Breaking the news
How do you tell someone that the glue of the family has passed away? That our back-up has passed away. That the one that you could go to for everything has passed away. That the one that google of us passed away. How. How do you do that?
I had to though. We had to.
I told my mom. It broke my heart. It completely broke my heart into pieces. My heart that was torn from my body had to tell my mom and break hers.
Michael was working and I didn’t know if I could phone him. If he would be able to handle the news in whatever situation he was in. I had to though since news spreads and our cousins knew before I could make sure it was a safe situation to phone him. This is one of my biggest regrets of that night. I should have just phoned him. Regardless.
Mark had to tell his family per whatsapp. I phoned my kids individually. Jason and Quintus knew in a way. They were prepared since I phoned them and asked that they would pray with my dad when he was still fighting for his life. Zander did not know. Not at all. He put a hoody on and just cried. The boys sat together in my room. They cried. They laughed at some of the memories and I’m glad they could. I’m glad they could feel that close to my dad and his memories and not just be broken beyond healing.
His sisters were shocked and so broken. Tommie was shocked. Just no-one believed that my dad would be the first grandparent to pass away.
He was the healthy one. He cycled. Ate well. Took his vitamins. Went for all his check-ups. He was the one who took care of himself.
This was not supposed to have happened to him.
Dad, I don’t want to forget that day. I don’t want to because it captured you in so many ways.
Mark surprised you with a visit. We were all so very worried about Mom and he wanted to visit her. You phoned me and asked if you could pick me up and if I needed the wheelchair. That was so you. Always worried about me having to walk so far and being willing to push my
overweight body around. Even though you battled with your hip and feet.
I did not need the wheelchair though and off we went to visit Mom. I remember that she though Mark was her brother. She was so deurmekaar. Just the previous night you phoned her doctor (so out of character for you) because she was just getting worse.
On our way back to the car you felt really bad and we had to sit down in the waiting area. I was worried and wanted us to walk to ER that was just there. You said you would be fine and walked to the car that Mark brought to the hospital entrance.
On the way out you said again that you are not feeling well and that you hope you did not overdo it. You cycled for an hour listening to some Podcast and didn’t even realize how long you were cycling.
You still didn’t want to go to ER but once we were close to home you asked us to take you back to ER. Once there Mark and I were both trying to think who writes better to fill in the forms 🙂 I filled in the forms while they took your blood pressure and asked the medication you were on.
They put you into a cubicle, put an EKG on you and that was that. You and I were chatting about the F1 race that we were going to watch with the boys. You had still put chips, biltong and such out for us all. You had the F1 race on the TV. Everything ready for a special afternoon with the boys. We were hoping that Max would win and he did.
They came to read the EKG, said it was normal but still the moved you to the resus room? That made no sense.
There you waited with the stickers on your chest, connected to the machine but that was that. No-one came in to see you. No-one came in to check whatever the machine was showing. Nothing. Just lying there. I was still trying to sit on that round metal doctor’s chair without falling and you told me I’m going to need stiches before we leave.
Then things took a turn for the worse. About 30 minutes after you were admitted. You were in so much pain. Pain that came and went. I was sure it was a heart attack because you had pain going through your left arm. Your chest felt tight as if something was pushing on your chest. That is what you felt when you were admitted. It was just getting worse.
You asked me to take your phone and glasses to the car (poor Mark was still waiting for us) and that’s when I got really worried. I got back to your room and you told me you screamed from pain but no-one came. I got so upset. I walked out to reception and demanded a doctor.
What did they do? They sent one of ladies at reception to put a drip in. A drip for pain. …almost an hour after we got there. The lady could not get the drip in and apologized because she had not put a drip in, in three years. You said it’s okay, she is just doing her job. So they still didn’t know what was going on. They still weren’t monitoring you. No doctor. Just something for pain an hour later.
The doctor (only doctor there) was busy resuscitating another patient and doing a great job of it. There was no-one there to help you though. I went out and asked for help again, since you grabbed the sides of the bed every now and then. You mentioned at one time that you were feeling a bit better. That it felt as though something moved in your chest. The pain came back though and much worse. Again, I begged for help. No-one came.
Once they stabilized the other patient the doctor came to you. She told you that all patients are equally important and she is sorry for only getting to you now. Your last words were that you were proud of the work she did on the patient and congratulated her for saving her life.
THAT was you. That was the essence of who you were and how you lived your life. You didn’t blame her. You weren’t upset. You congratulated her.
Within 3 minutes of her being there you had a seizure. I was hoping it was an epileptic attack. I can cope with that. I know that. Then you stopped, looked up. Your eyes were the bluest of blue. The white around your eyes such a clean white. I called for you to look at me. Daddy, kyk vir my. Dad. Pappa. Daddy.
