How to go on….

Time moves differently for me now.  I seem to, for the first time in my life, grasp the passing of time. These few days in middle July are so cold and challenging.  I can’t get warm even with layers on.  This is another one of those weeks in which much has to be achieved.  Today being 18th July I have more documents to sign.  I feel like those Internet (apps) downloads which connects but says “download pending”. Everything in my life at this point in time is ‘pending’.  Nothing is ‘done’ except my mothers passing, that gives me clarity of thought and with that hopefully a direction.  I search aimlessly through the house for her presence and I need to talk.  I realise now I must have driven my mom bonkers with all my talk.  It is only in this silence that I understand how much I talked. The aloneness is a great burden.  Beth always said: “you will be alright because you have many interests, your embroidery, your Art, and your writing.  And you will have to sustain the house and  that will take effort.”. The thing is Mom…..I have no inclination to do any of the things that held my days together when you were with me. 
Tomorrow being Wednesday I have arranged for the Lapa to be repaired since the thatch is deteriorating and I am so stressed for this days work with people here.   On Thursday I may be able to arrange to have the two large trees properly felled.  The maple tree at the gate was trimmed by the garden services.  Those Mozambicans have absolutely not mercy on nature.  They massacred the limbs of the tree and it hurts to look at it.  I remember the day you so lovingly planted it.  Little did we know it was going to be so massive.  I remember too many things and it hurts all the time.   I try to push the thoughts from my mind and I don’t succeed.  I am slowly buying sand to replace the sand these garden services rake away with vengeance each Monday when they come.  I am letting them not come some Mondays because the property can’t handle it anymore. They have totally denuded the flower beds and the lawn is disappearing.  Anyone reading this blog would say….well change to another services….we all know why one does not easily change such services in South Africa.  They break things and just leave it. 
But….these are trivialities to the crux of my life at present.  It comes back to me the one poem that I remember so absolutely well.  My passion for the Brontës has never faded and I still read Jane Eyre once a year.  Wuthering Heights too. The poem is written by Emily Brontë
The old Stoic.

Riches I hold in light esteem; 
And Love I laugh to scorn; 
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn: 

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, ‘Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty! ‘ 

Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
‘Tis all that I implore; 
In life and death, a chainless soul,
With courage to endure. 

will I continue to have the courage to endure?
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12th July and new reality

It is still dark and the dawn hasn’t broken yet.  I had almost no sleep and when I did doze a person who once brought me so much pain resurfaced in a memory and that is always a bad omen…. Always has been and always will be.  You know how it is when you dream about a certain thing or being.? Their presence in your subconscious portents difficulties.  I don’t need difficulties today since the Legal person has to come and deal with my beloved mothers will.  I am so utterly tense it feels as though I can’t breathe because I know here comes timeous efforts, tedious procedures and high cost.  And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop this or make it better or easier.
Yesterday the local newspaper was as depressing as any tabloid can get.  The local paper, ‘The Randf****** Her****’ does not even try for sensationalism….just plain hard core depressing facts which happens in this place we call home.  I felt physically ill when I read of other peoples realities….well I could not read it all or I would be more frozen with fear than I already am. 
Beth always encouraged me to do a cleansing once she was no longer with me.  I think she knew that for me reorganising things is therapeutic.  By a ‘cleansing’ she meant…do away.  She always said “you cannot use everything at the same time….you can only wear one article of clothing at the same time…this (and her hand would wave around) is worldly stuff….move it along”. So I did move stuff along ….serving dishes one no longer can serve food in or never did.  Twenty and thirty years ago food was in far more abundance than now.  It was okay to do this task. There were no memories attached to any of the things. It will be interesting to see how the recipients to these grand dishes respond.
I have a prayer for today before the sun rises and I must meet with my reality of today:
Heavenly Father…You know my comings and goings,
my fears and longings,
You know the anguish I experience from time to time
let the Holy Spirit be with me today as I face this reality
of Beth’s will and the procedures.
I need Your hand upon me….I need her presence with me
And I ask that St Michael guard me from all negativity.

Missing her….

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It has been a week and a bit that I have lived the days and nights without caring for my beloved Mom. I am aware that people will say I ought to be more mature and handle this with the aspect of reality that it deserves.  I am not so naive as to think and have known that my mom would never pass on. We both spoke about it.  BUT….BUT it was the way in which everything fell into place and the aftermath of the whole scenario.  That is the crux. I was not prepared for it…I honestly thought she might pull back from this.

