Tag Archives: death

Death sucks, but it’s not the end.

So everyone. You know I like to keep things light hearted around these parts but I simply cannot ignore this story that landed up in my feed. I read it yesterday, then pretty much trawled Mindy’s blog over 24 hours and I cried and cried as a read the story of Ben and his family. I cannot shake them from my head. I feel so heartbroken over this loss of life, over the sickness that took this little boy over such a short period of time. And I am awed, floored and completely amazed at the faith of this family as they’ve lived through the loss of their son and brother. In the space of a few short months, Ben went from well and healthy to dying of a cancerous brain tumour. And I’ve read of many families who have suffered through the same loss, but I think it’s the way Mindy writes… her honestly, her bravery, her love for her boy, that really gets me. How she describes his illness, his fight. And her testimony of God’s grace and goodness through it all. There’s nothing I can write here that will articulate this story, as well as she has done so on her own blog.

 Anyway, I know that each of us are shocked into the realization of how short life is when we are faced with the death of a loved one, or when we read stories of people, especially children, dying. I don’t really want to give you another post on how we must cherish every moment. We know that already.

I just need to say something about being a mother and having children. Or something like that. Truthfully, I’m not really sure what I want to say. I want to say that I hope I never need to bury my child. I want my life to follow the natural progression as it was intended: that I will grow old, I will drive my children insane with old people stuff, I will see my grandchildren, and that they will happily bury me at the ripe old age of whatever. We all want that, right? I want to say that I can almost bear the thought of losing a parent – I say almost because I know that will be the hardest time of my life when it comes, but there’s some peace in knowing that I KNOW where my parents are going – the other side of heaven. There is this comfort when a believer dies. Also, I think it is easier to accept an older person dying. Don’t get me wrong, it will be difficult because I can’t imagine my life without my mother and father in it, but I will be accepting. But I don’t know how I would feel if I lost my child(ren). My mind cannot fathom the idea. I want to cry a thousand tears when I think of Mindy and I don’t even know her. But I sympathise with her because I have my two healthy beautiful children and if I woke up tomorrow and one of them wasn’t there, I don’t know what that would do to me. And then I read about this lady’s strength and her faith in God. And it blows me away. She didn’t have a long time to process and accept what was happening to her boy, you understand. It wasn’t a long illness. He was well, and then in a few months, he was dead. And yet she is so strong. She knows where her boy is.

I guess I want to say that I love my children. That I didn’t quite understand how MUCH I would love them before they were born. I didn’t understand the depth of love a parent could feel for a child. I want to say to the mothers out there who are going through a hard time with a new born – it doesn’t last forever. It goes by SO quickly. Please don’t wish these times away, I know I did. But don’t. It’s so short and so precious. And I know it feels like you are going to die from tiredness but hang in there. I want to say to the parents with children who have learning disabilities, or lifelong illnesses – I don’t claim to know your struggle, but I know your child is ALIVE. And while a child is ALIVE, there is POSSIBILITY and POTENTIAL and POWER. I want to say to parents who are battling to pay school fees, pay the bond and car payments – don’t give up. These struggles SUCK when you are in the middle of them, trust me, I know ALL about it, but those situations are temporary, we find solutions, we sell a car, we get a smaller house, we get backlisted until we figure things out and get rid of that judgment against our names, we can fix those things. I think I want to say don’t let the STRESS of living KEEP you from living. Guys, it’s the truth – we don’t know how long we have. We just don’t. All those things I said before about not wanting to bury my children, I wish I had a guarantee, but I don’t. But I do know that I need to be making memories with these kids of mine every day, I need to be making every damn moment count. I can’t be worried within an inch of my life about crime and paying bills and my weight, when it takes me emotionally or physically away from just giving my children memories. I don’t know how else to say it. Don’t get bogged down by life, just like that email that does the rounds says, on your death bed you are not going to be worried about how many hours you put in at the office.

