St Joseph’s Lilies…


Photo Credit to:  thegardeningblog.co.za

Photo Credit to: thegardeningblog.co.za

Someone phoned Colin and told him it was okay to bring the boys home…

My friend Judy arrived.  I can’t remember for love or money what she said.  I do remember the comfort I felt from her presence.  The boys arrived and we group hugged.  I remember thinking “how calm they are”…

I took them through to Vic’s room, the linen had already been changed and the room tidied.  One would never say someone as precious as my beautiful Vic had died in the room a couple of hours earlier…  Vic’s room looked the same as it would have looked if she was in hospital.  As if she would be home within a couple of days or weeks … as thousands of times before.

We cried a bit.  We spoke about her suffering being over.  I could sense her gentle spirit.

Vic’s room was not a scary place to be.  Esther said that it was a room of love…  I was so scared the boys would not want to go into Vic’s room, that they would associate the room with death.  My dad too died in that room…  I knew I had to sleep in Vic’s bed (again) that night.

The minister and undertaker arrived at the same time.  The minister had prayed for Vic so many times in her life…he knew her well.  I always called him my “secret weapon”.  On umpteen occasions he prayed the dying prayer and Vic would miraculously recover!  This time it had not worked.  This time he would pray the prayer for the dead…

The boys and Colin sat in on the meeting.  We discussed the service and I requested that Vic not be referred to as the “deceased”.  Vic had given me the order of the service, the hymns she wanted sung and the names of her pallbearers.    The boys decided on Psalm 71 as the Scripture reading – it was Vic’s favourite Psalm and one of their favourites.  It was easy.  The minister, Bella, prayed and left.

The undertaker hauled out his I pad and within minutes he had scanned Vic’s and my ID documents.  He showed us lots of photos of different caskets.  We chose a dark coloured rectangular casket.

“Would you like flowers on the coffin?” he asked

“Oh yes” I said.  “St Joseph’s lilies – lots and lots of them” I asked.

“How big must the bouquet be?” he asked

“The entire length and width of the coffin” I replied

“That’s a lot of flowers” he said.  “The coffin is 2m long…”

“That’s far too big” I said

“Mommy will slide up and down in the coffin” one of the boys said….

“Don’t worry” he said.  “We put in wedges so she would slide around”

“We want 2 metres of flowers” I said

“Can we add another type of flower” he asked

White roses” the boys said simultaneously

“Do you want a viewing or an open casket” the undertaker asked.

No!  No-one is to see Vic the ways she looks now.” I said

The funeral was arranged.

 

 

Vic has left home for the last time…


My beautiful Vic sleeping peacefully 10.1.2013.

My beautiful Vic sleeping peacefully 10.1.2013.

For a long time after Vic had breathed her last breath I lay next to her.  I touched her face and hugged her close to me.  Something I could not do in life as I may have fractured a bone or two.  Everybody left me alone with Vic.  I was so grateful for that precious time with my angel child.

I washed Vic and dressed her in her favourite pyjamas.  It was so difficult trying to dress her limp body.  Although I knew it did not matter anymore I was scared I would hurt her.  Years of conditioning I suppose.  I was shocked to see that a large part of her body had already discoloured.  Her right hand shoulder, her back and the top of her legs were black and blue.  When I washed her little body at 7am that morning, a mere 3.5 hours earlier, only her little toes had started discolouring… Her back was still so warm from the fever that had racked her body.  Her hands, feet and face were cold to the touch. 

I brushed her beautiful hair. 

Then I realised that the boys could not come home until Vic had been “removed”.  I phoned Siza to pronounce Vic and the undertakers and requested that they send their people to come and fetch my child.  I lay with her for a further 30 minutes.  I held her tight and cried for her.  I just wanted to die.

Siza, arrived…. She was so matter of fact about Vic’s passing.  She put cotton wool in my child’s mouth because Vic’s jaw had relaxed!  I wish I never saw that!

Just before 1pm the undertakers arrived.  I was torn.  I did not want her to go but I could see that her beautiful soul had left her body.  It was no longer my beautiful baby girl who lay in that bed.  In death Vic looked like a stranger… yet I felt that if Vic left that room she would forever be gone.  Strange…..

