Dying is a lonely journey. Not only for the sick person but also for the family. As hard as we may try to avoid death, the truth is that we do a lousy job of it. Science and medicine will certainly postpone it, even staying healthy might seem to delay it, but the harsh reality is that death does not wait for you, it does not ask you, and it does not listen to you. Death ignores your feelings and wants; you do not matter to death…Death is the only certainty in life! We need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because waits for no-one… Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.
On the 1st of January 2013 we started Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services in my suburb. We operated from my home with one highly skilled Palliative Care Nurse, a Palliative Care Doctor, a network of caregivers, a four women steering committee, one car and a lot of enthusiasm and energy.
Vic was our first death. Stepping Stone was borne out of her pain and her desire to “pass it (Hospice Care) forward”. Many years ago, I promised her that I would start a Hospice in her honour…. It would be her legacy. When Siza looked after my Dad in his final days we “connected”. She is a beautiful, compassionate, efficient person. She has a gentle yet confidence inspiring disposition, and she delivered on her promise to Vic on day one. When she came to set up the subcutaneous driver the first time she promised Vic that she would take care of her pain needs. This she did to the best of her ability.
I blogged on this new lease of life Hospice gave Vic. We have at least two and a half wonderful months where Vic was able to “live”… go out for milkshakes with her boys.
We have been so blessed. Six weeks ago we were able to move into an office on the premises of an amazing charity organization called Amcare. We now have a donated desk, laptop and printer. We have quite a lot of donated equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers etc. We only have one dilapidated chair but our work is in people’s homes not in offices!
People have generously donated second-hand clothes which more than provides for the pain medication that is needed to treat our indigent patients. Through generous donations by a couple of people we have managed to pay Siza’s salary, fuel and cell phone costs. We have been able to buy a software program that will allow us to invoice the medical aids, of patients, that have terminal care cover.
Today Trix received a phone call from a lady, our of our second-hand clothing benefactors, who asked whether we could meet with her brother….he wants to donate a building to Stepping Stone Hospice!!
Our God is a faithful God. We have not advertised nor marketed aggressively at all.
I am speechless with the wonder of people’s generosity and love!
Please pray that this will indeed happen!
Vic, your legacy will live on. Thousands of people will be able to live and die with dignity because you had a dream. I love you Angel Child. I know you are our guardian angel!!
Many years ago I had to travel to Paris, on business, with two male clients. The one middleaged man, advised me that his wife would accompany us. I thought it was strange but did not give it much thought. We had to attend the Eurostatory exhibition. It may sound like fun, but exhibitions are hard work!! We also had to travel to a neighbouring city to visit a manufacturer of products… One arrives at the exhibition at 9am and you leave at 5 pm. It is a lot of slow walking and standing.
Add the frustration of the Paris traffic and commuting between the exhibition centre and hotel….
Dinner is followed by falling into the bed and just “dying”…
My first thought was that this was a jealous wife who did not trust her husband on a business trip with a female colleague… the only other reason would be that she thought it would be a very sociable trip, lots of sightseeing and shopping. Oh what the hell – as long as I was not expected to keep her company or take her shopping!
About a week before we left I found out that the couple had lost their son a couple of weeks before in a car accident. I felt sad for them, made a phone call, asked my secretary to send flowers. My life carried on…
I met the client and his wife at the airport. Their eyes were so incredibly sad. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I remember telling them that the trip would be “healing”… They nodded and said nothing.
We arrived in Paris on the Friday morning. I told them that as soon as they has unpacked and freshened up we would start our adventure. We would head out to Sacre Ceour…one of my favourite places!
Our first stop was the Sacre Ceour Cathedral. We entered the cathedral and everyone was in awe of the beauty of the cathedral. They asked why people were lighting candles. I explained that people were lighting candles for loved ones who had died.
The husband and wife walked off wordlessly and went to light a candle for their dead son. I was touched and sad for them.
Over the years we have become ‘distant’ friends…we stay in contact, we exchange notes on our grandchildren, he phoned me when his daughter was diagnosed with cancer. We cried together. He said “You are the only one who will understand my fear…” He knew Vic was ill.
I saw him today for the first time in about 18 months. We spoke about business and a potential co-operation on a new project. He said nothing about Vic. He asked no questions.
Eventually, I said “Vic died three months ago you know…”
He said “I heard. I tried to phone you, but you did not answer your phone.”
“I spoke to no-one” I said
“She is in a better place you know” he said.
