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.
He was the most loved with a million friends.
Football star with so many wins.
He had the cutest smile that you would ever see.
He was the funniest person that you would ever meet.
He had a full scholarship from a college in another state,
but he loved football so he couldn’t wait.
A week after graduation, his girlfriend and some friends had a celebration.
He was excited because it was the last party of the year,
he kissed his mom goodbye as she told him not to drink any beer.
He smiled at her and said, “relax mom, I won’t, I’ll be home around midnight.”
She told him she loved him and to have a good time.
As he cruised down the street he thought of how much he would miss his friends and he thought of his girlfriend and how good things had been.
He slowed to a stop as the light turned red,
but the car behind him didn’t seem to see the stop ahead.
He flew from the windshield and on to the ground.
He could see, but he couldn’t look around.
He tried to call for help, but his words wouldn’t speak.
His heart got slower and his body grew weak.
Family and friends flashed in his mind, he thought about his girlfriend one last time.
The medics worked on him to give him breath,
but he was fading fast
so close to “death”.
His neck was broken, and his bones were cracked….
So hard to be identified because his face was smashed.
Time passed by and he opened his eyes to see a man.
There wasn’t a scratch on him, but he could barely stand.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” he said with slurred words.
The officer asked, “have you been drinking sir?”
The man looked at the boy and nodded his head.
And the boy closed his eyes remembering what his mother had said.
A tear ran down his face as the light turned red, and around midnight, he was pronounced dead.
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
To laugh often and love much – That Vic did. She always had a smile on her precious face. Even when she was in dreadful pain she would try to smile. When she was in a lot of pain her laugh was shrill. Pain seldom stopped her from laughing… In 2007 I said to Vic that my life was sad.
“That is terrible Mommy. Why?”
I felt like hitting my head against a wall! What did the child think? In 2007 Vic must have had 18 operations; developed every hospital superbug in the book; developed septicaemia, had a high output fistula; developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; spend months in ICU and survived having the ventilator turned off… Vic was op TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) for months…she had a massive open wound that we could not keep covered with a colostomy bag. It was too big and positioned very low down.
“I worry about you every second of the day baby. I worry whether you have vomited and how much you vomited; I worry whether you have been able to eat anything… I worry about your wound. I worry about your pain control….”
“Mommy, that is so sad. At least once a week the boys and I laugh so much that my tummy hurts from it…”
Vic loved unconditionally and with every fibre of her body. She gave everything! She was a wonderful daughter, mother, friend…She loved her family, her siblings, her friends and her boys. She LIVED love.
Her last words ever were “I love you Mommy”
… to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; Worldwide, intelligent people, respect and admire Vic for her courage, tenacity… We called Vic the “baby whisperer”. Children loved her. She loved children. Her only ambition as a toddler and teenager was to be a Mommy. She loved her sons beyond comprehension…
…… to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; Vic suffered a lot of betrayal in her little life. People got tired of waiting for her to die. “Friends” spoke about her “addiction” to pain medication behind her back… They used her illness as a weapon against her when she was at her most vulnerable. False friends (and loved ones) spoke their “minds” and condemned and judged Vic for choices she made… Because she was ill people thought they could say what they wanted, when they wanted.
….. to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; My precious child was so naïve. She refused to see the bad in people! The only time she got irritated and miserable was in hospital. She always found the good in people. She did not speak badly of people. When I was angry with someone she would placate me…point out their good points… She knew that if she voiced her own anger it would have driven me over the edge. Vic taught me unconditional love, forgiveness and tolerance. Vic brought out the best in me and the most other people.
…..to give of one’s self; Vic was a people pleaser. She would turn down MY bed!!!! She made sacrifices for each and every person in her life. Even in death she worried about other dying people who were less privileged than she was. I promised her 2 am one morning that I would start Stepping Stone Hospice! She kept talking to me about Stepping Stone until she lapsed into a coma.
…..to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; Vic left the world a better place. Her sons are monuments of the person she was; her dream of a Hospice has been realized.
……to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; With the 2010 Soccer World Cup Vic went crazy with enthusiasm; she bought every gimmick that hit the shops; she went of the “soccer train” in her wheelchair, she watched every single soccer game.
……to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived Vic’s legacy will live on through her sons and Stepping Stone Hospice. Long after I have died, people will continue to benefit from Vic’s dreams and goodness.
—this is to have succeeded.” My angel child – you succeeded! You succeeded in life and with living. You made the world a beautiful place filled with goodness and hope. I am so proud of you. You lived life to the full. You made a difference! You lived a greater and more successful life than most people. You have put the world to shame. You are my hero!