The undertakers walked into Vic’s room.  They were so smartly dressed in dark suits, white shirts and red ties. 

They hugged me and said “When you are ready… We can wait”.

I remember thinking “I look so ugly when I cry.  These strangers can see me cry!”.  I nodded and they wheeled in a gurney type “bed”.

They meticulously folded up the outer cover to reveal a plastic sheet.   They lowered the gurney to the same level as Vic’s bed and took her from my arms…

Someone said “Be careful.  She breaks bones easily…”

They lay Vic on this horrible plastic sheet and covered her in it.  I wanted to die.  I still want to die just thinking of it.  My beautiful baby girl, who only deserved Egyptian cotton, wrapped in hard plastic!!  They quickly replaced the cover and zipped it close.  I think my sobs were driving them mad.

Vic looked so tiny on that darn gurney!  Tiny and dead!!

Minutes after one my baby girl left home for the last time.  Never again would she grace us with her presence.  Never again would she shuffle down the passage, never again would we hear her laughter or her cries of pain.

Vic left home – forever.

“It is close”…


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Tuesday 22.1.2013 – Tonight is the first night in a long time that I lay on my sofa, in my own TV lounge, watching Law & Order.  I kept listening for the sound of Vic’s little feet shuffling down the passage…It is the first time since Vic’s death that I truly experienced the “emptiness” of the house.

The house has been so busy.  In the days preceding Vic’s death the boys went to stay with friends and family.  Vic’s suffering was too horrible for them to witness.  I did not want them to remember life ebbing out of her.  On the 15th my brother arrived from the coast and my sister from a neighbouring city.  I was in such a dazed stupor that I don’t remember them arriving.  I fell asleep next to Vic with my head next to hers, and my hand on her heart whilst the minister was saying a prayer….

On Wednesday the 16th Leeann started staying with me.  Danie, my brother, Lee-Ann and I took turns on Thursday night staying awake with Vic.  The time still passed in an absolute maze of unreality.  I knew on the 16th that Vic would die by the weekend.

Vic was still able to communicate with her eyes. She blinked when I asked her a question and her answer were “yes”.

Thursday Dr Sue came to see Vic.

“It is close” Sue said.

Murky red urine dripped into the catheter bag….  Vic’s eyes no longer closed completely… Her eyes had “broken”… she was gasping for breath.

“We must increase the Buscopan” Sue said.

“I think I have heard a rattling sound once or twice” I said

“Yes” Sue said.  “I can hear it clearly through the stethoscope”

Sue increased the pain medication as well as the sedation.

We decided to let the boys come and say their goodbyes…  Someone, I am not sure who, went and fetched the boys from school.  The boys walked into their Mom’s room.  Their eyes wide and sad.  They lay with her and whispered soft words into her ears.  They softly kissed her and walked away.  It must of been the hardest thing they had ever done.

I send Danie out to go find me a new blood pressure measure that fits around the wrist and would not hurt her little arms every time I took her blood pressure.  (Sue had one…)  I became almost obsessive in trying to ascertain where she was in her journey.  Vic was very unstable – within minutes her blood pressure went from 150/123 to LO (too low to measure) on the machine.  Her pulse was racing at 160 beats a minute.

I lay next to her with my hand on her heart.  Her little heart was pounding against the palm of my hand.  Vic was fighting with every fibre in her body to stay alive.  I looked at my child and thought “If I have her admitted to the Donald Gordon ICU they may be able to save her…” but then I realized that it was futile.  Vic was slipping away and nobody could do anything in the world to change that. Vic was dying and I was helpless.  I could not save my child.

Rest in Peace My Angle Child 22.1.2013


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Where do I start?  How do I begin a farewell when I still can’t believe you’re gone?  How do I say goodbye to a part of my soul?

The day you were born I experienced this UNBELIEVABLE rush of love.  I was smitten from the first second I lay eyes on you.

You came into my life and changed me forever.  Over the years people have complimented me for being a good mother but I truly cannot take credit for that.  You were born good, and great and amazing.  You were the one who taught me lessons in life.  I believe you are an angel God sent to teach me.

