The crucible.

umzila kawulandelwa
3 min readJun 6, 2021
Photo by Slava on Unsplash

I just got back from a five day healing retreat. What a journey! Grief took me there. I felt like I was in a crucible with just the love my angel and I shared and it was burned into me. I wept like a baby and at the same time my body which I didn’t realize had been frozen since his passing came loose. During the main event of the retreat I even took off my bra at the relief of the weight I had been carrying for just over a month coming off.

Our love was burned into me. There was nothing I could do but stand there and take it. This pain came bearing my name on it. It came aimed directly at me, for me and that is why no one could have taken it away from me, held it for me or felt it for me. It was ALL mine. Every icky bit of it. It came bearing my name and that is why I had to be the one in the crucible. I burned until I saw the pain for the gift it actually is.

The love my angel and I shared was so pure. I saw it for what it was during the retreat. A gift. Pain too can be a gift. The love we shared cannot be replicated, replaced or recreated. It is frozen in the past and there it will stand complete and unblemished. So many people will go through all their lives never having experienced anything remotely close to it. Do you have any idea how incredibly lucky we both were to experience that?

The love was burned in the crucible, purified and like gold it lives in me now. I have this love bubbling from the depths of my heart right now and that’s how wild and warm the love is. I always said I wish I could crawl into his skin. He lives in me now. I feel it with my every breath. I carry his heart with me. He has been burned into the essence of who I am now. There will be no speaking of Sanele without mentioning the love of her life Tshegofatso. My Tshegofatso. Forever my angel. I have no doubt he loves me beyond this life. I feel his love reverberating inside of me.

To have known such a love.

Writer Jorge Luis Borges on transforming every experience into a resource: “A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.” (Source: Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges: Including a Selection of Poems)

This pain is a gift. It’s said so often that when life gives you lemons… Life has given me a whole damn tree of lemons here. I can choose to sit and moan or get busy squeezing and make the best damn lemonade that has ever been made. This is MY story. Only I can tell it. There are no rules on this side of life. None at all. I get to choose what to do with this pain. I choose to make magic. That is what my angel would have wanted.

I love you FOREVER my angel. And a million thank yous for this incredible gift you left me with. You have been burned into me. We are literally one now. I carry your heart with me. Always and forever.



umzila kawulandelwa

I tell stories about my experience of being alive. Perpetually day dreaming of reading and writing by the beach