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.
It is 12:42am and Vic is sleeping peacefully. She had a “good” day. In between her naps she had lunch with a friend, a visit from Esther and a walk in the garden with Jared!
Vic’s legs are growing very weak. The cellulitis on her arm has worsened despite the antibiotics. It is now oozing pus. Sr Siza will see her tomorrow, and I believe Vic will have to go onto IV antibiotics. She had a violent vomiting spell just after she took her antibiotic tablets tonight. It is very difficult for her to keep tablets and food down. Despite the six-hourly anti-nausea injections she has…. And of course there is the problem of the poor absorption.
“I can’t do this anymore…” Vic mumbled to herself tonight after the vomiting episode.
The situation is getting to Danie. My poor husband tries so hard to be strong and make life easier for the rest of us. Jared and Jon-Daniel are deeply conscious of the situation.
“Life will be horrible without Mommy” Jared said today. “She takes so much of our time, and such a big space in our lives…. Mommy has such a presence Oumie…”
We spoke about his little brother and Jon-Daniel’s inability and aversion to discuss his emotions.
I realised that the boys are already starting to dread the void Vic’s passing will leave. Anticipatory grief is a killer. It is unfair that these two beautiful boys have to experience so much pain and hardship in their young lives. They should be riding their bikes and getting up to mischief. Now they are stressed out because their mother is dying.
I am too tired to write anything that makes sense. I just need to record today. I never want to forget today.
I want to remember how I felt when I lay with my child this afternoon. I want to remember her tears when she spoke to her sister. I want to remember the smell of her vomit. Maybe it will make it easier to accept later on.
Yesterday Hospice increased Vic’s pain medication by 25%. The subcutaneous driver is holding up in her arm. She has not vomited in the past 24 hours. Vic spent wonderful, constructive time with the boys today.
Yesterday Renée, Jared’s extra maths teacher and a friend, phoned to hear if I wanted to go for a walk. I declined as Vic was really not well. Then she phoned to ask if everything was okay. I said we were having a bad day. She had read the boys BBM status updates and asked if I wanted her to pop around and help… I declined. She phoned again and offered to cook us dinner… I said we had already prepared a meal. Renée said “I will bring you dinner tomorrow night”….
My BFF, Gillian, is visiting. It is so comforting having her around. I felt enfolded by the normal-ness of her life today …She is a warm and comforting person who knows my soul as well as I know my own soul. In the words of the great Aristotle: “Friendship is composed of a single soul inhibiting two bodies.” Gill is a safe haven. I love the no-nonsense way she speaks, her efficiency, her single-minded loyalty and ability to love. Gillian’s greatest character trait is that she loves unconditionally and NEVER judges.
Gillian is a second mom to Vic.
When our children were growing up we were inseparable. Gill is a delicate, tough person but cannot handle blood. I am a tough career girl but cannot handle needles being shoved into my child’s little body. As young mommy’s I did the blood thing and Gillian did the dentist and invasive tests thing. She would give the kids a quarter of a Panado and a sermon about bravery and march them off to the dentist, x-rays etc…. I cleaned wounds and stuck plaster over wounds…We are the perfect team. United against our children….
When the boys got mumps Vic got mumps, when the boys got chicken pox Vic got chickenpox… Vic had her own bedroom in Gillian’s home.
I cried when her eldest, Darren, went to school the first time. His little knees were so skinny and looked like matchsticks in his school pants.
Gillian used to relieve me when Vic was in hospital and Len (her husband) would take me for tea and anchovy toast. Gillian is the first person I phone when I have a Vicky crisis.
After my divorce from Vic’s dad Len and Gill once drove to my new apartment at 2am and took turns in consoling me. The other sat in the car with the two boys sleeping on the back seat! In my single days I would go to Gillian for a cooked meal with vegetables…I never cooked! The night before I remarried I spent the night with Len and Gill. We laughed and joked and ate toast… Gillian dressed Vic and got her to church…
Gill is one of the most amazing people I know. She is a friend in a million.
My friend is now semi-retired. She lives in a beautiful game reserve in the most beautiful part of our country. Her home is warm and welcoming – a safe haven to a myriad of friends and family. Gill chats to the boys on BBM and is always 100% up to date on what is happening in their lives. When I travel Gill will check on Vic every single day!
Yesterday the panic was sitting in my throat. I felt as if I was choking. Today Vic is great and Gillian is visiting. I am calm and at peace.
Tonight Renée dropped off the greatest lasagna and a chocolate pudding. I am in total awe of the love that we have been surrounded by and absolutely amazed at the kindness that Renée had shown….. We live in Johannesburg – a concrete jungle! I am so deeply touched!
So, tonight as my little girl finally settled into a deep and pain-free sleep I allowed myself the luxury of a couple of tears. Tears of gratitude for the love we are surrounded by! Tears of gratitude that the pain medication is working! Tears of gratitude for a good day!
I know that the pain medication will only work for a week or two and then it will have to be increased again. At what stage will Vic’s body not be able to handle the pain medication any longer?
But tonight I am not going to dwell on my questions.
Just tonight I will indulge in an early night.
The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so readyto enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. – Ulysses S. Grant