Last Tuesday marked one month since her son died. And though she’s bravely soldiering on, Nandia Neethling says she is still deeply distressed and misses her boy.
“I get up and light a candle by a picture of his toys,” says Neethling from Panorama, Cape Town. “People told me to light a candle for him and I think that’s brought me some comfort.”
YOU earlier reported that Neethling’s late husband, Johann (69), entered the bedroom of their son Dylan (7) in the early hours of September 8 and shot the sleeping boy. Before turning the gun on himself, he called the police to report the shooting.
Neethling and he were estranged and Dylan spent every second weekend with his father,
Neethling says she keeps her son’s ashes in a cupboard in the flat where she now lives.
“Sometimes it’s strange to think his ashes are in the cupboard. I’m still deciding what I want to do with it.”
She’s taken in Dylan’s pet hedgehog and rabbit and the animals are also giving her some comfort. Dylan’s dog and cat now stay with her parents in Ceres.
“My friends and their parents are wonderful and they’re giving me a lot of support. My brother Rudi is my rock,” she says.
But Neethling is finding life without her son extremely hard. To make matters worse, she’s come to realise how much Johann hated her.
One of his family members handed her a package of photo albums.
“When I opened it, many of the pictures had been cut up. He scribbled the most horrible things in all the albums. In our wedding pictures, he scratched out my face and the faces of my parents.
“In one of Dylan’s Grade 1 pictures, he cut my son out of the picture and in one of the albums he wrote that he wishes me only unhappiness in life.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not going to let him destroy me. He wanted to break me down and I won’t let him.
“My life was spared. I still have a purpose in the world and there’s a future ahead of me.”