The emptiness in the house is like a grand canyon chasm.  The silence is deafening.  I am lost without the routine of caring for her.  The isolation and aloneness is making me physically ill.  The phone remains silent, the people who rallied around me are drifting away.  I do not blame them for this is not their journey, and I shall always be grateful to them for being the support that I so desperately needed. Weekends are the worst and that is for sure.  But perhaps this week will be better since I am returning to teaching again and that will give purpose to the days. In the meanwhile I drift from small task to small task. Her estate has still to be administered and that is a painful journey no matter how long or short it takes.

God my Father….only you can look and see into my heart.
Only you can see the anxiety that lurks there
Only you can read the troubled thoughts that invade my mind.
Only you can gauge the panic with which I face each new day
without my source of inspiration and communication.
I ask for mercy in this reality of coping with hours
of worrying about safety and trying to be as secure as possible.
I am grateful for being able to come to you in prayer…..
Please help me cope. 

24th June 2017

My mom died on the 24th June 2017 and I can’t quite absorb the reality of it. There are so many thoughts and emotions that need expressing but I can’t write down one single one.   I can only express the terrible emptiness she has left in our lives even from the static position of being confined to the wheelchair. 
My students and their parents have been very kind during these past few days and even prior to that…and for this I will always be grateful…always.  Young women who have left my tutorship and gone on to make their own lives…these people too reminded me of their loyalty and empathy for my situation.  The prayers were many and so has the support been so.
I drift through the days in a kind of daze and try to absorb the reality of knowing she isn’t here. I can’t sleep and I can’t eat….But  I do rely on tablets to numb the ache and longing for her presence in the house.  People remind me that God only allows seventy years and a few to most of us…..I am 66years…what a prognosis and one that even if the Bible says so gives no comfort. 
I feel her close to me as I go about the procedure and endless documentation associated with these matters.  I feel as though I will scream if I once more have to go through another form and fingerprint session.

Mom, my beloved Beth, you have given me the most wonderful companionship any mother and daughter could have had. You allowed me to be who and what I wanted to be at any given moment in time and you allowed me to express freely what I felt and believed in even if it was in conflict with your precepts of a belief system, a situation, a principle.  You always forgave my irrational outbursts and temper tantrums. I know that for you there is no sojourn in Purgatory…. You had purgatory on earth bound to the wheelchair and later reclusive from the outside world and you never complained and never lashed out in hatred or torment.  You always had this accepting nature.  We are bonded for all eternity…and I will always carry the indelible mark of your influence on my soul. 

The final battle….

How do I describe the terrible fear and isolation I feel as my mother lies in ICU.  How do I tell of the thoughts that invade my mind while the radio plays the saddest music.  This morning I heard for the first time a piece of music called ‘a mothers love’ sung by Katherine Jenkins.  It tore me apart and I found myself crying hysterically in the passage while my little NooNoo tried to figure what was wrong.  She is not used to this. 
‘This’ is a fight we cannot win unless by great and miraculous interventions by God.  If Lazarus could be healed after all his organs shut down, after he lay dead for days….is there hope for my beloved Beth?
I had Radio Veritas place her name on then altar for Mass at 12pm. 
Oh mom if I could hold you once more in my arms and tell you that you are my best friend and inspiration….my reason for walking this journey, my teacher and my mentor. If I could ask you once more advice about a poem or a painting.  If I could tell you how much I love you and if you could forgive me for putting you in hospital when you didn’t want to go.  If I could tell you about the progress with the drama students and their RACA poems. If I could once more sit in front of your wheelchair and rub your legs and bandage them again.”

The staff of the hospital have been remarkable and they have given permission that I can visit you at anytime., I am going to you now before I begin the afternoons teaching.  These teaching hours I need to survive the terrible isolation and panic I feel. The Head of Department has been kind and the specialist physician.  There are moms in my school who have been so supportive and kind and have offered so much by way of help. There are encouraging Sms’s and mms’s…..but when the darkness closes in and the silence envelopes the house and I am not bringing you your tea or you are not asking to watch a Catherine Cookson on film on your tablet….I am bereft and full of emotion and I know true isolation….and its devastating.

Anguish and silence of the heart.

