Valley of Death


January 2013.  Today was a special day.

Boys lying with Vic before Chris' arrival
Boys lying with Vic before Chris’ arrival

Yesterday Vic asked me to contact her minister.  Chris arrived at our home at 9.30am.  We all sat in Vic’s room whilst Chris read Psalm 23 and prayed for Vic who was walking through the “valley of death.” She prayed for Vic to find peace and acceptance of her situation.

Chris then served Holy Communion.  Vic, at first, did not want Jon-Daniel to partake in the Communion.  Chris explained that a child having to be confirmed before they are allowed to partake in Communion is a man-made rule.  I pointed out to Vic that it would be very special if Jon-Daniel could have his first Communion with her… Vic agreed.

Chris ministering to Vic
Chris ministering to Vic

It was so special.

I was filled with deep gratitude that we as a family have the opportunity of making memories every day. Today I am particularly grateful that Jon-Daniel will always carry the memory of his first Holy Communion with him.  Even if his mom does not attend his confirmation he will remember that he took his first Holy Communion with her.

Vic and Jon-Daniel after taking Communion
Vic and Jon-Daniel after taking Communion

For the first time in a long time I was grateful for Vic lingering death.  I am grateful that Jared had the opportunity to tell her that she is a legend and that she will always live on in so many people’s minds and hearts.  That Stepping Stone Hospice is her legacy….

 

Jared and his Mom
Jared and his Mom

Dying isn’t a science. There is no methodical process of coming to terms with death.  The reality of what is busy happening to Vic is frightening and overwhelming.  Earlier this week, when I gave one of the boys permission to go out, Vic said “See Mommy, this is why I cannot die.  I don’t know if you will be strict enough with the boys…”

Vic is desperately clinging to life.  Vic is afraid of losing control of her bodily functions and becoming a burden to us.  Vic is afraid of the act of dying.

The rest of us are scared because we want her suffering to end.  We know we will experience terrible guilt afterwards… Even as I am typing I KNOW I will second guess everything I did for Vic and every decision I ever made regarding her medical care.  This is just the way it is…

Angela and Tracey visited today.  The visits are so exhausting for Vic and yet she did not want them  to leave.  Every time they say “I must go…” Vic will pout and say “just stay a little longer…”

Vic, Tracey and Angela sharing a laugh
Vic, Tracey and Angela sharing a laugh

The weight is just falling off Vic.  She managed to keep in a mug of diet “Cup of Soup”.  Small mercies!

Lelani picked up the new morphine script from Dr Sue.  She made imprints of the boys’ hands for Vic… She massaged Vic’s little feet.  Jon-Daniel and I swam and Jared went with his girlfriend and her parents to a day resort.  Danie picked up the script from the pharmacy and washed his own motorbike.  (First time in 15 years….he always has it done!)

Vic being pampered by her sister Lani
Vic being pampered by her sister Lani

A normal day in the life of a family walking through the valley of death…I don’t want to forget any part of it.

 

18 thoughts on “Valley of Death

  1. I go through every moment of my day feeling teary with the thought of what you are going through. Tersia, you have such clarity about death and finding blessings during such an agonizing time. Those pictures are priceless. Jared reminds me so much of my 16-year-old son. His sweetness and love shines from him.

    I know we’ve never met, but I’d like for you to imagine that I am holding your hand. I know the darkness of grief is terrifying. I see so much love within your family; thankfully, you will have many hands holding you up. Even though I cannot be there, please know I am with you in spirit.

    Vicky is brave indeed. I cannot imagine. You are just as brave.

    Love, Judy

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  2. this is a great way to record those special moments. i hope that you can find it in your heart to just believe every decision that was made was made with love and to the best of your ability. vic doesn’t want you to do that to yourself. maybe the two of you need to talk about your feelings. let her know what is in your heart, your fears. this is her chance to say what needs to be said.

    so delighted that you all have these moments to treasure. and please feel free to borrow hope from me any time you feel the need. i have enough for us all.

