You were not an old friend of mine – in fact our friendship was at that nascent stage between acquaintanceship and friendship. We were just learning to know one another’s innermost thoughts, histories and just starting to create our own shared history. There will be no further shared history.
We had just progressed past meeting exclusively at theatres and other events. I was just starting to care about you as a person, to know your private pains and joys. I met your family, some of your friends, made roses for your father. We laughed at the foibles of our family members where they were similar and refrained from family disloyalties because we still didn’t know each other that well. Now we never will.
I enjoyed the real roses from your garden, the pictures of which you posted so often on Facebook. These roses gave you pleasure. I also loved your collection of roosters, cock for de Kock, I found it amusing. Mixael, I may never see a beautiful rose again without thinking of you but I will certainly never see a rooster again without thinking of Mixael de Kock.
As I sat in your dining room on Christmas Eve last year and spoke about the fact that 2012 was the first Christmas you had celebrated since the awful attack which left you nearly blind, we pledged to make this an annual tradition. Turns out that it was a one-off. It will never become a tradition – “our special time together”.
I was just learning the names of your beloved dogs. I was still a stranger in your beautiful home. I now will never be that close house friend who has the run of the house. I will not celebrate my sixtieth birthday there as we discussed.
You will be missed, not only by your family, your “old friends”, but also by those of us who were on the periphery of your life – those who like me were just drifting into the friendship stage, perhaps to make it to that status, perhaps to hover there a while and fall away.
As I join the throng of people making their farewells to you I share their pain at your passing because you chose to let me into your life, even though my sojourn there was so brief. Thank you, Mixael, for everything you were for that brief time. That authenticity that is so rare. I will miss you, now and until we meet again.
Rest in Peace, Mixael de Kock