You taught me love.  You taught me honesty.  You taught me to love unconditionally.  You taught me how to forgive and how to be strong.  You are the strongest person I have ever known.  You gave me strength when I was weak.  When times were sad and tough you reminded me to be grateful for the small things in life.  You taught me how to be myself.  Most of all you taught me about life and how to live.

When you were diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta at the age of 18 months and the doctors told me I should wrap you in cotton wool and wait for you to die you taught me it was more important to feel and grow like any other child than to have me hide you under my wing.   It was so important to you to live.  And that you did.  You gave birth to not one beautiful baby but two!  You mothered the boys the way you lived life – with a passion.

You are the bravest person in the world.  You rewrote medical history.  You defied death for so many years… You mocked bad news and a poor prognosis…

 

You made me so proud.  You have always been my greatest pride and joy.  At school you excelled as a pianist.  As a mommy you were an example to all.  As a dying person you were brave beyond words.

I’m not sure how I can live this life without you.  You worried about me just as much as I worried about you.  You told everyone how worried you were that I would not cope without you.  You fought so hard to stay alive.  You fought until you gave your very last breath.  You did not want to leave your boys.  You lived for your boys.

You often said you were scared people would forget you…

No-one will ever forget you.  You made an incredible impact on the world.  You left two monuments of your love and mothering skills.  Your sons will honour you every day of their lives with their actions.

Your dream of a Hospice for Alberton has been realised in Stepping Stone. Thousands of people will benefit from your dream and compassion in years to come.  It is ironic that you were Stepping Stone’s first death…

Two weeks before your passing you  started seeing angels.  You saw Gramps, Uncle Dries, your father and Auntie Marlene.  Then a week before your passing you said “My whole room is full of angels”  You fought to stay alive every single day of your life.  Eleven months ago you called a family meeting and told us that you had decided enough is enough.  No more surgeries.  No more hospitals.

Over the past 11 months you made your final wishes known.  You planned your memorial service.  You spoke to the boys about what was important.  I personally got a long list of do’s and don’t’s.

Just before Christmas you said you were worried about me. That you could see I thought you would bounce back again…You said you were dying…You could feel the changes in your body.  But like 95% of the people in this church today I honestly though you would bounce back and defy death once again!

The day you were born you filled my entire life.  You were always my first and last thought.  I feel numb and as if I am in a bubble.  You will be happy to know that we have been surrounded by love and support.  But it still feels as if the world should have stopped because you left it.

Vic, I miss you so much already and I don’t know if I can take this pain anymore.  But then I think, how can I be sad when I know you’re in a better place?  How can I be sad when you brought me so much happiness?   How can I be sad when God is already working miracles through you?  How can I be sad when I feel like the luckiest person on earth to have been chosen to be your mother?  How can I be sad when God gave you to me for 14,019 days, 20 hours and 15 minutes?  I thank God every day for the time we shared together.

Baby I promise you today we will be the support system for the boys you wanted.  We love them so much.  No-one in the world can ever take your place.  We promise we will keep your memories alive.  We will honour our promises to you.

So now we must bid you farewell.  It is your time to run, free from pain and suffering.  We will always love you.  We will never forget you.

Rest in Peace my Angel Child. 

 

 

The mention of my child’s name


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The mention of my child’s name

by Kim Knapp

The mention of my child’s name
May bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring
Music to my ears.
If you are really my friend,
Let me hear the beautiful music of her name.
It soothes my broken heart
And sings to my soul.
~~~~author unknown

http://www.thefuneralsite.com/ResourceCenters/Poetry_and_Quotes/Children.html

Vicky Bruce 31.8.1974 to 18.1.2013


Vicky Bruce, brave warrior, beloved mother of Jared and Jon-Daniel Sadie, beautiful daughter of Tersia and Danie Burger, sister and friend lost her brave battle against Osteogenesis Imperfecta on 18 January 2013. Finally, you can run angel child!  Your incredible will to live and your beautiful soul will live on in your amazing sons.  They are truly monuments that will honour you forever.  You are finally free and reunited with you Daddy, Moekie and Gramps.!  Run Vic run! Love you now and forever baby!

Vicky Bruce

Vicky Bruce