Dying is a lonely journey. Not only for the sick person but also for the family. As hard as we may try to avoid death, the truth is that we do a lousy job of it. Science and medicine will certainly postpone it, even staying healthy might seem to delay it, but the harsh reality is that death does not wait for you, it does not ask you, and it does not listen to you. Death ignores your feelings and wants; you do not matter to death…Death is the only certainty in life! We need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because waits for no-one… Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.
Please pop in there. Let’s all think about “kindness” and make it our goal to perform just one special act of kindness every day! It has to be a special act of kindness that actually takes an effort.
Vic was a kind and generous person. Her legacy is one of kindness and generosity. So I have come up with an award… The Rose of Kindness Award. I would like to add that we need to remember that our existence here is fragile, and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someone’s out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because death waits for no-one… Be kind and gentle. Cherish your relationships remember to be kind…. Pay it forward!
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
Nominate 13 (my lucky number) bloggers whose kindness you have experienced
Post why you are nominating each of your nominees
Let the nominees know that you nominated them
Suggest one special act of kindness that the world may benefit from
So I have to nominate some kind people.
My treasured friend, Sandra @ http://thedrsays.org/, who is terminally ill and yet has so much kindness in her heart that she still reaches out to me and other people. This brave and selfless woman has made a difference in my world. She worries about her loved ones that she will leave behind. Thank you dear friend for caring when you have so much to deal with! You are always in my thoughts and prayers!
http://behindthemaskofabuse.com is a heart wrenching blog about a woman’s life of abuse. She was raised by a narcissistic father, and a mother who rarely protected her from his verbal, mental, emotional and psychological abuse. She endured molestation, both inside and outside the family setting, raped at the tender age of 11 years old. This blog is written by an amazing person. A strong person battling recovery, anger and betrayal. She battles C-PTSD and BDD. Out of her pain two books were born and are published on Amazon “Buckwheatsrisk-Abuse Survival”, and a poetry book entitled “If I Could Write my Heart.” I salute you dear friend for your resilience and kindness. Out of your hardship a beautiful kind and caring human being was born. Thank you dear friend for the kindness you have shown!
http://idealisticrebel.wordpress.com/ – Rebel is amazing and takes on the world! A kind and brave blogger who fights to make the world a better place. Rebel is a kind and generous friend.
http://jmgoyder.com/ – My precious friend Julie who has so much pain and loss to work through. Julie writes about the love between her and her ailing husband. It is the most beautiful love story ever! Julie is kind and caring. Thank you for your loving kindness dear friend!
Judy is my dear friend who has guided me through this abyss of grief that I am walking…http://myjourneysinsight.com Judy reaches out to grieving parents. She offers guidance, advice and love. Thank you dearest Judy for your kindness and friendship.
Shirley @ http://justiceforraymond.wordpress.com is a true warrior, fighting for justice yet always ready to extend a hand of friendship and support. Shirley taken on the judicial world to bring justice to the unsolved and uncleared and uncared for deaths. Thank you dear Shirley for your words and actions of kindness.
Len @ http://myownheart.me is a precious friend who always has a kind word of support. Despite her pain after the tragic loss of her precious Klysta Len reaches out a hand of friendship with words of kindness. Thank you dear Len
This wonderful woman has 1077 followers and yet she has time to read my blog, comment and encourage. Her words of advice are filled with compassion and kindness. Thank you dear Diana http://talktodiana.wordpress.com/
Katie Mitchell who suffers debilitating pain yet this brave young woman has made it her mission in life to educate the world on Connective Tissue disorders. Vic suffered from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a connective tissue disorder. Katie is a kind and gentle person –very worthy of this award. http://connectivetissuedisorders.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/treading-water
Shaun @ http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/ is a kind and cherished friend. I sometimes feel bad because I know I cause him pain because of my grief. He reaches out wanting to make my life better. Thank you dear, kind friend. I know you don’t accept awards anymore so I truly understand if you don’t accept.
http://kindnessblog.com/ I would be remiss to not award the blog that inspired this action. Thank you for the goodness you radiate in your blog. I could not find your name anywhere but I hope you will accept.
Terry @ http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ is a kind blogger who cares for her brother deeply and passionately. She is a shiny example of how we should treat our fellow human beings and family – with kindness!
