Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 30 - Tell the world


Day 29 - music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVO8sUrs-Pw
green day, wake me up when september ends

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHX6YROafgc
kenny chesney, - who youd be today

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-hJ87ApWtw
Natalie Grant - held

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01whPWRvT64
dixie chicks - Godspeed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxZhEcTzn6Q
I will carry you - Selah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVMhNkIlYFg
Mercy me - homesick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5W4RjTW3zQ
celine dion fly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNeZ-1ExZdQ
josh groban - to where you are

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wHrIOxhDL0
look through my eyes - Phill Collins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9DjKlcyO9g
even though your gone - Angelis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz0Rhk9NJ9Y
Still - Gerrit Hofsink

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw6_VXPwm6U
Carry on my wayward son - Kansas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c_U0ctrJDo
Precious child -Karen Taylor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6t4Zs5Yq_k
Eric Clapton - tears in heaven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbUWw1SKc8Q
George Canyon - My name


Coleen McMahon "Beautiful Boy" www.youtube.comhttp://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beautiful-boy-single/id524418205 http://www.Facebook.com/ColeenMcMahonSinger http://www.YouTube.com/ColeenMcMahon Today you'...

Pirates Of The Caribbean [Heart Of The Ocean] www.youtube.com

Diddy - Dirty Money - Coming Home ft. Skylar Grey www.youtube.comOn Tour Now! UK -- Last Train To Paris http://bit.ly/dQzRmI Released 24 Jan Music video by Diddy - Dirty Money performing Coming Home. © Bad Boy/Interscope R...

Celtic Woman - The Soft Goodbye www.youtube.comPurchase Info and Tour Dates: http://www.celticwoman.com/ Celtic Woman 2005 Song: The Soft Goodbye Singers: Chloë Agnew, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, Lisa Kelly


Hello Goodbye by Michael W. Smith www.youtube.com

Snatam Kaur - Long Time Sun www.youtube.comAn old Irish blessing and the golden voice of Snatam Kaur. From the album 'Grace' (Spirit Voyage Records 2004).


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28 - most significant memory


Day 28 – Most Significant Memory
The picture for today is from a story I have long read to the children called “Little Angels Journey”, by Dzinka Hayda.
It is a beautiful story about a little Angel who looks down on earth and longs to join a particular family. Big angel takes her through a process to get her ready to make the journey across the rainbow bridge. They go and visit the twinkling stars, who give little angel the gift of Wonder, for little angel had much to learn on earth. The Radiant Sun gives little angel the gift of Love- as Little Angel had much to accomplish on earth. The silvery Moon gave the gift of Kindness- for Little angel had many to help on earth.
Then great Angel wrapped little angel in a soft celestial blanket, and they descended the rainbow bridge. It was a long long journey, soothed by the soft lullabies of the stars, Little Angel fell asleep.
On the journey back to heaven Great Angel hung Little Angel’s soft feathery wings on Silvery Moon.
There the wings awaited Little Angel’s return, for all of Little Angels good deeds to be completed on Earth.

I have so many memories to cling to, so many where he was with us physically, and so many that are happening every day since he passed.
We were asked to share a positive or a negative memory, so I gave it a lot of thought, and as much as I would like to rant and rave about the injustice of it all, I think the most significant things that represent Joaquim, are all positive.
His love, his light, his purity, his holiness. I have used this month to vent and rant and express the deep grief I feel, but I need to emphasise the incredible positives that Joaquim has brought. He taught me to have a deep reverence and respect for all life. A joy and wonderment at every life experience, the sunlight, the rain, rainbows, fluffy clouds. He taught me to appreciate my children, my family and my friends and hang on to every moment we have together. He taught me patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and respect for others. (I am still fine tuning those).
He taught me to meditate, and just be in the moment and that is where I feel him the most. I feel him in everything that is good, and pure and kind. These are My most significant memories of him.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27 - Picture/ Artwork

Day 27 - Picture/ Artwork
This is a painting that I did repeatedly in various colours during the pregnancy. It is a watercolour technique called "wet on wet water colours", and the colours bleed into each other as you paint. My children painted it with me, and it warms my heart to look at it. It makes me think of Joaquim warm and safe in my womb, before any of the madness!