I can’t remember many things of the past few months and I remember much with great clarity. I have been functioning like a programmed android. Now as my mother lies in hospital fighting for her life it is as though the program has crashed and I can’t put it back together.  My beloved Beth is in a critical condition and last night the specialist physician put her on a ventilator. I realise with a dreadful cold feeling what this means. The night hours are so long and it remains so cold and desolate this winter season. I can’t imagine life without her yet these past few months since her brief sojourn in ICU in February she has slipped from my routine. I carried on doing the things that need to be done without her. She was not able to participate in anything. She was becoming weaker and weaker. Yet there were moments when her wisdom and character emerged as strong as ever giving me the ability to control a situation.  In her frailty she never once panicked….she from her wheelchair held it all together. 
I don’t know how to carry on without her.  I pray without ceasing but prayer is a silent practise amongst all peoples…we know HE hears and we know He cares and we know He controls….but the silence of prayer is deafening…

A new site

  “In the middle of a forest, there was a hunter who was suddenly confronted by a huge, hungry bear. In his fear, all attempts to shoot the bear were unsuccessful. Finally, he turned and ran as fast as he could. The hunter ran and ran and ran, until he ended up at the edge of a very steep cliff. His hopes were dim. Seeing no way out of his predicament, and with the bear closing in rather quickly, the hunter got down on his knees, opened his arms, and exclaimed, “Dear God! Please give this bear some ‘religion!'” The sky darkened and there was lightning in the air. Just a few feet short of the hunter, the bear came to abrupt stop, and glanced around, somewhat confused. Suddenly, the bear looked up into the sky and said,
“Thank you, God, for the food I’m about to receive….””
This piece of spiritual humour  does not sit too well with me because in reality the poor man must have either fallen over or been attacked.  That is worrying. 
The winter season is well and truly with us now and this day of 13th May is totally wet and dismal.  But nothing is dismal if one has books and music and a secret.  Secrets are precious things and need to be nurtured.  They can also become burdens.  At the moment I have some secrets which are totally rewarding and I have a few which cause me severe stress. The stressful ones are not coming  to a closure but one lives in hope.  As I write this short blog I still wait for my Volkswagen and even after repeated queries I get no response.  But I am less concerned because when there is a need for finance the mechanic will surely contact me. May it happen soon.
Please take the time to visit the blog absolutevero.WordPress.com.
and also liturgicalandotherpoetry.WordPress.com. Namasté

30th April and still no Volkswagen but one new poem

I have been struggling to get my mom Beth well but finally with thanks to my doctor who had great empathy and insight we have been able to tame the ’emotional and hormonal rapids’.  She has not plunged into a state of extreme despair for about two weeks now and this is due to carefully taking the medication. She is still struggling for physical strength but her blood pressure and so on is excellent and she looks toward to the visits of the medical sister.

The saga of my Volkswagen is ongoing…..my car has been with the mechanic for more than???….I have lost count of the days and weeks.  Friday, 28th April saw another episode in the ongoing drama concerning the repairs of this car.  How I got through the afternoon, the evening, without revealing to my mom what occurred must surely attest to my ability for ‘putting on a face’.  But I finally had to tell Beth what occurred .  It pushed her into another tearful state of remorse.   I can only say this: in this world there is a lot of evil and bad things.  Drugs, visual media, written words, people….the whole spectrum that can ruin ones life….but BUT NOTHING CAN HURT AND RUIN LIKE ILL ADVISED AND TIMED POSTINGS ON FACEBOOK .  I wrote a poem once called ‘Lucifer went walking’….in it I allude to the internet being his tool….I have changed my mind…..Facebook is his tool.  What I went through on Friday afternoon with reference to my Volkswagen was born of Facebook comments I was not aware of, didn’t ask for and certainly don’t condone.  I was in such a state of disbelief and shock I can’t quite remember anything about the drama class except that I could give new Afrikaans readings.

I,we, were getting better and there was a glimmer of hope for returning to where we were before the 21st February.  I was even  on Thursday able to write a poem…yes a brand new poem…born of discussion with Beth who was very animated on Thursday which everyone will remember as Freedom Day.  She made a remark and the words flowed.  I felt as though I had emerged from a dark tunnel and I had  arrived in a place I knew to be safe. The poem is not my usual standard this I know but I was hoping to get better.

Spieëltjie aan die Muur

Spieëltjie spieëltjie aan die Muur
wie is die sterkste van ons hier?
wie hou ons toekoms in die hand
wie het die meeste invloed in die land?
Ai maatjie dit wil ek nie sê
ek is te bang die ruimte hoor my
en dra my woorde terug na plekke
waar dit nie hoort te lê

Spieëltjie spieëltjie aan die muur
hoekom is skool so swaar
en onderwysers so geleerd
maar niks het om te sê?
En ouers is te moeg en sonder ‘n glimlag
en alles is so vinnig
en al wat grootmense kan sê is
ek wil dit so hê.’
Wat het geword van speel in die reën
verspot en kordaat sodat die engele ons kan seën?
Ai maatjjie dit wil ek nie sê nie
ek is bang die wind dra my woorde
en laat val die waarheid waar dit nie hoort te lê

Spieëltjie spieëltjie aan die muur
hoekom kom die seisoene nie soos hulle moet
en die reën val met woede en die wind waai deurmekaar
en treine bots op reguit spore
en vliegtuie val uit die lug
en mense skreeu en slaan mekaar met tuisgemaakte plakkaarte?
Ai maatjie dit wil ek nie sê nie
ek vrees die ore wat kan hoor en my woorde weg dra
na ander lande waar dit verdraai word
en so breek ons waarheids bande.

