I am a wife, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vicky was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. 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 woke up on yesterday morning with my hair wet from my tears. It was Friday again. For the past 41 weeks I have woken with my heart shattered. I dread Fridays. It is not a conscious decision to wake up crying. I don’t go to bed thinking that “tomorrow it is X number of weeks…” It is as if my body has an automatic alarm that alerts my tear ducts, my heart, my being. When I open my eyes there is a voice screaming “It’s Friday. Week Number …”
It has been an eventful and strangely emotional week.
On Wednesday evening we attended my youngest grandson’s concert. Not only was he the best actor but he noticed his gran in the audience and waved back! I sat there and realised that my precious child would never attend another school concert; she would never attend her grandchildren’s’ concerts ever. I realised that I would more than likely never attend the UK girls’ school concerts ever.
The boys started writing exams. I know how stressed Vic would have been about these particular exams. Jared’s year mark will determine whether he can apply for university entrance for the year 2015. The poor child was off to a rough start in the beginning of the year.
On Friday a 37-year-old woman dropped dead in the shopping mall.
On Saturday a beautiful young woman who calls me her “back-up” mom and her precious daughter shared a birthday. Laughter and joy reverberated through their home. A beautiful “Monster High” cake baked by a wonderful mother… Something that Vic will never get to do again.
I have nightmares of Vic being ill and me not being able to get to her…Desperation and fears permeates my dreams. I wake up in blind fear.
Will my heart ever heal? I read that life takes on a “new normal”…I just want my old life back. I want my child back.
This amazing hopeful post was written by Missmorgansmom…A grieving Mother who lost her daughter 5 days shy of 17 months ago to a drunken driver… When I first read her blog my heart stopped for a couple of seconds. I knew that the grief that she was living would be mine soon.
I recall thinking that it would be somewhat easier when Vic dies. Missmorgansmom’s lost her precious daughter not through debilitating illness but through a drunken driver. I knew that she had so much reason to bitter. Her child’s life had not even started and I was praying for my child’s suffering to end…
When the raw despair and grief overwhelmed me after Vic’s death I thought “My grief and anger is as intense as Missmorgansmom’s… When the tears overwhelmed me I remembered this cyberfriend of mine… It scared me that she remained in this cocoon of grief. I recognize the journey of grief as I am embarking on it…I read it before…
Today was my first session with the psychiatrist at Hospice… I came out of it a wreck. I cried and teared up the whole day filled with despair that I would never heal.
Then I received my email notification of Missmorgansmom’s “Perfectly Imperfect” post. The title intrigued me because of the “IMPERFECT” part of it.
The reference to finding “a place where I belong” hit home. My blog is where I feel safe and understood. I am not judged nor am I told to move on…I am encouraged, understood, loved here…
I belong to a horrible club of Bereaved Parents.
This post filled me with hope. If Missmorgansmom can laugh more and cry a little less than I know one day I will too…
Thank you dear cyberfriend for giving me hope.
Grief is instrumental to the metamorphous of person, as a whole. So many things change in your life when you lose some one you love. Although no loss is an easy one, as personally I have lost my father, stepmother and grandparents. Sadly as heart wrenching as their deaths were there is no comparison to how my life has changed with the loss of Morgan. There is no possible way to describe what this life altering event does to you, or prepare you for the process it takes to find a new normal, especially when the process is as individual as the experience it self. This is why i continue to share this undertaking, for understanding on every level. For myself to reflect on, for those who are in a similar predicament, as well as people who simply wish to understand more.
In my journey over the last 17 months or 5 days shy of 17 months I have found that the one place i feel somewhat normal is when i am with others like me. This could be in a virtual support group, or a friendship, or honestly a stranger with a similar story. It is so hard to feel like an oddity or only feel “Normal” whatever that is, when you are among other s that belong to this club which no body wants to be a member of. You only feel a like you are not abnormal because others for similar reasons now live with broken hope of what their dreams once were, because their world was as well obliterated. I suppose to feel comfort and normalcy when you are with those who are just as fragmented is conventional in many facets. Its just so hypocritical, you do not wish anyone else to ever live in the hell you are in, you do not want anyone to have felt this pain,but yet you gravitate to those that do because they get it.