Day 26 - Their Age


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25 - Baby Shower


Day 25- Baby Shower
I have been extremely blessed with a mother and sister that spoil me ridiculously. Between the two of them, they have planned all of my baby showers, making each one extremely special. I always thought that you were only entitled to have a baby shower with your first baby, but I was lucky to have one for each pregnancy.
My sister sent out all of the invitations by email, as we were having a “going green” theme, preserving the planet for future generations. My mom and I had handmade all of his nappies from a pattern, and we had found the organic baby soap range “enchantrix”. So we only really needed cotton clothes and blankets, as we had donated our baby things after Isabella had grown out of them. We didn’t need a pram, as I knew I carried my babies, we didn’t need a cot, because we knew he would sleep on me (although we still had the air loom cot my mother had bought us 10 years earlier, still in pristine condition).
I was really and truly spoilt on the day, surrounded by friends, family, and lots of fun and glorious food; platters that my mother had ordered from a bakery, and a HUGE chocolate cake that my sister had made.
The greatest gift on the day obviously, was the birth of our beautiful baby boy; 30 minutes after the last guest had left.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24- Siblings



Day 24 – Siblings
Joaquim was the much loved, much anticipated younger brother to Manuel (10), Miguel (8) and Isabella (4). No one was more excited throughout the pregnancy than his brothers and sister.

They saw him being born. Miguel cut his umbilical cord. They stayed with me in the bed gazing at him for those first 3 days. They fell in love with him.
When we left to take him to hospital in the beginning, we had no idea that he would not come home for 2 weeks. It really threw us a major curveball. I am a stay at home mom, I homeschool and attachment parent my children. Each of them were breastfed for over 2 years, (Manuel for 4) I carried my babies in slings for a year.
Having to leave them every morning to get to the NICU was torture for us all. We really battled to find people to watch them, as they had only ever been comfortable with very few people. In the end, my best friend Shelly, and my mother in law stepped in and cared for them during the day, but it was not easy being away from them. Even worse obviously, was coming home at night from the hospital, leaving Joaquim. The hospital would not allow parents to stay after 8pm. So it was a constant state of anxiety for us all.

On Manuel’s 9th birthday, we were told that Joaquim could come home. It was exactly what he had asked for as a birthday gift. We were over the moon. To tell you my children embraced their brother is an understatement. They smothered him with love and kisses. The fact that he had lost his sucking reflex and that we were forced to bottle feed him my expressed milk, was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because each of them got to hold him every day, and take turns to feed him. They stood next to me for every nappy change; they helped pick out every outfit. We spent 6 weeks enclosed in a cocoon of happiness and family bonding. We sang songs to him, danced with him, played him our instruments, walked in the garden showing him excitedly all his “firsts”. When it rained, they rushed him to the window saying, “look Joaquim, that’s rain, when you are bigger you can dance in it”.

We had 42 days of memories, 42 nights of a family bed that they shared with him.

On that fateful day, when we took him for a check-up at 4pm, we left the children with my mother in law again. We really thought we would just come home with a prescription and our baby.
We came home at 3am with empty arms, and no idea what we were going to say his siblings.
They didn’t give us much time to prepare our words. Just as my husband had gotten off the phone with the hospital, arranging the undertaker to collect Joaquim, the 3 of them ran excitedly into the room shouting, “where is Joaquim?”
How do you introduce a child to death? You try to protect them from the greatest reality of life. I felt powerless.

I was still in a state of shock, but my husband burst into tears and embraced his children while he tried to find the words to tell them that their brother was not coming home. Manuel was the first to cry. Miguel just kept looking at me. Isabella just kept asking if she could go to heaven to see him, if he wasn’t going to come home.

This past year has been really extreemly hard. I have had to break down at times when I just can’t be strong anymore, and the children see it. Most times, they cry with me.
Isabella talks to him all the time, she calls him “her sister who died”, she often says he is calling her to go to heaven and that just breaks my heart as the fear wrenches from my gut at the thought of loosing her too!
Every time we ride in an elevator, she asks, “Are we going to see Joaquim?”
She says that she is scared of having babies because they die when they come out………
Manuel is melancholic by nature and his anger at the world and its injustices have escalated through this. He keeps asking “why?” I don’t have the answers to give him, as I am asking the same question.

Miguel enjoyed being an older brother so much. He took his responsibility so seriously, and he would hold Joaquim every chance he got and just gaze at him. He is the one who lights Joaquims candle every single morning for the past 1 year and 1 month and 1 day! He hugs the candle every night after he puts it out and they all say, “Goodnight Joaquim”. He even occasionally sets a place at the table for him. It breaks my heart everyday to see them suffering. But that all being said, I have learnt a lot about grief from watching my children. They don’t guard their feelings. What comes out is raw and true and real, and I have taken their lead to allow my grief to run naturally. I cry, I rant, I vent, I retreat, I avoid people and I sometimes act like nothing has happened. I do it in spurts, as a child would, as my children do! We are all not ok, but we do love each other and we talk all the time. We remember Joaquim every day and have found ways to include him in what has become our new normal!


