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.
I am so grateful that I am no longer young. I received this in an email and thought I should share it!!As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself.
I’ve become my own friend.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 &70 ‘s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning grey, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
When my brave daughter planned her memorial service she specified these words of wisdom to be in the funeral letter. It was a personal note from Vic to us. I wonder how many people actually realized it?
Reason, Season and Lifetime …
People always come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. …
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, or to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. They may seem like a godsend to you, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. …
Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. …
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they just walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. …
When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall, the season eventually ends. …
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas in your life. It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.
Thank you for being part of my life.
When I read this the first time I categorized people in to the Reason; Season and Lifetime categories… I clearly remembered and recognized the “Reason” and “Season” friends… I found that the “Reason” people were people who crossed my path early in my life… I almost felt that it was old work colleagues, school friends, childhood neighbours. Character defining people who either moved on or were left behind by me.
A “Season” can be defined as an hour, day, week, year, or several years. Maybe even part of a lifetime, but it will at some time fade out and for no real reason. The “Seasoners” will bring you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season. The season relationship is not something to force or cling to… It dies naturally and through no fault of either person.
Lifetime friendships offer not only good times, but also survives bad times, offers times for growth and challenge. The friendship grows over time, and a deep abiding bond develops – a love which sustains both people in the friendship. They become members of your family. They may be people with whom you’ve grown up or met yesterday, but they will be there “until death do us part”.
I stood in front of the church flanked by my grandsons when I delivered my precious child’s eulogy. I looked at the people and recognised the “Reasoners, Seasoners and Life timers…”
I saw so many Life Timers who truly loved Vic until death saved her from more pain and suffering. Friends that never abandoned her, patiently waited for a good day to see her… Friends quietly crying tears of deep sorrow and loss….
I remembered why Vic chose this poem, in 2003, to be in her funeral letter. She wanted to thank each and every person for the role they played in her life. She wanted people to know that she clearly saw and accepted this truth. She felt great sorrow when someones time with her ended. It’s only natural when we come to love someone to want them to be there forever. Vic clung to relationships and friendships way past their “expiry” date. She mourned her losses.
Vic did however learn that very valuable life lesson – to be grateful for whatever time she was granted with those she cared about. Vic clung to life to extend her time with the “life timers”…
Death had to pry her fingers from Life and her Life Timers…
Thirteen years ago Vic’s dad was involved in a bad car accident. He was airlifted to a hospital with an excellent trauma unit.
When Vic and I arrived at the hospital we were greeted by a trauma councillor. He explained that Tienie was being stabilized but that the situation was grave…. It was terrible seeing Tienie lie in the ICU ventilated, swollen, battered and bruised.
The news was not good. Tienie would be a quadriplegic if he survived….
Tienie was one of the most vibrant, energetic party animals I ever knew. We were childhood sweethearts. We started dating when I was 13.5 years old. I have photos of us dancing at his 16th birthday party. We got married very young. We got divorced very young. We remained friends and business partners until his death. Tienie was an accountant by profession and hated every second of it. He turned to property development and went from one cash flow crisis to the next. He was one of the most intelligent people I ever met but also one of the stupidest!
Tienie was a giver… He would give away the clothes off his back. He hated sleeping. He said it was a waste of time. Tienie never cried… he mourned Vic OI diagnosis in a different way. Some men love cars…Tienie loved women. He was a loyal friend. He was the world’s friend. Everybody loved Tienie.
The day after the accident I had some time alone with him. I spoke to him and told him that I had forgiven him for cheating on me and finally leaving me. Standing next to his bed I realized for the first time that I had also caused him a lot of pain!! I asked him to forgive me.
I also told him that I knew he was worried about his situation at that moment in time. All he had to do was pray to God and ask him for forgiveness. I held his hand and prayed for him.
A single bloody tear ran down his cheek. I knew he had heard me and that all was okay….
The machines went crazy and I was asked to leave. I knew Tienie was gone as I walked out of the ICU….
Six days later Vic signed the consent forms for the machines to be switched off. She also signed the consent for Tienie’s organs to be donated. That is what he would have wanted.
Tienie was buried on his birthday, the 10th of November 1999
Thirteen years later my child still mourns her father.
I know that when the time comes Tienie will be there to take Vic’s hand to lead her towards the light….
For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Love entails profound care for another person. Love is boundless. “One can never love too much….”
