In memory of Vicky by Dennis McHale


Tonight I visited the blog of a brilliant blogger Dennis McHale who writes hauntingly beautiful poetry.  I read through a number of his poems, very aware of the man own personal pain, when I came across this tribute to Vic that Dennis posted on the 2nd of May 2013.  Reading it, I was as touched as I was then…  Thank you Dennis.

I hope that one day I will read happiness in your words.

MAY 2, 2013

In Memory of Vicky

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This poem is dedicated to my dear friend “tersiaburger”
In memory of her beloved daughter, Vicky.

——————————————————————-

You and I
are touched by one star.

Wherever you are
we stand together in one light
which no depth or height or distance
can ever dim.

Wherever you are
your light shines;
past time and space
past flesh to thought,
I feel your power.

Wherever you go
the day will dawn
and the star will appear;
for you are a child of this light
and it fosters your heavenly dreams.

In this light, I have found ways
to heal, to bind up,
to tear down the feeble structures
of fear of your absence has
carelessly constructed within me.

You and I
are touched by one star.

In its glowing embrace
we find our true selves;
we find our peace.

Today I may stand alone,

missing you with all my heart
be I stand strong.
Through the corridors of our courage
you have helped me to
discover those eternal lines
of love within myself;
my birthright discovered because

Vicky and I are
touched by one star.

http://dlmchale.com/2013/05/02/in-memory-of-vicky/

 

For you MOM…because I love you


Mothers Day 2011, I received a wonderful book from Vic.  The title of the book “For you MOM…because I love you”

Precious baby Vic
Precious baby Vic

I will post a quote from this book, every day, until the 18th of January 2014, when it is Vic’s one-year anniversary.

Vic and her boys.
Vic and her boys.

“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God, is the heart of a mother.” Saint Theresa of Lisieiux

Two mothers with their child(ren)
Two mothers with their child(ren)

I just can’t do it…


Today is a bad day. This past week has been a horrific week. I have missed Vic and her unconditional love so much this week.  Not only her unconditional love of and for me and her boys  but also the love that she radiated into the world…

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I have looked through photos of Vic and going through her Facebook page, and I know I cannot do what she did.

I cannot bring the joy in her boys’ lives that she did. Vic was a fun person, and if she had one spare breath of oxygen in her little body she would organize a party. I looked at Vic’s photos, and I saw the fun she had with her boys.

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Vic would space bank energy and willpower to watch Jon-Daniel play tennis or cricket…  That took serious commitment!

I know I am their safe haven.  I can just never be what Vic was in their lives.

I miss laughing.  I miss being happy.

Your children are not your children…


Of course I have read the words of Khalil Gibran many times. Yet this morning I read these words with and through different eyes. I read the blog post of one of my favourite bloggers –

http://deodatusblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/your-children-are-not-your-children-they-are-sons-and-daughters-of-lifes-longing-for-itself-says-khalil-gibran/ and was overwhelmed with the exquisite words of guidance contained in this beautiful poem.

Read this with me.

Your children are not your children.

“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”                        
– Khalil Gibran

As a mother who carried a precious baby in her womb for almost 9 months my eyes lingered on the words “They come through you but not from you.” Vic came from me? An umbilical cord that was never severed, bound us together from the first second she were conceived. Even though death took my child from me the umbilical cord of love that bounds us cannot be severed. My love for Vic supersedes the bonds of death.

So no, I don’t agree with Gibran although I understand what he is saying. In this case I prefer literally translating his words…

                                      And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.                                                                    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,                                                                 For they have their own thoughts..

 How poignantly true these words are. As a parent it was horrible watching Vic make mistakes…knowing that her actions and decisions would lead to heartache and tears. How I wished that she would see things my way! My way would have been the safe way. Vic would have been spared rivers of tears and mountains of heartache. My way would have deprived her of great joy and happiness. As a mother I picked up pieces, held her and loved her. I could not protect her. Vic had her own thoughts!

