spark a longing for family. It never did. He decided to marry that woman and be with that family instead.

Last week I stood in the closet of our new house with a shoe box full of bits and bobs when I spotted a tiny folded piece of paper. My heart jumped because I recognized her handwriting. All the note said was ‘vir San’. It must’ve come from something she gave me years ago.

As I sat on the cold tiles in the middle of the walk-in, I was overcome with sadness. I had lost both my parents in that hospital in 2019. The one  bravely fought until the end to stay whilst the other had already planned on moving on with a new life.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, rejection still hurts.


Susann is a travel, parenting, beauty and lifestyle blogger in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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