Posted in A Mother's Grief, Angels, Bereavement, Death, Death of a child, Grief, Vicky Bruce

That flight…


Aarthi Raghavan has once again honoured Vic and I with a beautiful poem… Aarthi is a brilliant poet whose work I love! This poem moved me to tears
I honestly know nothing about Aarthi. I do not know whether Aarthi is male or female, single or married, childless of parent…All I know is the heart of this amazing poet.

Aarthi has a pure and compassionate soul, is giving and soulful…Thank you Aarthi for these beautiful words and remembering my precious child.

You have a Gift! And you share it!

After I read this post I printed it and went outside and sat on the swing in Vic’s Angel Garden. The sun was gently setting and the air was cool. I felt Vic’s presence next to me. I feel stupid to write this but I spoke to her out loud. I told her how much I missed her and how huge the void is in my life without her. I read Aarthi’s words to Vic.

I felt her presence in the breeze, I heard her whisper “I love you Mommy” I felt at peace.

Thank you Aarthi for remembering Vic and honouring her with your beautiful words!!! You would truly have adored her.


that flight.

by ART


Vic and Tersia.. they occupy many of my thoughts, day, night, or times when I look for inspiration.. not words.. just inspiration.. that can make me smile, make my heart beat soft, constant and in comfort… I wish to dedicate this poem to a wonderful mother and her amazing daughter, for I know they are inseparable :)

often she smiled
thought to herself
why she had to deserve
all that which was unfair

she thought about her mom
her tears, her smiles
her heart beating in worry
and out of care, out of deep love

she lived her life like none of us
she smiled for special reasons
not fake, real special they were
for they reached your heart

they tried so hard
to seek happiness together
make memories forever
loving all that was on offer

even in the middle of
uncertainties
they managed
to share their stories

they made me wonder
of the beauty of love,
motherhood
of all things truly beautiful in this world

that flight
which she eventually took
must have been beautiful
freeing her from a lot of things

making her ever more precious
in our hearts
in our memories
in our thoughts
in our lives…

i wish i could have seen her
in person
made her smile
and then had a chance
to smile with her

it would have been bliss
indeed
to have a friend like her
to have been happy as her
for she is truly special…

:) I love you guys.. and I love your words Tersia… I will forever be glad to have met you.. even if it were through words…

http://citystone.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/to-vic-and-her-wonderful-mom/

http://citystone.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/that-flight/

https://tersiaburger.com/tag/httpsickocean-wordpress-comauthormysticparables/

http://sickocean.wordpress.com/category/poetry/

http://citystone.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/even-if-i-write-it/

Posted in Angels, Death, Death of a child, Family, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

Vic’s angel


Wednesday I found another white feather floating in the sea…

Thursday we went to a famous wine farm, Spier.   Spier has bird and cheetah sanctuaries.  We wandered around and decided against the rather sophisticated meals served.  We decided to find a coffee shop or boutique restaurant – something quainter than the rather commercial option available.

We were fascinated by a beautiful falcon and even more magnificent looking owls.  Spier is a wonderful place to visit.

Tame falcon flying around at Spier
Tame falcon flying around at Spier

We left and decided to be adventurous and ignore the GPS.  We drove in an unknown direction on the lookout for something quaint.  We drove for two kilometres when we found an interesting sign…Aspidistra Nursery and Tea Garden.

We decided it sounded quaint enough.

It was the most amazing Tea Garden.  I expected fairies to jump out from the beautiful flowers.  Chimes merrily tinkled and chimed in the gentle breeze…

Fairy Garden
Fairy Garden
A bit of Heaven
A bit of Heaven

We had a delightful meal.  It was so peaceful we just sat and chatted.  WE spoke about how much Vic would have enjoyed the garden and how much we miss her.  We exchanged funny stories about Vic and decided to have desert.  I ordered the scones (Vic and my favourite).  The presentation of the scones was amazing!

My scones!
My scones!

“Mom would have loved this!” I said

A white feather floated down onto the table…

“You got your white feather Oumie!” Jared said.

I must be honest that when I started looking there were white feathers everywhere.  There were white pigeons sitting in the trees.

After our leisurely lunch we walked through the nursery part of Aspidistra and my wildest expectations were surpassed!  It was beautiful.  Plants and flowers were displayed in beautiful handcrafted containers; ribbons were swaying in the breeze.

