Vic succeeded at life…


Vic often said “I must be such a disappointment to you.  I have done nothing with my life!”

This morning I read these beautiful words and so wished I could have shared it with Vic.

“This is to have succeeded” posted on June 4, 2013 by Dr Bill http://drbillwooten.com/2013/06/04/this-is-to-have-succeeded

“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…”

so sick

Vic in 2007

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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”

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… to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;  Worldwide, intelligent people, respected and admired 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…

The Baby Whisperer

…… 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 at 2 am on the 16th of November 2012, a mere 2 months and 2 days before she died, that I would start Stepping Stone Hospice!  She kept talking to me about Stepping Stone until she lapsed into a coma.  We started on the 1st of January 2013 and Vic died on the 18th of January.  Our first patient.  Our first death.

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…..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.

Vic’s monuments…

……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.

 

Vic loving World Cup 2010

……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!

 

https://tersiaburger.com/2012/10/16/and-the-winner-is/

https://tersiaburger.com/2012/06/09/9-6-2012/

https://wordpress.com/post/36185300/3015/

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/71/art%253A10.1186%252Fcc11867.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1186%2Fcc11867&token2=exp=1461937379~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F71%2Fart%25253A10.1186%25252Fcc11867.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1186%252Fcc11867*~hmac=08ff3ff972d6f80826a88836b665cace297a3e6feae8c461089cc821104e11fb

http://www.anaesthesiauk.com/documents/ards.pdf

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/nejm200005043421806

 

850 days


It is a mere 850 days since Vic died.  2 years and 4 months seems so short… 850 days seems far more representative of the longing.  It seems “longer”….

I woke up this morning with tears pouring down my cheeks.  I so longed to hold my child.  I know that the boys remembered too.  Jon-Daniel posted on his Facebook “Appreciate your Mom, tell her you love her, make her smile – because the only time she ever smiled while you were crying was when you were born!”  The first to “like” his post was his brother.

I imagined that the longing would get better.  It doesn’t!

At first it felt as if I was overseas – away from the trauma of Vic being ill.  I always felt guilty at the “reprieves” I had when I was travelling for work.  Now I would give anything and everything for just an extra minute with my child.

It was hard standing next to Vic’s bed hearing her cries of pain.  It was even harder seeing the despair in the eyes of her precious boys when they stood next to their mom’s bed helpless to ease her pain and fears.

So often over the years I wanted to run away.  In the end, when Vic cried from fear of dying, I felt the need to put an end to her suffering well up in me.   I put my hands over my ears and screamed in my head.

Vic and her Dad
“Don’t leave me Daddy!  I am scared!”

How do you answer your child when she cries “I am so scared”?

We have a patient at Hospice who vocalises her fear the way Vic did.  Today I just held her.  How do you still the fear of the unknown in a dying person?  And NO!!!!  It has nothing to do with religion.  Everybody is scared.

From that dreaded moment when a patient is told they are terminally ill an avalanche of shock and fear hits them.  It is called actually “named” – terminal fear.  Vic (and Elizabeth*) fear dying, pain, saying goodbye, loss of control and mostly all-encompassing the fear of the unknown.

Vic’s overwhelming fear was that people would forget her – that she would be replaced….  Vic questioned her life’s worth.  She did not work and in her mind that meant it that she had not achieved anything.  That she would leave no legacy.  No matter how many times we reassured her that she inspired hundreds of people worldwide, the fear never left.  I hope that she now knows how powerful her legacy is!  That hundreds of patients have benefitted from her death wish and, most importantly, that her sons are her true legacy.

I have witnessed that grieving starts the moment of handing down the sentence.  It is a long and hard journey for the dying person, their loved ones and friends.

And, today that Elizabeth’s* fear rests heavy on my heart, I know that we will provide her a safe haven where she can relax into death.  We will hold her hand and guide her family through this dreadful trauma of saying goodbye to a wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

I pray for wisdom and strength to handle the déjà vu of Elizabeth’s* final journey.

 

 

and with my last dying breath I say I love you….