Day 23- Their photo/ their name

video

Day 22- Place of care - Birth


Day 22- Place of care/ birth

My husband, Manuel de Leça, has been my soul companion. He has been my birth assistant/doula/midwife with each of our 4 miraculous children. We have been so blessed to have experienced water births every time, and the last 3 were unassisted homebirths. He has attended 2 homebirth courses and caught each of his children as they came into this world and placed them in my arms. 

Joaquim was born on the day of my baby shower, 23 July 2011, 30 minutes after the last guest left. We had been to the Gynae the day before, where she had assured us that he would still take another 2 weeks to come. Joaquim was 3,5kgs in the scan and his back was on my back. I spent the night asking him to turn, as a back labour would have been long and painful for both of us. During the night my incredible little man turned around! I had woken to contractions early in the morning, but brushed them off as false labour pains. Manuel was helping me throughout the morning to prepare for our guests arrival, we were combining my baby shower with my daughters’ 3rd birthday party. I remember walking around the garden hanging chocolates in the trees for the treasure hunt, and stopping every few minutes as a contraction hit, I would just squat on the grass, and when it passed I would just carry on as if this was perfectly normal. The guests arrived and the contractions were getting closer together. When I hit transition, it was clear to everyone that I was in full blown labour. As I was breathing through contractions, and opening my gifts, Manuel was filling up the birth pool and ushering all the guests away! We had all our children with us in the lounge, the vanilla scented candles were lit, and my meditation music played peacefully in the background. My sister and her children were visiting for the weekend, so it really was a family affair.
I spent a few minutes on the balcony watching the birds in the garden, allowing myself to get lost in the moment. My daughter climbed in the birth pool with me, and together we swayed until I felt his head crowning. I called for Manuel, and in a dance that we had done so many times before, he supported my body as the intense waves of pushing began. He was skilled at not allowing my lower body to rise from the water, if Joaquims head made contact with oxygen then he would instinctively take a breath. If you stay submerged until he is born then a water birth is perfectly safe. His head came out with one push, and 30 seconds later, he flew out into his fathers’ hands. We were blessed to have my sister there, as she was able to video the birth. Joaquim was perfectly pink, and had a perfect apgar score. It is a memory for us to treasure forever, I will never forget a single moment! We held onto that bubble of bliss for 3 days, until the Apnoeas began.




Day 21 - Shrine/Alter/Sacred Space



Day 21- Shrine/Alter/Sacred Space
I have included pictures of Joaquims Shrine before in day5. Our entire home and garden is a sacred space for Joaquim, which I have also posted pictures of. So todays pictures represent his alter with all of our sentimental ornaments, our crystals, and family depictions of the 6 of us, as well as the candles that we light daily in remembrance of him.



Day 20 - CHarity



Day 20- Charity
The sunflower fund, is a South African charity for childhood Leukaemia, we support them annually by purchasing bandanas and spreading awareness. We did a walk for organ donation, as bone marrow transplants are necessary for leukaemia sufferers. We are blood donors. We also support a young boy named Reef Carnes on, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (the same as Joaquim), but is still fighting a hard fight, and his parents need all the financial support and prayers we can offer. www.savebabyreef.com


Day 19 - Project





Day 19 Project.

Today was a tough day again. I am working on my photo tribute project for day 23 and I just kept breaking down, and all the anger at the hospitals came flooding back.

So needless to say, it was a bit difficult to explain the project I am working on, but I think once I have accomplished it, I will be on the road to healing a lot of that anger.