Then you turned red. Your eyes bulging. Your heart were going all over the place. That’s when they asked me to leave the room. I sat outside your room, not a meter from where you were fighting for your life. Not a meter from where they were fighting for your life. I could hear them trying to resuscitate you. (I never want to hear someone count again) They tried for 45 minutes but they could not save you.
Maybe if they monitored you when we got there. Maybe if they did more than just give you something for pain. Maybe if they had a doctor to check on you. Maybe they could save you.
I had to get Mark to tell him that you passed. I was so calm. It was like I knew and accepted it because someone had to be strong. The doctor walked with us to Mom’s room so that I could tell her. They were there for her at least.
I told her and she answered with “Die arme man”. She didn’t get it at first. Maybe a blessing …
I know I should let go of the anger
I know that I should stop feeling angry. I should stop trying to go back in time and force the doctors to help him. I should stop trying to go back in time and not be angry with myself for not doing more.
We were there for an hour and a half. ONE AND A HALF HOURS. In an emergency room. Not a coffee shop. An emergency room. Where they need to help people with emergencies.
My dad had an emergency. He was busy dying and they did not help.
How can I not be angry!?
My dad shouted in pain. I begged for help. Help came too late. Five minutes before he passed away. That’s when help came.
They could have saved him. Could they have saved him? I don’t know! That is something that I have to carry with my always because they didn’t try. If the tried when we got there, I would know there was nothing they could do. Now I sit with all the what if’s. What if I shouted. What if I grabbed them by the shoulders and pulled them into his room. What if they did check and injected him. Would there have been enough time.
I will never know and that makes me angry. Feeling that he might have survived if … He was where he needed to be but they didn’t try.
I don’t know how to stop being angry.
Can you hear me?
I suppose it’s more “can you read this”.
I have not blogged since last year October. Every time I start up again I remember how good it is for my soul to put my feelings down on “paper”. Not long and I stop again.
This time I need to blog. I need to write about my dad’s passing. I need to put down how I feel. I will write about this often, since my dad was not just my dad. We had a relationship that many of my friends have said they were jealous about. I didn’t know that before he passed. I just always knew that he had my back and I had his.
He was the one I could go to with everything. The one who taught me not to judge. Not to get angry quickly. To look at life through other’s perspective as well.
These posts won’t be about our relationship though. I might have some here and there but this is about his passing. About how this is tearing me apart.
“I miss you, Dad. I love you. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you that day.”
I have been wanting and meaning to write this for the longest time but I had to wait until a day that I’m not too emotional about it. If I had to write my absolutely true feelings there would be many a swear word and that is just not proper.
My mom and dad are very involved at the SPCA. They are not employed by the SPCA. They do it out of the love for the animals. Love that most of us (including me) don’t understand. We all love our animals. We all take care of them. (Hopefully. I you don’t you are a podex)
They care more. Do more. Most of us sit on Facebook, saying how horrible animal abusers are but do we do anything? Most of us don’t do anything. We just sit and comment and while we DO get upset, we don’t DO anything.
My mom and dad do. They are amazing. My dad does physical work that most young men won’t. My mom is constantly busy trying to find homes for the animals dropped off there to die. They put their money where their mouths are.
Yes, that’s why some people drop them off. The dog is old and they want the dog to be put to sleep. REALLY! Do you really think your 10-year-old dog will be better off in a cage, hoping that you will come back to fetch it and then be put down without you? Really? You must be some kind of special stupid.
Yet, my mom and dad spends time with those dogs. Take them out into the husky run so that they can stretch their legs, feel the sun and get some love.
They are not alone in what they do. You do get others who are angels and help as well but they are extremely few and far between.
I’m thankful that in a small way my children are a part of it as well. They will help over weekends. The homeschoolers go to give them treats of take them out to play. They know each and every dog and it breaks them to pieces when after months and months that dog has to be put to sleep. PTS because a puppy was chosen, instead of him. PTS because his owner didn’t want him anymore. PTS and not knowing what he did wrong. PTS and my children’s hearts break just a little bit more.