I can say that I am learning to process the fact that nothing will every be the same, it will always hurt, it will never completely heal. I am finding that i have been able to laugh a little more than months ago, I cry a little less and slowly am learning to move back into trying to be functionally productive. This is not saying I am any better than I was during the early months, it is just saying that I am adjusting to function with the pain. I still feel like I am in quick sand and still seems like a lot of the time the fight to get out is not worth the emotional and physical exhaustion. On those days, I generally drop back five and punt, maybe just try to stay under the covers until i feel strong enough to fight a bit more, whatever it takes.
I do grasp a lot more now, the proverbial light bulb has gone off, i am always going to be broken! I will never be whole, kind of like a puzzle missing a piece or I suppose like a tea cup that the handle breaks off and is glued back together, its weaker and never the same, but can function. So at this point in this wicked game this is where i am and quite honestly it is what it is! I have learned that at any given day in the process of grief, the battles you fight change from moment to moment. In the beginning i guess you are going through the traditional stages if you will. As time goes on and you graduate into new challenges, you find that the things that hurt now are things you could not have fathomed when it first happened. When you bury your child the pain and shock are so intense that no one could have possibly prepare you for! So as time goes you learn to progress through those stages, and you may find that in some ways you come to terms with the fact that your baby is gone and not coming back. Than you at some point you start to climb out of the rabbit hole to see that the world and life as you knew it, now has a completely contrasting view with incompatible meaning. You now identify with different goals, hopes and dreams, because the ones you had before are now a mirage. The depth of these goals , hopes, and dreams, may be as little as getting out of bed and making your bed one day or as extreme changing a career. The metamorphous of grief reprograms you to keep the focus of the obtainable idea that you are only in need do the best that you can at a single moment, nothing more nothing less as well as embrace the idea of your new normal to be as being perfectly imperfect!
Her favourite perfume, Beautiful – Estee Lauder, reacts differently to my skin but I could smell “her smell” on me the whole day.
My meetings went well. I am happy with the outcome. It is as if my soul is removed from my body – I feel as if I am looking in from the outside. I see and hear a confident, poised person talking in a matter of fact tone of voice. I hear myself asking intelligent questions and yet it is a shell sitting there.
No-one sees my sadness and grief.
I miss Vic more and more as each day passes by. I am starting to realise that Vic is truly never coming home! The house is big and empty!
It is now 10 days since my beautiful child’s body came to rest… I cannot believe it is already 10 days and on the other hand I am amazed that it is only 10days….
Vic came home today. She was delivered in a little wooden box. The plaque simply reads “VICKY BRUCE 31.8.1974 – 18.1.2013”
The boys walked in after archery and Jon-Daniel said “Mommy’s home!”
Tonight the boys went through Vic’s cupboards to make up memory boxes. We laughed as we shared precious memories. The boys were selective in what they chose. Jared wanted one of Vic’s favourite Egypt T-shirts and Jon-Daniel her favourite track suit top… A lipstick and her driver’s licence; a brush each….
We opened her safe and in Vicky style everything was labeled and marked….
Her first pearls that she received as a little girl from my brother and his wife had a little note in the box…”Received from Johan and Henda when I was their bridesmaid. I would like them to have it back. I love you more than words. Johan you were always my hero! Henda you are amazing”
A note attached to two sets of earrings “For my boys from Mommy. These were from you”
Pink and white pearls labeled – “Received from Mommy and Daddy. Thank you for always loving me so much. I give these back to you now.”
Sue came in this morning and managed to find a vein. The vein held for the Perfalgan and she also managed to get a bag of saline into Vic. This will hopefully rehydrate her. It has been a rough 24 hours with so much vomiting. The poor child…
We hooked the saline onto a hanger and it now hangs from her ceiling. Leon, SiL, put a hook into her ceiling and we have suspended the drip from it. I have to keep the drip flowing until 12pm tonight when I can run another lot of Perfalgan. Tomorrow Sue will try to find another vein.
