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.
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
To laugh often and love much – That Vic did. She always had a smile on her precious face. Even when she was in dreadful pain she would try to smile. When she was in a lot of pain her laugh was shrill. Pain seldom stopped her from laughing… In 2007 I said to Vic that my life was sad.
“That is terrible Mommy. Why?”
I felt like hitting my head against a wall! What did the child think? In 2007 Vic must have had 18 operations; developed every hospital superbug in the book; developed septicaemia, had a high output fistula; developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; spend months in ICU and survived having the ventilator turned off… Vic was op TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) for months…she had a massive open wound that we could not keep covered with a colostomy bag. It was too big and positioned very low down.
“I worry about you every second of the day baby. I worry whether you have vomited and how much you vomited; I worry whether you have been able to eat anything… I worry about your wound. I worry about your pain control….”
“Mommy, that is so sad. At least once a week the boys and I laugh so much that my tummy hurts from it…”
Vic loved unconditionally and with every fibre of her body. She gave everything! She was a wonderful daughter, mother, friend…She loved her family, her siblings, her friends and her boys. She LIVED love.
Her last words ever were “I love you Mommy”
… to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; Worldwide, intelligent people, respect and admire Vic for her courage, tenacity… We called Vic the “baby whisperer”. Children loved her. She loved children. Her only ambition as a toddler and teenager was to be a Mommy. She loved her sons beyond comprehension…
…… to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; Vic suffered a lot of betrayal in her little life. People got tired of waiting for her to die. “Friends” spoke about her “addiction” to pain medication behind her back… They used her illness as a weapon against her when she was at her most vulnerable. False friends (and loved ones) spoke their “minds” and condemned and judged Vic for choices she made… Because she was ill people thought they could say what they wanted, when they wanted.
….. to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; My precious child was so naïve. She refused to see the bad in people! The only time she got irritated and miserable was in hospital. She always found the good in people. She did not speak badly of people. When I was angry with someone she would placate me…point out their good points… She knew that if she voiced her own anger it would have driven me over the edge. Vic taught me unconditional love, forgiveness and tolerance. Vic brought out the best in me and the most other people.
…..to give of one’s self; Vic was a people pleaser. She would turn down MY bed!!!! She made sacrifices for each and every person in her life. Even in death she worried about other dying people who were less privileged than she was. I promised her 2 am one morning that I would start Stepping Stone Hospice! She kept talking to me about Stepping Stone until she lapsed into a coma.
…..to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; Vic left the world a better place. Her sons are monuments of the person she was; her dream of a Hospice has been realized.
……to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; With the 2010 Soccer World Cup Vic went crazy with enthusiasm; she bought every gimmick that hit the shops; she went of the “soccer train” in her wheelchair, she watched every single soccer game.
……to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived Vic’s legacy will live on through her sons and Stepping Stone Hospice. Long after I have died, people will continue to benefit from Vic’s dreams and goodness.
—this is to have succeeded.” My angel child – you succeeded! You succeeded in life and with living. You made the world a beautiful place filled with goodness and hope. I am so proud of you. You lived life to the full. You made a difference! You lived a greater and more successful life than most people. You have put the world to shame. You are my hero!
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.
We spent the entire day chilling! We had a great day filled with laughter and joy.
Life is so uncomplicated here. There is laughter and joy. There is discipline and tears. There are toys on the floor and the smell of food in the air… There are little hands that pick up and scribble. Shrill voices that shriek “Oumie!!” when they are threatened with disciplinary action… Hugs and kisses and lots of “I love you’s.”
In two days’ time I will return to South Africa.
I will leave behind my beautiful granddaughters, my son and his lovely wife. I will take with me the memories of 10 carefree days of laughter and no responsibilities. I will return to my structured and ordered life, the antiseptic smell of illness and medicine that permeates the air….
Kari and Simone will come and spend the weekend. Yuri, (who thinks I am the coolest gran in the world because I build armoured vehicles) will jump into my arms and ask where his cuzzies are; Jared and Jon-Daniel will volunteer to make me tea and tell me how quiet the house was without me; Henk will say “Hello Ouma… Did you have a good holiday?” in his deep voice; Vic will tear up and I will finally hear the truth about how she has been….
In two sleeps time I shall return to my beautiful South African family and my life as I know it.