Are you stressed about something right now? Don’t be. Give yourself a serious pep talk, I promise the problem you are looking at right now, is not as bad as you think it is. Don’t even give that situation a chance to steal another minute of your joy, your quality time with your kids, your sanity. It’s not even worth it.

And I have to say this even if you don’t believe it. Even if I lose followers. If I don’t say this, I will have missed an opportunity to tell you about Jesus and that’s what I am called to do, so just listen. If you don’t know God, if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, won’t you think about it? I don’t know where I would be without Him. I don’t know that I could live another day in this fallen world with all its problems, if it wasn’t for the fact that it is temporary and our real home is in Heaven. And I don’t want to get all holier than thou on you, you know me, I am not like that, but I just feel like we need to be talking about these things guys. It’s hard out there, we need JESUS!

My wish for myself, for you, for your families is that we live in the moment, that we let go and let God, that we value this opportunity to be ALIVE and use it to impact the lives of those around us and that we enjoy every moment doing so. Love on your kids today, even if they are particularly testy and annoying between the hours of 5 – 7pm. Be kind to your partner with all his/her “faults” because we all have our issues and sometimes turning a blind eye isn’t a sign of weakness, it is an act of Grace. Take it easy in the traffic, phone your bank manager and make payment terms, drop that grudge and pick up the phone and talk to that person already. Don’t let anything hold you back from living your best life. This is my wish. Xxx

And to the Sauer family, I wish you a peace that passes all understanding as you revel in the memories of your precious Benjamin.

No words.

Hello you guys

It’s been a busy few days… at work and at home. Yesterday we left the house at 06h15am and only returned from our activities at 6pm. I’m planning quite a big event at work for this week, so I’ve been having heart palpitations about that. I look forward to this week being over. Crazy like that.

 Last night I heard that an ex colleague of mine had lost her 3 year old daughter to drowning this weekend. Now that we don’t work together anymore, she and I only have minimal Facebook contact, and I saw her last at the Huggies event we attended a few weeks back. So we are not close as such, but I am so devastated for her. I’ve had this sick-to-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling since I heard the news last night. We were pregnant together, her daughter was two months younger than Hannah. I can’t get her off my mind. I keep thinking about her little girl who was the same age as my Hannah, I think about how cute Hannah is, how I love this age where she is all hugs and kisses and how she loves to love us and I can’t help thinking about how I would feel if I didn’t have that anymore. If my Hannah was no more? It turns my stomach.

I feel so very sorry for this mother who has lost her baby girl so tragically. I’m once again jarred into the reality that this life is but a fleeting whisper and only part of the journey, not the destination. That there are no guarantees regardless of how careful, how safe, how holy you are. Your life is but a whisper. It’s so hard to take cognizance of each moment when life is so busy and we’re all just trying to make it through a day of traffic, work, demanding bosses and whiny kids, but today I am grateful that I am alive. That I woke up to my two children who were also alive, breathing, whole. I am thankful that I get to squeeze them TODAY, that I have THIS moment with them. There are simply no words. None. It’s just horribly tragic.

Please lift this family up in prayer.


RIP Caden Beggan – a reality check

I am so heartbroken. I’ve spent the last half hour reading through this Facebook page dedicated to Caden Beggan. This 6 year old boy contracted meningococcal septicemia, a deadly disease and this page tells the story from the time he contracted the disease to his passing. Mainly narrated by his Dad, it’s a harrowing yet beautiful tribute to his son. This post is not about the disease, although I did Google it and again I felt sick as I realized that recovery is slim, as your blood poisons your body and your tissues are destroyed by the virus, the scarring turns your body from purple to black and your limbs and extremities may need to be amputated in order to keep you alive. No one is safe from the disease, the cause is unknown and while there are vaccinations for babies against meningococcal disease – they don’t prevent the disease altogether. Anyway, as I said this post is not about the disease…

When something happens to any child, as a mother I always find myself putting myself  in that parents shoes. Can you imagine finding your little boy on the bathroom floor, not quite sure what the problem is? Can you imagine watching his skin turn colour as the illness rips through his body? Can you imagine being told that you have to amputate his limbs if there’s any chance of survival? Can you imagine not being able to take the pain away? Can you imagine the rise and fall of your emotions – your life –  as his diagnosis goes from bad to worse, but ever so often a glimmer of hope as he shows even a slight improvement? Can you imagine having to explain to his siblings that he may not make it? Can you imagine having to deal with the death of your baby?

