Soon it will be Easter.

Easter was one of Vic’s favourite times of the year.  She loved the Easter Egg Hunt ever since she was a toddler… Traditionally we always celebrate Easter Bunny Day on the Monday and not Easter Sunday.  (I did not want the Easter Bunny Hunt to be confused with the true meaning of Easter.)

As a toddler the EEH build-up started on the Sunday evening.  If she went to bed early (and without a protest) the Easter bunny  would come and visit the next day….  Monday morning she would wake up early and ask us whether the Bunny has arrived…We would tell her she has to have breakfast first… then we told her to keep an eye out for the Easter Bunny….    Our friends would arrive with their little ones who, for once, would be as good as gold.  The Daddy’s would walk Vic and the other little ones around the block whilst the Mommies’ would hide the Easter eggs. 

A daddy would proclaim “Oh I think I just saw the bunny!” and the dash for home would start!  To the great disappointment of the little ones the daddy’s were always too slow and all they ever found was a trail of Easter eggs.  When the children were young the eggs were just the marshmallow type.  As our cash flows improved the marshmallow Easter eggs improved to hollow chocolate types.

I would start buying Easter Eggs almost immediately after the Valentine’s shelves were emptied and restocked with Easter Eggs.


Sadly we got to a stage when Vic was too old for the hunt.  Vic no longer believed in the Easter Bunny but humoured me, or rather discovered the advantage of humoring me.  Marlene, my BFF, and I made massive hollow chocolate Easter Eggs, and not even Vic was able to eat her whole egg… We toasted Hot Cross buns and ate far too many Easter eggs.  Easter remained a special  time of the year.

Then we had our first grandchild and the game was back on!  Vic LOVED Easter.  (Actually, to be honest, Vic loved any gathering whether it be friends or family, but she especially loved Easter!)

I will never forget our first grandchild Easter Hunt.  Vic was so excited that her baby would have his first Easter Egg Hunt.

A radiant Easter Bunny hiding Easter Eggs...
A radiant Easter Bunny hiding Easter Eggs…

Colin and Danie started walking Jared whilst Vic, and I hid the Easter Eggs.  The poor baby could never eat all the eggs and I ended up taking bag loads to AIDS homes.  Then grandchild two and three arrived, and the game was truly on.

Over the years we developed a wonderful system where the little ones would collect the eggs and Vic would divide it equally between all the children.  At a certain stage I decided to cut down on the chocolate and bought the kids pyjamas and less eggs….Well I suppose I tried to cut down but wasn’t too successful.  The thought was noble.

Vic Easter Monday 2012 - her last Easter...
Vic Easter Monday 2012 – her last Easter…

Even though Vic’s boys have been too old for an Easter Egg Hunt for several years, they have enjoyed the thrill of helping the younger cuzzies look for the bunny and the eggs.  Aunt Vic never stopped sharing the Easter eggs amongst the kids.

Last Easter the two Cape Town girls were with us for the first time.  I loved their joy.  I missed the three little ones who live in the UK.  Vic had a good day.

This year will be the first year in 16 years that we will not have an Easter Egg hunt.

I still have the Lindt bunny Vic bought me last year.

I knew it would be our last Easter.

Christmas’ Past…

Frozen turkeys to be cooked and carved!
Frozen turkeys to be cooked and carved!

Many years ago we started a project, where on Christmas Day, we would feed the under privileged.  The first year we fed approximately 300 people.  The last year (2008) that we ran the project, we fed 1500 people on Christmas Day.  We had three feeding points in different squatter camps and we also handed out little gifts of face cloths, soap, toothpaste and tooth brushes at a TB Clinic.

My late father, who suffered from Alzheimers, came to live with us in 2009, and since then I have not had the time, energy or finances to continue running the project.  The community has however started running a similar project, and they now fundraise themselves.  For many years I cooked up to 50 turkeys, made salad and cooked rice…  (I cannot handle the smell of turkey and my husband becomes nauseous when he has to carve turkey…)  I suppose we are all turkeyed out….

