Life

The traces people leave behind

Wow, it’s been a long time since I have written anything on here. Returning home after living in another country for almost a year was a bit of an adjustment. The new job and studies have also been keeping me busy with little time for much else.

Also I tend not to write when things are going well. Which I suppose is weird, this blog was for me to share and journal my highs and lows.

Last Friday was a definite low. My uncle passed away at the age of 46. Young, if you think of all the medical marvels and technology at our disposal. I took his death harder than I thought I would. I’m doing the whole I’m strong and putting on a brave face bit but I’m still hurting. This is someone I grew up, a permanent fixture from my youth. He loved spending time with children, I think it’s because he never had any. I clearly remember one day after school he rounded up the neighbourhood children and we spent hours in the park collecting pine cones, leaves, anything that looked interesting to us. He then inspected our ‘treasures’ afterwards. I don’t why this memory is so vivid, maybe because of the look in his eyes was that of a young child, like all of us that day, ready to embark on an adventure.

I’m not going to lie, he was not perfect. He battled with drug addiction his whole life, he did not have an easy life and his living conditions near the end of his time was not great. Why I am grieving so deeply? Could it be that most of life he was not happy? He had his demons to fight, a fight we all have to face on our own. It almost seems like he had a wasted life, but I’m sure that he did experience joy and love no matter how brief or long it might have been.

All I know, the bad stuff, the things he did that disappointed and angered the family has diminished. What we left with are the memories of happier times. How a line from a movie can have us all laughing and thinking of him. Because no matter who or what he was he was loved. He will be remembered. He lives on.

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Life

Don’t forget to laugh

So my last post was leaning more towards tragically sad but it needed to be done. I had all these pent up emotions and writing about them makes me feel better. Today though I feel like I should instead remember the happier times of which there were many. These memories of my lost sister will always puts a smile on my face.

I remember when we were growing up we had to have the same of everything. Especially when it came to clothes, we loved dressing up as if we were twins separated at birth. Besides its way cuter when non-twins wear matching outfits.

Play time usually consisted of building tents. We would build tents so comfortable and snugly we felt no shame taking a well earned nap after all the hard work was done. After our naps it was back to our Barbies and Ken doll to play out elaborate stories that was much more entertaining than a whole season of Gossip Girl. P.S. Barbie and Ken sex scenes were way raunchier.

She loved horror movies however she was incapable of watching these flicks on her own, so she would always be recruiting some poor helpless soul to watch it with her. Now I’ve got nothing against watching a good horror even though this genre of film scares the pants off me (not a pretty picture) but she almost always fell asleep within the first half an hour just before all the good stuff happens. Leaving you all alone in the dark with another horror to go. Don’t even think of turning it off and going to bed she will wake up and complain but will be fast asleep again within five minutes. I’ve learnt the art of moving around stealthily.

Man could she eat. For someone with a fast metabolism this skinny chick could eat anyone under the table. If she wasn’t preparing food or eating food then she was talking about her next meal.  Not even being sick kept her appetite t bay. She was always ready to go. I would not go up against her in a food eating contest.

Then there was the farting. Yes you read that right. Anyone within a 10 metre radius was not allowed to fart near her lest any of the ‘particles’ settles on her and that would be a fate worse than death for transgressors. She of course was allowed a free pass on this rule and would be the first one the revel in the grossness of her farts.

A true fan of daytime television she could give you an in depth analysis of Judge Judy or The Ricki Lake Show. Such was her commitment to these cheesy shows that never mind a woman scorned – do not get in the way of woman, her remote control and her afternoon shows. Heads will roll. Just hope and pray she didn’t ask you to watch TV with her, she could be quite relentless.

She loved music and dancing and was a natural performer. Summers were spent rehearsing for variety shows and performing them for the family. When the Spice Girls hit the scene in the nineties it wasn’t hard to see that she would be Ginger Spice although years later she revised her choice to Posh Spice.

She was a second year cosmetology student before passing on and was truly gifted as a make-up artist. She had the ability to transform any girl into a princess and she had the patience to get it done perfectly. I ran when I saw her with tweezers though because she was always looking for an unsuspecting victim’s eyebrows to torment. I barely have eyebrows so not exactly sure what she was planning on plucking.

She was always full of ideas some were good, others were really bad. An unpopular recurring theme was when she decided she wanted to spring clean the whole house. I might as well have kissed my afternoon nap goodbye, actually i did because she does not understand the meaning of the word no.

There are too many awesome memories to recount and some of them can’t be shared on this lil ol blog as both our moms read this.

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Life

To lose a loved one

You never really recover from the loss of losing a loved one. You think you’ve got it under control and when you’re going about your daily life it seems you hardly have a moment to spare them a thought.  But then it somehow creeps up on you, out of the blue, like today.