Sixteen years ago today, my beloved mother lost her battle against the septicaemia ravaging her tiny little body. I woke up this morning thinking “well at least this year Mom has Dad and Vic with her…”
It was very hard for me to come to terms with my Mom’s death. I spoke to her every day of my life regardless of where I was in the world. I was a real “Mommy’s Girl”. Mom adored Vic. They were so close.
I was cruising (I know “surfing” is the correct terminology) the web looking at bereavement sites when I saw that on the 9th of December 2012 it was Compassionate Friends 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting. The 9th of December is my birthday. It was a special birthday – my last with my precious child. Worldwide bereaved parents were lighting candles for their dead children…This year I shall join them in sorrow – lighting up the world.…
I found a section “To the Newly Bereaved”. It is now 4 months and seventeen days or 137 days since Vic died. Am I still a newly bereaved parent or am I becoming a seasoned bereaved parent?
When your child has died, suddenly it seems like all meaning has been drained from your life. When you wake in the morning, it’s difficult to get out of bed, much less live a “normal” life. All that was right with the world now seems wrong and you’re wondering when, or if, you’ll ever feel better.
We’ve been there ourselves and understand some of the pain you are feeling right now. We are truly glad that you have found us but profoundly saddened by the reason. We know that you are trying to find your way in a bewildering experience for which no one can truly be prepared.
When you’re newly bereaved, suddenly you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster where you have no idea what to expect next. Here are thoughts on some of what you may be experiencing or feeling (many of these will apply to bereaved siblings and grandparents):
You’re in shock from what has happened and a numbness surrounds you to help shield you from the pain. I thought I was going to lose my mind when Vic died. The pain was unbearable. Now numbness has settled in. It is a survival mechanism.
You find yourself in denial. Your child cannot be dead. You expect to see your child walk through the door any moment. No – I have passed this stage. Vic is dead. She will never shuffle down the passage again.
You see your child in the faces of others walking down the street. No – Vic was uniquely beautiful. I wish I could see her face on a walking body because that may erase some horrible memories from my mind.
You wonder how someone can feel this much pain and survive. Absolutely!
Thoughts of suicide briefly enter your mind. You tell yourself you want to die—and yet you want to live to take care of your family and honor your child’s memory. Absolutely!
You want to know how the people around you can go about their day as if nothing has happened—don’t they understand that your life—everything that meant anything to you—has just ended? Your purpose in life is gone. Absolutely
You are no longer afraid of death as each day that passes puts you one day closer to being with your child. Absolutely yes!!!!
Thoughts of “what ifs” enter your mind as you play out scenarios that you believe would have saved your child. Yes
Your memory has suddenly become clouded. You’re shrouded in forgetfulness. You’ll be driving down the road and not know where you are or remember where you’re going. As you walk, you may find yourself involved in “little accidents” because you’re in a haze. Absolutely
You fear that you are going crazy. I fear I am…
You find there’s a videotape that constantly plays in an endless loop in your mind, running through what happened. I try very hard not to think about it
You find your belief system is shaken and you try to sort out what this means to your faith. Yes
Placing impossible deadlines on yourself, you go back to work, but find that your mind wanders and it’s difficult to function efficiently or, some days, at all. Others wonder when you’ll be over “it,” not understanding that you’ll never be the same person you were before your child died—and the passage of time will not make you so. Absolutely correct!
You find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over again trying to understand what someone else has written. Yes – it is scary. I watch TV programs and cannot remember the show afterwards.
You rail against the injustice of not being allowed the choice to die instead of your child. ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!!
You find yourself filled with anger, whether it be at your partner, a person you believe is responsible for your child’s death, God, yourself, and even your child for dying. ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!!
You yearn to have five minutes, an hour, a day back with your child so you can tell your child of your love or thoughts left unsaid. No, I have no unspoken words or emotions. I just want her back with me!
Guilt becomes a powerful companion as you blame yourself for the death of your child. Rationally you know that you were not to blame—you most certainly would have saved your child if you’d been given the chance. Thank God this phase has passed.
You feel great sadness and depression as you wrestle with the idea that everything important to you has been taken from you. Your future has been ruined and nothing can ever make it right. My life will never be the same again. I wonder whether I will ever experience true happiness again.
Either you can’t sleep at all or you sleep all the time. You feel physical exhaustion even when you have slept. Have these people moved into my home? This is absolutely true.