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This morning I came across a beautiful quote and it brought back a flood of memories of how hard Vic fought to live.  Vic was born with a passion for living.  Vic so desperately wanted to live.  She fought for every second of her life.  She battled pain, indignity, 81 abdominal surgeries…She lived with her impending death for years.

Please hear what I am writing – Vic LIVED

It is so difficult to read the journal which she kept meticiously.  She recorded the cruel remarks that cut through her soul.  I feel her pain and I am sure that if I had the pages foresically analysed there would be traces of tears on it.  Vic’s tears….And yet, all the world ever saw was that beautiful smile of hers.

An entry from Vic's journal
An entry from Vic’s journal “OUR STORY”

Chaka 2007

Vic wanted her story told. She wanted people to know what is feels like to be cronically and terminally ill.  She wanted the world to know how she experienced the switch from curative to palliative care.  She wanted the world to know how helpless a sick person is.  How vulnerable they are.  She wanted to make a difference.

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It is her one wish I have ignored so far.  As you know I have stopped blogging for almost a year.  I can no longer ignore her wish.  As hard as it is I have to do it.

Reading her journal I was reminded of her passion for life.  How incredibly brave she was.  Now, it is my turn to be brave.  I will write her story.  I will celebrate her life and journey.  I will do my best to articulate Vic’s pain and vulnerability.

I will honour her life and wish.

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And the words that will echo in my ears will be her very last words ever… “I scream your name, but it’s too late…I’m on my way up the pearly stairway to heaven. I slowly open my eyes and with my last dying breath I say I love you.”

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I hope she hears my whisper “I love you with every fiber of by body, mind and soul my precious Angel Child”

In memory of Vicky by Dennis McHale


Tonight I visited the blog of a brilliant blogger Dennis McHale who writes hauntingly beautiful poetry.  I read through a number of his poems, very aware of the man own personal pain, when I came across this tribute to Vic that Dennis posted on the 2nd of May 2013.  Reading it, I was as touched as I was then…  Thank you Dennis.

I hope that one day I will read happiness in your words.

MAY 2, 2013

In Memory of Vicky

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This poem is dedicated to my dear friend “tersiaburger”
In memory of her beloved daughter, Vicky.

——————————————————————-

You and I
are touched by one star.

Wherever you are
we stand together in one light
which no depth or height or distance
can ever dim.

Wherever you are
your light shines;
past time and space
past flesh to thought,
I feel your power.

Wherever you go
the day will dawn
and the star will appear;
for you are a child of this light
and it fosters your heavenly dreams.

In this light, I have found ways
to heal, to bind up,
to tear down the feeble structures
of fear of your absence has
carelessly constructed within me.

You and I
are touched by one star.

In its glowing embrace
we find our true selves;
we find our peace.

Today I may stand alone,

missing you with all my heart
be I stand strong.
Through the corridors of our courage
you have helped me to
discover those eternal lines
of love within myself;
my birthright discovered because

Vicky and I are
touched by one star.

http://dlmchale.com/2013/05/02/in-memory-of-vicky/

 

“Promise me Mommy…..” 13.1.2013


ImageIt has been a long day.  Vic is in a drug induced sleep.  She looks so peaceful.  Vic is not anesthetized – she wakes when she is thirsty or in pain.  She has only urinated once in 24 hours.  Her end is near.

Vic is looking angelically beautiful.  Her skin is blemish free and almost transparent.  Her hair seems to have taken on a life of its own.  Her little hands look skeleton like.  Her body is wasting away and yet she remains as beautiful as ever!

I will not sleep tonight.  Many years ago I promised Vic that she would not die alone or in a hospital.  The time is near and I must honour this promise.

Earlier tonight she woke up and I wasn’t in her room.  She had a panic attack… Danie found her trying to walk down the passage.  She was holding onto the wall and tears were running down her cheeks.  “Mommy, I am scared…”

Something has started bleeding again.  Vic vomited and there are signs of old and new blood again.  “Look Mommy, my mouth is bleeding…” she said.