But yes, please continue breeding. That R6 000 you make out of your dog every six months must make you feel good. Oh you love your dog so much. You take such good care of your dog. Well, I’m happy for you. Also for your dog but do the maths. In a year’s time there will be 48 dogs. 48 dogs from just one mom in one year. That is IF every bitch has only 3 puppies. Will all of them be loved or will they end up in the shelter because wake up call, they DO end up in the shelter. Pure bred Yorkies, Pekinese, Jack Russel, Labrador, Boerboel….all of them. They end up in a shelter. So YOUR dog may be loved but I can tell you now that along the way one of them will end up at a shelter. Yes, you choose the perfect homes for the puppies of YOUR dog but do those new owners do the same? Or the owners of their dog’s puppies? Stop being so idiotic. Go to the SPCA. Get involved. Have your heart broken and that of those poor innocent dogs and then decided to breed.
I actually wanted to say thanks. Thank you Mom and Dad. Thank you for being the amazing people who you are. Thank you for teaching my children to love just that little bit more than most people do. Thank you for being there for those animals. Thank you for trying so hard to find them new homes.
Just thank you.
You are amazing.
Can I play with your phone?
When we were little, my dad used to work for United Bank. (I actually ended up working for them as well at some stage during my studies)
Anyway, I can clearly remember that when we used to visit my dad in his office I would ask him if I could play with his phone.
NOT the office phone because that was simply not done.
Obviously not the cellphone for this was way before cellphones.
I was this little “phone” Actually a calculator. It reminds me so of that time in our lives. I still feel like that little girl. I can clearly remember “talking” and calculating
even as I got older
My dad had a client this afternoon and they had their little granddaughter with them. He heard her asking if she could play with the phone and just as he stretched to take hold of this phone, he realized that in fact she wanted her Ouma’s smart phone.
How things have changed.
How time flies as well. No longer a little girl, holding a pretend phone against her ear, while talking to pretend clients and doing pretend calculations. I now work with my dad, with proper phone against the ear, talking to very real clients with regards to their very real tax calculations.
I have often mentioned how lucky my boys are to have my parents as their grandparents.
It is clear from the photos that they are always there. Be it for rugby, cricket, hockey, tennis, choir or awards evenings. They miss nothing.
On Wednesday Jason and I were driving to his cricket game when we spoke about Oupa who is on his way to join us and poor Ouma who can’t due to her excruciating neck pain. We were talking about their support, when Jason said :
You know Mom. They will support anything we do…. Even if our sport was to count grass. Oupa would be “No Jason, that’s a weed! Don’t count it” and Ouma will say “Go Jay, only two thousand to go!”
Is true. They will be there regardless of what they do.
Making choices and memories
I am the kind of mom who thinks creating memories are just as important as school.
I am the mom who takes my kids to experience snow during a school week. Who takes them to the Voortrekker monument and then the Gautrain to see how things have changed on a school day.
I am also the kind of mom who lets my son go on a birding trip with his Oupa in the middle of his exam.
When a ocean bird ends up in the middle of the country, I can’t say no. He packed his study books, birding necessities and off they went.
They ended up seeing that very rare lifer and ten others for Jason. My dad says that he also studied. That is a bonus lol
I am glad he gets to do this. That he gets to make memories like that.
We recently found an old photo of Jason birding with my Dad.
This one was taken when he went in search of a white winged flufftail with many other “crazy” birders.
They went birding this weekend again (like they do most weekends!) and it just struck me again how lucky he is to get to spend time with his Oupa like that.
Jason adores my dad. As does all the grandchildren. I am convinced Oupa loves all his grandchildren (see how I don’t say grandsons) the same.
Nothing, compares to having a shared interest though. Jason has been birding with Oupa for close to 5 years now. That is a very long time for a child.
Dad, thank you for taking him birding. Thank you for teaching him about nature.
(Photo taken this weekend)
School athletics day
So many things came to mind this morning.
The one thing was that my boys make me proud in so many different ways.
Quintus was willing to run the 800 meter race with his friend, so that the friend wouldn’t have to worry about running at the back by himself. They decided to just do it together.
Jason ran the 1 200 meter and was last right from the start. He never stopped though. Never gave up. So many kids weren’t even willing to run. Or would have given up. He didn’t. He makes me proud.
Zander gave it his all this morning. And did it with a smile. Unfortunately a little boy ran into his lane on the second race and totally upset him. He finished though. Still giving it his best. Only crying once he saw Quintus.
The other thing is how blessed we are.
My mom and dad came to support the boys. They sat on those hard pavilion even though my dad hurt his neck and my mom is going for a hip replacement next week. My brother and sister-in-law stayed to watch each if the boys run. We have the best family.
This is the life
When you are 5 years old and don’t feel too well.
When it’s very cold outside and you don’t want to go to school.
Where’s the best place to be?
In Ouma and Oupa’s bed of course!!!
Fathers and their special day
My kids are lucky to have more than one amazing male figure in their lives. Men who love them in different ways.