I suggested that Vic is mainlined or a stent is fitted. Sue agreed that it would certainly make life a lot easier. It would be easier to administer all Vic’s IV medication. Vic said “Sorry Mommy, no hospitals…”
Her heart rate, even whilst she is sleeping, is constantly above 110.
The IV medication immediately helped. Vic’s breathing is better. Vic has not vomited since 11 am this morning! She even managed to have a bit to eat tonight.
When Sue left today she asked me what is holding Vic back. Medically and clinically speaking there is no explanation why Vic is still alive…. She said that she has never seen anybody fight death the way Vic does… She asked me whether we have given Vic permission to die…
Sue says that Vic still says we are going to Italy next year…. Her kidneys and liver have failed. That is what the blood tests show.
What is holding Vic back? Sue says death happens when one relaxes completely and deeply! Vic’s adrenaline levels are preventing her from relaxing and dying.
All I want is for my little girl to find peace and her suffering to end.
Esther and Leon brought dinner tonight and just visited. Vic even got out of bed for a while and had a laugh. It was great being surrounded by the love of the family.
I wish I knew what to do to make Vic accept the inevitable. I wish with every fibre of my body Vic will find peace. That she will find the strength to let go…
Vic has been ill for such a long time. Maybe she just thinks this is how life is. Maybe she cannot remember what it is like to feel good, go out, be carefree, move without pain. To play with her kids, go out for drinks or a movie with a friend.
Here on earth imperfection, there in heaven perfection
Here on earth discontent, there in heaven content
Here on earth disgrace, there in heaven grace
Here on earth disease, there in heaven ease
Here on earth hatred, there in heaven love
Here on earth war, there in heaven peace
Here on earth decay, there in heaven freshness
Here on earth selfish, there in heaven selfless
Here on earth oppression, there in heaven liberty
Here on earth agonize, there in heaven relax
It’s either on earth, or in heaven
The decision, all yours
Baby Girl it is time for Heaven… You have to let go!
“Chloe, sweetie, wake up! You have to go to school!”
“Nooooooo….I don’t want you to go!!” she wailed.
“We will see you again after Christmas….and Oupie is coming to see you next week!”
For the last time in a long time I dressed my precious little Chloe. I held her skinny little body and breathed in the smell of her hair. Tears ran down my cheeks when I thought “How long before I can hold her again…”
I fed her… brushed her teeth and held her cup when she drank her tea. Now I must tell you that my little Chloe is very independent and she only humoured me….
Georgia came and sat on my lap and said “Me want you to stay…” She did not cry when I left. I cried.
I hate goodbyes! There are so many tears between “goodbye baby – see you soon” and “Hello my angel, I missed you”…
Tomorrow morning I am home. I will see my beloved Vicky and all my grandchildren! Jared has been posting on his BBM status how much he misses me… It is sad to leave but that is the way life is. We can never have it all.
As much as we desire good health, joy, peace, financial security, love and laughter for us and our loved ones, it is impossible to achieve all of it! We are a blessed family. We have love, laughter, joy and peace. Good health eludes us… We cannot all be together and see one another on a regular basis. Yet we are not separated from all the children and grandchildren. And Skype is great!
I am surrounded by a wonderful family who care and love unconditionally! I have an amazing husband who I adore. I don’t have many friends but my few friends are loyal, supportive and caring.
Chloe loves treasure hunts. In May when we had a treasure hunt I hid Mr Maker surprises Chloe promptly told me that the Pirates cheated. They did not hide coins and Mr Maker presents don’t count! So this time around I went armed with a map of my room and chocolate coins …. When she gets home from school today she will go to my room to double check that I have really left! The postman delivered the Treasure Map this morning… I wish I was there to see her having fun…
Tomorrow I will go to gym with Jared and Jon-Daniel and I hope to see Henk and Yuri. Maybe I will see Kari and Simone on Friday…
Time is closing in on usQuicker than I would have wanted it to I tried to make the moments last But still they slip away Day by dayHour by hour Minute by minute Our time together lessens With each tick of the clock The day, The moment I have feared For months now Continues to draw closer Soon I will be saying Good-bye
Saying good-bye To someone I love With every inch of my soul Watching you leave As I stand crying There is nothing more I can do No more time I can savor No more hugs to drag out Nothing left Except time And distance A long and lonely stretch of highway That separates our love
Now it is summer and I must wait I count each day until the moment. Where I can see your face again and feel your little arms wrapped around me as we sleep Together as one Saying good-bye is never easy but one must always remember that good-bye does not mean forever and there will come a time when again we can say Hello.