You no longer care about your health and taking care of yourself—it just doesn’t seem that important anymore. Maybe….
You’re feeling anxiety and great discomfort—you’re told they’re panic attacks. No
The tears come when you least expect them. Absolutely
Your appetite is either gone or you find yourself overeating. Oh yes!
Family & Social
If you have surviving children, you find yourself suddenly overprotective, not wanting to allow them out of your sight. Yet you feel like a bad parent because it’s so difficult to focus on their needs when you’re hurting so bad yourself. I am petrified of not being with the boys all the time. I hate not being with them! I am stressed when they are with their father or friends. I am terrified of leaving them to go overseas…
You find that your remaining family at home grieves the loss differently and you search for a common ground which seems difficult to find. Yes
You’ve been told by well-meaning people, even professionals, that 70-80-90 percent of all couples divorce after their child dies. You are relieved to find that new studies show a much lower divorce rate, from 12-16%, believed to be caused by the “shared experience” aspect of the situation. We have gone through a very rough time in our marriage. We have worked through it. But I can see that it is a distinct possibility in a newly bereaved situation.
Old friends seem to fade away as you learn they cannot comprehend the extent or length of your grief. No…they faded away when Vic was ill and she did not die soon enough
Things you liked to do which seemed so important before now seem meaningless. Absolutely correct
Others say you’ll someday find “closure,” not understanding that closure never applies when it is the death of your child. Darn right!
Fleeting thoughts of pleasurable activities bring about feelings of guilt. If you child can’t have fun, how can you do anything that brings you enjoyment? Maybe
I have often compared Vicky and my lives with the lives of Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger). Terms of Endearment cover three decades in the lives of widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger).
Fiercely protected by Aurora throughout childhood, Emma runs into resistance from her mother when she marries wishy-washy college teacher Flap (Jeff Daniels). Seventy five minutes into the movie Emma discovers that she has terminal cancer. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terms_of_endearment/
The final third of the movie is about Emma dying and the family’s journey coming to terms with it.
Aurora, the mother, is a sharp-tongued, controlling mother who is fiercely protective of her only daughter. Emma, the daughter, is a rebel… Just like Vic and I were.
I was distraught, like Aurora, when I found out Vic was pregnant. I hated the foetus that was growing in her body… I knew it could kill her. The second I lay eyes on Jared, I experienced a rush of love that has never been equalled…Don’t misunderstand me – I love all my grandchildren equally. But, when I first saw Jared I knew I was capable of perfect love.
Aurora grows to love her grandchildren with that perfect love.
Aurora and I are not the touchy types. Vic and Emma would hug and hold on forever. I was often uncomfortable with the “excessive” display of emotion. Vic and I always held hands but I get uncomfortable with long hugs….being that close to another person for a “long” time. Vic thought I was the worse hugger ever. There was a day that Vic said “You have not gone all stiff Mommy. That was a perfect hug.” In the movie there is a scene where mother and daughter hug. Emma Horton says: “Momma, that’s the first time I stopped hugging first. I like that.”
Then of course there is the dreadful hospital scenes where Emma is in so much pain. Aurora is calm, matter of fact and placating when she talks to her beloved daughter. She loses her calm exterior the minute that she walks out of the room into the nurses’ station.
Aurora Greenway: It’s past ten. My daughter is in pain. I don’t understand why she has to have this pain. All she has to do is hold out until ten, and IT’S PAST TEN! My daughter is in pain, can’t you understand that! GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!
Whilst I was with Vic I smiled, I encouraged and placated…the minute I walked out of Vic’s hospital room God help the sister or doctor I got hold off… Doctors made U-Turns when they saw me waiting for them; Brendan actually said he was scared of me and would not want to bump into me in a dark passage.
But that is what Mother’s do. We fight for our children. We protect them at all costs and with total disregard to the rest of the world.
Living with a terminally ill child is devastating. I wanted to fold Vic into my arms, lock out the world and the disease, and protect her from pain. In the real world we fight with our dying child to keep on fighting, look after themselves, to do what we believe is right… We fight for them, with them…..We fight for their lives.
This fragile balance and relationship is beautifully depicted in Terms of Endearment when the mother (Aurora Greenway) says: I just don’t want to fight anymore.
Emma Horton: That’s because you’re never satisfied with me.
Vic often used similar words. She would never “space” herself. Half a breath of oxygen in her lungs and she was driving and organising a party. I would fight and remind her that driving (under the influence of humungous quantities of morphine) invariably lead to a fractured vertebrae or two…
“Don’t fight with me Mommy” she would say.