I lost my cousin to cancer when she was 24 years old, today would have been her 28th birthday. Sometimes I can’t even believe it has been that long already. We grew up as sisters, inseparable even with the 3 year age difference. We told each other everything. We used to finish each others sentences and sometimes we would blurt out the same thing at the exact same time. We were synchronized, soul-mates.

As we grew older we drifted apart a little because I wasn’t always happy with what I believed to be self-destructive life choices she made but when she cried for help I would always come running. She knew that without any doubts. We knew no matter what we would drop what we were doing to comfort each other. I wish she was here to see how much braver I have become, to see that I have followed my dreams. She was always so full of life even when she knew she had lost the battle to cancer and knew that she was busy dying she was able to make me feel hopeful. She had that effect on everybody. She blessed us all with her light and her laughter.

She left behind a beautiful son who is in the care of her mother. I hope she is able to see how wonderfully he is growing up. He is a constant reminder of the amazing person that his mother was. She wanted this child of hers so badly against the advice of the doctors. Even when we were all telling her not to do it and to proceed with chemo. She simply refused.She refused to have him terminated. She refused more chemotherapy to carry him to term. A week after his birth they had to amputate her leg. So selfless was her love for this child that she brought into the world. Did she know on some level she would not be around for long? I believe she wanted to leave behind a part of her goodness and her pure spirit.

I remember her last weekend at home when I bathed her. She was so frail and light I easily lifted her out of the tub. Gone was the girl I knew but my heart will never forget her. Today I weep in remembrance of her life and suffering she had to endure.

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Life

It is easier to find an excuse than to find a reason – Doug Brown

Most of us make excuses about why we aren’t living the lives we want or doing the things we love. It takes a very brave person to not only discover the dream/passion but also to pursue it. The company I work for has made improvements to the systems that we currently work with and unfortunately this has resulted in people losing their jobs or unsure about what their future might hold. Here’s the thing: none of us really knows what life has in store for us but it is our duty to shape as much of our destiny as we possibly can.

Too many of these people some of whom has been with the company for years sadly only see this as negative and not as an opportunity or catalyst for change. Even as the most loyal of employee there are no guarantees in life. The only thing in life that is constant (other than death and taxes) is change. They find it easier to complain about their job and company for years yet are not willing to make a change in their lives. They believe they are either too old or not qualified enough to pursue anything else.

It’s at times like this when I am most proud of my mother – who not only at her age was still able to find a new job but she also discovered what it is that she really wants to do. She is registering at varsity and getting her teachers diploma. She plans on teaching, travelling and hopefully one day soon starting her own literacy school to empower and educate others.  50 is the new 40, it’s never too late and you’re never too old. She puts other people her age and younger to shame and is a great inspiration and role model. So ask yourself: What am I doing to change my life for the better? Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing  over and over again and expecting different results”.

 

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adventures, Life, Uncategorized

Suicide Gorge

Kloofing at Suicide Gorge in the Hottentots Holland Mountains near Grabouw – also known as the day I looked Death in its eyes. 

Below is an excerpt from Cape Xtreme’s website explaining what Kloofing is:

Kloofing otherwise known as canyoning; is a uniquely Western Cape experience. It involves getting yourself down a river gorge; one that is fast-flowing; but with too little water for kayaking. Boulder hopping, wading, swimming, climbing, sliding down natural slides and jumping off cliffs from 3 – 21 metres high is what you will be doing.

The hike up to the gorge was the easy part what followed I can only describe as Fear Factor on steroids. I never knew I was afraid of heights until I did this. My friend Ruwayda who joined for this fun filled day was giving me death stares the entire time and our guide was losing patience with us because we took forever to do our jumps.

After about the 4th cliff we had to jump off we reached a 10-12m cliff, it’s a long way down and this was a defining moment for me. There was no turning back and without hesitating I jumped. I did not expect to feel the rush that I did after that jump and every cliff after that one was a breeze. Oops did I speak to soon? We finally reached the 20m jump one I was not prepared to make and I hiked it down instead.  Although jumping would have been a safer option as no need for you to navigate your way down slippery rocks and quite possibly plummeting to your death which I almost did if Ruwayda didn’t grab my arm in the nick of time. Am I being a tad bit dramatic? Maybe. If not my death, well then I could have seriously injured myself.

After finally making it all the way to the bottom of the gorge I thought all my worries was over. But alas no, it seems there was 90 degree angle hike still to be made to get out of the gorge (the name Suicide Gorge should have set off warning bells). Parts of it I practically crawled but the feeling of achievment when I made it back to the van in one piece is one I will always remember.

 I will probably never do this again but at least I can say that i did and that’s enough for me. Sadly our waterproof camera didn’t have any great pics. If there were pics it would have looked something like this.

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