Marlene, BFF – Rest in Peace my beautiful friend!

Today, two years ago my best friend died.  On the one hand it feels as if a life time has passed and yet it is as if it was yesterday…


There are only a handful of people who come into your world, and touch your life in a dramatic fashion.  Some of the people are just flickers of light during a long life, while others are a consistent glow for years.  For me, Marlene was my consistent glow.

I met Marlene 27 years ago.  We immediately started chatting and never stopped!  For 25 years Marlene and I were inseparable.  We would be in one another’s company for hours and within 10 minutes of leaving one another, one of us would remember something else that we forgot to mention and call the other.  Our first words would be “Hi  Poepies, I forgot to tell you…….. “

Marlene was one of the most beautiful people I have ever known.  Nobody looked good next to her.  At most we merely enhanced her beauty…  Marlene was totally unaware of the effect her beauty had on people.  She was very, very hard on herself.  I miss that beautiful laughter of hers – nobody could laugh (or cry) like my friend.

25 years of friendship!
25 years of friendship!

Marlene was a human SPCA.  It is ironic that her heart, that was so big, eventually let her down. 

I was privileged to deliver her eulogy.  At her memorial service I saw a sea of faces.  Old friends, new friends, school friends, work colleagues, family.  Marlene had compassion that was scary… always wanting to help – to do… The word “Love” is a verb; not an adjective…Marlene knew that.  She lived that knowledge.

She always made her friends and loved ones designer gifts.

Marlene and I agreed many years ago that we would “make” gifts…I thought we would bake biscuits or something… My birthday was the first “homemade” gift event…my dear friend made me a porcelain doll with photos of Vic, the boys and Danie in a necklace….  How could I ever compete with that???

My poceline doll
My porcelain doll

Marlene’s personal best friend had to be the phone…She LOVED speaking on her cell regardless of whether she was driving or not…she spoke on the phone every spare minute she had.  Marlene and Sonja spoke from the crack of dawn… I am a late starter, but we spoke until late at night.  On the Tuesday of her death I spoke to her at 10:45am – I started phoning her just after 3pm because I was in Marlene chat withdrawal…Needless to say I think Marlene was already chatting to angel Gabriel and boy did she have a lot that she wanted to tell him…

Christmas was Marlene’s favourite time of the year.  For decades our families celebrated Christmas together.  Her home looked like SANTALAND..  Marlene was an amazing cook.  She had a standing rule – everyone had to have two helpings of food to qualify for dessert!  She was an amazing hostess.

Marlene helping me "get married"
Marlene helping me “get married”

Marlene had a relationship with God that was a very personal relationship.  I don’t know anyone who worked so hard at herself – Marlene strove for perfection…The day she died Marlene was at peace with her God.  Marlene is exactly where she has wanted to be for so many years – at the feet of her Heavenly Father.

Marlene was so happy the last couple of weeks of her life – the business had picked up, she had forged beautiful friendships with some of her clients and that was a source of great joy to her;  Marlene was at peace in her friendships and was on the brink of a new life with an old friend.

The perfect hostess, the life and soul of a party!
The perfect hostess, the life and soul of a party!

Marlena, I love and miss you.  I still feel lost without you.  Thank you for a lifetime of chats, unconditional love, all Vic’s school concerts you sat through.  Thank you for your loving support with Vic over the years; the times you kept me company when Vic was in hospital.  Thank you for “tolerating” my busy house.  I KNOW my house drove you crazy with all the grandchildren.   Thank you for allowing me to believe that I made better pancakes and fudge than you did…I still don’t trust those statements, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt!


Vic's Kitchen Tea...
Vic’s Kitchen Tea…

My dearest friend, I hope you are resting at the feet of your Heavenly Father; I hope that you are experiencing the peace that you craved on earth.  I hope you and Vic have organized a wonderful anniversary party in Heaven celebrating the Ultimate Event in your life.

Thank you for being here when Vic passed.  She told me before she lapsed into a coma that her Gramps and you were in her room; that you were there to guide her on her final journey…

Marlene and Vic at Marlene's 50th birthday Party
Marlene and Vic at Marlene’s 50th birthday Party

I am selfish when I say “I wish you were here”.  I miss you little sister and best friend!

