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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

With family and friends this Christmass

Very big Mike on top of big Dave on top of the not so big at all girls on top of a straining couch
This pic made me laugh...Big Mike sleeps anywhere (sitting behind us in case you wondered)

Singing carols (John was thirsty after taking the lead) in the street

This house is so beautifully lit up that people come from all over to see it. They loved us singing Carols.
I remember taking our two small daughters for a drive through the cities just to see the lights...sigh.....this doesnt happen anymore

Not going away this Christmass was really no big deal. Having rented out our appartment has meant that we have a little extra this Christmass. Our beloved daughter, not being with us this year, has meant that it was NEVER going to be the same as usual anyway. There are other reasons too;
Letitia, who was responsible for one of my biggest lessons in life, and who blessed me in so many ways. Strange for me that I came to know her so well over a period of a year.....she was yet another of my friends who I've known for a thousand years and I will see her again. Spending this Christmas at home to be with her was her gift to me. The most precious.
Then, Emma....she is parly blind and deaf but brother!!!!!!.....she hears the vaguest rumble of thunder which throws her into a total and mindless panic. Walking around our house, you will notice shutter pannels missing, gouges in the front, back and garage doors, and a bent metal barrier going up the outside stairwell. She has her own little domolitian derby every time there's a storm!!!!
God alone knows what would have happened if we'd gone away this year...while we were at midnight-mass on Christmass eve, we had a huge storm and she chewed through and ripped apart our court-yard gate.
I've been sooooo tempted to teach her 'fetch' at the bottom of the pool...but, well, I get as far as shouting at her which absolutely crushes her...and thats punishment enough I guess.
This year, we spent the day with family friends. It was one of the most wonderful Christmasses we've had in a long included 21 people, mostly young,prayer, guitar playing, singing 'happy birthday' to Jesus, Christmas carols, swimming, good food, lots of laughs, two little orphan boys who joined us, Amazing Christmas lights, gift swapping...(literally...long storey),my son singing beautifully to everyone(he didn't take his pipes)human pyramids, singing Christmas Carols in the street....having such a perfect day really made me miss my vivacious in-your-face beautiful daughter ....she would have been the soul and life of the party!!! However, Christmas was made when she phoned later on and spoke to all of us.

The Highs and lows of Christmass

Letitia passed away on Boxing day, Robs birthday, at 7:53 am. We got the call at 08:10 and our day began with me crying, not for a friend, who I know, did not fear death at all, who found blessed releaf from her suffering, fighting and concerns... but for the family that she left behind, the reason why she fought this aweful desease with such positive resolve and bravery. Their heartache and pain will prevail for many months yet, possibly many years.

Anton lay with his head on her chest, listening to her last twenty heart beats and she went peacefully.

I have wondered since then, how much of what her and I spoke about re death and dying, actually had any bearing on the process itself. We as mortals, have very limited understandingof these things and books, stories, theories, theology mean little when one is in the moment. Who can say??? This such a 'usual' , normal' part of our existance that one would have thought there would be a greater acceptance of it ,less fear, and yet death is still the omnous 'Sword of Damaclese' that hangs over our heads from the time of our conception.

In the last few weeks, dealing with Letitia's breast cancer, I've had to battle that very same deamon...the one that tells you 'you're gonna die'.
Well yes, I know that I am, I just dont know when and that is not for me to determine or worry about. The fact that I have lumps all over my breasts at the moment,hasnt made it easy to prevent the concept of 'death' invade my 'life' , but the essence is always, "yes, for now,I am alive and I WILL live". I've thought of people like Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale....all were subjected to abject poverty, dread deseases, they had nothing but their own life and confidently used it to benefit others without considering the risk or being sucked into a morbid sence of impending doom.

I was really hoping that the Lord would take her home on His Birthday...her extended family were all there with her, there was a family togetherness. On Christmass day, there is always a greater sence of forgiveness, prayerfulness, thoughtfulness and in a way, it represents a celebration of spiritual re-birth, a feast, a Holy Day, a Blessed day. I believe, that perhaps initially, it would represent a sad day for her family, but eventually, her memory will be part of the celebration, she will not be forgotten. A mutual friend phoned me the day after she passed away to tell me that she had a beautifull vision of her,standing in the light, waving and smiling. I KNOW that is exactly what she's doing now. I have felt her presence and she is happy.

The good news is that Genna, her daughter went for an MRI and although there is an abcess behind her eye, the neurologist is not concerned at all. A small mercy, thank you Lord.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas at home

We put up our Christmas tree last night..our African grey was very interested in the lights
This is a little angel, one of three that my eldest sister bought for the three of us sisters, each is unique. We light them each Christmas as a symbol of our spiritual unity during this time of the year.

