From the moment I saw you from the moment I looked into your eyes There was something about you I knew, I knew that we were once in a lifetime A treasure impossible to find and now I know how lucky I am to have you
Cause I've seen rainbows that could take your breath away The beauty of the setting sun on any given day And when it comes to shooting stars I have seen a few But I've never seen anything as beautiful as you
I can't believe that I have you I can't believe that you're here in my arms I'd been waiting a lifetime for you, and I'd dreamed about you pictured in my mind what I would see But I never imagined just how beautiful you'd be
I was talking to a friend in Port Elizabeth last week and he asked when I would be coming down. With my crazy workload I stated that it was unlikely it would be before the Spring. He said "Oh, that always means longer - probably only next year but that will be in the middle of the Soccer". In my head I thought "What an exaggeration, the World Cup is only in 2010!"
Imagine that, I can tell you to the day what month it is since 22 November but I can't tell you what year I am in. It is as if I cannot comprehend moving out of 2008 because that would mean leaving Duncan in it.
Today Lindie brought me a Tax Return and asked me to write another cheque as the one attached was no longer acceptable. It had been written out by Duncan, there was his familiar handwriting, his signature. It was dated early November. 2008. Lindie took the old cheque and tore it up, I suppose rightly so, but as she was doing it I felt myself being torn inside too.
Well I got through Mother's Day realtively unscathed. Stuart and I spent the day in the garden, he thoroughly enjoyed digging in the sand and I planted some cheery pansies to welcome me at my door. My Mom came over in the afternoon, we had agreed that we would not make a big thing of the day but I did want to acknowledge her and so we had decided to just do a tea.
After she had left and I was making Stuart's dinner I started to cry, Stuart has been having a particular difficult time at the moment regarding Duncan and I was trying not to let him see me. He came into the kitchen and walked up behind me and put his little arms around me and said "Turn around Mama" which I did.
I knelt down and he held me and patted my back, then looked at my face intensely and kissed me several times before holding me again much as a parent would comfort a child. "Don't worry Mama, don't worry". Later he came in to check on me again and asked "Are you not so sad anymore?" and I could answer honestly "I love you so much, you can only make me happy".
Back in the height of my IVF years, when I seemed to be better at losing babies than having them, I dreaded Mother's Day. Here was this day that seemed especially designed to ridicule me, taunt me. Remind me of all that I wasn't and all that I couldn't have.
In South Africa we celebrate Woman's Day on 9 August and Duncan would always do something extra special for me on that day and told me this was my day until such time I became a Mother, he never doubted I would.
And then the bliss of finally becoming a Mommy, of celebrating this fact. To rejoice on this day that I had waited for so long,a day to enjoy, a day to know that I was there to nurture, to love, to teach, to protect, to care for this perfect little boy. A day to remember all my lost babies and to cherish the one I have.
And now I am back in that place again, dreading Mother's Day. Another day to see other families together, other daddies sharing in their children's love for their mother. Another day to remember all that we have lost. And so I am going to ignore it and treat it as just another day.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with a Trust Fund Lawyer. As Duncan was orphaned twice and as neither of us have a living sibling, if something had to happen to me Stuart would be orphaned too - at four years old. The fear of which has me lying awake nights.
Two dear friends of ours so very kindly, and so absolutely, agreed to be his legal guardians. Tomorrow the paperwork has to be done. It makes it so absolute.
I feel hollow inside, this great big vacuum. Duncan's estate is not even wound up yet and here I am planning mine. My sister, my babies, my husband Will all this death around me ever end?
I miss you when something really good happens, because you're the one I want to share it with. I miss you when something is troubling me, because you're the only one who understands me so well. I miss you when I laugh and cry, because I know that you're the one who makes my laughter grow and my tears disappear. I miss you all the time, but I miss you the most when I lie awake at night and think of all the wonderful times we spent with each other for those were some of the best memorable times of my life.
I want to be in your arms, where you hold me tight, and never let me go.
Hopeless to describe the way I feel for you. No matter how I try, words would never do. I looked into your eyes, to find as long as love's alive There is nothing we can't make it through. Always, or only for a while, don't worry make a wish I'll be there to see you smile.
Our world is changing and time is spinning fast. All we wanted was for our family to last. I know you feel all hope is gone. I know you always try to be strong. Not intended, but this story ends with you and I.
And anytime you feel like you just can't go on. Just hold on to my love and you'll never be alone. Hold on, we can make it through the fire. And my child I am forever by your side. And you know if you should ever call my name, I'll be right there, you'll never be alone.