The most moving scheme in the movie is when Emma says goodbye to her sons. In the two years, before her dying, her eldest son had withdrawn from her.
Emma Horton: I know you like me. I know it. For the last year or two, you’ve been pretending like you hate me. I love you very much. I love you as much as I love anybody, as much as I love myself. And in a few years when I haven’t been around to be on your tail about something or irritating you, you could… remember that time that I bought you the baseball glove when you thought we were too broke. You know? Or when I read you those stories? Or when I let you goof off instead of mowing the lawn? Lots of things like that. And you’re gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you’re gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don’t – I know that you love me. So don’t ever do that to yourself, all right?
Vic was so worried about Jon-Daniel. He withdrew during her very ill spells. I remember the one night when she crawled into bed with me. She was crying bitterly. https://tersiaburger.com/2012/05/23/23-5-2012/ She spoke about how Jon-Daniel would suffer from guilt after she died. “Tell him I say thank-you for making me laugh”
In the dying scene Emma folds her hand under her chin. Vic always slept with her little hand under her chin.
I am busy with my child’s estate. It is absolutely horrible!!!!!!
Today, 131 days after Vic died, I have to complete an insurance form. The question I cannot answer is “Date of Cremation”. I did not want to know! This is another date that will stick to my memory until the day I die…. I had to send an email to the undertaker. I await his reply.
I held my child death certificate and Notice of Death form DHA-1663A in my hands… On page 1 of 3 is Vic’s tiny little thumbprints, on page 2 of 3 – my thumbprint. I am listed as the “informant”. On page 3 of 3 the thumbprint of the Undertaker…
The darn certificates are smudged with tears now. Oh well, tough luck!!
No parent should ever have to do, whatever executors have to do, for their child… It feels as if my heart was ripped out of my chest!
To-do list: OUTSTANDING FORMS TO SUBMIT
DEATH NOTICE – FORM J294
PARTICULARS OF NEXT-OF-KIN FORM J192
INVENTORY – FORM J243
ACCEPTANCE OF TRUST AS EXECUTOR
AFFIDAVIT RE EXECUTORSHIP
SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
INSURANCE POLICY CLAIMS
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO TO SUBMIT THESE STUPID DARN FORMS TO!! I suppose there will be a website somewhere that will tell me.
In 2002 I was on top of the world. My career was at an all-time high, financially we were secure and I LOVED my job. I was able to work long hours and spend time with my friends. I was on 9 Church Committee’s and very involved with community work in the poor areas.
Then it happened…Vic had her blotched back surgery and our lives changed forever. I spent 22 days in the waiting room outside the Intensive Care Unit. My life ground to a halt.
We moved into a downward spiral of hospitals, doctor visits, x-rays, scans, 81 abdominal surgeries, pain, open wounds, hospital bugs, sepsis and wound dressings. I felt over-whelmed and out of control. Doctors and nurses prodding and touching my child. To them she was a commodity. But, to me, she was my life.
Slowly but surely my life changed… I became fixated with finding a “solution” to my child’s devastating health problems. After all, I am a Baby Boomer. We don’t accept bad situations. We find solutions. We sort out problems. I refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis as I did when she was a little girl. I was told that Vic would not live to the age of 12 when she was diagnosed as a toddler… I refused to accept it. Vic not only outlived the prognosis but lived to complete school, get married and give birth to two beautiful boys. The ventilators were turned off and Vic continued to breathe, live….
We went from one doctor to the next. I spend hours every day of my life on the internet looking for solutions and advice; it became a coping mechanism. I worked longer hours in-between surgeries. Quite frankly, work became a crutch. I spent less and less time with my family and friends…I suppose because I felt no-one understood my fear, my despair, my pain…
My fear, despair and pain became my constant companion. My computer and the internet my trusted friend…
One day, about 7 years ago, Jared asked me “Oumie don’t you love your family?”
“Of course I love my family! Why are you asking such a question?” I replied
“Because you are never home….”
I had to sit down and reassess my life. Quite honestly the financial implications of keeping Vic alive and care for her was daunting. I feared going home because I could not handle Vic’s pain…. I knew in my heart there was no cure. The mere thought of Vic suffering for endless years were terrifying! I could not bear to see the fear and helpless desperation in the boys’ eyes.
So contrary to what I have written before, and comments that have been left, I have not been the best mother. There was a time that I ran away. I was petrified of the thought that Vic would suffer for another 40 years…be dependent upon me for another 40 years… There were times that I thought to myself “There has to be more to life!” I felt lost in the in-balance of my life. No matter where I turned it was work and responsibility!