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You may house their bodies but not their souls,     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

 I housed Vic’s little body. The moment of greatest sadness in my life was when Vic’s soul left her body. I was grateful that her suffering was over but devastated that our journey as mother and daughter was over. I knew that she instantly became an elevated being removed from the hardship and indignity that she suffered on earth. I knew that she would never be prod, cut, hurt or be humiliated again. As her mother, I bathed her and dressed her one last time, as I did when she was born. No other prying, clinical hands would touch her again. I was beyond grief knowing that I would never be able to talk to her again. I would never hold her again. I would never hear her say “Love you Mommy” again. My soul mate, my life was gone. My child’s soul now dwells in the house of tomorrow that I cannot visit or even comprehend.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 I never wanted Vic to be like me. Vic was strong, brave, loved, cherished, admired, gentle, loving, forgiving and vulnerable. I am tough, logical and emotionally distant. I allow very few people close to me and, if they betray my love and trust, I cut them out of my life. As a little girl, Vic said to me “I don’t want to be like you Mommy. I just want to be a normal mummy.” Vic was the one who taught me patience, unconditional love, forgiveness and to take a chance on life and love. Vic lived every second of her life. She did not fear emotion. She did not fear love and trust. I pray that her sons will remember these qualities their mother possessed. I pray that they will be more like her than me. I did however love Vic first and everyone else second… Jon-Daniel(1)

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.  The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.  Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.  For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.”

 I was the bow that send my precious girl-child forth. 

The boys do archery as an extracariculum activity. To be a good archer you need consistent anchor points: An anchor point is the place on your face where you pull the string back to consistently. This anchor point should be exactly the same all the time for a consistent grouping of shots. My parents taught me, by example, the importance consistency in values, discipline and love.

An archers grip on the bow handle should be lax and comfortable. My first instinct as a parent was “to grip the bow hard to stabilize it”. My parents taught me to be a comfortable parent. I did my best. I could not do more. No amount of tightening the grip on Vic, her discipline or my love and caring for her would have made me a better parent. My grip was lax and comfortable. My child was an amazing example to the world.

 Whether you’re doing target archery, 3D archery, or bow hunting, it is vital to concentrate and focus on one precise spot that you want to hit. As a parent is was difficult to stay focused all the time. Lots of things “get in the way” of parenting. A new love, work, own dreams and ambitions…Yet I gave birth to my incredible baby girl and I knew I had to remain focused. Vic had to come first. She did not chose to be born. I chose to give birth to her.

 Archers are told that to be relaxed whilst aiming, is one of the great secrets to success… As a parent it was almost impossible to relax. I spent my child’s life trying to keep her alive. If I relaxed I know it could have led to her death. When your child is sickly, you are overprotective… Today I wish I had relaxed more. I wish I had spent more time discussing things that, mattered to Vic than the number and colour of her bowel movements and vomiting sessions. I wish I had relaxed about her smoking. Smoking did not kill her. Doctors did.

 “At the heart of it, mastery is practice. Mastery is staying on the path.” With parenting we practice as we go. We don’t ever stop or give up. I wish that we had more gladness in our lives and less sorrow and pain.

 What I am certain of is that I was a stable bow. I was unwavering in my love and commitment to Vic and now her boys. The Great Archer held us in His great Hands.

 I found this beautiful poem on http://warrenlgdemills.com/2013/05/11/umbilical-cords-a-mothers-day-poem/. Warren is an amazing poet and I have found much solace in his words.

Umbilical Cords – A Mother’s Day Poem
Posted: May 11, 2013 in Affections
Tags: love, mother’s day, poems, Poetry 1

Umbilical cords
Are but metaphors
To represent the eternal
Connection between mother
And child.

Though that cord may be severed
That love supersedes the bonds of death.
For they are the cords of life!

When a child is born
so is a mother.
It is the graduation of a girl
To a woman.
The transition from
Woman to mother.
The ascension of adult
To goddess, creator of life.

Oh great goddess,
Would you understand
The power within you?
Would you fathom
the role you play
On the stage of life?

By your love
Is a great man groomed.
By your neglect
is his future family doomed.
By your touch
Is intimacy first understood.
By your hand
Does he separate bad from good.