Most precious friend
Most precious friend

Friends, Lasagna and chocolate pudding…

Gavin, Vic and Darren at Darren’s wedding in 2003


















Today was a great day!

Yesterday Hospice increased Vic’s pain medication by 25%.  The subcutaneous driver is holding up in her arm.  She has not vomited in the past 24 hours.  Vic spent wonderful, constructive time with the boys today.

Yesterday Renée, Jared’s extra maths teacher and a friend, phoned to hear if I wanted to go for a walk.  I declined as Vic was really not well.  Then she phoned to ask if everything was okay.  I said we were having a bad day.  She had read the boys BBM status updates and asked if I wanted her to pop around and help… I declined.   She phoned again and offered to cook us dinner… I said we had already prepared a meal.  Renée said “I will bring you dinner tomorrow night”….

My BFF, Gillian, is visiting.  It is so comforting having her around.  I felt enfolded by the normal-ness of her life today …She is a warm and comforting person who knows my soul as well as I know my own soul.   In the words of the great Aristotle:  “Friendship is composed of a single soul inhibiting two bodies.”  Gill is a safe haven.  I love the no-nonsense way she speaks, her efficiency, her single-minded loyalty and ability to love.  Gillian’s greatest character trait is that she loves unconditionally and NEVER judges.

Gillian is a second mom to Vic.

Vic, Gavin and Darren standing in the house we were building at the time

When our children were growing up we were inseparable.  Gill is a delicate, tough person but cannot handle blood.  I am a tough career girl but cannot handle needles being shoved into my child’s little body.   As young mommy’s I did the blood thing and Gillian did the dentist and invasive tests thing.  She would give the kids a quarter of a Panado and a sermon about bravery and march them off to the dentist, x-rays etc….  I cleaned wounds and stuck plaster over wounds…We are the perfect team.  United against our children….

Vic’s 6th birthday party with Len and Gill’s kids…

When the boys got mumps Vic got mumps, when the boys got chicken pox Vic got chickenpox… Vic had her own bedroom in Gillian’s home.

I cried when her eldest, Darren, went to school the first time.  His little knees were so skinny and looked like matchsticks in his school pants.

Gillian used to relieve me when Vic was in hospital and Len (her husband) would take me for tea and anchovy toast.  Gillian is the first person I phone when I have a Vicky crisis.

After my divorce from Vic’s dad Len and Gill once drove to my new apartment at 2am and took turns in consoling me.  The other sat in the car with the two boys sleeping on the back seat!  In my single days I would go to Gillian for a cooked meal with vegetables…I never cooked!  The night before I remarried I spent the night with Len and Gill.  We laughed and joked and ate toast… Gillian dressed Vic and got her to church…

Gill is one of the most amazing people I know.  She is a friend in a million.

My friend is now semi-retired.  She lives in a beautiful game reserve in the most beautiful part of our country.  Her home is warm and welcoming – a safe haven to a myriad of friends and family.  Gill chats to the boys on BBM and is always 100% up to date on what is happening in their lives.  When I travel Gill will check on Vic every single day!

Yesterday the panic was sitting in my throat.  I felt as if I was choking.  Today Vic is great and Gillian is visiting.  I am calm and at peace.

Tonight Renée dropped off the greatest lasagna and a chocolate pudding.  I am in total awe of the love that we have been surrounded by and absolutely amazed at the kindness that Renée had shown…..  We live in Johannesburg – a concrete jungle!  I am so deeply touched!

So, tonight as my little girl finally settled into a deep and pain-free sleep I allowed myself the luxury of a couple of tears.  Tears of gratitude for the love we are surrounded by!  Tears of gratitude that the pain medication is working!  Tears of gratitude for a good day!

I know that the pain medication will only work for a week or two and then it will have to be increased again.  At what stage will Vic’s body not be able to handle the pain medication any longer?

But tonight I am not going to dwell on my questions.

Just tonight I will indulge in an early night.

The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. – Ulysses S. Grant


My beautiful friend in a pensive moment….