No! That is not true. Loving too much is as scary as lovelessness.
It is hard to see how positive care can be criticized. Even normal cases of romantic love tend to create a narrow temporal perspective that focuses on the beloved and is often oblivious to other considerations. In a romantic love situation loving too much means that one person in the relationship’s love is not returned in equal measures creating an unhealthy in balance.. Profound romantic love is not in its nature excessively wrong; but some cases of such love have a greater chance of being so.
With regard to parental love, some might claim that loving a child too much could be harmful as it can spoil the child. Others might argue that the problem here is not in loving the child too much, but in not understanding what is good for her in the short and long term. To this one might respond that it is precisely the nature of intense emotions not to realize the genuine nature of the given circumstances.
When a child is ill the balance of love becomes severely disturbed.
So I am actually going to rephrase the question – Can a caregiver “care too much?” My answer to that: Perhaps not emotionally — hearts are pretty boundless — but in practical terms, definitely, yes. It is possible to do too much for the person you look after.
Obviously, aging and ill members of family require different levels of assistance. Providing help is often the only humane thing we can do for our loved ones. I have researched this and discovered that sometimes well-intentioned caregivers overdo the role without realizing it.
The rest of your life suffers: A spouse grows resentful and distant, you’re less attentive or fall behind at work, your child feels neglected and your friends think you’ve dropped off the planet.
Your sick loved one, on whose behalf you’re working so tirelessly, is also negatively affected. He or she may feel resentment over what’s perceived as invasiveness, may become depressed over a lack of control in his or her life, or may develop “learned helplessness” and mental and physical skills suffer from lack of practice.
How do you know when you’ve crossed the line from good intentions to brink-of-backfiring?
You handle all the details of the person’s life so effectively that they complain of having “nothing to do.” Vic for a long time said “Mom I can do my own tablets…. I said “No baby, it is fine. Let me do it!”
You’re regularly in doctors’ offices – but they’re the doctors of your loved one. You can’t remember the last time you had a check-up of your own. True!
You can’t remember the last time you took a “day off” — that is a day in which you left the house, left your everyday life, and did not do the majority of caregiving yourself. Guilty!
Caregiving is pretty much your main hobby. Not by choice!
You prepare all the meals, even though the person could do some of the prep work or cooking – even if it took longer or wasn’t done quite the way you’d prefer. Vic prefers my cooking.
You’ll drop everything to take a call from your ill loved one multiple times a day and then resist bringing the conversation to a close once you realize it’s not an emergency. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!!
You have more fixed appointments in your weekly calendar for the person you take care of than just for you –i.e. no lunch dates, standing walks with a friend, visits to a gym. True!
You offer to do things for others reflexively — but you’d really never think of asking someone to do something very specific for you. Absolutely!
You cater to the person’s special diet needs (low salt, for example) but don’t pay any special attention to your own nutrition. Maybe…Ok guilty!
The last time you took a vacation was a long, long time ago!. Innocent!!! I went to England for a week in May 2012
A friend or relative slips and calls you a “control freak.” So? I don’t have a problem with it. Vic is my child and I know best. I love her more than any other person in the world loves her and only have her best interest at heart!
So what? I am guilty as is many, many other caregivers in my situation. We love so much that we want to protect, nurture and control. By caring we think we may extend our loved one’s life.
Tonight Vic showed me a birthday card that I gave her on the 31stof August 2002. In the February of 2002 Vic had her blotched back surgery that triggered 80 abdominal surgeries and years of pain, indignity and unbearable suffering…
I wrote “You are so special. You are brave, strong, resilient and caring. I love you so much! Baby, from now on we are moving forward. The end of all of this is in sight. Remain focused and continue to fight. I know things are getting better!”
3 October 2012 I would write: “You are so special. You have been brave, strong, resilient and caring all your life. I love you so much! Baby, from now on we are living one day at a time. The end is in sight. I am sorry I held you back for so many years. I am so sorry for the pain I have allowed you to suffer and endure seeking a cure. Know whatever I did was done in the name of love. Please forgive me. It is okay to let go now. Go in peace my beloved child. I love you more than life!”
So, in conclusion I must admit to myself, I have loved Vic with an obsessive, possessive all-consuming love all her life. From the first time she moved in my belly I loved her. When she wrapped her tiny fingers around mine I was lost…. I love you too much, child of mine, now and forever!