Last month, my sister-in-law turned 50. Despite Fihliwe Vuyiswa Selane reaching this milestone, the celebrations were low-key because she was not feeling well.
But everyone in the family treasured the woman she was - hardworking, caring, loving and always there to lend a hand. We all wanted her to get better, get back to being the happy, outgoing mother, friend and daughter she always was. We didn't expect what was to happen last Saturday ... she died, leaving us all shocked and traumatised.
For me and my family, this holiday season is going to be bleak as we bid her a sad farewell. What makes me even sadder is that in years to come, December month, in which my birthday falls, will always remind me of her death.
The eldest daughter in her family, we affectionately called her Mamkhulu, and she carried that name with grace and lots of love. I married into her family and really experienced her love and warmth. She was a heroine in the family, and endeared herself to everyone whose life she touched.
She was full of laughter, generous and was a remarkable woman. My son Lindokuhle's favourite aunt, she was always there for my children and everyone in the family. I will forever embrace and keep her spirit alive.
Selane was born on November 12 1957 in Orlando East. She attended AB Xuma Primary School and later Lukholweni High.
When she lost her job a few years ago, she dedicated her life to taking care of children in her family whose mothers worked.
When community members noticed what a good job she was doing, they brought their children to her.
Selane is survived by her two sons, sister, nieces and nephews. She will be buried tomorrow at Avalon Cemetery. The service will take place at house number 5076 Nyokana Street in Orlando East, Soweto, at 8am.