I simply cannot imagine it.

I love a good reality check. One that really stops you in your tracks and makes you take stock of your life and of your loved ones and of what really is important. At the end of your life, the only thing that will really matter is relationships. How you loved and how you were loved. I doubt you’ll be worried about how much money you made, what titles you racked up or how good you were at your job. Personally, I’ll want to know that I loved deeply and fully, that I added value to the lives of those around me. That my children felt like a million bucks everyday due to the positive impact that I made in their lives. Life is so unpredictable, and the longer I live, the more I realize the value in a moment because you just don’t know how many moments you have left. And I constantly need to remind myself of this, and stories like Caden’s remind me again that you just don’t know how much time you have.

Being a mom isn’t easy, and even five minutes after I’ve written this, I’ll probably be yelling at the kids, but I seriously do not want to be left with any regrets – so after my yelling, I’m going to simmer down and strangle them with a hug. Forgive quickly, forget easily, love deeply.

My heart bleeds for this family. xxx

The ability to forgive and the ability to love are the weapons God has given us to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in this less-than-perfect world. — Harold S. Kushner: When Bad Things Happen To Good People

My Last Will and Testament

I’ve seen it happen too often, someone dies and amidst the grieving, the family is torn apart over which coffin to choose, which burial method to use, who gets the kids, who gets the money and who pays for the food at the “after tears.” This happens even when the death is timely and people have a chance to prepare, knowing that their loved one is closer to the end than to the beginning of their lives – even though only God knows the exact time and day. I’ve made it very clear to my husband and to those willing to listen on how I want my send off and the days thereafter to be, but just in case my words have fallen on deaf ears because my husband often switches off the minute I start yapping, I thought I’d jot it down so that there is absolutely no confusion when the time comes.

So here it is.

I do not want a funeral with an open casket. I do not want a funeral at all. I don’t want people gawking at my face which will most likely have the wrong shade of foundation. I want a memorial service, where people who know me will gather to reminisce on what an amazing, wonderful person I was. You can have a photo of me, preferably one taken when I was younger, slimmer and hotter, but I do not want my lifeless body there. I think it makes the whole affair more miserable when people get to witness a dead body. As for me, I’ll be gone to all eternity, having the most glorious time with my Maker and all the angels, so why cry over my physical body which matters no more? So no body, ok. This means that I won’t need a fancy coffin, a simple box will do. There’s a saving right there. Secondly, I would like to be cremated, privately. Perhaps someone significant will go to the crematorium to ensure that they burn the right body, but I don’t even want an affair there. Again, this method is just to ensure that my earthly remains are taken care of. No hoo-haa please. You can keep my ashes in an urn on top of the fire place, or scatter them over the ocean, or use them as fertiliser in my garden which I love. At my memorial service, I want lots of singing of songs preferably from the Cedarmont Kids and Rivers Church worship teams. I pray that I will outlive my parents because that is the natural order of things, but if my parents happen to be alive, I KNOW they will want to sing a song, so please let them. The only funeral-y song I want played is Amazing Grace, because the words of that song have come to mean something very special to me, it tells my story, and the story of any Believer I am sure. I want an open mic at my memorial service so that people can pay me fantastic tributes. And if there are tears, I’d like them to be tears of joy, with a hint of sadness, and not the other way around.

Right, onto the nitty gritty’s.