Vic is deadly pale and her body has involuntary “jerking” movements.   She is decidedly unstable.

“Mommy, you have to get me to the awards evening.  I don’t care how.  Promise me Mommy!!!”  She sobbed tonight.  Tomorrow I will speak to the school and make the arrangements.  It is not a wheelchair friendly school and Vic could never sit through a two-hour ceremony.  We will find a way.

We had a strangely “normal” day today.  Jared brought his gaming computer down from the study into my TV lounge.  It is something I don’t encourage because there are wires and cords all over and I HATE the untidiness of it.  Today I welcomed it.  We needed to be close to one another.  I swam twice and we ate spaghetti bolognaise.

The boys have fear in their eyes.  I have fear in my heart.

Daddy don’t leave me…. 12.1.2013


A year ago I posted this.  Yesterday we had visitors.  We swam; the grandchildren laughed and joked, played hide and seek; we ate spaghetti bolognaise and ciabatta.  I sat looking at all the happy faces and remembered Vic clinging to Danie.  I remember the fear in her eyes.  Her desperation.  Her final Sunday.

Vic was desperately trying to finish the cards she had bought the boys.  She wanted to write the perfect words.  Words that would reach out to her boys from the grave.  I remember my fear and frustration.  Frustration that the cards had not been written and fear that it would not get done.  So much pressure in death…

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Tuesday brought an avalanche of visitors.  It was a very, very emotional day.  Vic was confused and seeing visions of angels and dead loved ones.

Vic’s friend Angela has been absolutely amazing.  She has sat through many hours of Vic’s tears and fears.  She has consoled and supported – at great personal expense.  I have used Angela as a sounding board and dragged her into discussions with Siza. I discussed sedation and treatment options with her.  She has hugged and messaged.  She has been a pillar of strength.

Leigh, Jared BFF’s Mom, walked in on Tuesday with armloads of flowers.  Vic’s room looked and smelled like a garden!  It looked absolutely beautiful and Vic was thrilled.

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Vic has refused to let go.  She is holding onto life with every fibre of her being.  She does not want visitors to leave and will try to get out of bed when they are here.

She cries and keeps asking “How do I say my final goodbyes?”

Esther visits every day.  She picks up the boys after school.  She is Vic’s guide.  “Go towards the light.  The light is good!” she keeps telling Vic.  Esther is a ray of sunshine and like the Rock of Gibraltar.  She is Vic’s sister in love.

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It is heart wrenching!

Vic clings to her dad and the boys.  She puts out her arms and says “Daddy don’t leave me…”  When she sees her boys she cries “Please give me a hug…”  and then “I love you more than life and then some more…”

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I hate my life.  I wish I were dead.

I am your child…


It is finally 2014.  I am so grateful that 2013 officially in the past.  I also get to say “My daughter died last year”

2013 was filled with tremendous loss.  Not only did I lose my child, other loved ones but I also lost myself.  2013 was filled with lessons. Painful lessons…

I have learned that grief is a solitary, unique experience. I have the learnt the difference between grief and sadness. I have learnt that grief is never-ending. I have learnt that it takes courage to grieve. I have learnt that the depth of loss depends on the depth of the relationship that has been severed.

In this process of grieving for my child I have lost me…I have become a stranger to myself. Vic and I were always “one”. I am battling to function with half of me gone. I miss the other half of my soul…

Once I was an organised person now I have become totally disorganised. My house and filing is a mess. My time management sucks! I battle to read and complete tasks. I no longer trust my judgement. I have trusted people who have scorned my love and trust. I have become forgetful. I have hidden my jewellery somewhere and for the life of me I cannot remember where. I have hidden the boys Christmas gifts – I cannot remember where. I have missed appointments, mislaid my keys…

I am preoccupied with Vic’s death. Everything that happens, I relate back to Vic’s death. In unguarded moments I relive her final moments, the vision of seeing her being loaded onto a gurney… I hear her final words echo through my mind and body “I love you Mommy…”. I relive her fear of dying, her desperation at saying her final goodbyes…

I have become impatient and intolerant. I am on the defensive. I feel isolated in my grief. I truly feel that only my WordPress friends, who have also lost a child, understands. My real world friends and family do not. How can they? They have never lost a child. They get to hold their children….They can rest their heads on their children’s heads and smell their freshly washed hair, feel their soft skins….