Oh great goddess,
For every good child
Reared from your breast
There is a star in the cosmos
To be named after you.

Though that cord was cut
You replaced it with one unseen
Your care, patience for years,
To provide the world with one more
Decent young man to make this world
A better place.

-WLGDM

All Rights Reserved. Property of Warren L.G De Mills. Copyright @ 2013.

Jared♡ĶįƦƧƳ.Ș♡(1)

The final finish line


Things don’t always work out the way we want them to.

For 9 months we carry a precious little human being in our wombs. We give birth to the love of our lives… Then we spend our lives loving and cherishing this little bundle. Nurturing it from cradle to grave…

I was in our new Hospice building today and I was overwhelmed by sadness and anger. I was unbelievable sad when I stood in the door of a Dignity Room and I realised that I was stroking a door! Gentle feelings whelmed up in me – “This is Vic’s legacy” I thought! Then bitterness and tears simultaneously pushed through to my eyes and throat.

How can my child be reduced to a frigging room??? I want to hold my child, love her, and cherish her. I want her to sit next to MY death bed and tell me it is okay to go….. I want to spend birthdays with her – not burn flippen candles. I want to buy her flowers and see the pleasure in her eyes instead of planting flippen flowers in a memory garden. I want to hug her not run my hand over a wooden casket containing her crushed ashes. I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!!!

What brought this about? I don’t know. Maybe it is a YouTube video that I watched about another champion.

Like Vic, this young man started off in the starting block as a favourite to medal in the 400 meter Olympic race (1992). Derek Redmond tore a hamstring halfway through the race.

 Olympians could fill a pool with their tears, on a quadrennial basis. The nature of the competition ensures that however many dream of glory, most will only experience disappointment. At that moment, the bitter taste not just of a single defeat but of four years of wasted effort can simply be too much for some to handle. More than that, quite a few athletes can’t even win without tears. But no Olympic emotional outburst is ever likely to dislodge Derek Redmond’s in the minds not just of Britons but of anyone old enough to remember the 1992 Games. What made this moment special was that it brought into focus not just the near-heroic desperation of a single professional athlete but a much more universal theme: the nature of parenthood.

“I still get people coming up to me in the street because of what happened,” said Redmond in February 1993, six months after the 1992 Olympics. “But as nice as it is to know that they care, I would like to put it all behind me and not be remembered just for that.”

Redmond travelled to two Olympics and both ended with injury-induced heartache, once in the most public circumstances. For all his ability as an athlete – and he was considered likely to win a medal in Barcelona – he will forever be remembered for tearfully completing his 400m semi-final using his father as a crutch. His body never gave him the opportunity to redefine the way the world perceived him: two years after the Barcelona Games, following an 11th operation on his achilles tendon, his athletics career was over. This was his last race of any significance.

Redmond had missed the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh with a hamstring injury, and withdrew from the 1988 Seoul Olympics minutes before his first heat having failed to recover from tendinitis, having had two painkilling injections that morning in an effort to make it on to the track. The following summer, still plagued by injuries, he came close to giving up sport altogether. What the world witnessed in 1992 was a man who had been continually brought low by injury simply refusing to submit yet again.

His body had given him some hope: in the first round Redmond had run his quickest 400m for four years. “I was feeling absolutely 100% before the race,” he told me in 2006. “I’d had two really good rounds without even trying and the night before the semi-final I’d talked with my father and my coach and we’d decided I was going to push a bit harder and try to get a good lane for the final.

“On the day everything went smooth. I got a really good start, which was unusual for me. I think I was the first to react to the pistol. My normal tactics were to get round the first bend and then put the burners on for 30m, accelerate hard. But by the time I’d got upright I was almost round the bend, much further than usual, and I decided not to bother, to save my energy in case I had to fight for the line. About three strides later I felt a pop.”

It was his hamstring. Redmond collapsed to the floor, clutching his leg. Most athletes would have been quietly carried off the track and towards medical attention, but as the Red Cross workers approached Redmond instead pushed himself back to his feet. “I got up quicker than I got out of my blocks,” he said. “I said to myself: ‘There’s no way I’m going to be stretchered out of these Olympics.’ I didn’t know where I was. I really, really believed I could still qualify.”