This is turning out to be a strange Christmas. Strange firstly because our precious daughter and sister, Bronwen, is now somewhere in or near Columbia and for the first time, will not be with us. Oh Lord how I miss her!!!! :o(
Letitia is slipping in and out of a coma now and I'm expecting a dreaded phone call with each passing ophthalmologist has also now discovered a 'pressure' behind one of her youngest daughters eyes and her dad (over and above everything else that he's trying to cope with) has just one more terrible worry to deal with. My parents are across the ocean with my eldest sister in Madeira, we are not in the Cape where we always are at this time of the year, but at home and there is so much sadness that I'm being made aware of this year in terms of people battling with operations, illness, loneliness and heartache.
We sat around the kitchen table last night...our board-room table....and discussed Letitia and her family and the impending trauma and the concept of death and dying. That simple deed of being united for a few minutes in order to deal with this life truth was such a blessing. There were very somber moments, especially for my husband Rob, who I think as a typical male, finds it very difficult to process emotions or express them.
Snapping out of it came in the form of a deep realization that our time together, in health, in happiness, the NOW that we have, is wonderful beyond words, precious beyond all riches..that even though family members are not with us..... their love is...our love is...... That eternal, in life and death.
We all jumped up and proceeded to the lounge to put up our Christmas tree amidst the usual banter between the boys, my eldest, gentle and sweet-natured daughter and I just shaking our heads at the 'cavemen'.
Yes, Christmas is a very special time of the holds many spiritual mysteries and gifts that supersede all others. It is the most wonderful time of the year, if not for anything else, but just for realising how truly blessed we are in our most humblest and difficult of circumstances.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My soul sisters

Painting on one's own can be uninspiring and lonely sometimes. Unlike conventional 'jobs' where the routine of getting dressed and fighting traffic, is all part of our existence (and I don't use that word without thought), we are forced to interact with people, who, although are like-minded in their goals and job description, often do not share our moral, spiritual, family values. I've been there, and Lord, it sucks!!!!!! Its a daily assault on ones spirit and God willing, I never have to go into that environment ever again.
Being true to my spirit goes further than just merely doing what I love, but being able to do this in an environment with some dear people. One of these is Noreen.

Noreen is one of those precious people who have a rare inner peace and an ability to see beauty in the most simplest of things...then express it in a unique and beautiful way and gosh, she has happily taught me so much. She is a busy art teacher, who has exhibits for all her students, a framer and art restorer and a very successful artist, but mostly, shes just a wonderful person who not only shares her knowledge with those around her, but her free and warm spirit too.
Today...I painted 3 freckles.....she painted a mandala!!!
My artist friends are incredibly dear to me, not just because they have similar interests, but I seemed to have been blessed with the most beautiful people in my life. I treasure them!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dogs in heaven

This is Emma or Perchance Emilia. She's my 13 year old Golden Retriever and I adore her. She is my shadow, my consoller, my loyal furry friend.
Someone asked me the other day if dogs go to a Catholic, my answer should me "no", but in honesty, our animals are such an important part of our lives, that I cant imagine any 'Heavenly' place without EVERY creation of God. He knows us as humans, and what our needs are, what brings us peace and happiness...can you imagine heaven without beautifull flowers and trees, mountains and cool springs...??? I cant. I cant imagine heaven without animals either!
Emma is the gentlest, sweetest dog in the world, she's never 'messed' in the house in her thirteen years with us, she's never growled, or bitten anything, she's suckled kittens and full grown cats, rabits and birds have sat next to her and on her, she sences my emotions I think before I do and reacts to them, dissappearing when I'm angry, licking me and sitting with her head on my lap when I'm sad. She jumped into my daughters car a few weeks ago and wouldnt get out till she'd been taken for a drive around the block....she is the first one to come with me at night to fetch one of my children...sitting in the front seat...once I left her in the car for the whole night, only to find her quite happy ,calm and ready to go again the next morning....without any of the expected 'mishaps' one would normally find in leaving a dog in a car the whole night!!!.
Em, I love you my doggy angel!!!!

Hidden talents revealed

My daughter has been away now for almost a month and Lord knows how much we all miss this vivacious, in-your-face, beautiful and precious girl. Her boyfriend Brandon has fortunately been spending a lot of time with us and what a blessing he has been. He gets most of the news from Bron and shares it with us. Theirs is a new romance but a mom's heart knows, that this is a 'forever' one. By staying with us, he has helped us to fill an empty bed and hopefully, we as a family have helped him to fill an empty heart. We love him, this deep and soulfull young man and he is 'one of us' now.
He has been encouraged to follow up on his talents and I have eagerly been happy to help him get started...started?!!!....hardly!!! This young man has a natural talent. His drawings are detailed and done with passion...his first painting ever, of Cheryl Cole, is looking amazing and I cant wait to see the finished product. This is to be a present for Bron..there is LOTS of feeling going into it. He has also taught us all how to make sushi and nyoki...its wonderfull having a chef in the family!!!!

Crossed paths and faith

This the painting I started last week and which I've decided to dedicate to Lettitia. I'm not sure at this stage where it's going but I'm just slowly (and I do mean slowly) working on it and watching to see where it will go. it's fairly sombre at the moment, obviously in keeping with the mood that had enveloped me when I started, but my intention is to bring a happy contrast into it and build up layers of scenes, and feelings and images, those that I feel and sence but often battle to interperate.
Last week I went with her to Klerksdorp to help her during her final week of Rife treatment. Never in my life have I encountered someone who is so determined to change the seemingly impossible. This has been an extraordinary journey for me, of observation, growth, appreciation of the human spirit. Waking up every day to the sound of the oxygen machine, watching her struggle with everyday things like taking a breath, eating, walking, sleeping, talking...quietly reading her book, staring into space...I have been humbled, secretly in tears, but seeing, possibly for the first time, that we are all related, all connected somehow...that this stranger, who I met but a year ago, is important and dear to me, that although our paths are very different, they have, by fate, crossed and for some inexplicaable reason, I am helping her on this leg of her journey. In as much as she's determined to get well, I am as doubtful of my ability to see what she does and stay positive. So then why me????

Beutiful soul, heal...get better, this is my prayer for you. Should this not be ordained for you then be at peace for you are loved