I have lost interest in things that used to fascinate me. I no longer enjoy decoupage, scrapbooking, painting or baking. Life has taken on a different meaning. I have new responsibilities.  Vic entrusted her beloved sons to my care and tasked me with Stepping Stone Hospice.

Because grief is primarily a personal experience it certainly takes its toll on relationships. Partners can try to understand someone else’s grief but they can never experience it or take on the burden themselves.

On the surface it appears society is accepting of this unbearable sadness and people are supportive and open to talking about it. I’ve been surprised by people’s genuine kindness and empathy as much as I’ve been repeatedly shocked & disappointed by their lack of it.

Although friends and family have been supportive, there is a mandate as for how long their unwavering support, patience, understanding, concern and empathy lasts. The truth is, the situation is so unbearably sad that it becomes incredibly emotionally draining on the other person.

The realisation that they can’t fix your sadness sets in, the frustration builds because not even they can see an end in sight, then gradually it starts to impede on the happiness in their life. They haven’t lost their child so why should they spend all their time sad about yours?

I cannot expect anyone, who did not truly witness and live the horror of seeing my beautiful child die, to understand my grief.

What frustrates and angers me most is that people, in the misguided perception that they are guiding or comforting me, insist on how I must be feeling! Who gives anyone the right to decide whether my emotions are “right” or “appropriate”. Please don’t give me advice. Don’t pretend to understand and keep your criticism to yourself. Please just be there if I invite you into my private space.

I am so tired. I am tired of living without my child, tired of trying to justify my grief, minding my words…I am tired of being hurt. I am tired of the hurt.

This morning I read the Facebook status of a brave young woman who lost her two precious daughters last year… “God has added one more day to my life. Not because I need the day but because someone else needs me. So I will get out of bed…..”

So, on the third day of 2014, I was inspired to make a decision. I will fight back against this terrible grief that is threatening to destroy me. I cannot bring back my child. I cannot make people understand, love or accept me. I will try to take back my life this year. I will start writing Vic’s book. I will focus on those who care for me; I will disregard my detractors… I will change my eating habits, exercise and sleep in a bed. I will lose my vulnerability. I will honour Vic through my life.

On the 18th of January the boys and I will do something special to celebrate their Mom’s life. Our lives will become about celebrating Vic’s life – not her death.

My brave child’s words to her boys are ringing through my head – “I am your mother not your excuse”.

I hear Vic’s voice loud and clear “I am your child – not your excuse”.

I hear you precious child. I promise to continuously remind the boys too… I miss you so much. I will honour you through my life.

We need a miracle again….


 

 

 

 

I posted this a year ago.  We never did get the miracle we needed.Image (195)

Vic's Final Journey

Daniel and Vic 29-01-07

Sr Siza examined Vic today.  She phoned Dr Sue who will be in tomorrow morning.  She also brought a script with for Dalacin antibiotics.  The cellulitis has spread to all three the subcutaneous sites.

Siza expressed her concern at Vic’s decline…

Last Friday Danie, my husband, came and sat next to me and said “I know everyone says it will be better for Vic to die than live in this pain but I was thinking how hard it will be for us without her…”

That statement really shook me.  Up until now death has been a hypothetical issue… Doctors diagnoses and prognosis…predictions…  I have never really considered living without my child.

Last week Siza and I met with the CEO of Amcare, a large community project that provide community based feeding schemes, HIV/AIDS Counselling, Home-based care, skills development, ARV Clinic, women and children shelters.   We are hoping that they…

View original post 800 more words

A mother’s loss…




“No one loses a child the way a mother loses one. We are the ones who first felt life, carried it and protected them, nourished them, sacrificed our bodies for them, held them first in our hearts, then first into our arms. We were not only connected through flesh, but on levels so deep, you really have nothing to compare it too metaphysically.