Bizarrely, the reason Redmond first started limping around the track was a belief that if he limped fast enough he might still overtake four people and qualify for the final. “Believe me, at the time I thought I was running,” he said later. “It’s only when I see the playback I realise I wasn’t actually running very quick at all.”

Meanwhile, Redmond’s father Jim was fighting his way on to the track. “When I saw Derek hit the deck, I thought it was my mind playing tricks on me,” he told the Guardian. “I’m very involved in his training so I knew just how fit he was. All I can remember after that is telling the coach, Tony Hadley [not the lead singer in Spandau Ballet], to look after my camera. The next thing I knew, I was on the track.”

Jim told his son to stop, in case the injury might heal in time for him to compete in the relay. Derek refused. “Well then,” Jim said, “we’re going to finish this together.” And finish it they did, slowly, and with the younger man’s anguish becoming visibly greater with every pace.

Back in Northampton Redmond’s mother, Jennie, was watching events unfold on television, weeping. She later told the press that the last time she had seen her son so unhappy was when he didn’t get the bike he wanted for his sixth birthday. Redmond’s 28-year-old sister Karen was nine months pregnant; as she watched her brother’s world collapse she started to feel contractions.

Back in Barcelona, father and son batted away a succession of officials who tried and failed to convince them to clear the track. Jim, it turned out, was as much bouncer as buttress. “I’d never heard my dad using four-letter words,” Derek said the following day. “I learned a few new ones.”

“Even now, it’s hard to say how or why I did it,” said Jim. “It was a spontaneous reaction, as if I had seen him hit by a car. I certainly didn’t run down to help him finish – if anything it was to stop him. I could accept the fact that my son was injured, but not that he was going to carry on in pain, causing himself even greater damage.”

“After I crossed the line I was taken to the doctors and I was crying like a baby the whole time,” Redmond told me. “I had no idea how the crowd had reacted until I saw the video – they were the last thing on my mind. It could have gone one of two ways: they’d either think ‘what a complete prat’ or ‘good on him’. Luckily they chose the second one.”

Not everyone. Though the Redmonds were pictured on the front page of the following day’s newspaper, the Guardian’s athletics correspondent at the time, John Rodda, who was covering his ninth and last Olympic Games for the paper, decided that the incident merited only a mention in the 18th and penultimate paragraph of his main report, calling it “a display of histrionics which the crowd saw as courage but must have bewildered many”.

Most observers, though, were genuinely moved by what they witnessed. On his way from the stadium Redmond met Linford Christie, Britain’s team captain. The pair were far from friendly, and their enmity had become public after Christie criticised the 4x400m relay team that won gold at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. “These guys are not my sort of guys,” he said. “I don’t like their attitude.” Christie added that the four – of whom Redmond was one – should have toned down their celebrations because they had “mucked up” their individual events. Redmond replied: “There’s a saying going around among the athletes that Linford is the most balanced runner in Britain because he’s got a chip on both shoulders. For once in his life he was upstaged in Tokyo and he didn’t like it.”

But that day, in the bowels of Barcelona’s Estadi Olympic, Christie approached his team-mate and the pair wordlessly embraced. “Tears started and we both broke down,” said Redmond. “I know it sounds soppy but it was Mills and Boon sort of stuff. I’ve changed my views of him completely. It shows that this sport isn’t just about coming here and making money.”

Perhaps not, but as it happens Redmond’s courage that day allowed him to enjoy a second career as a motivational speaker. That wasn’t the only lasting effect of those injury-plagued years, however: in Barcelona the swimmer Sharron Davies, another British athlete who had endured a disappointing Games, sought out Redmond to express her sympathy. The pair married two years later (but divorced in 2000). More long-lasting, it transpired, are the chronic stomach ulcers induced by Redmond’s use of painkilling medication. “I would never encourage anyone to do what I did,” he said, “but I didn’t need encouragement. I went out and did it myself.”