Stuart has been ill for a month now and when I took him to the doctor, for the second time, he climbed onto her bed and lay very still. He said to her “I am going to die like my Papa”. Naturally she was rather concerned and wants to keep an eye on him in case he needs trauma counselling . He still asks and talks about Duncan every day, mimics things that Duncan used to do, talks continually about things he did and used. The doctor said all these things are normal for the first year but should it go beyond this we will have to look into it.
He has started asking me how much his Daddy loved him and if I will always stay married to his Daddy. He also likes me to tell him stories about Duncan and to discuss D’s friends and what they meant to him. If anyone he knows gets sick, especially if this entails a trip to the doctor, he immediately worries that they are going to die and wants to know how bad their illness is and whether or not they will come back. He constantly tells me how much he loves me and when I say that I love him so much, he most often responds with “Papa loves me so much too!”
It will be his birthday next month and I will be taking him to see Barney. I asked him if he knew who was coming to town. Immediately he got excited and asked “Is it Papa?” I was heartbroken that I had to let him down and suddenly Barney seemed such a feeble alternative.
I have been working extremely long hours for the last month and I have been so focussed on the marketing campaign that I have been busy with and with the building site that I have been very strong and only had a few meltdowns. What I find quite bizarre is that I will catch myself, maybe looking at a photo of D, and suddenly be overwhelmed with the idea that he will never be here again. It is as if by not thinking about it I do not have to accept it. That he is just away on a business trip and will be joining us later.
I am reading “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin S Sharma which I am finding very helpful to keep me in a positive frame of mind both professionally and personally. I am striving to live with the greater courage, balance and joy it teaches and more than anything want these for my son. This, above anything else, is what is driving me to relearn to live with the passion and purpose I once had and hopefully eventually to find an element of peace.
In the hospital they slipped Duncan's wedding ring onto my hand and I now always wear it, because it is too big I have it on my right hand behind my eternity ring. Oddly enough it looks like a set, inside it "Forever" is inscribed with the date of our wedding day...tomorrow 14 April. Forever - constant, infinite.
Time heals, but I don't know. Will I ever get over you? Time will take away the pain Make me whole again, make me feel? Will I ever get over you? Believe I can, if I don't hear your voice see your face, touch your things, I feel strong, but then memories wash down like warm tide.
The bare facts stand so raw and bright. My imagination keeps you by my side Just one look, just one smile, your glinting charm disarms me and my arms open wide. How cold is this conclusion when the beginning was so warm.
Will I ever get over you? Free of wanting only you, start a new life? Attempt a brave new world,rise from the fall. When all things are said and done, now you're gone I have to carry on It's a shame how things work out and it's a shame how things go wrong.
I was walking through the visitors waiting area in the office yesterday and suddenly could smell Duncan's aftershave. I asked Angela if she had just sprayed any perfume or deoderant and she said no and as she has a cold she couldn't smell anything either. Lindie, who believes these things where I don't, said "it's Duncan just saying hello"....this evening I called my Mum to tell her about the aftershave and while I was doing so the gift Duncan gave me for Valentine's day fell over gently onto my dressing table. Ofcourse she too believes it is him. I wish I believed this, I wish I could make contact with him, I so want him here with me.
I got home to find my "Your Family" magazine had arrived. My Mum had given me a year's subsciption for my birthday in July last year. Every month when it arrives I ache, I have no family anymore. It is just my little boy and I, I do not plan elaborate meals or prepare special holidays feasts. Every article in the magazine screams of happy families.
And each morning, I still look up across the gym to where I saw him last - imagining him walking towards me, imagining him there.
Stuart said to me tonight "I have no Daddy to play with" then he fetched all the photos of D off my dressing table and kissed them all, then asked me to kiss them too. He spoke to Duncan telling him he loved him and would fix him he just "needed to get bigger" and my heart keeps breaking.
There is no reason, there is no rhyme It's crystal clear I hear your voice and all the darkness disappears Everytime I look into your eyes you make me love you And I do truly love you how you make me love you I belong to you, you belong to me Forever
Want you, baby I want you And I thought that you should know that I believe You're the wind that's underneath my wings I belong to you, you belong to me Forever
You're my fantasy you're my gentle breeze And I'll never let you go You're the piece that makes me whole I can feel you in my soul I belong to you, you belong to me I will belong forever, to you
Stuart still tells me at least once a day that he wants to fetch Papa, or that he will be a doctor when he gets big and will fix Papa. It breaks my heart each time and then I have to tell him that we cannot do this which in turn, I am sure, is breaking his.