I have a few projects I am busy with at the moment in Joaquims name. One of them is to help the Government hospital that treated him in the beginning, to establish a new policy for breastfeeding and neo natal milk expressing procedures. I had extreme challenges trying to provide milk for Joaquim in the hospital, as they do not allow you near your baby when you express. They have no facilities, so most mothers express while sitting on the floor, and they have no sterilisation facilities so we had to express into little bags by hand. SO that is our biggest project at the moment, we have already started contacting companies for donations of hospital grade breast pumps, and we have contacted the professor at the university to get permission to have a dedicated room to accommodate mothers who need to express. My project will include painting the room, and decorating it in a calm serene theme, and providing comfortable seating. The biggest challenge will be to get them to change their policies, but I have the backing of La Leche league, and loads of commitment.
The next project is aimed at the Private hospital that refused to treat him the day he died. I want to create memory boxes for families to take home instead of leaving the hospital with empty arms and broken heart. In the boxes will be a print of babies hand or footprint, a lock of their hair, a small candle, a teddy bear, and a pamphlet that I am working on with all the links to support groups, and grief tips that I have found useful. At the time it’s the last thing you think about, but in time, you realise that everything you treasure, other than your memories, are inside that box.
I found a huge lack of empathy from both hospitals, and I think that Joaquim would love if I could create awareness, so no more babies and parents need to suffer the way we did.
I am also making wool angels carrying babies, to support bereaved moms.
For Joaquim personally, I am making a quilt out of all his baby clothes, and I participated in the prayer flag project that Carly marie had on remembrance beach on October 15th. 


Day 18 - Family Portrait


Day 18 - Family portrait
It was impossible to get a picture without Miguel pulling a funny face, lol. So here are the 6 of us. A colourful bunch!



Day 17 - Birthdays and Anniversaries

Today is Day 17 in capturing your grief –birthdays and anniversaries.
                                   

When your baby dies, you loose your future.

You loose all the hopes and dreams and plans that you had envisaged.

Triggers are funny things. Who would have thought that today would have been one of the most difficult posts to write?

When I was pregnant with Joaquim, we had already started to make so many plans. We homeschool, so every lesson I prepared, I had him in mind, and went to an extra effort to keep all the pictures I drew because I would be using them with him. Every book I ordered, I justified the purchase because Joaquim would get to read it too. Every item of clothing that my boys grew out of, we packaged in an airtight container to keep for when Joaquim would wear them.

Today’s trigger was LEGO of all things. My two older sons are infatuated with the stuff, but it is so expensive! When I was pregnant with Joaquim, I came across an advert. A toy store owner was selling the contents of her shop. Among other things, she had R30 000 worth of Lego sets that were being used as display pieces. She did not have the boxes anymore, but she did have the instruction booklets, and she was selling over 50 complete sets for only R4000. Now usually, this amount of money would have turned me away immediately, but I sat thinking about all the birthdays that Joaquim would have, and some of the sets were DUPLO, baby Lego, and it seemed like an unbelievable opportunity to plan ahead.
We transferred the money, and 1 week later, 2 HUGE boxes were delivered at the Cargo section of the airport. My husband came home with them and opened them up. There were 2 huge boxes, filled with Lego….. All mixed together. My heart sank. Have you got any idea, what a huge job it is to sort out Lego? And here I was with over 50 sets of Lego all jumbled together.

So, needless to say, most of my memories of my pregnancy with Joaquim, are of me sitting cross legged in the study, adjusting my growing belly over my feet, and sorting the Lego first into colours, and then painstakingly putting all the sets together piece by piece, and then packaging them up, ready to be taken out of the cupboard for Joaquims 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th birthdays. I remember his little feet and hands kicking and punching when I had sat in one position for too long.

It took me about 3 months to complete the task. That is one month longer than the time Joaquim actually spent in my arms! So now, every time I see Lego, I get angry, resentful of that time I spent awkwardly huddled over those little plastic pieces, when I could have been simply enjoying every minute with him in my womb, and counting the kicks and movements.

Anyone that knows me well enough, knows that when it comes to my children’s birthdays, I go all out. I start preparations a month before, we pick a theme and then I handmade all the gifts for the guests, we make the décor ourselves, and we try to find a meaningful life lesson to attach to the day.

Joaquims first birthday has just passed, and those weeks that would have been spent in preparation for a huge celebration, were spent trying to get away from under this dark cloud that had begun to form around me. I tried to distract myself with as many things as possible, but nothing could stop the day from approaching. I kept busy right up until the night before, and then it happened. The day I had been planning for for months, but dreading for weeks arrived. I was so totally lost. Instead of being surrounded by people and balloons and cake, I wanted to be all alone. I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and never come out. I wanted to feel sorry for myself, and I didn’t care anymore if I made anyone uncomfortable with my tears.
I wonder if it will always be this way. I imagine what he would look like as a 1 year old, what he would be doing or saying, what milestones would he be accomplishing? I am finding it so hard to look at babies of this age and not feel a little resentment and jealousy?

We did not do anything remarkable to mark his first birthday. We managed to survive it, and I think that is one step in the right direction.

