Forever a man of the times!

27 Jun

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I feel as if I’m losing my mother all over again! But I’m not. I, like many South Africans, are feeling the impending sense of doom at what is possibly the last few days of the Father of our Nation, the man who suffered for all of us, his children, to bring peace to our Country. Unfortunately, a Country still marred by racism on some levels, but a Country that still is filled with more optimism than I have ever seen. We are a Rainbow Nation because of him.

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In some ways, our country has come to a stand-still, we all wait, with baited breath if our beloved Madiba made another night.  He is tired; he has done his ‘job’ and so much more.  He healed a Nation, and brought pride back to all South Africans.  We all know and understand that his time here has run its course; however, we still feel we want to hold onto him, and so, I think, we all sigh when we know that we have him for a little longer.

When Madiba does leave us for greener, healthier pastures; I think for many, our worlds will stop… in 5 years time the question, like with all Historical events i.e. 911, will be “Where were you the day Mandela died?” and if you are a child of South Africa you will be able to answer that question very quickly! No matter how mundane or busy our lives are – we will forever remember THAT moment, the moment he left us, the moment we were told, the day we mourned with his family!

I know that Madiba’s family want us, the public, to leave them alone so they can spend time with him, and although I understand and I feel sorry for them, I also feel that some of the children don’t realise that we are going through this with them.  Get angry and upset with the International Press, ban them from the hospital for he does not belong to them, but please let us be ‘in the know’, let us share your worries, and what will soon be your sorrows. He belongs to all of us, he is ours, he is mine!

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Mandela’s name and legacy will forever be etched in the minds, hearts and memories of millions world-wide.  He will forever be the Father of our Great Nation; generations for years to come will talk of his greatness and his name will be uttered with respect and love.

So Tata, if it is your time to leave the mountain tops, the deep blue seas and the rolling hills of this your land, then go home to your Father, be amongst the greats that have gone before you! You are and will forever more, remain a Great Man, a Great Leader, a Great Teacher, a Great Friend and a Great Father! Go with God Tata!

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The Great Loss – well at least for me!

31 Jul

Today, 2 years ago, my family and I lost our Mom.  She had a stroke/heart attack – we unsure if the heart attack caused the stroke or visa-versa. We just know that she is no longer here.

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My father called me just before 8 am to say that my mom had fallen and he couldn’t get her up off the floor – my dad started crying (he never cried).  My mom was still awake but couldn’t speak.  My thoughts often go to my dad who must have felt extremely helpless, he couldn’t pick her up, he couldn’t help her, he couldn’t hear her, he just had to wait.  It took me 15 minutes to get from Parktown North to Lambton; en route calling the family.  Seeing my Mom on the floor like that just looking up at me smiling, I too felt completely helpless.  I too couldn’t do anything for her, I tried to get her as comfortable as possible – but other than wait for the paramedics there was little else I could do, I just sat with her.

My parents aren’t on a medical aid – the first ‘luxury’ they gave up when going on pension. So a government hospital is where she went – The Oliver Tambo, old BBH (Boksburg-Benoni Hospital), what a dump! Although I must admit that the ER staff were wonderful, they allowed my dad to stay with her, and one of us to stay with him, even though the rule clearly states only 1 person; my dad has a bad heart and I don’t think I would have coped with both of them on a stretcher.  The rest of the staff were shocking, to the point that I contacted the hospital CEO and threatened him with the MEC and Minister of Health…. I became ‘that’ woman, the one who when walking down the passage to my Mom’s ward would have all staff; nurses, doctors and even the dietician move out my way – some even changing direction – just in case I spoke to them.  For the 2 weeks that my Mom lived, I think I was the most hated person at the hospital!  For 2 weeks my life was in limbo, I didn’t sleep, eat or even work (at the time I had my own business).

