Messages from Heaven – 2


When I wrote my last blog, https://tersiaburger.com/2019/10/15/messages-from-heaven-1/ I realised that it would have to be a “series” of Messages from Heaven. So, here goes …Messages from Heaven – 2.   Again, this post should, however, have been the first.

Vic and I often spoke about life after death. We often, stoically, discussed ways of communicating after “the event”. We agreed that the bed and bathroom would be off-limits.

We both believed that there would be a way.

Vic often, as a Convent Girl, expressed her fear that her pain would not end with her death. I was responsible for administering huge amounts of drugs to her during the last months of her life. Whilst the medication was prescribed by a Palliative Care doctor, I was not a medical person and feared this part of caring for her. I dreaded sticking needles into my child’s little body. The medication took her pain away but did I kill her???

After Vic died I washed her little body and dressed her in her warmest pj’s. I put her warmest woolly socks on her feet.

I whispered “Vic, you have to give me a sign… You have to let me know that you are okay”

“Vic, you know Mommy is a blond. You have to give me a clear sign. A very clear sign”

After the Memorial Service, we carried Vic’s coffin to the hearse. It was heart-wrenching carrying our brave little warrior knowing that this is it….

The Minister quoted from Ecclesiastes 3:20  “…all are from the dust, and all return to dust.”  and in Ecclesiastes 12:7 the Bible said, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  

We said our finals goodbyes.  

We stood back and the undertaker secured the coffin with “coffin clasps”. He pressed a button and the rear door of the hearse slowly closed…and, opened. Very apologetically he resecured the clasps and again pressed the button to close the rear door. It slowly closed and…opened.

“Vic’s here. She is going nowhere” I said to nervous giggles of family and friends.

A very embarrassed undertaker apologised and again he fiddled with the coffin and the clasps. The third time he pushed the button the door closed.

Vic had sent me a message, loud and clear, she was okay!

To the Living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return;

To the angry, I was cheated.
But to the happy, I am at peace.
To the faithful, I have never left.
Talk to me, and I will hear,
your prayers, they comfort me,
your laughter makes me laugh,
but don’t weep for me as I have my reward,
I am with the Father and he will never let me perish,
The Lord comforts me and longs to comfort you.
So be happy my family and don’t despair,
I am in good hands, waiting for the day when
the Lord calls you to come home.

Anonymouscropped-dsc_0911-001.jpg Continue reading Messages from Heaven – 2

Messages from Heaven – 1


On the 24th of August, Vic’s eldest son married the love of his life.   The morning before the wedding, he stood talking on his cell phone when out of the blue a little white feather stuck to the screen of his phone… Vic communicates with us through feathers. This was his message from Heaven

Jared and the feather from Heaven

Planning a wedding where the bride is surrounded by loving parents whilst the groom had lost both parents is hard. Keeping the balance between remembering and hoping, missing and embracing is hard. Kirsten was sensitive to Jared’s feelings and I am grateful to her for this.

Jared did not want his parents absence to overwhelm the day but he wanted to honour his them. They decided on photographs in front of the Church

I was filled with sadness knowing how desperately Colin and Vicky would have wanted to be there. I know how desperately Jared wanted his parents at his wedding… Positioned to the left of the bridal couple, there was a table with three photographs.  There was a photograph of Colin, Jared’s dad.  The second photograph was of Vicky and was placed in the middle. The third photograph was of Kirsten’s grandfather. 

 

 

During the service, with a loud bang, Vic’s photograph fell over… I smiled and looked at my husband acknowledging Vic’s presence. The photographer picked up the photograph and positioned it properly. Five minutes later a huge bang… Vic’s photograph had fallen over…again. This time the photographer was busy snapping away and Kirsten’s one bridesmaid picked up the photograph and firmly positioned it on the table.

I KNEW Vic was there and making her presence known.

I was mesmerised by the photograph. In my mind, I said, “Vic, if you are here your photograph will fall over again…” The photograph started moving forward and fell over…

Vic was at her boy’s wedding.

The wedding was beautiful and filled with love, hope and tomorrows

Everyone remembered Vic and Colin in their speeches. Some tears fell but it was a day filled with tomorrow. The mother and son dance was heartbreaking. Jared and I cried. Vicky should have been there in her son’s arms dancing to I’ll be Around

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God speed Jared and Kirsten. We are so happy for you. It was a beautiful wedding and know that your guardian angels were there witnessing your vows and joy

 

Happy Birthday my Angel Child 31.8.1974 – 18.1.2013


Happy birthday my precious Angel Child.

I wonder whether you were excited about your birthday?  Do you still celebrate your birthdays or do you celebrate the day your pain and suffering ended?

I miss you so much, sweetheart.  Although I still cry for you almost every day I honor your legacy every single day of my life.  What a community changer you were…  Through your suffering, almost 1400 people have received love, dignity, and quality of life.

Would I rather have had a healthy child?  YES!!!!  But this was our destiny and out of our control.  Your suffering led us onto a path that we would not have chosen voluntarily.