“So let’s talk about how we are going to tackle this project” I said
I remembered the sadness in their eyes. I remembered all the candles they lit for their son. I remember not understanding their grief.
Today was a particularly bad day. For the first time since Vic’s memorial service I attended a Church Service. I dreaded the arms of comfort and gentle words of sympathy that was inevitable. Danie went with me. As we walked into the doors the arms were there…hugging and patting! Our entry caused a little stir among the congregation..
Danie took my hand and led me to our old place in the pews. People actually got up from where they were sitting to come and say “Hello” and “I am praying for you”…. Tears just ran down my cheeks and I COULD NOT stop crying! All I could see in my mind’s eye was my beautiful, precious child’s coffin in the front on the church – surrounded by white candles and St Josephs lilies.
The worship team started singing, and I could not even see the words on the screen through my tears.
As the service went I calmed down. I kept telling myself to “get a grip” which I eventually did.
After the service I cried in the embrace of my minister, church friends and acquaintances.
This evening I opened my emails and found a beautiful email from Jane@ http://johannisthinking.com/. I wanted to post some of it with the beautiful picture and went into her blog to copy her blog address when I found this amazing poem that I am going to share with you.
Jane’s writes in her Email:-
You are NOT alone—-there is LIGHT all around YOU! When I found this…I thought….Yes, this is Tersia! …and your daughter is surrounding YOU with love and light! BELIEVE it!You deserve to live in the LIGHT…..and it is NOT wrong to be happy….Vic is at peace and living in the LIGHT……and one day you will find her again…….until then…be gentle to YOU…..what would you tell her to do IF the situation was reversed? What if you were the ONE who had to leave this Mother Earth ? What would you say to your daughter? You say you “two are ONE”—-and I do believe it is true——— so speak to your inner child as you would speak to her! WE ALL NEED YOUR VOICE!
I cried again. I am so grateful that the goodness and the light that surrounded Vic and radiated from her, is seen by the world. Thank you dear Jane for telling me. Thank you for your words, your poetry and above all the Angel of Light. Thank you for caring!!
Dedicated to Tersia Burger***between the deep sighstears fall one by one
ridding the pitchblende
ever so slowly they formquietly…silentlydescendwater tearscascading
will they ever endwater crystal healersnature taking care of youhelping you transcendfreeing youuntil…you find yourselfhome again…
ice-kaleidoscope (Photo credit: JeremyO\K)
So, today was emotional but healing! I was surrounded by love and compassion. For the first time in a long time I did not feel isolated in my grief.
So to every one who comments and emails; I thank you for your love and support in my journey of mourning my child. For many years I have had a fear of allowing people close to me – I truly fear that they will betray my trust and friendship. I KNOW I must allow people close
to me. Blogging is allowing me see that there is kindness, goodness and unconditional caring out there….
Ah, I have been surrounded by angels this week! Yesterday my friend Trix, just popped around with a beautiful bunch of roses…yellow and orange. Vic would have loved the flowers and the gesture! Vic’s eldest sibling too dropped off a beautiful bunch of flowers.
Yesterday we burnt candles for Vic. We all cried. We all desperately missed Vic.
Trix is a “new” friend. She is part of the Stepping Stone Hospice steering committee. Trix is funny, fit, bright, dynamic and very intelligent! She is absolutely amazing, and no amount of effort or work for Stepping Stone Hospice is too much effort. Trix posts these amazing comments on Facebook throughout the day. Her posts are philosophical, funny and radiates her love of life and people.
Trix has become such an important part of my life in a short period of time. She has a way of saying “Do what you must do to cope with today…” She is not the huggy/kissy type friend… Under her chirpy exterior lies one of the most positive and honest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Now my friendship with Trix is one of the few goods things that came out of Vic’s illness… If Vic had not dreamt of a Hospice and Trix had not lost a husband to cancer in a Hospice In-Patient unit we may never have met…
Another new friend is Wendie Deacon http://deaconfamilyblog.wordpress.com/an-angel-named-vic/ Wendie is a nice person who is truly gifted. Wendie has challenges of her own and the way she has handles these challenges are so brave! She messages and says such beautiful things of Vic… That on it’s only is enough to truly endear her to me. Wendy wrote a beautiful poem for Vic… Thank you dear Wendie for honouring Vic with your words!
If only Vic could read Wendie’s beautiful poem… Do you think angels can read? I wish Vic could read these words…