The dreaded call. At 12h34 Sunday, July 31st, while dressing to get ready to visit my mom – I had finally slept the night before and had woken late – I received the call! My mom had passed away. I put the call into my sibling, and then my Dad.  The Friday prior they suspected she had had 2 more strokes.  I sometimes wonder if I slept so well the night before because God, or my subconscious, knew that the next few days, weeks and months were going to be the hardest I had ever faced.  I identified my Mother’s body on the Monday – that feeling of complete helplessness once again engulfed me, yet again I looked down on her face and knew that I could do nothing – I couldn’t turn back the time, I couldn’t force my family to move her to a better hospital, I couldn’t find the money to put her on Medical aid, I couldn’t bring back our Mom!  But I could ensure that my father, sisters and brother didn’t have to do that, they didn’t have to see her like that, and that the memory that they carried of her was a much better one. Why should all of us suffer? My 3rd sister had had problems with her heart too in the months leading prior to my Mom’s death – why risk another family tragedy?

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My life had changed. Identifying my Mom’s body, trying to be strong for my children but crying every time I showered (and I showered often), trying to keep my home and business ticking over, helping pick the songs for the funeral, typing the programmes, or writing and delivering the Eulogy, taking calls, emails, sms’s, FB messages wishing us well, just cooking dinner – these would all take over my life.  My family helped, I know that they would have seen my Mom too, that they would have fetched the ashes or done the Eulogy, but I needed to do it! You see, I felt guilty.  I didn’t give her a kiss on the Saturday after visiting hours and say goodbye, I just left, because I thought I would see her the Sunday.  I didn’t hold her hand and tell her I loved her one last time, because I was talking to the nurses about my Mom’s care.  And I wanted to make sure that everything, just everything was perfect for her now that there was nothing more I could do for her!  I even went to see John Edward a few months after my Mom passed, hoping to ‘hear’ from her so I could tell her I loved her just one last time, and to apologies for just leaving and not saying good-bye – if nothing else my parents have always insisted on good manners!

I sometimes think that my sisters, brother, nephews, nieces, and even my children have been able to come to terms with my Mom’s death a lot better than I have, that they have moved forward – not on, because NOBODY moves on from the loss of a parent – and in a way I envy that, because I haven’t! I think they were able to mourn Mom, they knew I had their back; and even though there is that slight envy, I am happy that they could mourn her properly, that their healing process could start a little earlier!  I just don’t function around this time of year. I am moody, bad tempered, weepy, not productive, forgetful and just plain sad for days before the 31st up until August 4th, then I become me again!

When you lose a Grandparent, or an Aunt or Uncle, it is a sad time, you do feel a sense of loss; a Grandparent is ‘supposed’ to die – they are old, an Aunt or Uncle, while they are closer in age to your own parents, they aren’t yours.  But the loss of ones parent is traumatic! You have NO clue until you lose a parent just what the rest of the world feels like.  When friends have lost their Mothers or Fathers I have sympathised with them, I have cried with them, but it is almost in an un-attached kind of way.  I, unfortunately, belong to this group now. I feel their pain when I see them or when I hear of friends who have just lost a parent – I now feel differently!

So Mom, if you can ‘read’ this, know that I love you and I miss you.  That you’re constant nagging 969783_10151820460476913_527416120_nand moaning is missed more that I would care to admit! That I miss holding your hand or kissing your cheek or sitting on your bed while you knit and tell me how to bring up my kids.  I miss not being able to climb into Daddy’s bed when I’m sick and even thought you didn’t do anything special, you just read while I slept.  I miss you getting Dad to make me tasty wheat when I visited or when it took you 2 hours to do a 10 minute shop.  I miss fighting with you and rolling my eyes at you.  I miss you knitting me silly hats, or phoning me to tell me about the wonderful new thing you just cooked and that Dad loved it but clearly doesn’t appreciate it because… well he is a man!  And I especially miss that no matter how busy, sick or tired you were, my children (4 legged and 2 legged) could come to you and you would stop whatever you were busy with and they would be the most important person in the whole world at that time!  I love you Mom. I wish I had spent more time with you!  And although I miss my uncles and aunts, my grandparents and my friends who have all passed before and since you, I miss you the most!  You will forever remain in my heart!!

xxoooxx

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