This morning he dressed in Duncan's clothes, as he often does, and asked me to put on one of the family DVD's where he could see his Papa. We watched some footage together of when he was really small and Duncan used to give him his last bottle before bedtime, then there was some of them playing in the garden which we laughed at. Next came a scene where Duncan is dancing with Stuart on his shoulders I had put a backtrack to it called "I love to dance with Daddy". Stuart just imploded and begged me to take it off. He was devastated and so was I.
Once it was off he was fine and started speaking to me about happy times and things we did together and asked me to tell him of when he was a "tiny baby" and how Duncan would put him to bed.
He also talks to me about the fathers of his friends at school and tells me that his daddy is dead. This is the only time he uses the term Daddy instead of Papa which was his name for Duncan. When we are at home and he is just talking about Duncan in general, or about wanting to help him he refers to him as Papa.
I am astounded at his memory for one so young. Next week I have to go up north for work and am able to take him with me. When I told him where we are going he immediately said "That is where we went with Papa!" and that was nearly a year ago. I am so glad that he will still have many memories of Duncan of his own and it will not just be us telling him about his beloved Papa.
This week may well be clocked up as the worst this far. I feel as if I have hit rock bottom and have started to dig. I can barely get through an hour without folding. I am trying my best to keep this from my family, friends and most importantly from Stuart. The former is easier as I just keep away from them; the latter a lot more difficult.
It culminated with Lindie, my right hand at work, and I being in tears and unable to even speak with one another on Friday. Lindie walked out of my office and closed the door. Through my tears I looked at my desk and thought if I put my head down on it I will begin to howl, I will unhinge and will never recover. I was on such a slippery slope and it took all of my strength to pull myself back knowing I have to be here for Stuart, knowing I cannot let go.
Later Linds and I got together and although still teary we managed to talk about Duncan and laugh a little too. The stress of his absence is felt so intensely wherever I am yet when I am at work, surrounded by all that was him and people who knew him so well, I feel some kind of comfort.
What is so difficult for us to accept is that it was Duncan's brain that finally killed him. This man of extreme intellect, who knew so much about so much, that all that talent, that gift could just be taken away, wasted. I still get so angry when I see people who have wasted their lives still walking around and I want to know why they, of so little worth, are spared and Duncan wasn't.
Our friends keep reiterating that when anyone needed to talk about something, ask advice about anything, get information they knew without doubt that Duncan would have the answer. His heart, the cause of his collapse, recovered and was fine minutes later yet his brain,that very organ that we all so admired, killed him - swelling to a size that could no longer me accommodated within his cranium.
It seems to be getting more and more difficult as time passes, instead of easier as I have been told it should. The more things that occur that I would have shared with Duncan, the harder it is for me, as I feel the vacuum so accutely. Stuart's developments, special days, milestones and things happening in our daily lives all have little meaning without him being here.
Each day I feel that things are getting easier to cope with yet I feel my life gets a little worse, a little bleaker. Each day one more little piece of me dies.
Nothing really matters. I see people getting so upset over such trivial things and I cannot help but wonder "What's the big deal? Nobody died!" All of it means nothing. I am trying to make our house feel like a home again. Tonight I sat down with Stuart and tried to eat a meal but I couldn't bring myself to actually set the table because that would be admitting to my "new normal".
It has been a shocking week. I have been so very down and so struggling to cope with just the very act of being yet there is no respite as the world doesn't stop and allow you 10 minutes to recover.
I have also had an intensely busy time at work with the press releases going out of my new directorship, I welcome the distraction but it takes so much out of me. Stuart doesn't stop checking on my well being, and while this is so dear, it is also trying as it opens up all the wounds and starts all the questions again.
I am managing my days better and trying to give as much of me to each person requiring a piece yet still being sane at the end of the day. This week I had so many business functions on in the evenings that by Friday I was exhausted and still had another one to attend. When I walked in Stuart said "Please Mama, don't go out again tonight". I felt so guilty, and so drained that I made a few calls and cancelled. Instead we climbed onto my bed with snacks, books and toys and had a wonderful, peaceful evening together. The best decision I could have made.
