Lightness of being

Amanda de Klerk, out in nature, where her being shone at its brightest. Her ready smile, warm heart, gentle nature and powerful spirit were always in evidence, and her light shall shine forever.

The family of Amanda de Klerk, of Somerset West, have shared – with deep sadness – news of her passing, on Sunday January 7, at the age of 63.

Hers was a life so joyfully and beautifully lived, and they – and all who knew her – will miss her more than words can express.

Amanda worked as a clinical psychologist in the Helderberg Basin, and uplifted many lives through her enormous sense of compassion and humanity.

Her love of the outdoors manifested in many ways, and she was a regular figure, striding along at Radloff Park with her beloved Bastiaan, an Airedale Terrier who was as gentle and strong a companion and protector to her, as she was to him.

Often our paths crossed, spontaneously, either in the grocery store, or walking, and we’d pause for a delightful, impromptu conversation, covering a range of topics in the rapid-fire way that soulmates often catch up with one another, irrespective of the time lapse in between contact.

Wearing her characteristic array of colourful clothing and headscarf, her long braid swung over her shoulder as we spoke animatedly, she always offered her undivided attention – and an unerring ability to know exactly what my heart carried – and articulated her thoughts and observations, encouragement and concern, in a way that never failed to uplift me, and restore the lightness to my steps as we parted ways with a warm hug, and affectionate “tot weder siens” (until we meet again….).

Her wonderful son Migail sometimes took care of my many animal companions, and home and hearth, during my faraway travels, and I always knew I could entrust them fully to him – and his sense of responsibility and affection for them warmed my heart (and the video clips, photos and voice messages of reassurance he would send me, sometimes on the other side of the world).

I saw Amanda only twice in recent months – both were memorable occasions – at The Playhouse Theatre, during the Helderberg Fringe Fireside Chats Festival, and then at the launch of Roger Chennel’s book, All Rise; Tales of Human Rights and Wrongs, at Triggerfish… and her effervescence shone through, despite the severity of her illness.

She approached me, hugged me and pressed her cheek against mine, and placed a copy of her own book into my hands, titled Arrows of Awareness – A mindfulness guide to walking the Camino and other pilgrimages, about her five long distance Caminos in Europe, as well as three local pilgrimage trails.

Amanda always believed in walking as a therapeutic modality, and its potential for healing and growth, and strived to live a life of simplicity and gratitude.

She transcended all limitations, in her thinking, and manifested a lightness of being that was a beacon to those of us fortunate enough to be in her orbit.

Her home was an eclectic place of wonder and beauty, wisdom and serenity, a representation of her in appearance and impact.

In times when I faced fear or fortitude, I always knew I could reach out to her, and that she would immediately embrace me, even from afar, with her spirit of loving kindness and concern.

I was in Mossel Bay on Sunday, the day of Amanda’s passing, as my siblings and I had gathered there to scatter our beloved mother’s and father’s ashes in the Indian Ocean, where they had raised us five children during their 50-year marriage.

So when I received news of Amanda a few hours later, winding my way home, my heart was already in a state of such acute tenderness, that it felt absolutely in keeping with the great universal love that is at the source of all, and the bonds that connect us.

Amanda will be sorely missed by her three children, Mieke, Migail and Anni, and her husband, Roger.

And I, too, shall miss you, and am eternally grateful for the example and inspiration you always were, and shall continue to be… for understanding and empowering me, and others, and for being such a powerful example of loving empathy and kindness towards humankind.

We all hold our place in this vast universe, linked inextricably to one another forever, enriched by the bonds we form, and relationships share, as we traverse our respective journeys.

Go well, Amanda, as you continue your journey in the hereafter.

Carolyn Frost: Editor