Not just their dad (
who better love his kids or I will make his life a misery)
But also their Oupa. My dad is more involved in their lives than most fathers are. I’m hugely thankful for the role he plays. They also have a godfather (peetpa klink baie beter) who is a constant in their lives. I know he is one of those people that they can turn to and he will understand and protect and love and not judge. He is that guy.
Thank you for what you guys do for my children. I know that one day, when they are old enough to appreciate the little things, they will know that you were a big part of that.
We love you very much.
Atlasing ‐ keeping it in the family…
by Tony Archer
(My dad wrote this for a birding magazine and I thought it was so beautifully written that I would have to re-post it on my blog)
I have six grandsons and have always hoped they would be passionate about my passion. As they have grown up, each one has shown an interest in birds as all boys do but none have really
taken to it.
Last weekend I took one of the middle boys, Jason (7), with me for an atlasing outing. IT GRABBED HIM! I could so re‐live starting out birding more than 20 year ago. His words to me during the day –“Oupa, I did not know there were so many things to see” – this after we saw a
chameleon of the fence next to a Common Fiscal that had just impaled a locust on the same stretch of barbed wire.
It took me back to that feeling that I could not wait to get out of the
house, even it was just to fill the car with petrol. Maybe there would be a different type of sparrow at the garage?
He is totally gripped with this thing. When he got back home his first words to his Mom were “Mamma, dit was die wonderlikste dag van my lewe!” (Mom, that was the most wonderful day of my life!) What wonderful words for an Oupa to hear.
Now my daughter complains that they cannot drive down the road with him calling “Wait, wait, there is a Red‐eyed Dove…”. On Monday mornings he now wakes and asks “How many days till Oupa goes birding this weekend?”
And the all the signs of birding/atlassing mania are already showing. “Oupa, are we still in the Pentad?” Used to be called the green block as it
showed on the GPS but even the jargon is coming to him. And of course when I say “Jason, we must go back, Ouma will have a cadenza”, he comes back with “Ja but Oupa we have only seen 62 birds in this pentad and I was so hoping to break our record of 80”
Oh well Jason, welcome to the wonderful, annoying, amazing and money‐eating world of birdwatching!
British Lions vs. Bokke
The next time they play against each other, Quintus will be 21.
That realization was the reason my dad bought tickets and took Quintus to the final match.
What an amazing experience. Just imagine what it will mean to Quintus when he is 21 and they play against each other again. When he remembers the match his granddad took him to, when he was 9 years old.
My boys are SO privileged to have the grandparents they have.
Here’s some photos my dad took:
Thanks Dad for creating this memory with Quintus.
Interviewing my parents
- What is something I always says to you? " Go for it"
- What makes me happy? Having a good time out with the family
- What makes me sad? To see anyone suffer
- How do I make you laugh? You are very witty. I love it ( got that from me ) haha
- What did I like to do as a child? You loved playing ball with me and playing school school
- What was my favorite thing to watch on TV? Heidi
- What do I do when you’re not around? Playing with the boys and on the computer blogging
- If I become famous, what will it be for? Being good to others and being a great Mom
- What am I really good at? Helping others
- What am I not very good at? Handling stress
- What is my favorite food? Chicken Casserole I make hehe
- What makes you proud of me? Being such a good Mother and daughter
- What do you and I do together? Go out shopping and having coffee and when there is time watch a movie
- How are you and I the same? We both do everything for our kids we can and then some
- How are you and I different? You give your boys more freedom than I gave you kids I was and still am a real worry pot 🙂
- How do you know I love you? Because you are always there for me when I need you.
- Where is my favorite place to go? Hartbeespoort
- What is something I always says to you? Lief vir Dad (Love you Dad)
- What makes me happy? Your children when they are happy
- What makes me sad? Bad fights with you and Tommy
- How do I make you laugh? When I am away on a trip with you
- What did like to do as a child? Watch Heidi/ Het jou katvis
- What is my favorite thing to watch on TV? Rugby?
- What do I do when you’re not around? Work/work/play with the kids
- If I become famous, what will it be for? Being a mother
- What am I really good at? Lots and really lots – much more than you think you are good at
- What am I not very good at? I have thought and thought – I dunno
- What is my favorite food? Wimpy Coffee (loved this answer)
- What makes you proud of me? Working/leaning/mothering so hard. Taking the blows of life on the chin and working through them
- What do you and I do together? Too little lately – talk.bird.hike
- How are you and I the same? Patience/ work hard
- How are you and I different? I really do not think we are
- How do you know I love you? When I look at you and you look at me and a book passes between us
- Where is my favorite place to go? Wimpy or House of Coffees