Spieëltjie spieëltjie aan die muur
jy is tog die slimste hier
elke kinderboek wat ek besit
vertel van jou bekwaamheid en hoe jy die waarheid stut.
Kan jy dan nie nou praat
en my vertel hoekom word my wêreld so vol haat.
Ai maatjie kom nader en luister na my….
niemand sal vir jou die antwoord op jou vrae gee
jy hou die waarheid in jou eie hand….
maak oop…kyk en gebruik jou siels verstand.
Mense is teenstrydig,politici is boos, kinders is verlore
en grootmense is voos
seisoene is ontydig want die aarde lui aan skok
die wind weet nie meer watter kant nie
en die reën is bi-polêr
en die sonskyn is sku terwyl die donker lok.
Net jy kan dit verander
net jy met die krag van ‘bo’
moet nie meer vra nie..al wat jy moet doen is glo.
Net jy het die antwoord
net jy kan jouself red
Jy maak die reëls vir jou eie lewe
(maak dit met insig en wysheid)

After Friday the tunnel is dark again.  How to approach this week trying to get back our lives, the car and inspiration.

Elizabeth (Beth) my Mom and the saga of the Volksie

It is the 13th March and a new week begins. My mom is fighting to regain herself with every ounce of emotional and physical strength she still has. Her spirituality has never lacked conviction and she continues to hold her Creator in the forefront of her efforts to try and live a few more years.  
There is an improvement in her physical state. The edema is more of a challenge than her heart at this point in time and we have a time table at changing the dressings to keep her legs dry.  She has been working again at those crosswords I so don’t like but I leave her for she believes it keeps her brain alert and sharp. On reflection she is probably right for I am at times a very silent companion and protector and verbal communication is so important in the elderly.  There are times I just cannot speak and discuss and observe as I should.  Our sincere and grateful thanks to those who constantly prayed with us and are always asking after her.
Autumn is a beautiful time of the year and ever since I can remember it is a time in which I need to isolate.  I often said to her and QM….I would rather work through the whole of the December vacation and associated insanity of the festive season….but when it comes to April I need to totally isolate. But that is not how the division of time works in our lives.  The end of March and whole of April brings a stillness into every day.   Its as though we no longer care about threatening deadlines.  I am desperate to find the courage to get to Krugersdorp as soon as possible.  There was a time I used to go every second day.  I will try this week.
Individuals come into our lives and either enrich it or teach us severe lessons in the depravity of human principle and nature. So it was with an unfortunate incident concerning the repairs to my Volkswagen. It has caused untold frustration and tension within my..our lives. These two mechanics are people who just dont care about others, ones time or ones life.
The tension associated with getting anything organised and arranged in this time frame is debilitating. I do believe that the stress of the car contributed to my moms illness. Things change from day to day and we have to adapt to it. We try bravely to do so but it takes its toll on one. A change in Dr. is a big thing for the elderly…one becomes so used to and comfortable with the usual people,places and things. Its an absolute assault on the psyche when one finds the old gone and in its place something different. It is hard to adapt to another’s treatment of one. We try to fathom out what condones such behavior and we cannot find an answer. I don’t like not being able to justify events that happen.

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Perhaps I should contemplate this quotation

Beth still fighting…….25th February 2017

As I type this blog I am trying desperately not to be tearful or emotional.  But try as I do the tears will not stop.  My mother, Beth, is fighting the final battle for her life. The damage to her heart is too great and she cannot recover from her stay in ICU. I have never felt so alone and isolated even though there are the same remarkable people who enquire and care and pray.  And still it rains…and the clouds cover every glimmer of sunlight …a little sunlight that will make this terrible heaviness of spirit abate…even for just a little while.
I am praying for this one small miracle that her Father in Heaven to whom she was always so devoted and whom she served in obedience all her life will be merciful towards her. For a healing and a little more time.  Her mind is in terrible anguish and she said to me that she believes she might have Alzheimer’s or the beginning of it.
The hours merge into long episodes of thought and contemplation, prayer and desperation.