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  3. I so hope that none of you torment yourselves with guilt -ever. I don’t see how you could have done more or better. You have all done your best, and no-one can do more than that. More than that,. Vic would not want you to feel guilt and second guess all the things you did for her.
    I hope instead , for all of you, that you simply allow yourselves to feel gratitude for all the wonderful and nurturing times you ‘ve had together and shared with us…

    And as for the way you will care for your grand-children when Vic has handed them over… remind her that grannies have wisdom and experience – that you brought up Vic and her siblings to be who they are, and now have even more experience!!!!.She doesn’t have to worry… she can leave them in your wise and loving hands.
    Thinking of you…

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  4. Eendag moet jy ‘n boek skryf want jou gedagtes en gevoelens en ervaring met hierdie leefwyse wat jy ken sal nie net ‘n ongeooflike treffer maak nie maar ander wat ‘n kwart van die lyding deurmaak waardeer jul nou gaan ‘n ondersteunings materiaal wees. Sometimes when I read your daily routine I’m thinking where does shopping, visiting a friend, working and all the normal day to day stuff fitting in your life. Then I’m thank God today that I’m so special that he gave Tienie you so that I can learn from you how to cope in situations. I was a very good nurse in my twenties but never expierence what you have and learnt You teach us to have a “normal life” with the abnormal lifstyle with death close to you Dear Lord thank you for Ters, thank you that you gave her strenght to be strong Thank you for Danie and the boys who understood Ters for going exstreems in her daily duties thank you Lord amen

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  5. Ek deel graag wat Tonie my boetie met ons op die Bybelstudie gedeel het :- “Al gewonder waar ‘n vrou vandaan kom?” ‘n Vrou is die hoogtepunt van God se skeppingswerk! Jy is heel aan die einde geskape omdat jy die kroon van die skepping is! Nadat God als geskape het, was daar nog iets baie belangrik weg. Die wese en werklikheid van die hart van die VROU het nog ontbreek! Deur die eeue het niks verander nie. Wanneer die vrou nie daar is nie, is daar ‘n groot leemte. Sonder die diensbare hande van die vrou, is die mensdom arm aan sorg. Sonder haar begripvolle ore, is woorde stom, sonder haar alles-sien-oë, tas almal soos blindes rond en sonder haar sagte hart is die wereld ‘n klipsteenharde plek! Want vroue laat die aarde draai. Dis hul wat meer as net leë mae vul, hul liefde maak mense se harte vol. Hul maak ni net hul kinders se lyfies met klere toe nie, hul pantser hul teen die koue wereld daar buite. Hul opregte “Hoe gaan dit?” Laat mense beter voel. Hul “ek’s lief vir jou-glimlagte laat probleme wegsmelt en hul geloof in môre, gee aan die mensdom hoop. Ja sonder jou soek ander heeltyd na ‘n vermiste skakel. Wanneer jy nie by die huis is nie, is jou gesin se blyplek koud, as jy nie daar is vir jou kinders nie-kan hul nie oorleef nie. As jy afwesig is in die mense om jou se lewens-is hul soekend. Omdat jy JESUS se hande en voete is wat die aarde laat beweeg, is dit ‘n lewelose plek sonder jou. Besef vandag-jy’s die kroon van die skepping! Jy is geskape om met jou vrouwees aan die wèreld lig te gee. Sonder jou gaan die wereld mank aan die ware wese van die liefde. Net JY kan met jou vroulike-eienskappe die verskil maak aan die harte van die mense in jou lewe. Geniet jou vrouwees, dit-wat-niemand-anders-kan-wees-nie, met oorgawe en passie. Tot U diens SKEPPER-GOD, dankie vir die grootsheid van U skeppingswonder!

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  6. Tersia, thank you so much for sharing these intimate moments with your family. I am blessed to have found you on this massive website known as wordpress. The courage you display is contagious. You told me you were strong, and you’ve proven it time over time. Vic is blessed to have a caring, wonderful, mother like you, we should all be so blessed.

    Just know, I pray for you all everyday, and that I am there with you as much as I can be, spiritually of course. You have done the best you can do as a mother, friend, and caretaker. Don’t second guess anything. God is leading you to make the right choices, I believe it. YOU are amazing!

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  7. Back from being away from a pc for some days and I want to say, I so agree with the first poster, AB Callahan, that it is a good idea to discuss the guilt that will torment you and which you deserve least of anybody of whom I have heard.

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  8. It’s incredible what you and your family are enduring. I know hearing about having strength can make you go “yeah, yeah…” but I have to say it- the resilience, love and strength simply radiates from my computer screeen. xoxoxoxo

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