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.
when a mother cries
her tears stab at her daughter’s heart
as they plummet to the floor
when a mother cries
he daughter cries too
because her heroine is wounded and she doesn’t know how or why
she cries because she cannot rid her mother of the pain
she cries most of all because she loves her mother
when a daughter cries because her mother cries,
her mother cries more
because her weakness has hurt her child
she cries because it hurts to know she’s the cause of her daughter’s tears.
she cries most of all because she loves her daughter
once the tears have ceased however
the love forever shared between a mother and her daughter
“I’m tired of living but I do not deserve to die. I am motivated by nothing yet I move on. I have nothing but I have everything. I just don’t want to understand.“
Muriel posted this message on Vic’s Facebook page. Today it echo’s my feelings. I am so tired of living. I am so tired of this miserable existence that we call life. Surely, there must be more to life than breathing!
Today was a day out of hell. I had to leave home early this morning as we were testing some systems that are critical to a contract that we are negotiating. I got up with great difficulty, showered, and made Kreemy Meal for my family. Both Jared and Vic need soft foods. I left on time with strict instructions for Danie as to where and when to collect Vic’s morphine syrup from the Pain Clinic.
Within 5 minutes, I was stuck in terrible traffic. Five lanes reduced to two…
Once we reached the test site, the subsystem manufacturers arrived 2.5 hours late!! I phoned Vic to check on her only to be told that she had gotten ill all over herself! She had to bath and I was not home to help her! I told her to take anti-nausea tablets, lie down for 15 minutes, and take morphine tablets again. Once she felt better, she would have to ask Primrose, the helper, to help her bathe. I could not leave the test site.
Danie phoned to tell me – “No Morphine Syrup – come back next week”. Some good news was that Esther came to visit and helped Vic bath. That girl is an absolute saint! Esther also took Jon-Daniel to the movies. I am so grateful that he could get out of the house of gloom and illness.
Then the system failed… The shipment would be delayed by at least another 5 weeks!
Another traffic jam to my next meeting…
An hour and a half later, I left the meeting for home and was stuck in the 17:00 peak hour traffic! A 20-minute trip became a 1.5-hour trip! Arghhhhhh
At home, I quickly prepared dinner. Vic has to have dinner by 18:30 as she must take her medication at 19:00. In my haste I forgot poor Jared is only allowed pureed food so I started cooking (a second meal) some gem squash, potatoes, and carrots for him. I put it through the strainer and rushed off to his room with a tray and his pureed food. I do not know what I did but the next thing pureed vegetables and broken Noritake was all over the floor! I just burst into tears.
I cannot believe that something that I would normally laugh off as an accident set me off. Poor Jared had to eat soup for dinner. He is so tired of soup!
Well today, I am fed-up with life. I am tired to the core of my soul. I do not want to hear that I am doing a great job or that I am strong. I do not want to hear anything! All I want is ONE carefree day in my life!! One day with absolutely NO responsibilities.
Oh dear God, the boys offered to do their Mom’s tablets tonight so I can have a full night’s sleep…What am I doing with my pity party? I have Vic in tears because she is feeling guilty because of the stress her illness has caused me, the boys feel guilty because I am tired and Danie wants to take me away for a weekend so I can rest and relax…How can I ever relax whilst my child is so ill. I do know I cannot afford to cry. It distresses everyone around me.
I need a stronger anti-depressant.
I am going to bed. I am going to feel sorry for myself in the privacy of my room where I cannot cause more stress in my family’s lives. Life is already so hard for them. Tomorrow is another day and we will face whatever life throws at us!
“I’m tired of living but I do not deserve to die. I am motivated by nothing yet I move on. I have nothing but I have everything. I just don’t want to understand.“