In 2009 my Dad came to live with us. He suffered from Alzheimer’s.
Whilst I reached a maturity level where I realized that being a caregiver is a privilege, not a burden, our lives changed.
I started sleeping downstairs many years ago when Vic was so ill. I was scared I would not hear her if I slept upstairs. I slowly slipped into a habit of working late on my laptop and then falling asleep on the sofa. This continued when my Dad lived with us. I still sleep downstairs on the sofa – waiting for Vic shuffling footsteps down the passage, text messages saying “Can I have something for pain?” or the intercom screeching! The intercom was the 911 call.
I slowly and inextricably slipped into depression. My entire life was dominated by my fears for my child. The caregiving demands steadily increased as the years passed and the situation deteriorated. It became a dark and difficult period for the entire family. We could no longer spontaneously decide to go to dinner, go away for a weekend or even a holiday. Every activity demanded a great deal of planning. We became more and more isolated as a family.
It is natural for family and friends to drift away when a loved one becomes ill. The longer the illness, the longer they stay away. By it’s very nature, caring giving is draining. It is far easier to stay home and rest than socialize outside the home. Isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, and illness. It takes energy and effort to maintain friendships when one feels tired and discouraged.
My salvation was cyberspace. I joined an Alzheimer support group, https://www.caring.com. Without the support group I would never had coped with my dad’s descend into Alzheimer’s. A year ago I started blogging on Vic’s final journey. I have found a cyber-community with parents who also lost children, friends with a word of encouragement, a kind words. I receive advice, support and information from a loving cyber-community.
I however realize that I need re-join life. There are days that I just want to stay on my sofa with a blanket pulled over my head. I fear that if I sleep in a bed I will never get out of it. In the TV lounge there is always people. Whether it be the boys, Danie or the housemaids.
Today I had tea with an old friend. For almost 4 years I have not been able to see her. She has a young son that I have never seen. Our friendship was reduced to the odd phone call or text message. Often she would phone and there would be a crisis with Vic. I would say “I will phone you back” and never get around to it. I isolated myself from friends. I was so miserable and totally absorbed with Vic that no “outsider” could penetrate my “barrier”.
My life centred round my sick child and family.
Despite the trauma of Vic’s death and coming to terms with the horrible loss, my life has changed. I have had tea with my new Magnolia friends and Christelle. We go out to dinner on the spur of the moment; we have been on holiday and I spent 4 days at a Spa with my sister! I have watched Jon-Daniel play hockey matches, started gym and started remodelling the house. I have seen a psychiatrist and take antidepressants. We have started Stepping Stone Hospice.
How amazing is this?
If the truth be known it is not amazing at all. I am dying on the inside. I cry uncontrollably – mostly when everyone has gone to bed. If the boys were not living with us it would have been so different. I KNOW I would still have been in bed. I am consumed with longing for my child. Last night I replayed 100’s of voicemail messages that Vic had left me….
Trouble neglect you
And heaven accept you when its time to go home
May you always have plenty
The glass never empty
Know in your belly
You’re never alone
May your tears come from laughing
You find friends worth having
With every year passing
They mean more than gold
May you win but stay humble,
Smile more than grumble
And know when you stumble
You’re never alone
Chorus: Never alone
I’ll be in every beat of your heart
When you face the unknown
Wherever you fly
This isn’t goodbye
My love will follow you stay with you
Baby you’re never alone
I have to be honest
As much as I want it
I’m not gonna promise that the cold winds won’t blow
So when hard times have found you
And your fears surround you
Wrap my love around you
You’re never alone
May the angels protect you
Trouble neglect you
And heaven accept you when its time to go home
And when hard times have found you
And your fears surround you
Wrap my love around you
You’re never alone
My love will follow you stay with you Baby you’re never alone
Friday evening we duly said goodbye to young Izak. My heart is at peace. His forever-parents are a wonderful couple. The Dad refers to Izak as his “first-born” son and the Mommy glows with pride when he does something cute (which is all the time).
I am so grateful that he will be going to a loving home. The parents are intelligent, sociable and gentle. The Mommy seemed a little uncomfortable changing and feeding him, but I think she may have been a little intimidated by our presence. The Dad was born to be united with Izak. They even look-alike!
The precious little angel was at his best behaviour. It is as if he knows something is brewing….