Where ever I look I see things that remind me intensely of Duncan, what I read, what I view, what I hear. The tremendous sadness that this brings has me reduced to tears continually. The sight and sound of an ambulance physically grips me and has me wondering what tragedy is that family about to endure. Friends and family chatting to their significant other, whether it is on the phone or directly, upsets me so that I cannot abide attending social functions anymore. I am getting the reputation of a recluse but I just cannot face talking to people and behaving as if things were normal.
I don't like my "new normal", I don't know how to function within it.
Tomorrow will be the three month anniversary of Duncan's death. I have been subconsciously avoiding this date, avoiding knowing what the current date is, instead planning things for dates passed the 22nd. It feels like so much has happened in this short time, so much that I have had to deal with besides the loss of my husband. And yet what is three months? One trimester of pregnancy, a school term, a quarter of a year.
In all the grief counselling literature it says it takes a year for you to get over the initial shock, trauma, grief of the death. Will it? Will I really be able to ever get over this? Will this dull ache ease? My life feels so completely broken, so barren.
Since Duncan died I have used one plate and one mug of our entire crockery range as I cannot bring myself to eat much less actually cook a meal or even purchase the ingredients. I find myself completely lost in grocery stores not knowing what to do there yet still manage to produce home cooked meals for Stuart. Being so young he always ate before we did and so I would prepare his meals separately. I just cannot bare to make a meal for one.
The Super 14 Rugby season has started which we always looked forward to and would eagerly plan our day around kick off times. Last week I didn't watch but this week I bought some snacks and when Stuart asked "Are we going to watch YUGby?" I said "yes, lets" and we climbed on the couch and watched the games. The massive gap of Duncan not being there to cheer with and discuss the game was so vast, so crushing.
This evening when Stuart was talking about his Daddy, and saying how much he loves him, I was trying so hard not to cry. When he said "I love you Mommy, I know you are sad because Papa is dead but please don't be SO sad" I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. I held him close and told him that he made me happy even though I was sad about losing his Daddy. We lay on the couch together and hugged and spoke about the special things that we remembered about Duncan. I love you my darling, so much, and miss you intensely.
Having got through Valentine's day relatively unscathed, if I compare it to Christmas Day, I hit a crashing low on Monday. Having picked Stuart up from school I barely got home when I just fell apart. Dearest Connie, our Nanny, took Stuart and allowed me time on my own to try to gather myself. Stuart gets so heartsore when he sees his Mommy so sad.
I can't even say it was something in particular that set me off. I am so tired from overwork and lack of sleep and am receiving unwanted, and unsolicited attention, from so called admirers which only brings back the harsh reality that I am alone. This would never be happening if Duncan was still here. The insensitivity of these people quite blows me away.
My heart is aching for my husband, I don't want to be near anyone and this I know is hurtful to people close to me, especially my mother, but I just cannot face the idea of socialising. My reaction to sound, which was always pronounced, is now extreme and I become quite overwhelmed in even quite average surroundings.
Like an open wound I am sensitive the breeze stings me, even with it's gentle breath Every time I start to heal I am pulled back and break open again Spilling forth this red that signifies life, Wanting death to come nearer so that I have something to reach for and take hold of.
Nothing seems strong enough to fight this decay It has spread and taken over my thoughts I am bleeding alone in a world so far from custom I can no longer retrace my steps No one can reach me anymore, I have run too far, and bled too long.
Here we are in February already, things have started to look up at C21 as I seem to have worked out a solution on the operations side. I have also concluded my own first deal which has bolstered my confidence and we held a successful Brokers Meeting last week which has boosted the morale of all. The girls continue to support me and I am grateful for them everyday. On the MGI side, business has been going well and so I fortunately don't have to be too concerned there either. Hopefully this means I will start to work more realistic hours.
Mitch, Stuart and I spent a super day together yesterday which lifted all our spirits. Mitch is loving University and his new found freedom. He broke up with his girlfriend which was a little sad but perhaps inevitable due to her still being at school and he now entering a completely new phase of his life.
The rain has finally eased and allowed me to get out and maintain much that needed doing in the garden. Walking around outside it hit me again how absolutely final Duncan's not returning is. When I looked at projects we worked on together, or had discussed, and to think that he will never see them again, or see them completed, destroys me.
What matters? Very little. Only the flicker of light within the darkness, the feeling of warmth within the cold, the knowledge of love within the void.
Stuart sleeps with Duncan's toothbrush. On Saturday we couldn't find it and although he didn't say anything I knew he was hurting. After he had gone to sleep I turned the place upside down to ensure I found it and had it ready for him in the morning.