An extra nomination – My beautiful, brave child who radiated goodness and kindness, this award is for you! You made the world a better place. I am proud to be your Mommy. This award photo is of the rose we planted at the front door…I love you angel child.
My suggested act of kindness: On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, remember any friends who have lost a parent the previous year, and check in with them. Those will be tough days.
When my brave daughter planned her memorial service she specified these words of wisdom to be in the funeral letter. It was a personal note from Vic to us. I wonder how many people actually realized it?
Reason, Season and Lifetime …
People always come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. …
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, or to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. They may seem like a godsend to you, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. …
Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. …
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they just walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. …
When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall, the season eventually ends. …
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas in your life. It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being part of my life.
When I read this the first time I categorized people in to the Reason; Season and Lifetime categories… I clearly remembered and recognized the “Reason” and “Season” friends… I found that the “Reason” people were people who crossed my path early in my life… I almost felt that it was old work colleagues, school friends, childhood neighbours. Character defining people who either moved on or were left behind by me.
A “Season” can be defined as an hour, day, week, year, or several years. Maybe even part of a lifetime, but it will at some time fade out and for no real reason. The “Seasoners” will bring you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season. The season relationship is not something to force or cling to… It dies naturally and through no fault of either person.
Lifetime friendships offer not only good times, but also survives bad times, offers times for growth and challenge. The friendship grows over time, and a deep abiding bond develops – a love which sustains both people in the friendship. They become members of your family. They may be people with whom you’ve grown up or met yesterday, but they will be there “until death do us part”.
I stood in front of the church flanked by my grandsons when I delivered my precious child’s eulogy. I looked at the people and recognised the “Reasoners, Seasoners and Life timers…”
I saw so many Life Timers who truly loved Vic until death saved her from more pain and suffering. Friends that never abandoned her, patiently waited for a good day to see her… Friends quietly crying tears of deep sorrow and loss….
I remembered why Vic chose this poem, in 2003, to be in her funeral letter. She wanted to thank each and every person for the role they played in her life. She wanted people to know that she clearly saw and accepted this truth. She felt great sorrow when someones time with her ended. It’s only natural when we come to love someone to want them to be there forever. Vic clung to relationships and friendships way past their “expiry” date. She mourned her losses.
Vic did however learn that very valuable life lesson – to be grateful for whatever time she was granted with those she cared about. Vic clung to life to extend her time with the “life timers”…
Death had to pry her fingers from Life and her Life Timers…
Ah, I have been surrounded by angels this week! Yesterday my friend Trix, just popped around with a beautiful bunch of roses…yellow and orange. Vic would have loved the flowers and the gesture! Vic’s eldest sibling too dropped off a beautiful bunch of flowers.
Yesterday we burnt candles for Vic. We all cried. We all desperately missed Vic.
Trix is a “new” friend. She is part of the Stepping Stone Hospice steering committee. Trix is funny, fit, bright, dynamic and very intelligent! She is absolutely amazing, and no amount of effort or work for Stepping Stone Hospice is too much effort. Trix posts these amazing comments on Facebook throughout the day. Her posts are philosophical, funny and radiates her love of life and people.
Trix has become such an important part of my life in a short period of time. She has a way of saying “Do what you must do to cope with today…” She is not the huggy/kissy type friend… Under her chirpy exterior lies one of the most positive and honest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Now my friendship with Trix is one of the few goods things that came out of Vic’s illness… If Vic had not dreamt of a Hospice and Trix had not lost a husband to cancer in a Hospice In-Patient unit we may never have met…
Another new friend is Wendie Deacon http://deaconfamilyblog.wordpress.com/an-angel-named-vic/ Wendie is a nice person who is truly gifted. Wendie has challenges of her own and the way she has handles these challenges are so brave! She messages and says such beautiful things of Vic… That on it’s only is enough to truly endear her to me. Wendy wrote a beautiful poem for Vic… Thank you dear Wendie for honouring Vic with your words!
If only Vic could read Wendie’s beautiful poem… Do you think angels can read? I wish Vic could read these words…
I am systematically packing up Vic’s belongings. It has been a humongous job! Vic was a squirrel – she hoarded! I have discarded hundreds of old VCR tapes….thousands of photos and many hundreds of cards. The “Good luck with exam cards” were totally wasted on Vic – I came across her school reports again…; get better cards, I love you cards and thank you for your friendship cards from her school friends; lots and lots of Valentine cards… The one card that got to me was a card that read:-
“To My Daughter
So many times
When you were a child,
I looked upon your
What kind of woman
You’d grow up to be?”
