Johannesburg - Two children hid in silence under a blanket last Thursday morning, after robbers had shot their father in the stomach.
Danie Labuschagne, 37, of Brakpan on the East Rand, died a few hours later due to internal bleeding.
"He looked at me as if he wanted to say 'help me'," said Labuschagne's 12-year-old daughter, Monique, on Sunday.
Labuschagne would have turned 38 on Christmas day, according to his heartbroken wife, Madelein, 37, about her high school sweetheart, the man who'd been "her everything".
The robbers had forced open the sliding door to their living room in the early morning hours on Thursday. "Danie and I woke up when they were in our room.
"Three men shone flashlights at us and said: 'Get up, get up'.
"They pulled the blankets off us. When my husband and I stood up, one robber shot him in the stomach. Danie yelled 'eina' and fell to the ground," Madelein said.
Monique and Danie, 14, woke up when their father was shot.
"I prayed that the Lord would save his life," Danie jnr said on Sunday. When she heard her father's cry of pain, Monique “hoped it's not serious", she said.
She went to her brother's room, where the two of them hid next to each other under a blanket in absolute silence. The robbers' haul included jewellery, cellphones, clothing and a laptop.
"My husband took the bullet for us. He didn't argue, and even explained to the thugs where they would find the laptop. We even called them 'sirs'," said Madelein.
She sat at the foot of their bed and said to her husband: "Pray, darling, just pray."
After the robbers had plundered the house and left, Danie snr pleaded: "Hurry up, just hurry up."
His family tried to pick him up to take him to hospital by car, but he was in too much pain, and said they should rather put him down again. He was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he died just after 04:00 on Thursday morning.
"I touched him and told him how much I loved him," Madelein said on Sunday.