An old, tired and sick man appears to be fading away.
His death is hard to contemplate.
Is he hanging on, clinging on because at some level he knows that so many cannot fathom a world, a nation, a life without him?
Nelson Mandela has lived an extraordinary life.
A life of pain and passion and triumph and integrity and humility and grace...... Many others will extol him with better words.
For me his life has been such an incredible example of forgiveness.
A bitter, angry man would have been understandable ...... expected even .... after all that was done to him, his family, friends, his people, his country... our country.
But he chose a different path.
He chose to be bigger than his personal pain, his personal injury.... he chose to take a path, not only for himself, but for South Africa that lead to democracy. He chose not to be bitter, he chose to forgive.
He freed himself as he freed a nation.
I remember where I was the day he walked to freedom but I had left by the time he became the first democratic leader of my homeland.
I really wanted to be back on South African soil in December this year that also had Nelson Mandela on it.....alive and well. That seems unlikely today as the vigil in Pretoria continues.
Madiba..... your example touched my life, the lives of millions.....you place in history is sure.
Peace, deep abiding peace to you and to your family.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others