Lani is such a kind, gentle soul. She arranged a “Stork Tea” for the Mommy. Some of her friends made up little gift parcels, and Lani packed one of each of his cereals, Purity, finger biscuits, medicines etc for the Mommy with detailed instructions. She also made a beautiful “First Bible” with Izak’s photos in it! The Mommy cried!
His Oumie (that’s me) bought him a jean, baseball jacket and in African Tradition – a blanket. I hope that when he is wrapped in his blanket at night he will feel loved and cared for, even when we are gone from his life.
I did cry when I kissed him for the last time. I felt good knowing that he has forever-parents that love him and who will cherish him. I can see he will be their pride and joy!
Tuesday at 1 pm Lani has to kiss baby Izak goodbye. I know she will be heartbroken. She has such a special bond with him! He looks at her with absolute adoration in his bright brown eyes. I know the girls will be heartbroken for losing their little “brother”. Tom cried on Friday night when he prayed for Izak and his Forever Family. I know in his heart he had some dreams of being Izak’s “wingman” on his first night out on the town.
Forever Daddy – take my hand and hold it as if it is my heart….
I pray that Lani will cope with saying goodbye. I know how hard it is!
I salute Lani and Tom for making a difference in an incredible baby’s life! I believe that his abandonment is the best thing that could ever have happened to him. His birth mom made an incredible sacrifice to ensure a better life for him. In Lani and Tom’s home he had the best possible start to a good life. Izak was showered with love by everyone he came in touch with…He won over hearts of stone!
My wish for this adorable little boy is a life filled with blessings, love, care, good health and joy. Izak has the potential to become president of this country. I pray that his forever parents will cherish and nurture this potential and guide him wisely.
So my precious cherub who laughs a lot, know that you started life surrounded by love. Hamba Kahle. I will miss you little one. You will always remain in my heart! (Hamba Kahle means to “go well” or “stay well”, not really goodbye)
Tom, Lani and Girls – I salute you for selflessly loving this precious child. You have given this little boy a chance in life. I love and admire you for it.
Yesterday morning I teared up – again. Danie asked “And now? What’s wrong?”
“Just missing Vic” I said
“Shame” he said with sadness in his voice. “I miss her too”
We spoke about how my grief had changed over the past four months. Today it is exactly four months since my precious child died. I keep using the words “death and died” and not the gentler “passed”… I do that because death is harsh. My child DIED, she is DEAD. My pain is as real as it was 4 months ago. My grief is however no longer as transparent as it was to the world.
Four months ago when Vic died my body physically hurt. My heart was physically aching. The pain was new. Now my grief is in me, part of me as if it is a limb or organ… My grief is hidden from the world. If I did not tell you, you would never know.
To the world – I seem to have adjusted to the loss of my child. I am “functioning, smiling, carrying on with life”… People are so relieved that they no longer have to cope with my raw grief…
“I never knew my mind could be dominated by a single thought every day for years and still not get in the way of the progress of my life. The hands on the clock continue to turn, and the sunrises every morning.
Even though the grief is not on the surface, the missing is as strong as it ever was. We can’t explain it, but we want to share it. We might not break down, but the strength of the grief never fades.”
We just keep on living with it and do the best we are able to do.”
I miss Vic more today than I did four months ago. I keep looking at photographs of the past couple of years so I can REMEMBER her suffering; I re-read my blog to REMEMBER her suffering; I keep trying to find solace in the fact that she is pain-free. It is becoming more difficult to see the positive side of Vic’s death. My mind is blocking out the horror of her suffering! I am remembering the good times only.
I hear you say “It is good” No, It is not good! If I forget her suffering I will never accept the “need for her to die” element of Vic’s death.
My sister shared her heartbreak with me…She said that one night when she slept with Vic she woke up to hear Vic talking to me. She said Vic was crying and saying “Mommy I am so sore. I can’t do this anymore” Lorraine said she kept her eyes shut and pretended to sleep because she could not deal with the moment… Why am I forgetting?????? On the 13th of November I posted “Will my poor baby’s hell ever end? If there is a lesson to be learnt PLEASE God show me what it is so I can learn it!! This has come to an end!” https://tersiaburger.com/2012/11/13/signposts-for-dying/
I want my child back with me. I want to hold her, tell her I love her. I want to hear her footsteps in the passage; I want to hear her voice…
Today, the 12th of May 2013, is my first Mother’s Day in 38 years without my precious Vicky.
I attended my sister’s birthday party. I smiled and participated in her birthday and Mother’s Day celebrations. I know that worldwide millions of other mothers joined me today in quietly reflecting on our grief and sadness.
