OCVCC – Day three


IMG-20130130-01513It is day 3 of OCVCC (Operation Clean-out Vic’s Clothing Cupboards.)  Today was unbearable. 

Day one I packed up Vic’s clothing I did not like.  That is the sexy stuff that showed far too much cleavage.  I was forever saying “Vic – Your boobs are showing!  Cover yourself!” or “Boob alert – the boys can see….”  I know I was stupid but in my mind’s eye I always saw that little girl who needed to be protected from the world and it was difficult to see the adult, sensual young woman…vicbaby

Day 2 was the “Fat clothes” day.  There was not too much of that although Vic was overweight from time to time.  The Addison’s cortisone treatment played absolute havoc with her weight.

Day 3 – today, was unbearable.  It was the clothes that she liked and wore that had to be packed.  As I was folding her little T-Shirts my tears dripped on the cotton.  I held her favourite clothing items against my face and tried to smell her on them.  I could see exactly how each item fitted her disease ravaged little body.  I could hear her say “Don’t I look fat?”

I cried when I packed four drawers of pyjamas.  There were dress-like nightgowns for after abdominal operations when nothing could touch her abdomen; three-quarter pants with T-shirts for good days; long pants with T-shirts for when she was cold and of course the stuff she never wore…the sexy stuff.  I picked up the silky stuff and I knew that they were worn seldom if ever.  We should be able to sell these quite easily in our second-hand Hospice shop…

The boys made up their memory boxes on Monday night.  I started with wonderful intentions…I too would have a small memory box.  I already have two large cardboard boxes plus my memory box filled with precious memories.   

As I wept into Vic’s clothes I decided that there is no rush.  I do not have to give the clothes to Hospice immediately.  I will keep it all in storage until I am ready to part with it. 

Never again will I see my precious Vic wearing any of it. 

Every handbag I picked up had been cleaned out properly with the exception of a tube of lipstick.  Every single handbag had lipstick in it!

Jon-Daniel has started moving into Vic’s room.  It is the 2nd largest bedroom in the house with the nicest bathroom.  Yesterday we moved two single beds in and put Vic’s bedroom furniture in storage.  Tomorrow we will move the lounge suite into storage.  The dining room suite has been sold and delivered today.

All Vic’s earthly possessions have been moved as if she has never existed.

The lounge will become a games room with a pool and table tennis tables.  The dining room we will convert into a dedicated study and computer games room.  We will furnish the rooms with contemporary furniture.

In my heart I know Vic would approve the changes.  She would HATE the fact that her furniture is in storage.  I feel like a grave digging weasel but I am complying with her final wishes.

My Vic was a little squirrel!  She accumulated STUFF.  Vic was a compulsive shopper.  In December, knowing that she was in the final stretch of her journey, Vic bought new clothes…  Some of it she never got to wear.  But it brought her joy buying it.

This weekend I will tackle the other cupboards.  The cupboards that contain all tax and warranty related documents going back to 2001…. All neatly filed in plastic sleeves… I will keep the boys school files that she so lovingly kept up to date.  Every drawing, school report, newsletter filed per boy by year…  When they leave home one day and have kids of their own (that they will moan at for not studying….) I will hand my great-grandchildren their dad’s reports.

There are tons of papers to dispose of!  There are boxes of educational toys and games from when the boys were toddlers; thousands of photos and piles of albums; ribbons from her childhood; diaries and journals; love letters from Vaughn, her first love; get better cards, birthday cards and goodness alone knows what else.

In the weeks before her death Vic occasionally said “Oh Mommy, promise me you won’t get angry with me when you clear out my cupboards…”  If only she knew how many tears I have shed clearing out her cupboards.

I must confess I have always had a memory box with Vic’s first little outfit ever, her first school uniform, all her report cards, a lock of her baby hair…  I will add to this box the lock of Vic’s hair that Esther cut after she had died.

“It is close”…


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Tuesday 22.1.2013 – Tonight is the first night in a long time that I lay on my sofa, in my own TV lounge, watching Law & Order.  I kept listening for the sound of Vic’s little feet shuffling down the passage…It is the first time since Vic’s death that I truly experienced the “emptiness” of the house.

The house has been so busy.  In the days preceding Vic’s death the boys went to stay with friends and family.  Vic’s suffering was too horrible for them to witness.  I did not want them to remember life ebbing out of her.  On the 15th my brother arrived from the coast and my sister from a neighbouring city.  I was in such a dazed stupor that I don’t remember them arriving.  I fell asleep next to Vic with my head next to hers, and my hand on her heart whilst the minister was saying a prayer….

On Wednesday the 16th Leeann started staying with me.  Danie, my brother, Lee-Ann and I took turns on Thursday night staying awake with Vic.  The time still passed in an absolute maze of unreality.  I knew on the 16th that Vic would die by the weekend.

Vic was still able to communicate with her eyes. She blinked when I asked her a question and her answer were “yes”.

Thursday Dr Sue came to see Vic.

“It is close” Sue said.

Murky red urine dripped into the catheter bag….  Vic’s eyes no longer closed completely… Her eyes had “broken”… she was gasping for breath.

“We must increase the Buscopan” Sue said.

“I think I have heard a rattling sound once or twice” I said

“Yes” Sue said.  “I can hear it clearly through the stethoscope”

Sue increased the pain medication as well as the sedation.

We decided to let the boys come and say their goodbyes…  Someone, I am not sure who, went and fetched the boys from school.  The boys walked into their Mom’s room.  Their eyes wide and sad.  They lay with her and whispered soft words into her ears.  They softly kissed her and walked away.  It must of been the hardest thing they had ever done.

I send Danie out to go find me a new blood pressure measure that fits around the wrist and would not hurt her little arms every time I took her blood pressure.  (Sue had one…)  I became almost obsessive in trying to ascertain where she was in her journey.  Vic was very unstable – within minutes her blood pressure went from 150/123 to LO (too low to measure) on the machine.  Her pulse was racing at 160 beats a minute.

I lay next to her with my hand on her heart.  Her little heart was pounding against the palm of my hand.  Vic was fighting with every fibre in her body to stay alive.  I looked at my child and thought “If I have her admitted to the Donald Gordon ICU they may be able to save her…” but then I realized that it was futile.  Vic was slipping away and nobody could do anything in the world to change that. Vic was dying and I was helpless.  I could not save my child.