It is a love so raw, and so elemental that is just present – just there from the beginning. We have a link to our children that cannot be replicated. No one understands a grieving mother except for another grieving mother. No one else can begin to understand that void that surrounds us, shadows us, haunts us. Our children’s screams that we can no longer answer, their bodies we can no longer grab and embrace, their tears we can no longer dry, and their hurts that we can no longer make better. They then become our own unanswered screams, our bodies that become un-embraceable, our tears that can never be dried and our hurts that never stop. There are constant reminders of what we live without, and must live without until we die – sometimes it feels like it’s life’s cruel way of taunting us. The grieving mother is never whole again, never fully present, because a piece of her heart and soul leave her with her child’s last breath.”

https://www.facebook.com/WingsofHopeLivingForward

May God have mercy on us…

Vic’s letter from Heaven


Vic's letter from Heaven
Vic’s letter from Heaven

Today it is 5 months since Vic died.  I am trying to get Vic’s estate done (not doing well at all!!) and came across a file with a letter addressed to me.

It flashed through my mind…”A letter from heaven!”

It is not a recent letter.  It is a letter that Vic wrote years ago.  How do I know?  It was with her old Last Will and Testament.

I am grateful for the letter.  I am heartbroken that I am reading it.

I love you always and forever my Angel Child.

 

Hospice – friend or foe?


Hospice – friend or foe?

A blogger friend, Terry, is preparing for her beloved brother Al, to move home from an Assisted Living Facility. Al suffers from Parkinson’s disease and his general health condition is extremely precarious. Terry blogged: “I finally heard nothing from the phone. I had done everything I could find to do trying not to have to make the dreaded call to Hospice. I decided not to use the Hospice here in our county. I was very disappointed in them with the lack of care they gave to my father.” http://terry1954.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/al-and-hospice-meet/

Vic wrote this on her Face Book page on the 15th of May 2011… “Today Hospice came to access my Grandfather… They dripped him & made him comfortable. He has lost his swallowing reflex, sleeps most of the day, is completely bedridden & can barely talk… The suddenness of his deterioration is very difficult to comprehend. Could you all say a big prayer for my Gramps and especially my Mom, who lost her best friend of 25 yrs., age 51 to a heart attack last Tuesday. My Mother is one of the strongest, bravest people I know… How do we say goodbye, how do I take my Boys to say their Goodbyes tomorrow, how do we accept that this incredible man has such little time left regardless of the fact that we all know that its best for him. How can I be strong for my babies when my heart breaks all over again, every day when I see him…? Especially my Eunice Friends will all remember how desperately my Gramps and Gran loved and spoilt me and how VERY MUCH they meant to me… I don’t want to live without him even though I realise that that is extremely selfish, but I love my Grandfather so desperately, it’s not fair… All I ask for is compassion… Compassion for Gramps and my Mother… Thank you to everyone for all your love & support through everything… Love Vic…”

I am a great believer in the services that Hospices offer – worldwide. Hospice cared for my Dad in the last week of his life and for Vic the last 5.5 months of her life. My experience was positive.

The hospice movement was started in the 1950’s in London by Dame Cicely Saunders, and the first hospice facility opened in London in 1967. Seven years later the United States opened their first hospice facility in 1974. In America the hospice movement has blossomed and hospice now serves 44.6% of patient deaths. Unfortunately, the median length of service for hospice patients is only 19.1 days, which means many patients did not receive the benefit of hospice care until the end of a difficult illness. In my country only 5% of the dying actually have access to Hospice services.

The original idea of hospice is that once curative treatments are no longer effective, a patient enrols in hospice to receive comfort care. In our culture of “fighting” death illness that should be addressed through ongoing decisions about the risk and benefit of interventions gets turned into a battle that should be won or lost. No one wants to be a loser, so the patient is reluctant to quit curative care until there is absolutely no hope. Many physicians are geared the same way, and their desire to give hope and “beat” disease results in a reluctance to call in hospice even when they know the situation is bleak.