Then on the inside of the card it reads “You grew up as wonderful as I imagined” Today I can categorically state that was not true. Vic grew up to be a far more wonderful person than I could ever have imagined. Vic was kind and generous. Vic always smiled. Vic loved unconditionally and never judged. Vic was devoid of bitterness and hate. She never spoke unkind words. Her bravery goes without saying… Vic is the bravest person I know. Vic always said “I am fine thank you…” The shrillness of the “fine” was the “stress-indicator” of how ill she was.
The cards her school friends wrote were to thank her for her friendship and support. Gia wrote on the 26th of March – year unknown: “This is just a short note to say thanks for all your help, attention, help and love while I’ve been under the weather…” On the 28th of October 1991 Tatum wrote “You’re a great friend and I am dreading this time next year when we all have to say goodbye. Thank you for being you and putting up with me…” Monique wrote “Thanx for everything. You know what everything is.” One of the Vicky’s wrote “as friends we have walked together sharing joy, laughter and tears. Though time may pass and things may change, I’m sure you’ll agree, That one thing always stays the same…each other’s loyalty” Mouse wrote “Vicks thank you for willingly giving help – be it a smile or a thoughtful thought – It may go unnoticed but it is appreciated” Gia ended most of her notes, cards and letters with “I’ll meet you at the end of the earth”
I truly felt like a grave robber going through Vic’s private correspondence. I cannot keep it all – there is just too much and I did not want to discard her whole life. So I have made a memory box of all her school dance invitations and photos, her friends’ notes, some boyfriends’ letters and her theatre season tickets. I have added some of the hundreds of cards I sent her over the years. Yes…Vic kept them all!!!!
How can I just wipe out her lifetimes memories? Vic treasured these items and I will keep it safely for her grandchildren to see one day… This memory box is her memory box. A tribute by her friends… It was an experience to “see” Vic in high school. Vic insisted on going to boarding school in High School, and she was accepted at one of the most prestigious girl schools in South Africa. Vic LOVED the freedom and camaraderie of boarding school. She got up to a lot of mischief! I have now personally seen the photos of what the girls got up too… But I am so glad.
I have come to realise that I never truly allowed Vic to grow up. I was an over protective mother and quite honestly maybe even a little overbearing. Vic always remained a child. Albeit a mature child and an old soul but never the less a child. From the day my beautiful baby girl was born I knew I had to protect her from the world. She was too tiny and beautiful for this horrible world we live in. Now my beautiful baby girl is safe from pain, hurt and the ugliness of the world.
I have subscribed to a club…The Grief Club”. I will share the very first post I read with you.
You Will Never Get Over it
Corinne Edwards, Guest Author
We had a shocking loss of a young person in the family. My 21 year old son died in an accident. The next day, a friend came to see us. His son had been killed by a drunk driver. His words surprised me. They didn’t sink in until much later.
“You will never get over this. If you know this in advance, you won’t try. You will not struggle and condemn yourself for not succeeding.”
He was right. His words became a consolation. I stopped trying. That’s why I decided to write this article. I wanted to share my friend’s words with you. The old normal is gone. There’s a hole in your heart and your being that will never be filled.
I related to so many things the women confided. I read their stories – did the same things. I also felt my son around all the time. I went to psychics to try to contact him. I even attended a séance. I prayed for messages. I dreamed about him often. I imagined I saw him in a crowd of people. I wouldn’t let him go.
One psychic told me that those who have gone on to the other side are allowed to stay around for a while to help and comfort, but they won’t be here forever. I started feeling him less and less. I dreamed about him only once in a while. But he’s never left my heart.
After a period of intense pain, you’ll be different. The person you were is gone. It is an amputation. Eventually, a new person will emerge. It will be the new normal. A new life will start to take shape, but the limb you lost won’t grow back. You will have something in common with a soldier who bravely runs a marathon despite having a prosthesis for a leg.
As my friend said, you’ll never get over it.
This new person will have a life which includes peace, love and even laughter, community and new friendships. It can and will happen in your own time.
I believe there is a tiny gift inherent in every unspeakable tragedy. One is compassion. I could not have written that article for widows if I hadn’t experienced the grief of losing my husband. I would not have been able to connect.