At the 1992 Olympics the athletes had access to a rudimentary computerised messaging system. This allowed them to log on to one of the Olympic computers, which were distributed around the athletes’ village, and send someone else a message that they would be able to pick up when they next logged on – a kind of electronic mail, if you will. It’s never really caught on. Anyway, in the days after the race Redmond received scores of messages from his fellow competitors, including this from a Canadian competitor he had never met:

“Long after the names of the medallists have faded from our minds, you will be remembered for having finished, for having tried so hard, for having a father to demonstrate the strength of his love for his son. I thank you, and I will always remember your race and I will always remember you – the purest, most courageous example of grit and determination I have seen.”

It is as true today as it was 19 years ago.


So, I suppose I related this to Vic – her life ended but her death bed wish will live on to change the community. She may be remembered for being the inspiration behind Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services.

I remember her for being a perfect little new-born with my nose and her father’s toes. I remember the doctor saying “She is so perfect. She is destined to be a Miss World”….

Vic’s finish line was death….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCAwXb9n7EY

Extra tablets for your birthday…


A year ago I posted this…

Tomorrow, on the 31st of August, we will once again celebrate Vic’s life!  Every year, for the past 10 years, we expected it to be Vic’s last birthday.  Today I know that Vic will live forever.  She will continue to fight for another day, week, month, year…. Tomorrow we celebrate life!!

Tonight I sat doing Vic’s medication for the next 24 hours, and I popped an extra Jurnista into tomorrow morning’s tablets.    Janis Ian sings “and in the winter extra blankets for the cold…” and I sing ” and on your birthday extra tablets for the pain…..  My gift to Vic an extra tablet so she can a better day.

So, on the eve of my child’s birthday I am sitting thinking of what my prayer for Vic would be if I still knew how to pray.

I would pray for adequate pain relief.  I would pray for some quality of life time for Vic with her boys.  I would pray for Vic to have financial independence.   I would pray for Vic to have peace of mind.  I would pray that Vic would have enough faith in her dad and I to know it is okay to let go…the boys will be safe with us.

I do thank God that Vic is still alive.  I thank God for Dr Jabber Hussain and Jurnista.  I thank God for Vic’s incredible boys.  I thank God for the brave decision that Vic made not to have further surgery.  Above all, I thank God that Vic is home.

Tomorrow Vic will have a busy day.  She has a 08:00 breakfast appointment with Lee, a 10:00 manicure booked by Estherafternoon tea (at home) with Robbie Cramp and then dinner at a restaurant of her choice with the boys and us.   I know it will take a superhuman effort but I have “rests” scheduled for the birthday girl in between events.

What is a relatively quiet day for us is a marathon for anyone as ill as Vic.  I know that she will try so hard to survive the  birthday and the party day.  Somehow I don’t think she will manage it all.  I just hope that she has a good day so she can spend some constructive time with her boys.  They will need to remember this as a good birthday in years to come…..

On Saturday we will celebrate all the August/September birthdays.  Vic on the 31st of August, Henk on the 2nd of September and Tom on the 4th of September….  I hope Vic will be able to handle two busy days in a row.  Maybe the birthday high will carry her through it!

We have a family tradition of doing “birthday eulogies”.  Everyone present gets to say something nice about the birthday person.  Over the years I have told Vic how brave she is, what a fighter she is, how beautiful she is.  This year I will I will merely thank her for being here!

Everything else has been said.

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38 forever…


I was reading a comment from Lucinda @ http://sophieandemile.wordpress.com/ Elliot  – “Still cheering you on, Tersia, though I often don’t know what to say; others must know much better. In that photo, Vic, though desperately ill at the time, still looks lovely. She will always be lovely and young in your memory, though you would have loved to see her turn grey in late middle age. You are right to hold on to the ashes if it feels right to have them as part of the house.” when I started giggling.

I realised, that Vic is sitting in Heaven giggling because she fooled Father Time… Vic is 38 forever!

Forever my beautiful baby girl
Forever my beautiful baby girl

Thank you Lucinda!