One of the feeding points. The children are so patient and well-behaved!
There is no greater joy than giving
Vic and her friend Lee and a community member sharing a happy moment!

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” ― Amy Wilson-Carmichael

We also visited the TB Clinic and gave the children in the Pediatric Section gifts.  Young Elizabeth, an 11 year old girl, died two weeks later.  She never let go of her Christmas Teddy Bear…

Elizabeth and her Christmas Teddybear
Elizabeth and her Christmas Teddybear

“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.”
― Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Shadow of the Wind

A rare treat - a piece of cake for a TB patient on Christmas Day
A rare treat – a piece of cake for a TB patient on Christmas Day

“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

When my dad came to live with us I had to stop many of my community projects.  It broke my heart but I knew that it was my “family’s time”  In the words of Mother THeresa – “Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”

2012 will be a Christmas of making time for my family.

A couple of days ago Vic wistfully said “This is my last Christmas Mommy”  I hope she is well enough to have a Christmas that her boys will treasure and remember for the rest of their lives.  This may well be our last Christmas.

Christmas Eve 2009 - (L to R) Lee, Vic, My Dad and I
Christmas Eve 2009 – (L to R) Lee, Vic, My Dad and I

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

Thank you God

I just finished a batch of choc-chip cookies.  The house is quiet and sweet smell of the biscuits has permeated the air.  The Christmas tree lights are flicking and the first batch of gifts beautifully wrapped.  It is the season of Christmas. Two weeks ago I despaired that Vic would not live to see Christmas. Dr Sue came and saw Vic this morning.  She lanced the cellulitis
abscess on Vic’s arm.  My baby girl was so brave!! Sue told us of a young man who came to see her in her rooms with a small abscess in his face.   He cried with pain.  Sue told Vic what a brave person she is…I was so proud of my little girl. Vic’s heart and pulse rate is very elevated.  She has a kidney infection.  Kidney infections make her tired. I just checked on Vic and she is sleeping so peacefully.  She has a serene expression on her beautiful face and she is truly pain-free tonight. Sitting here I am counting my blessings. My baby girl is home.  I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it would have been if Vic lived elsewhere or if she was married or involved.  I can now care for my child without having to consider my “position” in her life.  I am able to be her mommy and take care of her. The boys are settled and happy living with us.  We love having them so close to us.  They are such well-behaved, kind and helpful boys!  Before Vic moved home the boys, mainly Jared, had to cook most days.  Now they are able to be children. Life has settled into an easy routine.  We have laughter and fun.  We cry and despair.  We hug.  We talk and constantly affirm our love for one another. Vic is spending a lot of time with her boys – talking.  She helped with the preparations for Jared’s 16th birthday party.  Vic passed me the spices when I baked this year’s Christmas cakes.  We laughed when we decided the cake needed another “splash of brandy”.  Vic “chose” her Christmas Cake. My wonderful husband is such an amazing person.  He is my rock and pillar.  He loves and protects us. I am happy and content with our lives. Thank you God for this time of closeness.      

10 days to Christmas Eve…


It has been a crazy week.  Between Vic, final 2012 business meetings, a brochure photo shoot, visiting grandchildren, Jared’s birthday party and Hospice meetings I have run around in circles.  I have not had time to blog or read all the blogs I am following.

Vic has had a reasonable week.  I can see her getting weaker every day.  At night I give Vic a Pethidine, Zantac and Buscopan injection.  The Pethidine makes her sleepy.   During the day she is able to tell me she needs an anti-nausea injection.  At night the drug-induced sleep does not allow her the luxury of early warning.  Vic projectile vomits every day of her life!

Vic has also had a couple of uncontrolled sneezing attacks and lots of hiccups.  I fear she will fracture ribs and vertebrae if we are not able to control this quickly.  I have started giving her antihistamine tablets.  Hospice tells me it is a symptom of the kidney and liver failure and will get much worse.

Her arm is still very inflamed and painful.  We are now on the 3rd round of antibiotics.  The tissue in her derriere is very poor.  It is lumpy and bruised.  It is becoming more and more difficult finding good tissue where I can inject her.

Emotionally it is really a difficult time.  Vic is spending as much time with the boys as possible.  She is doing a lot of what appears to be “lasts”….

It is 11 days to Christmas, and we are looking forward to a quiet Christmas Eve with the family.  Our gifts are not as extravagant as other years.  Our priorities are simply different this year. This year Christmas will be a time of love and togetherness.

It is 10 days to Christmas Eve…

And Hospice says “Go!”



South Africa is advertised as “Sunny South Africa” with beautiful white shores and blue skies.  Barbeque is our national pastime.  Today is an overcast day.  It is as if Mother Nature is preparing me for England’s grey skies, drizzling cold and wet weather.

By now I assume everyone has concluded that I got the go-ahead from Hospice to travel!

I am hopping, skipping and jumping with excitement.  I cannot wait to see my UK babies.  Not only see them but hug, kiss and hold them.

Vic is insisting that I go.  We are both fearful but I also realise that I desperately need a break.  There is never a perfect time.  Vic is very swollen and not well at the moment.  She is partially obstructed but we will clear it by Thursday.  The Hospice Sister will pop in every day to evaluate and monitor her and report back to me.

In the words of the Hospice Sister Ceza:  “Things are slowly going downhill.  Go now.  You need your strength for what lies ahead”.

Timing, as always, is an issue.  Vic is well enough for me to travel but on Monday it is little Yuri (youngest grandson’s) school concert, Simone (2nd eldest granddaughter) birthday and Lani’s (2nd eldest stepdaughter) 40th birthday in the week that I will be away.  I have still not seen Liza and Adrian…. On the other hand I will get to see the girls “trick or treat”, Chloe is on a week’s school holidays and I will watch the extravagant Guy Fawkes fireworks displays and bonfires being lit… I feel so selfish and caught between two fires.

I am scared for Vic, worried about the boys, guilty for Yuri, Simone and Lani and excited as can be about seeing Danie, Michaela and the girls.    On the one hand I feel so selfish.  On the other hand I realise that I need a break.  It has been a year out of hell!  On a daily basis the demands on me are increasing.  It sounds as if I am having a pity party and/or trying to justify my decision to go to the UK….Yes I am!

The Hospice Nurse will start on Wednesday evening.  I must shop for groceries and ensure all meds are in stock.  I must write up a medication schedule for the nurse….

Got to run!  Lots to do!  I will make it up to everyone….I hope!

I will only be 14 hours away from Vic….


My dearest child 27.11.2003


My dearest child

My heart breaks when I look at you.  Your eyes reflect your fear, acceptance of the inevitable, rebellion and pain.  The morphine dulls your dark eyes…

It is so difficult seeing you in so much pain…the times when you are bent double from pain.  My heart breaks when I see how you are still trying to care for your family.  If only the boys knew how many tears it takes to make a sandwich…Many a time when you are sobbing from pain I see the boys pretending to sleep – as if shutting their eyes can block out your sobs…  I see the helplessness in Colin’s eyes when he looks at you.   It is soul destroying!!!

It is at times like this that I cry out “How much longer God?  When will her suffering end?”  But then I look at the Christmas tree and the Christmas lights and beg “Just one more Christmas please God!”

With the obstruction I fear that you will not make it.  The morphine aggravates the situation!  When will you develop another fistula?  It is only a matter of time.  How time do we have left?

I wish I could just hold you and protect you against the pain and death.  If it was a bullet I would take it for you but how do I protect you against your own body?  How can your body betray you like this?

In my mind’s eye I see you lying on a bed, strapped in, poison flowing through your veins… You are dyingImage