Hospice care is for a terminally ill person who’s expected to have six months or less to live. This doesn’t mean that hospice care will be provided only for six months, however. Hospice care can be provided as long as the person’s doctor and hospice care team certify that the condition remains life-limiting.

The benefits of hospice and palliative care

Research published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that terminally-ill patients who received hospice care lived on average 29 days longer than those who did not opt for hospice near the end of life.

Source: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Hospice care providers offer specialized knowledge and support at the end of life just as obstetricians and midwives lend support and expertise at the start of life. Hospice can reduce anxiety in both the terminally ill patient and his or her family by helping them make the most of the time remaining and achieve some level of acceptance.

When terminally ill patients, who are often already in a weakened physical and mental state, make the decision to receive hospice and palliative care instead of continued curative treatment, they avoid the dangers of over-treatment. In-home care from a hospice team often means the patient receives greater monitoring than he or she would in a hospital. In addition to focusing on the physical health and comfort of a patient, hospice care also focuses on the emotional needs and spiritual well-being of the terminally ill and their loved ones.

The above is all well documented facts. Yet, when a family is faced with that terrible decision to call in Hospice, it is a deeply emotional decision. The phone call is a terrifying telephone call. This is evident from Vic and Terry’s posts…..

It made me realise what a massive challenge lies ahead of us in Stepping Stone Hospice.  We need to educate the community.  We need to dispel the fear of and for Hospice.

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It’s time to let him go….


1030577_850997“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
― Nelson MandelaLong Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

“When someone is dying, everyone has to wait. It takes time. All of us have a different timetable. Some wait mere hours. Some drag on for days, others, weeks. It is a lesson in patience.” Uma Girish – http://grammarofgrief.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/being-with-the-dying/

Today, in South Africa, Gracia Machel, is sitting vigil next to her beloved husband’s bed.  I have no doubt that she is holding his hand, waiting, praying…  Maybe she too feels that the time has come for Madiba to keep his head pointed to the sun and his feet moving forward to eternal peace and rest.

I wonder whether Madiba fears death? I have no doubt that he has fears for his family, his country…  He once said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

In this morning Sunday Times Newspaper the headline was “It’s Time to let him go”.  http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/  It is an appeal by Andrew Mlangeni, a longtime friend of Nelson Mandela, to his family.  No doubt it will be controversial and elicit a lot of discussion and criticism.

I agree with Andrew Mlangeni, it is time to let Madiba go…  There can be very little joy in his life.  This man has suffered so much in his life – it is time for his suffering to come to an end.

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”  Nelson Mandela

 

TWENTY …


Vic as a 20 year old with Danie and I
Vic as a 20 year old with Danie and I

Properties of the number 20


Symbolism

  • Represent the God solar for the Mayas.
  • The number 20 is considered as ominous for saint Jerome because it indicates the universal fight, but it also represents the source of all energy of the world.
  • This number is represented in Hebrew by the letter caph, in form of opened hand, to seize and hold. The eleventh mystery of the Tarot, which corresponds to this letter, and consequently with this number, is “the Force” which expresses energy, the activity, the work, according to R. Allendy.
  • Number associated to the resurrection or to the reincarnation, according to Creusot.

Bible

  • Samson had judged Israel for twenty years. (Jg 16,31)
  • Under the commandment of Elisha, twenty barley loaves are enough to feed hundred persons. (2 K 4,42-44)
  • God asked Moses to make the census of all the community of Israelis being twenty years old and more. (Nb 1,3)
  • Jacob spent twenty years at Laban before to escape. (Gn 31,38)

General

  • One month in the religious calendar Maya contained twenty days.
  • Magic square of 20:

8 6 4 2

4 2 8 6

2 4 6 8

6 8 2 4

  • Number of characters of the alphabet of bards.
  • Anniversary of marriage: weddings of porcelain of China.

Occurrence

  • The number 20 is used 117 times in the Bible.
  • The number 24 is used 20 times in the Bible.
  • The number 20 is used only once in the Koran. (Koran VIII, 66)
  • The names of Cain and Rome are used 20 times in the Bible.