I hope my kids outlive me. I pray my children get to see me live to a ripe old age and that they lay me to rest some time after three scores and ten. But again, we know neither the day or the hour. If, God forbid, I die when my children are young, I want my husband to remarry. I want my children to have another mom. Yes, I want to be remembered and cherished, but if my husband finds a suitable mate, I want him to marry her. I don’t want him or my children to lack the love of a woman in the house. So none of that nonsense from the grapevine about how quickly he replaced me because I insist that he does. Even if the children are older and are able to care for themselves when I go, I still want my husband to remarry. I want people to help my children to remember me, with photos and stories. Even when their own memories start to fade, I want them to be reminded. Not for them to be sad for a mother that they lost, but for them to remember how they were loved. How their mother loved them, because every child needs to know that, at any age. So even if you knew me briefly, but read it here, please tell them constantly how I adored them.

Any monies that become available on my death must  be used to pay all my bills so that my husband doesn’t have to worry about his wife’s overspending even in death. And if there is any leftover (oh please let there be some left over after they pay my bills!), I want it to be used solely for my children’s education. After my daughter and sister have gone through all my stuff and taken what they want, the rest of my earthly goods must be donated to churches and charities. I have no sentimental keep sakes or items of great value, and nothing that I want embalmed and kept forever, except this blog. If I don’t get to do it myself for them, I want my children to pour over these memoirs. It contains our lives in words and photos, and my pulse. This is the only keepsake I think is worth keeping, and maybe my food processor because that thing will change your life, I tell ya!

I think that about covers it. My husband hardly (if ever) reads my blog so make sure he gets a copy of this in the post, will ya? I hope you have made a similar list so that your loved ones know exactly what to do when your time comes, as you know there are few things that are certain in life, and death is one of them!

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born. Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies – so the living should take this to heart. Eccl 7: 1-2

Please forgive me.

I am not up for any parenting awards, that’s for sure. When I look at my circle of friends, I think I am the hardest on my kids. Some days I am proud of this, other days not so much. My patience is thin, and I shout a lot. I smack my kids and I threaten them with all sorts of evil if they “do not stop that immediately.” How they still love me as much as they do sometimes surprises me.

Yesterday afternoon I got a BBM from a friend which said that a friend of hers, who I don’t know, had lost her 3 month old baby. I don’t know all the details, nor do I wish to know all the details, but the baby died in the care of her day mother and it appears to be cot death, but that’s yet to verified. Furthermore, the mom had just gone back to work this week after maternity leave, and we all know how we felt leaving our babies for the first time. And four days later, this. I stalked the mom’s Facebook page this morning, and I felt sick as I read the messages of condolence pouring in.

My heart grieves for that mother and father and extended family. This angel gone so soon. I don’t know them, nor do I know the pain of losing a child but I cannot grasp or comprehend Liam or Hannah dying. And in that vein, I feel so very sorry for this mom; sorry – that word doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this feeling – like I want to go into a corner and cry big ugly tears for her.

I want to get into my car and drive to Liam’s school right now and just squeeze him and say sorry for being so mean, so cold, so angry, so impatient, so damn irritable with him. For whatever, and whenever. I’m sorry! I’m sorry that even this morning, he got up on the wrong side of the bed and I wagged my finger in his face and said that if he dared cry because he didn’t want to get dressed, I’d give him a smack. I’m sorry! And Hannah, for brushing off your hugs and kisses because I’m always in such a damn rush to start the pots, or change out of my high heels or get you guys to bed. I’m sorry that I yell at you because you still suck a dummy and I can’t hear what you’re saying half the time, or because you leak through your diaper at night and I have to get up to change you. I’m sorry.

Incidents like this just bring home how precious our families, and in particular, our children are to us; to ME. I don’t expect to be perfect all the time, but I can kick myself for making the wrong split second decision just because I wasn’t in the mood.

As a testament to this little girl’s life, I am going to try my hardest to just be nicer. To be more loving and tender, even when I don’t feel like it. Even when Liam and Hannah are driving me absolutely batty, I’m going to try to remember that they are just little kids, who know no better, other than what I teach them. I thank God for my children, for the absolute joy they bring into my life… even when we’re fighting… I thank God that I have another day with them today. I pray earnestly that although all our days are numbered, that I get to spend days, weeks, YEARS more with my babies.

Cherish every moment, even the bad ones, because you just don’t know when it will be your last.