I know that the family and especially Danie were worried about how I will handle Mother’s Day. On Friday morning Danie asked whether he could get me flowers for Mother’s Day as he has done for the past 22 years. I declined.
I know that even though today is dedicated to mothers, entire families will be affected. Fathers too experience grief and yet the world seems to forget about them. Maybe it is because men are so stoic in their grief.
I saw this on a Facebook site – Grieving Mothers, and it really shook me…
I know that Danie is grieving for Vic. He is grieving with the boys and me. He is grieving for us. I know he fears that he lost part of me….
Today I share Mother’s Day with my fellow club members – the grieving mothers of the world. Tonight I will reread 30 odd Mother’s Day Cards and drawings that I received from my precious child over the years. I will cry on my own. I will burn candles for my child and for the moms of Henry, Tommy, Raymond, Phillip, Klysta,Jason, Alex, Matthew, Caitlyn, Morgan, “B”, Jason David, James, Jesse, Steven, Graham, … I will weep for my beautiful grandsons who did not have a mommy to wish a “Happy Mother’s Day” today… I will mourn my Mom – a woman of great strength, beauty and love.
Yet I am filled with gratitude and love for my stepchildren and grandchildren; the messages of love and support that started coming through from friends, family, Vic’s friends and even the boys friends mothers…
My phone started pinging early this morning. I ignored the pings. Danie sneaked into my TV lounge where I was sleeping on the sofa. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. Then my phone rang, and I could not ignore the call… It was Lee-Ann. She said “HI T, I am just phoning to tell you I love you…” I burst into hysterical tears. Poor lee!
Danie brought me letters that the boys had written me… Jared wrote “Dear Oumie, I know we don’t have a reason to celebrate mothers day, other than to remember Mom and all she meant to us. So I have decided that we are changing the name to Oumie’s Day. We got you a sign that says “HOME” . That is because this is OUR home, and it always will be.”
Jon-Daniel wrote: “Happy Mothers Day Oumie” It may not be the happiest time of the year for you. Although your very own child is up in Heaven, you have GRANDchildren. Nothing will ever fill the gap – Mommy’s gap! This is the first year you will be celebrating Mother’s Day without the One who made you a Mommy. It is difficult,you must know I am always here. After all you are our grandmother. The word says it all, “grand” – great, awesome, amazing. And “Mother” – well, no need to describe that. Everybody knows how special a mommy is.”
Henk, second eldest grandson wrote “Ouma, it was a difficult year but you are always here to help and love. You always have a smile no matter how bad things are for you. We are grateful for it, and that is why we love you so much and always will do.”
Yesterday little Simone put her arms around me and said “Thank you for being my Ouma. Thank you for spoiling us. I love you very much. My words are your Mothers Day present.”
I have had beautiful messages of love and caring from all my stepchildren. It has truly filled me with joy.
I also read a card that Vic gave me in 2000 “We have all changed a lot through the years Mommy but one thing will never change – and that is the love between us. It is a special bond that keeps us close no matter where we are. I love you more than words can say.”
I know that today my precious child and Mom are celebrating Mother’s Day together. I am grateful for all the years we were able to celebrate together. I love you and honour you both today. Two amazing mommy’s…
In honour of Mother’s Day I would like to share some of my favorite Mother quotes.
Pilgrim Peace“Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return.”
No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a MOTHER’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star. ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin.
A MOTHER is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.~Washington Irving.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. — Irish Proverb.
The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children. Jessica Lange.
MOTHER’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. Agatha Christie.
My Mom died 15 years and 11 months ago. She was tiny and petite. I remember my school friends telling me that my Mom reminded them of a fairy princess. My Mom dressed beautifully, had perfectly manicured nails and hair…. She taught us the finer things in life.
My Mom always worked…she was bright and diligent in her profession as a bookkeeper. She was proud to be a career girl. Mom knitted beautifully and made glorious tapestries!
The surprising thing is that we did not ever feel deprived because Mom worked. I was proud of my mom. As a family, we went on wonderful holidays every single year of our childhoods. We were always the well-dressed kids on the block…We got new bicycles, and we had a beautiful home.
As a child, I thought we were rich. Of course, I knew that many of my parent’s friends lived in seriously nice homes, but somehow I never thought those people were wealthier than we were. Today I realize that I grew up in a middle-class home. As a child, I felt protected and RICH! How amazing is that?
My mother was a remarkable lady. She brought us up to be compassionate, honest people; to never let the sun set on an argument; to love unconditionally, to protect our own… We learnt from her strength, her respect for others, her courage, faithfulness and her love for God. Mom was around for the happy and sad times.
