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…

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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.

stepping_stones_of_memory_by_nwwes-d3krg59


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!!!