Another gift is knowing how to help someone who’s in extreme pain.
The world doesn’t give you much time. You hear platitudes like “Life goes on” and “Thank God you have other family.” They say it as if another person can replace the one you lost. You get about two months to get over it. The truth is, they don’t know what to say. What they don’t know is that all they need to do is listen.
Part of the gift is giving someone else your time to listen far beyond the window normally allowed. You know they have no one to talk to. You reach out more. You know how important it is to tell the story, over and over.
The sharing of this gift, when you are able, will comfort you. You’ll stop struggling to get over it. You’ll trust that if you’re still on this earth, there must be a reason. The new normal person will find that reason. It may not exist yet, but every day it becomes more real..
Yesterday Hospice increased Vic’s pain medication by 25%. The subcutaneous driver is holding up in her arm. She has not vomited in the past 24 hours. Vic spent wonderful, constructive time with the boys today.
Yesterday Renée, Jared’s extra maths teacher and a friend, phoned to hear if I wanted to go for a walk. I declined as Vic was really not well. Then she phoned to ask if everything was okay. I said we were having a bad day. She had read the boys BBM status updates and asked if I wanted her to pop around and help… I declined. She phoned again and offered to cook us dinner… I said we had already prepared a meal. Renée said “I will bring you dinner tomorrow night”….
My BFF, Gillian, is visiting. It is so comforting having her around. I felt enfolded by the normal-ness of her life today …She is a warm and comforting person who knows my soul as well as I know my own soul. In the words of the great Aristotle: “Friendship is composed of a single soul inhibiting two bodies.” Gill is a safe haven. I love the no-nonsense way she speaks, her efficiency, her single-minded loyalty and ability to love. Gillian’s greatest character trait is that she loves unconditionally and NEVER judges.
Gillian is a second mom to Vic.
When our children were growing up we were inseparable. Gill is a delicate, tough person but cannot handle blood. I am a tough career girl but cannot handle needles being shoved into my child’s little body. As young mommy’s I did the blood thing and Gillian did the dentist and invasive tests thing. She would give the kids a quarter of a Panado and a sermon about bravery and march them off to the dentist, x-rays etc…. I cleaned wounds and stuck plaster over wounds…We are the perfect team. United against our children….
When the boys got mumps Vic got mumps, when the boys got chicken pox Vic got chickenpox… Vic had her own bedroom in Gillian’s home.
I cried when her eldest, Darren, went to school the first time. His little knees were so skinny and looked like matchsticks in his school pants.
Gillian used to relieve me when Vic was in hospital and Len (her husband) would take me for tea and anchovy toast. Gillian is the first person I phone when I have a Vicky crisis.
After my divorce from Vic’s dad Len and Gill once drove to my new apartment at 2am and took turns in consoling me. The other sat in the car with the two boys sleeping on the back seat! In my single days I would go to Gillian for a cooked meal with vegetables…I never cooked! The night before I remarried I spent the night with Len and Gill. We laughed and joked and ate toast… Gillian dressed Vic and got her to church…
Gill is one of the most amazing people I know. She is a friend in a million.
My friend is now semi-retired. She lives in a beautiful game reserve in the most beautiful part of our country. Her home is warm and welcoming – a safe haven to a myriad of friends and family. Gill chats to the boys on BBM and is always 100% up to date on what is happening in their lives. When I travel Gill will check on Vic every single day!
Yesterday the panic was sitting in my throat. I felt as if I was choking. Today Vic is great and Gillian is visiting. I am calm and at peace.
Tonight Renée dropped off the greatest lasagna and a chocolate pudding. I am in total awe of the love that we have been surrounded by and absolutely amazed at the kindness that Renée had shown….. We live in Johannesburg – a concrete jungle! I am so deeply touched!
So, tonight as my little girl finally settled into a deep and pain-free sleep I allowed myself the luxury of a couple of tears. Tears of gratitude for the love we are surrounded by! Tears of gratitude that the pain medication is working! Tears of gratitude for a good day!
I know that the pain medication will only work for a week or two and then it will have to be increased again. At what stage will Vic’s body not be able to handle the pain medication any longer?
But tonight I am not going to dwell on my questions.
Just tonight I will indulge in an early night.
The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so readyto enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. – Ulysses S. Grant