Stellenbosch-20130404-01794 (2)

Then I saw it!  The perfect angel for Vic’s garden of remembrance!

It is a handmade, one of a kind, angel – just like my angel child.  Perfect – just like Vic!

Vic's angel...
Vic’s angel…

The angel is being couriered to our home next week.

I desperately miss my little girl.  I don’t want to be planning her Garden of Remembrance – I want to be planning our trip to Italy.  I want to be having a cup of coffee with my child not putting an almost empty bottle of coffee in a memory box.

I walked back into our home after a wonderful 12 day vacation in Cape Town and the grief overwhelmed me again.  The emptiness of the house truly got to me again today…

Will I ever feel happy again?  As I am typing I can hardly see the screen of my laptop.  I cannot stop the tears.

I cannot believe I ever thought it would be better for Vic to die… I cannot believe I have to face the rest of my life with this empty hole in my heart.  I cannot bear the sorrow.  I want to hold my little girl and hear her say “I love you Mommy”.

I want to see her smile when I say “I love you with all my heart Angel”

 

Posted in Death, Death of a child, Family, Family Life, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

“Live like you were dying” – Tim McGraw


Vic and Esther 8.1.2013
Vic and Esther 8.1.2013

I read this post today –  http://daysnet.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/we-need-to-step-back-and-just-breathe/   I always remember the Tim McGraw song

“LIVE LIKE YOU WERE DYING

He said   “I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”
He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition

And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again

It dawned on me that we have been luckier than most.  We have lived as if Vic was dying all our lives.  We lived every second.  Vic lived every second.  Only the last week of her life she went into dying mode.  Only once she was sedated did she succumb to dying.  The rest of her life she lived; we lived her life.  Every single birthday we celebrated Vic’s life.

We have a family tradition, (which the kids hate), of having eulogy speeches on everyone’s birthday.  So on our birthdays we would go around the table and everyone gets to say something nice of the birthday boy/girl…  We call it our “Living Eulogy”…  So often we only speak well of the dead.  We treat the living with contempt and disregard; we do not acknowledge their achievements and goodness…We are so focussed on success.  Success by our own terms!

I am grateful for our family tradition and I will not allow it to die off…  I am grateful Vic knew how much we revered her….

Vic did not have a career or a degree, fame or fortune.  Yet she has touched thousands of people’s lives worldwide and will continue to do so through Stepping Stone Hospice.  I am grateful that she heard how much we loved and respected her.   The most common words were “You are the bravest person I know…”

Vic was an amazing mother.  She loved and nurtured her boys.  I wonder whether they ever witnessed her tears of pain when she cooked for them or made their lunch for school…. I did.

We will continue to honour Vic’s life through our actions and words.

Posted in Death, Death of a child, Family, Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

OCVCC – Day three


IMG-20130130-01513It is day 3 of OCVCC (Operation Clean-out Vic’s Clothing Cupboards.)  Today was unbearable. 

Day one I packed up Vic’s clothing I did not like.  That is the sexy stuff that showed far too much cleavage.  I was forever saying “Vic – Your boobs are showing!  Cover yourself!” or “Boob alert – the boys can see….”  I know I was stupid but in my mind’s eye I always saw that little girl who needed to be protected from the world and it was difficult to see the adult, sensual young woman…vicbaby

Day 2 was the “Fat clothes” day.  There was not too much of that although Vic was overweight from time to time.  The Addison’s cortisone treatment played absolute havoc with her weight.

Day 3 – today, was unbearable.  It was the clothes that she liked and wore that had to be packed.  As I was folding her little T-Shirts my tears dripped on the cotton.  I held her favourite clothing items against my face and tried to smell her on them.  I could see exactly how each item fitted her disease ravaged little body.  I could hear her say “Don’t I look fat?”

I cried when I packed four drawers of pyjamas.  There were dress-like nightgowns for after abdominal operations when nothing could touch her abdomen; three-quarter pants with T-shirts for good days; long pants with T-shirts for when she was cold and of course the stuff she never wore…the sexy stuff.  I picked up the silky stuff and I knew that they were worn seldom if ever.  We should be able to sell these quite easily in our second-hand Hospice shop…

The boys made up their memory boxes on Monday night.  I started with wonderful intentions…I too would have a small memory box.  I already have two large cardboard boxes plus my memory box filled with precious memories.   