“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”
― Kristin Hannah, Summer Islandhttp://denacronholm.com/
My Mom died after she developed septicaemia post-operatively. It was two agonizing weeks! We sat next to her bed willing her to fight, get well…. To die…
When my Mom died I thought my life was over. The grief was overwhelming. It was my first “real” death. My gran had passed many years ago, but that was my mom’s grief… I was young, ambitious and climbing the corporate ladder. My life went on. I remember my Mom crying at silly times because she was missing her mom. I remember thinking “surely it can’t be that bad? Old people die…”
After my mom died I read these words, “A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. ” ― Kristin Hannah, Summer Island.My mom grieved for her mom until the day she died.
I must add that my father was an amazing gentleman. He supported my mom on every level. He treated her like a queen and tolerated no less from us children. I adored my dad! But today’s post is about my mom and motherhood.
I only understood my mom’s love for us after I gave birth to Vic. It was an all-consuming love. I held my tiny baby girl in my arms and knew that she needed me for every one of her needs; she could not survive without me… My mom and I were so close after Vic’s birth. We shared a selfless love that only mothers can understand. As mothers, our children come first; nothing is more important than our child’s comfort, happiness and safety.
“Womanhood is a wonderful thing. In womankind we find the mothers of the race. There is no man so great, nor none sunk so low, but once he lay a helpless, innocent babe in a woman’s arms and was dependent on her love and care for his existence. It is woman who rocks the cradle of the world and holds the first affections of mankind. She possesses a power beyond that of a king on his throne.
…Womanhood stands for all that is pure and clean and noble. She who does not make the world better for having lived in it has failed to be all that a woman should be.”
― Mabel Hale, Beautiful Girlhood: A Timeless Guide for Christian Adolescence
I know there are mothers out there that really suck… I know because I have been told by friends that they were never protected or defended by their moms. I am so sad for people who do not have a good relationship with their mothers. I was blessed with an amazing mother and that enabled me to be a good mother to my child. My child was an amazing mother to her sons. She loved her boys with every fibre in her body. She suffered excruciating pain and indignity to stay alive… Vic could have given up much earlier in her life. She fought to live right until the end…why??? It is easy – to bring up her beloved boys herself!
I am so proud of the mother Vic was. She packed a lifetime of parenting into the little time that she had with her boys. Jon-Daniel’s (14 years) BBM message this morning read “I really do miss you Mommy. I miss the laughs we had and the time we spent together, and I miss talking to you. Love you Mommy.”
The boys are level-headed, clean-living boys. They have taken their mother’s words to heart “I am your mother not your excuse”. Academically they are doing well. Emotionally they are coping. They are beautiful boys and truly do Vic’s memory honour.
I am the last mother alive…there will be no next generation mother to carry forward this miracle of motherhood. The boys may become fathers, but I am the last of a long line of great mothers.
I will think of it on Sunday when millions celebrate Mother’s Day all over the world.
I have flu. I get ill once in 5 years and I am a ninny. I do not handle pain and discomfort well… I whinge, moan and groan until I am better…
This time I have embraced my flu. I can stay in bed and there is no pressure for me to get up…. I can just lie in bed with my eyes closed and it is okay! For the first time since my precious child died I don’t have to communicate, talk or pretend. I can just be sick!!!! I have spent four days in bed not having to talk, smile or pretend….
I am sick to the core of my soul – not only from the flu but from heartbreak. I was able to feel the loneliness and emptiness that permeates my life since Vic died. For four days I have not had to smile or live – I could lie in bed and hope to die.
There are days that I really do cope. There are days that I am able to smile and laugh. Most of the time I live a lie…
I have made peace with the fact that my precious child’s suffering is over. I know that never again will she fracture vertebrae from vomiting, scream from pain, whimper because she does not have the strength to scream… But all I have done is learnt to accept that Vic was amputated from my life. I still have to learn to live without the amputated part of my body; the pain of the missing part of me continues to taunt me…
I miss my child so much! I want to love and hold her. I wish I could have protected her from the ravages of Osteogenesis Imperfecta and doctor error! No, I don’t have guilt…I did everything I possibly could for my baby girl. I just desperately miss her! I miss her company.
I am hoping that the pain will pass…I do remember the beauty of my precious Vic all the time. The wonderful mother and daughter that she was; kind and gentle; incapable of malice…Her beauty will remain with us for ever.
Tomorrow I will get out of bed and carry on living.