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!!!

 

Red Light


This poem is about a teenager who is killed by a drunk driver. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated is a potential killer!!!! Don’t drink and Drive!!!
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Red Light

©Brittney Elizabeth

He was the most loved with a million friends.
Football star with so many wins.
He had the cutest smile that you would ever see.
He was the funniest person that you would ever meet.
He had a full scholarship from a college in another state,
but he loved football so he couldn’t wait.
A week after graduation, his girlfriend and some friends had a celebration.
He was excited because it was the last party of the year,
he kissed his mom goodbye as she told him not to drink any beer.
He smiled at her and said, “relax mom, I won’t, I’ll be home around midnight.”
She told him she loved him and to have a good time.
As he cruised down the street he thought of how much he would miss his friends and he thought of his girlfriend and how good things had been.
He slowed to a stop as the light turned red,
but the car behind him didn’t seem to see the stop ahead.
He flew from the windshield and on to the ground.
He could see, but he couldn’t look around.
He tried to call for help, but his words wouldn’t speak.
His heart got slower and his body grew weak.
Family and friends flashed in his mind, he thought about his girlfriend one last time.
The medics worked on him to give him breath,
but he was fading fast
so close to “death”.
His neck was broken, and his bones were cracked….
So hard to be identified because his face was smashed.
Time passed by and he opened his eyes to see a man.
There wasn’t a scratch on him, but he could barely stand.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” he said with slurred words.
The officer asked, “have you been drinking sir?”
The man looked at the boy and nodded his head.
And the boy closed his eyes remembering what his mother had said.
A tear ran down his face as the light turned red, and around midnight, he was pronounced dead.

Photo Credit:  Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

ALZHEIMER’S – A SPECIAL POEM


The best father in the world...
The best father in the world…

 

My beautiful dad died of Alzheimer’s.  

 This poem is for you Daddy.  You are my hero; the best father in the world.  You loved unconditionally.  you held onto your dignity with superhuman effort….

I was so proud of you.  You clung to your old-fashioned manners and values until death.

I am glad you died with your dignity intact.  I loved you every day of your life and will continue to love you every day of my life.

A special Poem
 
Do not ask me to remember.
Don’t try to make me understand.
Let me rest and know you’re with me.
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
 
I’m confused beyond your concept.
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.
 
Do not lose your patience with me.
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different ‘though I try.
 
Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone.
Please don’t fail to stand beside me,
Love me ’till my life is done.
 
– Unknown
My Dad a month before his death....it was such a wonderful day!
My Dad a month before his death….it was such a wonderful day!
My dad and I on my wedding day
My dad and I on my wedding day
Simply the best
Simply the best
Vic adored her Gramps and he adored her!
Vic adored her Gramps and he adored her!

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My hero!
My hero!

Caregiver Isolation


Alberton-20120625-00559It happened without warning…

In 2002 I was on top of the world.  My career was at an all-time high, financially we were secure and I LOVED my job.  I was able to work long hours and spend time with my friends.  I was on 9 Church Committee’s and very involved with community work in the poor areas.

Then it happened…Vic had her blotched back surgery and our lives changed forever.  I spent 22 days in the waiting room outside the Intensive Care Unit.  My life ground to a halt.

We moved into a downward spiral of hospitals, doctor visits, x-rays, scans, 81 abdominal surgeries, pain, open wounds, hospital bugs, sepsis and wound dressings.  I felt over-whelmed and out of control.  Doctors and nurses prodding and touching my child.  To them she was a commodity.  But, to me, she was my life.

Slowly but surely my life changed…  I became fixated with finding a “solution” to my child’s devastating health problems.  After all, I am a Baby Boomer.  We don’t accept bad situations.  We find solutions.  We sort out problems.  I refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis as I did when she was a little girl.  I was told that Vic would not live to the age of 12 when she was diagnosed as a toddler…  I refused to accept it.  Vic not only outlived the prognosis but lived to complete school, get married and give birth to two beautiful boys.  The ventilators were turned off and Vic continued to breathe, live….

We went from one doctor to the next.  I spend hours every day of my life on the internet looking for solutions and advice; it became a coping mechanism.  I worked longer hours in-between surgeries.  Quite frankly, work became a crutch.  I spent less and less time with my family and friends…I suppose because I felt no-one understood my fear, my despair, my pain…

My fear, despair and pain became my constant companion.  My computer and the internet my trusted friend…

One day, about 7 years ago, Jared asked me “Oumie don’t you love your family?”

“Of course I love my family!  Why are you asking such a question?” I replied

“Because you are never home….”

I had to sit down and reassess my life.  Quite honestly the financial implications of keeping Vic alive and care for her was daunting.  I feared going home because I could not handle Vic’s pain….  I knew in my heart there was no cure.  The mere thought of Vic suffering for endless years were terrifying!  I could not bear to see the fear and helpless desperation in the boys’ eyes.