So my little Angel, tonight we will have a dinner and talk about you the entire evening.  We will do your birthday eulogy as we did all the years you lived.  We will talk about your stoic bravery.  We will laugh about your idiosyncrasies, your inability to remember or tell a joke.  We will remember your ability to smile through your pain.  We will hear your voice saying “I am fine”.

We will cry for your empty seat at the table and the huge void in our hearts.

Someone asked me whether it ever gets any easier and I could only say “No”.

The pain has not gone away.  The pain will never go away.  The longing for another “tomorrow with you” will never go away…  Every morning is a stark reminder that another “tomorrow has broken”.

But Baby Girl, I looked at old photos of you tonight and the dreadful pain in your eyes was a harsh reminder of your suffering.  I am seldom not awake at 2 O Clock in the morning…injection time.  I am haunted by your whimpers of pain, your tears when you say “Help me, Mommy.  I cannot handle the pain anymore”.  My feelings of helplessness.

I was talking to someone yesterday (about you) and she said “I could never see my child in so much pain.  I would take him out.  I would not be able to handle it…”

Did I ever consider it?  You know I did.  You begged me to do it.  But in the dark of night, there was always a remote possibility that “tomorrow” would be better.  Sometimes it was.

But today is not about me and my grief.  Today is the reminder of the happiest day of my life – the day I held you in my arms for the first time.  Know, that I will always love you.  .

You will always be the highlight of my life – my greatest joy.  Know that I am at peace that your suffering is over.

But always know that I wish your life was different.

I hope and pray that you have found the peace that eternity is supposed to bring

Happy birthday my angel.

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Vic’s legacy – her story


I have not posted in a long time.  I keep thinking up posts but I never seem to have writing time.  I do dream of having time to write my book.  No, let me rather rearticulate that…I dream of having time to attempt writing a book that will capture the pain and indignity that my little girl suffered.  The book must portray the immeasurable value of her legacy.  It is not only a huge responsibility and project but the fulfillment of the deathbed promise I made.

On Saturday I spoke, at a fundraiser, about the story behind the starting of Stepping Stone Hospice.  I was given 20 minutes but I think I took much longer.  I wanted people to meet Vicky.  The “healthy”, carefree child/woman with a heart full of hope.  I wanted people to see how during the last 10 years of her life she was stripped of so much.

And, when she realized that there was no more hope to feed on…

I did not have the time to talk about the bedsores that developed the last day, the fact that I did not know I had to turn her every two hours… I wanted people to understand the helplessness her boys felt seeing their mother in so much relentless pain.  The trauma they experienced seeing Vic live through the pain, the indignity of the disease, her quiet resolve of accepting “it was over”.

It felt almost “clinical”.

How do I begin to share the horror of my child’s journey?  My horror of seeing her being wrapped in a plastic sheet… the horror of knowing that we lost the battle? The “now” nightmare of being able to sleep and wake up in tears because I miss her so much…

For so many years I did not sleep because I was scared I would not hear her.  Physically and mentally I was exhausted.  Now…I do sleep but my soul is tired.

I must capture the heartlessness of the medical profession; the lack of counseling;  the importance of hope…  I must capture the bravery of a tiny little girl fighting for just one more day – one day at a time.

But most importantly I must fight to keep Vic’s legacy alive.  I have to make a difference so that, in Vic’s words, “no one will suffer like I did.”

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5 years, 3 months and 3 days


Five years, 3 months and three days ago I lay next to you listening to your labored breathing.  You lay motionless in your bed.  Your hands and feet were ice-cold.  Your body was burning up with fever.  Daddy and I counting the seconds between your breaths.  My hand on your little heart and my head next to yours.

I remember whispering how much I love you; that there was nothing to be scared of…I felt your heart beat getting weaker and weaker; your breathing becoming more shallow by the minute.

When your little heart stopped beating my heart broke into a million pieces.  As your soul soared mine plummeted into a hellhole of grief and despair.

I knew that it would be hard but nothing in the world could have prepared me for the pain that followed.  My heart aches for you and I would give anything to hold you one more time.  To hear that mischievous giggle…

Never again will I hear that sacred word “Mommy” …

We miss you so much.  Our family will never be the same again.

“Don’t leave me Daddy”

 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”


“Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.” ― Betty SmithA Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I spent the weekend packing up Vic’s flat and working in the garden.  I bought new herbs for my herb garden.   I changed the outlay (or started) of the back garden.

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This year may be easy or it may be a struggle.  I know that there will be days of profound sadness but I also know that my sadness will be put to good use.  I believe that, by putting my grief to work, I will find a way to get through my sad day.

In the words of Robert Frost – “In three words I can describe everything I’ve learnt about life.  It goes on.  Despite our fears and worries, life continues”

My “profound sad days” will remind me why there is a Stepping Stone Hospice and why I do, what I do, at Stepping Stone Hospice.

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I do believe in tomorrow.

I do believe that this will be a year of healing.

I do believe that it will be a year of recovery – at every level.

 

Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services E-Hospice Interview