I am a Shidu… I am a Shidu…

When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a child dies, you lose your future.



There are more than 100 million single (only) children in China, Xinhua, the state-run news agency, reported in February. That translates into more than 200 million parents of single children.

Until 2012, there were “at least” one million families in China that had lost their only child, Xinhua wrote in a separate report carried by the Jinghua Times. About 76,000 families are added to the sad roster each year, it said.

There is a special term for the parents that has lost their only child….”shidu” family.

In the rest of the world the average woman gives birth to 2.75 children.

I gave birth to one.  My only birth child has died. I am a “shidu”

Today I am (again) desperately missing my child.  I feel as if I have lost my future.  I only have my past.  But I know that is not true.  I have Vic’s two amazing son’s to care for; 4 precious stepchildren; 9 step grandchildren that I love like my own…

Many years ago when Danie proposed I asked God for a clear sign.  I prayed so hard so direction… I explained to God that I was so scared of making a mistake that would affect so many people’s lives.  I asked for a clear scripture!

I opened my Bible and the scripture that jumped up at me was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

I immediately went back on my knees and prayed again.  “God, thank you for the scripture you gave me but what about all the children?”

I opened my Bible and it fell open on page 793 of the Old Testament.  Isaiah 54:1-17 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “

My answer was a prophesy…  Not only is my life filled with these precious people but I now also have Izak, Reuben, Nonthanthle and Shekinah to love.  I am blessed.

Does this however fill the void that Vic’s death has left?

I feel ungrateful for being in this well of despair whilst I am not alone.  I am motherless not childless.  The fact remains that I desperately miss my child.  My life is empty.  I have lost my future.

I am a Shidu




Esther’s Living Eulogy

Esther was the first of Danie’s children that I met, when we started dating.  It was a couple of weeks before her wedding.  I was so thrilled when she asked me to go with her for the final fitting of her wedding dress

I will never forget her words to me in the car that day:  “Don’t worry about us kids.  Just worry about you and my dad”

I cannot remember whether I articulated my fear of her and her siblings, but she sensed it!

I was PETRIFIED of Danie’s four children.  I did not particularly like children.  Maybe my mind refused to accept the fact that I love children because I made the conscious decision to not subject a second or third child to Osteogenesis Imperfecta.  The OI gene was passed onto Vic by her Dad, but we had been divorced for many, many years and I accepted that I could not have another child.  I did not have space in my heart for another child.

I loved Vic with an all-consuming love.  I did not always like her, but I always loved her!

I met the kids and I was petrified.   They were livelier than any other children I had ever met with their own little quirks.  I actually never dated a man with children until I met Danie!

I blogged on the proposal before and will not bore you with the beautiful details of it again… https://tersiaburger.com/2012/10/05/danie-the-wind-beneath-my-wings/  .  You are welcome to read the post on it.

We have been married for 22 years.  For 22 years these amazing children have crept into my heart and firmly lodged themselves there.  They have accepted me into their lives.  They loved and nurtured my Vic.  I am a punker bunker granny to their children…

Esther, is very outspoken, to the point, honest and an amazing wife and mother.  She is loyal to a fault, independent and fiercely protective of her loved ones.  Esther is compassionate and unbelievably intelligent.  She has a superb sense of humour but very sensitive.  She is an amazing person.

Esther nursed her husband through Stage 4 Colon Cancer.  She researches nutritional sites for correct and healthy food.  She is totally focused on her family and will demolish anyone or anything that threatens them.


Esther was truly the sister Vic always wanted.  There were times when things were rough between them.  There were differences and some hurt.  But…there was a gentle love between the sisters.

Esther popped in to visit Vic almost every day.  They texted and BBM’d.  They shared war stories about their children.  Esther was Vic safety blanket… Esther would lie in bed with Vic and hold her hand.  She encouraged and helped.  As a pharmacist she was amazing in assisting us with Vic’s meds in the last couple of weeks.   As a sister she told Vic to let go; that the boys were safe; that she was loved and would never be forgotten.  She told Vic to go towards the light…. Jon-Daniel went to stay with her in the last days of Vic’s life.  She was there when Vic left home the last time.  She may have been there when Vic stopped breathing – I can’t remember.  I know that she sprayed Vic’s favourite perfume on her before Vic left home….



Esther and Leon with Vic 10.1.2013
Esther and Leon with Vic 10.1.2013

So Esther, if you read this know that I love you deeply.  Know that I respect you for the beautiful person you are and for being an amazing mother to my beautiful grandsons.  Thank you for the joy you bring in your father’s life.  He loves you with an intensity that is scary.  When Vic died he cried and said he cannot imagine it being you…that he hoped you would end up on the same cloud one day….

Esther and her dad
Esther and her dad

Thank you for loving Vic the way you did.  Thank you for comforting her in her hour of need.  Thank you for coaching her towards the end of her life.  Thank you for loving the boys and having compassionate conversations with them…. You know what I am talking about!

I wish you joy and happiness in the year ahead.  I love and admire you.