So contrary to what I have written before, and comments that have been left, I have not been the best mother.   There was a time that I ran away.  I was petrified of the thought that Vic would suffer for another 40 years…be dependent upon me for another 40 years… There were times that I thought to myself “There has to be more to life!”  I felt lost in the in-balance of my life.  No matter where I turned it was work and responsibility!

In 2009 my Dad came to live with us.  He suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Dad and I
Dad and I

Whilst I reached a maturity level where I realized that being a caregiver is a privilege, not a burden, our lives changed.

I started sleeping downstairs many years ago when Vic was so ill.  I was scared I would not hear her if I slept upstairs.  I slowly slipped into a habit of working late on my laptop and then falling asleep on the sofa.  This continued when my Dad lived with us.  I still sleep downstairs on the sofa – waiting for Vic shuffling footsteps down the passage, text messages saying “Can I have something for pain?” or the intercom screeching!  The intercom was the 911 call.

I slowly and inextricably slipped into depression.  My entire life was dominated by my fears for my child.  The caregiving demands steadily increased as the years passed and the situation deteriorated.  It became a dark and difficult period for the entire family.  We could no longer spontaneously decide to go to dinner, go away for a weekend or even a holiday.  Every activity demanded a great deal of planning.  We became more and more isolated as a family.

It is natural for family and friends to drift away when a loved one becomes ill. The longer the illness, the longer they stay away. By it’s very nature, caring giving is draining. It is far easier to stay home and rest than socialize outside the home.  Isolation can lead to loneliness, depression, and illness. It takes energy and effort to maintain friendships when one feels tired and discouraged.

My salvation was cyberspace.  I joined an Alzheimer support group, https://www.caring.com.  Without the support group I would never had coped with my dad’s descend into Alzheimer’s.  A year ago I started blogging on Vic’s final journey.  I have found a cyber-community with parents who also lost children, friends with a word of encouragement, a kind words.   I receive advice, support and information from a loving cyber-community.

I however realize that I need re-join life.  There are days that I just want to stay on my sofa with a blanket pulled over my head.  I fear that if I sleep in a bed I will never get out of it.  In the TV lounge there is always people.  Whether it be the boys, Danie or the housemaids.

Today I had tea with an old friend.  For almost 4 years I have not been able to see her.  She has a young son that I have never seen.  Our friendship was reduced to the odd phone call or text message.  Often she would phone and there would be a crisis with Vic.  I would say “I will phone you back” and never get around to it.  I isolated myself from friends.  I was so miserable and totally absorbed with Vic that no “outsider” could penetrate my “barrier”.

My life centred round my sick child and family.

Despite the trauma of Vic’s death and coming to terms with the horrible loss, my life has changed.  I have had tea with my new Magnolia friends and Christelle.  We go out to dinner on the spur of the moment; we have been on holiday and I spent 4 days at a Spa with my sister!  I have watched Jon-Daniel play hockey matches, started gym and started remodelling the house.  I have seen a psychiatrist and take antidepressants.  We have started Stepping Stone Hospice.

How amazing is this?

If the truth be known it is not amazing at all.  I am dying on the inside.  I cry uncontrollably – mostly when everyone has gone to bed.  If the boys were not living with us it would have been so different.  I KNOW I would still have been in bed.   I am consumed with longing for my child.  Last night I replayed 100’s of voicemail messages that Vic had left me….

“Love you Mommy…”

“Love you Baby Girl”

Jon-Daniel writes…I wish


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Jon-Daniel is going through a rough time.  He posted this on his Blackberry Status.

I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven.  Miss you my little angel.  We all do!

Hamba Kahle Little One…


Friday evening we duly said goodbye to young Izak.  My heart is at peace.  His forever-parents are a wonderful couple.  The Dad refers to Izak as his “first-born” son and the Mommy glows with pride when he does something cute (which is all the time).

I am so grateful that he will be going to a loving home.  The parents are intelligent, sociable and gentle.  The Mommy seemed a little uncomfortable changing and feeding him, but I think she may have been a little intimidated by our presence.  The Dad was born to be united with Izak.  They even look-alike!

The precious little angel was at his best behaviour.  It is as if he knows something is brewing….

Lani is such a kind, gentle soul.  She arranged a “Stork Tea” for the Mommy.  Some of her friends made up little gift parcels, and Lani packed one of each of his cereals, Purity, finger biscuits, medicines etc for the Mommy with detailed instructions.  She also made a beautiful “First Bible” with Izak’s photos in it!  The Mommy cried!

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His Oumie (that’s me) bought him a jean, baseball jacket and in African Tradition – a blanket.  I hope that when he is wrapped in his blanket at night he will feel loved and cared for, even when we are gone from his life.

I did cry when I kissed him for the last time.  I felt good knowing that he has forever-parents that love him and who will cherish him.  I can see he will be their pride and joy!

Tuesday at 1 pm Lani has to kiss baby Izak goodbye.  I know she will be heartbroken.  She has such a special bond with him!  He looks at her with absolute adoration in his bright brown eyes.  I know the girls will be heartbroken for losing their little “brother”.  Tom cried on Friday night when he prayed for Izak and his Forever Family.  I know in his heart he had some dreams of being Izak’s “wingman” on his first night out on the town.

