Diary, 15 JULY 2014, 05:52
13 JULY 2014
I heard from Sally: ‘I’m not sure you have heard the sad news. Nadine Gordimer passed away.’ (14 July 2014, 15:08)
I replied immediately after reading: ‘Oh no! … In hospital today with André, he’s having a small knee op. Thanks for letting me know. How terribly sad …’ (14 July 2014, 15:28)
‘My thoughts are with you both.’ (Sally, 14 July 2014, 15:28)
‘We think of you in this difficult time. You’ll be in our prayers. Love, Arné & Christo’ (14 July 2014, 16:04)
‘Just heard about Nadine Gordimer – very sad in so many ways.’ (Edwin, 14 July 2014, 19:00)
I had a strange dream on the night of 13-14 July. I haven’t been remembering many dreams lately, but this one was very vivid & when I woke up yesterday it was with me. Yet, I dreaded thinking about it or writing it down because it seemed a bad omen & articulating it was scary on the day of André’s operation.
I was at the World Cup final party in Brazil that in my dream was also Poland. Everyone was celebrating. At some stage I said to Aunt Iwona that I hadn’t told Grandma Marysia about my visit because I did not want her to worry I was late, but that it was time for me to go next door and see her before she went to bed. On my way up the stairs I realised that I couldn’t visit her at all because she was dead.
I woke up feeling miserable that I came too late.
Since Nadine’s assistant wrote that Nadine could not attend Open Book because of ‘old age’ I have been thinking of writing to her to say thank you for everything. It is too late for that now, but perhaps she knew anyway.
We returned from the hospital in the early evening to requests from CNN, BBC, French press & radio for articles & interviews. André slept while I replied to all to say that he needs to recover first. Per wrote, said her family was with her & that she died in her sleep.
I posted my last interview with Nadine in the original English on my blog.
My heart is sore.
She has changed my life & I’ll forever treasure that. She has been such an inspiration, a true literary giant.
It was so good to come home with André last night to Chai-yo takeaways, a fire & our feline family.
When Sally’s message came yesterday I cried in the clinic waiting room. There was a man there waiting for his wife, reading Kaplan’s book. He asked whether I was okay & we talked about Kaplan & following one’s passions & recovering from injury & Dr Van der Merwe etc. I only said to him that a dear friend had died. He didn’t pry, but said that this was not the kind of news one wanted to hear on days when loved ones were in the hospital. True.
André & I woke up very early this morning & we had tea & rusks & spoke about Nadine. He is breathing gently in his sleep next to me now & he is in no pain. A new day is dawning and I’m so deeply grateful.
(A few days after his operation André wrote an article about Nadine’s passing for Rapport. As far as I remember, it was the last, or one of the very last things he published.)