When he woke the next morning he went and found a dummy (pacifier) which was still in its wrapping - Stuart volunatarily gave up his dummy at 9 months - and asked me to open it. He sucked on it the rest of the day and night and slept with both it and the toothbrush in his hand. The next day I convinced him to leave it at home when he went to school but as soon as he came home he took up with it again and he did so on Tuesday as well. The questions regarding Duncan have been even more profound these last nights.
I spoke with his teacher and have not made too big a deal of it at home, thankfully he gave it up today and has now taken to carrying a camera around and photographing everything :-) Oh little boy, I love you so, if only I could take your pain away.
I have never had so many invitations in my life. Everyone has been fantastic, but yet the only people I've been able for are Mitchell and Jill (who comes as a job lot with Lorian). There are lots of people I still have to get back to. I don't necessary want to be alone but I don't want to be with anyone else either. Paradoxical as that is, it makes sense to me: I simply want to be with Duncan.
When I have to be out socially I find my breathing constricts and I am seized by a strange panic; suddenly I cannot be with these people any longer. If I zoom out and look at the world from far I see millions and millions of people, all slotted into their lives; then I see me - I've lost my place in the universe. It is as if it has closed up and there is nowhere for me to be. I feel more lost than I had known it was possible for any human being to be.
I keep smelling Bitumen which I associate immediately with Kranspunt - the cattle farm we owned in the Free State - a place of sheer joy and solitude for Duncan and I. When the calves were dehorned the cut was sealed with this product to prevent bleeding and infection. I don't know where it is coming from but it is quite disturbing; and of course catches me up short and reminds me distinctly each time of Duncan.
Stuart and I are having some very deep conversations considering that he is only three and a half. He also still wants to know exactly what happened at the hospital and the reasons that the Doctor's could not restore Duncan to us. We go over all possibilities at length and he still seems to think they were missing something. I am finding it terribly draining as I am still not sleeping and still trying to run both companies, somehow. He has also started talking about it to his teacher which I think is really good as she is also a trained social worker as well as it relieving some of the strain from me.
I am consumed with inconsolable sadness and the bleakness of despair. We bear the wounds and scars of furious battle, my soul and I. But now we walk in quiet peace With all our scattered pieces whole Surviving yet another destructive night Waiting for morning's soft forgiveness And the dawn of understanding.
I am back at work, well that means I am running a company that is way too big for me and trying my best to make some sense of it whilst presenting a completely-in-control image to all the staff.
Stuart is still asking all the questions, each morning he checks that "Papa is still dead" I am sure just like his Mum he is wishing things had changed in the night. He has taken to guauging how I am each day and reports that either I am "just a little bit sad" or "big sad" or "Mommy is Okay Today!"
This morning he decided that the Doctor needed to come to our house. When I asked him why he said "Because I think he can fix this sadness in Mommy". He has also taken to acting out being dead and asking me to hold him like I held his Daddy when he died. While it breaks my heart to see him do this, if it is helping him I will do anything.
I think one of the hardest parts of the holiday season is seeing all the families together in shopping malls, restaurants and parks. The other is that my best friend, the first person I would turn to no matter what happened - be it that I was happy, sad, fearful, angry - the person who always had all the answers is no longer here with me. The most difficult, stressful time in my life and the only person I really want or need with me is gone and will be forever. I am struggling to process the forever part. It is as if I keep expecting him to return home or for me to walk into our bedroom and for him to be there.
I am not lonely, I am used to Duncan being away. When he travelled I would use these evenings to catch up on things that I could do alone - sewing, reading, Facebook. Our little family rituals of dinner, evenings together and bedtime would be put on hold and we would look forward to his homecoming, waiting for things to return to normal. He was such a major part of our lives so compelling and strong that is is incomprehensible to think that he could just be taken away like that.
The other night a friend of mine said I am going to have to find a "new normal" for Stuart and I. Later, lying in bed reflecting on her comment I realised that we have just been marking time, waiting. I have to start new rituals and routines for us to follow, I have to try and accept that he won't be coming back.
My husband passed away on 22 November 2008 after a cardiac arrest on 12 November and was in a coma for 10 days thereafter. He was larger than life, a man of great integrity and honour. Exceptionally bright, dynamic, polite, beautiful inside and out and he has left us heart-broken. I have two wonderful boys - our four year old, Stuart James and a step-son Mitchell who is eighteen.
I am quite overwhelmed at being a young-widow and can barely accept that I will never see Duncan again. Stuart is struggling even more than me as his young mind cannot comprehend that his Daddy will not be coming back.