 Take my hand and hold it as if it is my heart....

Forever Daddy – take my hand and hold it as if it is my heart….

I pray that Lani will cope with saying goodbye.  I know how hard it is!

I salute Lani and Tom for making a difference in an incredible baby’s life!  I believe that his abandonment is the best thing that could ever have happened to him.  His birth mom made an incredible sacrifice to ensure a better life for him.  In Lani and Tom’s home he had the best possible start to a good life.  Izak was showered with love by everyone he came in touch with…He won over hearts of stone!

My wish for this adorable little boy is a life filled with blessings, love, care, good health and joy.  Izak has the potential to become president of this country.  I pray that his forever parents will cherish and nurture this potential and guide him wisely.

So my precious cherub who laughs a lot, know that you started life surrounded by love.   Hamba Kahle.  I will miss you little one.  You will always remain in my heart!  (Hamba Kahle means to “go well” or “stay well”, not really goodbye)

Tom, Lani and Girls – I salute you for selflessly loving this precious child.  You have given this little boy a chance in life.  I love and admire you for it.

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My 1st Mothers Day


Today, the 12th of May 2013, is my first Mother’s Day in 38 years without my precious Vicky.

I attended my sister’s birthday party.  I smiled and participated in her birthday and Mother’s Day celebrations.  I know that worldwide millions of other mothers joined me today in quietly reflecting on our grief and sadness.

I know that the family and especially Danie were worried about how I will handle Mother’s Day.  On Friday morning Danie asked whether he could get me flowers for Mother’s Day as he has done for the past 22 years.  I declined.

I know that even though today is dedicated to mothers, entire families will be affected.  Fathers too experience grief and yet the world seems to forget about them.  Maybe it is because men are so stoic in their grief.

I saw this on a Facebook site – Grieving Mothers, and it really shook me…

552833_515481991830996_736572417_n FB GRIEVING MOTHERS

I know that Danie is grieving for Vic.  He is grieving with the boys and me.  He is grieving for us.  I know he fears that he lost part of me…. 

Today I share Mother’s Day with my fellow club members – the grieving mothers of the world.  Tonight I will reread 30 odd Mother’s Day Cards and drawings that I received from my precious child over the years.  I will cry on my own.  I will burn candles for my child and for the moms of Henry, Tommy, Raymond, Phillip, Klysta,Jason, Alex, Matthew, Caitlyn, Morgan, “B”, Jason David, James, Jesse, Steven, Graham, … I will weep for my beautiful grandsons who did not have a mommy to wish a “Happy Mother’s Day” today… I will mourn my Mom – a woman of great strength, beauty and love.

Yet I am filled with gratitude and love for my stepchildren and grandchildren; the messages of love and support that started coming through from friends, family, Vic’s friends and even the boys friends mothers…

My phone started pinging early this morning.  I ignored the pings.  Danie sneaked into my TV lounge where I was sleeping on the sofa.  I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep.  Then my phone rang, and I could not ignore the call… It was Lee-Ann.  She said “HI T, I am just phoning to tell you I love you…”  I burst into hysterical tears.  Poor lee!

Danie brought me letters that the boys had written me… Jared wrote “Dear Oumie, I know we don’t have a reason to celebrate mothers day, other than to remember Mom and all she meant to us.  So I have decided that we are changing the name to Oumie’s Day.  We got you a sign that says “HOME” .  That is because this is OUR home, and it always will be.”

Jon-Daniel wrote: “Happy Mothers Day Oumie” It may not be the happiest time of the year for you.  Although your very own child is up in Heaven, you have GRANDchildren.  Nothing will ever fill the gap – Mommy’s gap!  This is the first year you will be celebrating Mother’s Day without the One who made you a Mommy.  It is difficult,you must know I am always here.  After all you are our grandmother.  The word says it all, “grand” – great, awesome, amazing.  And “Mother” – well, no need to describe that.  Everybody knows how special a mommy is.”

Henk, second eldest grandson wrote “Ouma, it was a difficult year but you are always here to help and love.  You always have a smile no matter how bad things are for you.  We are grateful for it, and that is why we love you so much and always will do.”

Yesterday little Simone put her arms around me and said “Thank you for being my Ouma.  Thank you for spoiling us.  I love you very much.  My words are your Mothers Day present.”

I have had beautiful messages of love and caring from all my stepchildren.  It has truly filled me with joy.

I also read a card that Vic gave me in 2000 “We have all changed a lot through the years Mommy but one thing will never change – and that is the love between us.  It is a special bond that keeps us close no matter where we are.  I love you more than words can say.”

I know that today my precious child and Mom are celebrating Mother’s Day together.  I am grateful for all the years we were able to celebrate together.  I love you and honour you both today.  Two amazing mommy’s…

Thank you God that today is over!!!!!

Mother's Day 2008
Mother’s Day 2008
Mother's Day 2012
Mother’s Day 2012

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