Connie Ferguson and dealing with grief: ’You will never be the same again but you will get stronger’
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Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy, and when your loved one was a public figure, you have little choice but to grieve in public.
When the news broke about the death of local producer and actor Shona Ferguson, many people hoped it was fake news, because the Covid-19 pandemic has tragically taken too many lives. But as the reality hit South Africans, grief gripped the nation.
Words of comfort were sent to the family and colleagues on social media and people publicly expressed their condolences.
Shona’s funeral was on Wednesday at the Fourways cemetery in Johannesburg.
In her heartfelt tribute, she began by addressing Sho directly saying: “My love, my skat ... Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be in this position that I am today. Speaking as I am today, without your physical presence.
“Sho, I thought you and I were going to grow old together ... that what I saw for us, that’s always been the dream. That’s always where I thought you and I were going.
“Skat, I want you to know that I am so proud of you. Never known anyone with your fighting spirit, even on that hospital bed, skat, you defied the odds so many times.
“I’m hurting right now, my heart is bleeding,” said Connie.
For those who had been in the seat of the grieving widow in front of TV cameras capturing every moment, what Connie Ferguson is going through is a trigger, but an opportunity to strengthen Ferguson during this difficult time.
Many well-known South African women have had to carry the burden of grief while the nation watches.
Letshego Zulu was one such. Her husband, Gugu Zulu, died while attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. She had these words of comfort for Ferugson: “My heart went cold yesterday afternoon. It shattered in a million pieces for both of you, as I've been where you are now. I'm at a loss for words. Dumbfounded. Speechless. Flabbergasted. Leso le botlhoko. Rest in Power, Mr Sho. Ous Connie Ferguson, I'm sending you all my love,” she tweeted.
Ayanda Ncwane was married to the late gospel musician Sfiso Ncwane who died in December 2016. She shared words of comfort in an Instagram post. Ncwane wrote an emotional message, saying: “Dear Connie Ferguson. Nobody and nothing is going to be said to you today that will make sense. The numbness, the death of your inner self, your world coming to a standstill, your heart tearing up into pieces. Begging him to come back to life. Ohhh Sisi the only thing I wanna do is to squeeze you sooo tight and let you scream so loud.”
In response to that message, former Our Perfect Wedding presenter and actress Kayise Ngqula, who had lost her husband in a car accident, remembered how she had the same words from Ncwane during her emotional goodbye.
“As I read this, I’m taken back to the day you sat beside me and told me the same thing. I didn’t believe I could ever get through the pain or live to see the sun shine again, but you assured me I would. We can stand in the gap knowing for her that some day, just not today, that it will make sense again,” recalled Ngqula.
She also shared how she dealt with grief: “It is in surrendering to what the grief will teach her that she will get stronger. Not today, but some day,” said Ngqula.
Another person who knows how Connie might be feeling is actress Simphiwe Simz Ngema, whose husband, actor Dumi Masilela, died in an attempted hijacking in 2017.
Simz wrote a message from the heart and said: “It’s that moment that you realise, nothing else matters. Only love, family and the legacy you leave behind matters. You did it, Uncle Sho. All of it and you did it well. Take a bow, king.
“Connie Ferguson, try to remember the love and not the loss, it’s the beautiful memories that will keep you going. Things will never be the same again, you will never be the same again, but you will get stronger,” said Ngema.
Grieving is never easy and we all do it according to traditions, customs and religious beliefs. When your loved one, especially a husband, was also loved by the nation, then South Africans will grieve with you and want to see you say your last goodbyes. This is not morbid in any way but actually also a comfort to the public, who also need to say their goodbyes to someone who might have been part of their lives, in film and television for years.
Watch the tribute below: