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.
This is one of the most heart wrenching posts I have read in a long time. I read a lot of blogs written by grieving mothers. Why did this post affect me to this extent? I don’t know. Maybe because this mother’s grief feels as real as my own grief. Maybe it is because I am doing the same. Writing and desperately trying to keep my Vic alive…hugs and tears Gatito.
What am I doing Kaitlyn? What am I trying to do by my endless blogs about you, the photo albums, the posts on Facebook, the printed out version of my blog, the printed out comments by your friends after you died on your Facebook, in my private messages and by email, the posts I made on Student Doctor Network warning them of what could so easily happen if they don’t heed the warning within them of depression, for posting about you In the off topic sections of forums I belong to that are about motorcycles, RVing, and cats. Posting on suicide survivor forums. Posting every video and song that remotely has to do with what you were and I am going through. Making DVD slides of you. Going through all you music CDs, going through all your recent things, old things, things I put up long ago, things that are…
A year ago I posted this. As I said in my previous post – Chaka’s 2012 is a separate story. I am reposting the separate story…
I have been researching the effect of a mother’s illness on her children. The boys are two beautiful, well-adjusted, honest and compassionate young men. Vic’s illness has certainly deprived them of a childhood in the true sense of the word and prematurely matured them into compassionate, caring, young men far too early in life. At the tender age of thirteen Jared was cooking for the family… This must certainly have an effect on how the boys perceive relationships with people.
Now according to my research the boys have become what is called ‘parentified’ children. These children solve the problem of sick and inadequate parenting by taking care of their
parents. They in effect become parents to their parents, giving to the sick parent what they need from the parent. Now the roles are reversed. This seemingly creative solution is unfortunately too self-sacrificing to be healthy in the long run.
“‘Parentified’ sons who take care of their sick mothers in order to cope with their inability to parent, struggle to suppress obvious needs for love and feelings of loss. They learn to work hard taking care of the needs of others and living off of the scraps that come in the form of reinforcements for their competence and reliability. Their needs for love are overlooked and overshadowed by everyone else’s needs.” The boys, especially Jared, falls into this category 100%. When his little girlfriend was hit in the eye by a hockey ball, he immediately went into caregiving mode, At the time I thought it to be extremely unhealthy that he already has this caregiving character trait. He used to always make the tea and offer to do so much around the house and for his Mom.
I have put a stop to this. I pray it is not too late for the boys to adjust to a “normal” household…
It is however important for them to realize that death is a part of the circle of life and that it is not something dark and something to be feared but rather, if happening in a timely fashion, something that one can embrace. The boys appreciate and respect Vic as their mother. Vic has raised her sons to be respectful.
“The power of a mother’s strength comes from her heart, from her unabashed, unconditional, and unwavering love for her child. There is, as J.K. Rowling wrote in her Harry Potter books, a magic in that love. No matter what happens, a mother is always there for her child. A mother’s love is never to be questioned, and – though she may not know it at first – neither is her strength.”
Vic literally rose from her deathbed to be there for Jared with his operation on Wednesday. When my Mom died I related her final moments to someone jumping from a diving board into a deep pool, reaching the bottom and kicking to rise to the surface of the water for one more breath… only to sink again. This is what Vic does.
Before Jared was wheeled into theatre he whispered into his mom’s ear. She took his hand and said “I promise”.
Vic, drip in hand, walking with Jared to theater!
The surgeon said the operation would last two hours. Vic dutifully went back to bed and rested. One hour and forty-five minutes later she was, IV drip in hand, standing outside the theatre door, waiting for her son. I begged her to at least sit on the chair, but she refused. “Mommy, I promised Jared my face would be the first thing he sees when he comes out of theatre!”
It took a superhuman effort, but Vic’s love for her son drove her to keep her word. It is true that no mother wants her child to suffer in any way, but life is unfair like that. So, we as mother’s do what we can to provide support, comfort, and protection. And we grow strong enough to bear their hurt as well as our own. As Vic did. As I do. Motherhood cuts deeply, brings you to your knees most days; but it also brings a strength that may surprise you.
The vicious cycle of anger truly rose to the occasions on Wednesday. I got angry with Vic because she was not putting her health first! I KNOW I would have done the same but it was terrible seeing my child do herself harm to be a Mother. I want to wrap her in cotton so she would be spared that extra day…
Yesterday Vic said she doubted whether she would see the end of the year. She is however adamant to be at Jared’s confirmation…one more goal…
Well, Vic is home. I am so grateful. She is conceding that she is too sore and ill to go to hospital…Saturday Jared comes home!!
When I started thinking about Father’s Day this year I just became so depressed. I felt that I don’t have any reason to celebrate Father’s Day tomorrow. Today, I was going through Vic’s photos when I realized that it is not true!
My Dad died on the 21st of May 2011 and Vic’s father died on the 5th of November 1999.
I was single for most of Vic’s young life. For most of her little life my Dad was her Dad. Her Gramps taught her how to play cards and have a night cap….When Gramps had a nightcap he had to mix her a “drink” that had the exact same colouring as his… They adored one another.
Just about the only thing my dad never forgot was that Vic was ill. He could not remember my name, but he remembered Vic was ill. He forgot whether she was in hospital or not but knew she was ill… My Dad was the greatest father in the world. He not only loved his family but cherished us all.
I grew up in a home with a sickly mother. A childhood back injury lead to many years of suffering and a vicious cycle of back surgery, stomach surgery, back surgery, stomach surgery…. My parents taught us that “love” was a verb – love is an action. We lived 1 Corinthians 13 in our home. We were taught to love, honour and respect. My father was the perfect example of what a husband and father should be.
In my single years I received a couple of proposals. My mom pressured me – she really wanted me to remarry… I always said I will remarry when I meet a man like my Dad. And then I did…
From the day we were married Vic called Danie “Daddy”. Danie’s four children were her siblings.
Danie was absolutely amazing with Vic and her illness. When my dad moved in with us, Danie just accepted it as part of our journey. He was incredibly patient with my Dad who suffered from Alzheimer’s. His selfless, caring nature has allowed me to care for my dad and my child; to pursue my career and start-up Stepping Stone Hospice.
Danie was a wonderful dad to Vic. She distinguished between Danie and Tienie (her biological father) by referring to Danie as “Daddy” and Tienie as her father. She absolutely adored Danie. Danie loved Vic as if she was his own.
In the final days of Vic’s life she pleaded with him to not leave her.
A couple of days before her death Vic saw her father… Jared was standing at the bottom of her bed and she said “Look Jared, Oupa Tienie is standing behind you…” Her dad held her hand as she stopped breathing. Her father took her hand as she stopped breathing…
When I packed up Vic’s cupboards I found the cardigan she had bought Danie for Father’s Day this year… This year she will celebrate Father’s Day with her father and Danie will wear his cardigan.
Father’s Day and Mother’s Day were special days for Vic. She loved spoiling and being spoilt!
Vic was desperately ill last year on Father’s Day. I cooked a large family lunch and all the Gauteng kids and grandkids came for lunch. Vic tried to have lunch with us but within minutes she was nauseous. I remember her eyes filling up with tears when she excused herself from the table. “I am sorry Daddy” she said.
Later that afternoon Danie’s eldest daughter lay next to her in bed. They wept together. Danie sat with them filled with grief for the pain Vic was going through.
Danie is an amazing grandfather. He loves Vic’s boys as much as he loves his “biological” grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with them. He is teaching them the value of family, goodness and love!
This beautiful man is more than I deserve. I love him with every fiber of my body. I am grateful to him for the gift of his children and grandchildren every day of my life. I am grateful that he taught me the biggest commandment of all – love!
So tonight I salute two wonderful men. Happy Father’s Day Daddy. Danie, you are my best friend. I love you with every fibre in my body. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful daddy to Vic and grandfather to the boys.
Vic, I hope you have fun in Heaven tomorrow with Gramps and your father. I know you will be surrounded and ensconced in love. We will miss you on Father’s Day and every other day in our lives.
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 PoemDo 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 youTo 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
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!
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.
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.
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…
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…