As I wept into Vic’s clothes I decided that there is no rush.  I do not have to give the clothes to Hospice immediately.  I will keep it all in storage until I am ready to part with it. 

Never again will I see my precious Vic wearing any of it. 

Every handbag I picked up had been cleaned out properly with the exception of a tube of lipstick.  Every single handbag had lipstick in it!

Jon-Daniel has started moving into Vic’s room.  It is the 2nd largest bedroom in the house with the nicest bathroom.  Yesterday we moved two single beds in and put Vic’s bedroom furniture in storage.  Tomorrow we will move the lounge suite into storage.  The dining room suite has been sold and delivered today.

All Vic’s earthly possessions have been moved as if she has never existed.

The lounge will become a games room with a pool and table tennis tables.  The dining room we will convert into a dedicated study and computer games room.  We will furnish the rooms with contemporary furniture.

In my heart I know Vic would approve the changes.  She would HATE the fact that her furniture is in storage.  I feel like a grave digging weasel but I am complying with her final wishes.

My Vic was a little squirrel!  She accumulated STUFF.  Vic was a compulsive shopper.  In December, knowing that she was in the final stretch of her journey, Vic bought new clothes…  Some of it she never got to wear.  But it brought her joy buying it.

This weekend I will tackle the other cupboards.  The cupboards that contain all tax and warranty related documents going back to 2001…. All neatly filed in plastic sleeves… I will keep the boys school files that she so lovingly kept up to date.  Every drawing, school report, newsletter filed per boy by year…  When they leave home one day and have kids of their own (that they will moan at for not studying….) I will hand my great-grandchildren their dad’s reports.

There are tons of papers to dispose of!  There are boxes of educational toys and games from when the boys were toddlers; thousands of photos and piles of albums; ribbons from her childhood; diaries and journals; love letters from Vaughn, her first love; get better cards, birthday cards and goodness alone knows what else.

In the weeks before her death Vic occasionally said “Oh Mommy, promise me you won’t get angry with me when you clear out my cupboards…”  If only she knew how many tears I have shed clearing out her cupboards.

I must confess I have always had a memory box with Vic’s first little outfit ever, her first school uniform, all her report cards, a lock of her baby hair…  I will add to this box the lock of Vic’s hair that Esther cut after she had died.

Posted in Grief, Terminal Illness, Vicky Bruce

I heard someone wailing – it was a terrible sound


11.1.2012
11.1.2012 The last photo I ever took of Vic

On Thursday night I slept from 12 until 3.30.  I woke up with a start, and it was Danie’s watch…. He was sitting on a chair next to Vic’s bed.  Tears brimming in his eyes. 

“I have been timing her breathing” Danie said.  “Her breathing is shallow – every 5 minutes she takes a deep breath.”

“I read about it” I said.  It is called Cheyne-Stokes breathing”

We sat in complete silence counting the shallow breaths between the deep breaths.   I counted 25 breaths between every deep breath.

“It is changing” I said

My brother came through just before 5.  “Why did you not wake me?  I was supposed to be on duty from 4…” he said

“I could not sleep” I said

The three of us again just sat and listened to Vic’s breathing.  She was motionless and her eyes were slightly open.  Her feet, hands and arms were cold.  The rest of her body was burning up with fever – 40+ degrees C.  Her little toes had started discoloring.

At 7 O clock I washed Vic.  I had started cutting open T Shirts so her little chest was covered.  I was too scared to move her – scared that she would fracture and that it would cause her more pain.  I put deodorant on her and baby powder.  A light spray of Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful” finished off her beauty routine for the morning.

At 10 o’clock Lee had to leave.  She had a meeting that could not be changed.   She cried when she left.

I lay next to my beautiful child.  My hand was on her heart and my head right next hers.  I could hear her breathing becoming more and more shallow.  Leon arrived.  The three men stood at the bottom of her bed.

I whispered words of comfort and love to Vic – non-stop….

“I love you angel child…  There is nothing to be scared off….  It is almost over baby!  I love you so much” I repeated the words over and over again.

I could feel her little heart beating softer and softer under my hand.

“She is going” I said

Her little chest hardly moved.  Her breathing was so shallow!  And then it stopped!  For a couple of seconds there was no movement.   No heartbeat.  No breathing.  And then a tiny little flutter…and then nothing!  Just nothing!!

I heard someone wailing.  It was a terrible sound.  It was me.

Part of me had just died.