 

It is Friday again.  Twenty weeks ago my beautiful Vic died.  Twenty sounds too “little”.  It feels too “much”.  Twenty was always such a magical figure…Twenty had an allure of its own.  Twenty always felt like the “almost adult” number.  I remember when I was twenty years old I was so excited about turning 21…coming of age!

Now twenty represents the number of weeks that we have wept and longed for the presence of Vic.

A year ago I posted “Life aka Vicky” versus Death.  https://tersiaburger.com/2012/06/07/6-6-2012-3-2/

 I wrote “Mommy, I am sick” Every time Vic opens her eyes she utters these words. 

Will she win what we believe to be the final round?  Life aka Vicky vs. Death… Ten long, long years she has fought with every fibre in her little body.  I sense that she is tired.  Ready to concede defeat…  She says she isn’t scared.  I am!  I am scared of facing life without my baby. 

Now I have already faced 20 weeks of living without my baby.

 

Bittersweet


100_9077I often wondered exactly what went through Vic’s mind in the final months of her life when she felt death sneaking up on her.  I know she was scared and lonely; she was heartbroken knowing that her boys would grow up without her….I am not stupid.  I know that Vic did not share all her fears and thoughts with me.  She was trying to protect me.

Today I read a bittersweet post.  I wept when I read the words.  It was as if I heard Vic’s voice…felt her fear…

Bittersweet
June 4, 2013 by sugarmagzz        | 6 Comments
 
It happens from time to time, I get a glimpse of my “old” life and for a fleeting second forget that I am dying of cancer. These moments are simultaneously wonderful and devastating. I might be out with a friend for lunch, pumping gas into my car, shopping for Owen, or doing dishes at my kitchen sink. It’s always random and for that brief moment I feel free, as though I’m flying and nothing is tethering me down. I feel like I did before, able to live my life without a shadow cast overhead. It doesn’t last very long because reality always comes crashing down, dragging me with it in its vice-like grip. In this moment of clarity — when it all comes rushing back to me — I can’t breathe. I’m ten again and I’ve fallen flat on my back off the trampoline — immobile, breathless, terrified.  This time there is no ground to break my fall, and so I’m left to kick and scream in mid-air with no one to hear me, no one to catch me. Alone and falling, falling so fast — past the memories that were supposed to one day be mine. I reach out to touch them and slide my fingers over their sparkling surface…
 
The look on Owen’s face when he sees Disney World for the first time.
 
The birth of our second child, to see again Andrew’s incredible capacity for the patience and self-sacrifice of fatherhood.
 
Owen’s high school and college graduation ceremonies, his wedding.
Ashlei’s wedding, the birth of her children, becoming an Aunt.
 
Retirement — relaxing on the dock looking out over the lake with him, my partner in life…reminiscing about the early days and arguing over chores, still.
 
Grandchildren.
I will not see these momentous occasions, they will occur without my physical presence.
 
I hope that there is more to this life, and that I can be there in some way, spirit or otherwise. I hope that my loved ones will always feel me near as they celebrate those unforgettable moments that life has to offer, but my sorrow at missing out on them is endless. I am so very grateful for the incredible moments I have been blessed to experience and I will hold them close until the end. When my time comes, I will take my last breath knowing that my time here was extraordinary, that during my brief existence I lived and loved as greatly as I could. I know there will be more wonderful memories to make before this happens, but everything for me is tinged with darkness — all of the good moments are bittersweet. Still I fight for them, even though they are broken and imperfect. They may not be the memories I thought they would be, but they will still be special.

Tonight I am doubting myself again.  I wonder – did I comfort my child enough?  Why was this precious child of mine condemned to a life of horrible pain and suffering?  She never truly lived!  Why did she die and bad people continue to live and prosper?  Why was she deprived of a future???  She was such a good person!!!!!

I want to hold her and protect her.  I want to tell her how much I love her.  That she is the best thing that ever happened to me.  That my life is empty without her.  That I understood her fears.  

I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!