Exactly 2 months to the day, when his anniversary came along, a friend of mine stepped in and took over for me. The dark cloud had turned into a thick, suffocating mass, consuming me entirely. So we were whisked away by our dear friends Richard and Shelly, to the Vaal River where they own a home, and we got lost along the waters edge and filled up the dam with our tears.




Day 16 - Release



Day 16 - Release
We have been releasing sky lanterns in Joaquims honour regularly over the past year. A few close friends and family joined us on this day, to honour him again. 


Day 15 - Wave of Light


Day 15- wave of light

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Today (and every day) we remember the babies who were born asleep, the babies whom we carried but never met, the babies we have held but could not take home, and the babies who made it home, but didn't stay. Please join us and hundreds of thousands of families across the world tonight by lighting candles at 7PM for the International Wave of Light. For ^Joaquim^ & too many others, let there be light... ♥

.The candle in the picture was from my sister, it is wild orchid scent, and the whole candle changes colours every 3 seconds. The star babies were made in remembrance of Joaquim by my dear friend Ghilraen.


Day 14 - Community


Day 14 - Community
This picture represents the baby loss Community, and the incredible love, understanding, support, encouragement and connection I have felt from people, most of whom I have never met personally. All my love to all of you today and everyday


Day 13 - Signs _ Orbs



Day 13 – Signs- Orbs

There is a fable that I read to the kids while I was pregnant with Joaquim called “the fire on the mountain”. It is about a poor man that took up a challenge by a rich king, to spend 3 days on top of an ice capped mountain without food, water, shelter and warmth. He succeeded in his challenge, by asking his guru to sit on the opposite mountain peak, miles away. The guru lit a bonfire on this peak. The poor man could not possibly have felt any warmth from the fire physically, but he survived the challenge by seeing the fire in the distance and imagining its warmth.

When you have lost a child, there is a physical process that gets interrupted. Your body yearns to nurture this child; your arms ache to hold him. You cannot smell him, see him, feel him, taste him, or touch him. As much as your mind knows that he is no longer physically there, the more your soul convinces you that he is still there, only in a different way. So you start to develop other senses to maintain that connection. A 6th sense, that seems crazy at first, but the more signs you see, the more moments you “feel”, the more you should allow yourself to hone in on this sense, the more comfort you receive from it.

We started to see signs during the pregnancy. This pregnancy “felt” different to me, as if I knew deep down that he was not mine to keep. Family and friends would tell us about dreams they were having, premonitions that at the time we couldn’t explain.

A close friend of ours had a dream of a baby with amazing eyes that she loved too much to give away, and he died.

My mother said to me one day at the end of the pregnancy, “he has waited so long to join our family and thanks to you he will”.

After Joaquim came out of NICU, we were having a really good day, my mother was holding Joaquim in her arms, while her crazy boisterous dog was bouncing around the room, and she said, “We must enjoy every minute we share with him”. I felt it too, like the days were gifts that could soon run out. On his anniversary, we went to a medium, and she described this particular day in perfect detail, right down the dog.

We have family in Australia whom we have not seen in years. My cousin awoke the morning that Joaquim passed away, with a premonition. He did not know anything about Joaquim, but he phoned his mother in South Africa immediately saying that he was concerned about my baby.
 My sister in law too, had a similar dream the moment he passed away. When we called to tell her the news, she said she already knew.

On the morning that Joaquim passed away, my husband and I were driving home from the hospital, and we started to discuss sky lanterns. I had never seen one myself, only on movies like “tangled” and “the beach”. My husband, being Portuguese, said that in Madeira they often honour the dead by sending sky lanterns up. We were still discussing where we would even start looking for them, as we had never seen them in South Africa, when we crossed our garden path, and there was a sky lantern right in front of our house. It must have floated down from somewhere nearby.

After some internet searching, we found a local supplier of sky lanterns, and we bought a considerable supply. We started to honour his memory every month by inviting special friends and family over, and lighting them. On the first evening, a very dear friend of mine was photographing the process, and he asked me if I could see the Orbs.
I had no idea what an orb was!
He showed me the photographs. In every single picture, there were these circular disks of varying sizes floating in the sky.
 According to Diana Cooper, who wrote “enlightenment through orbs”, you can be given messages and receive enlightenment simply by looking at them. The pictures retain the light of the angelic beings. You receive energy directly from the angels. It will enter your consciousness whether you are open to it or not, and start to prepare you for greater enlightenment. If you are already aware and consciously ready to receive the energy, it can really affect you at a deep level.

For the last year, there is rarely a photograph that we have taken that does not contain Orbs. Whether it is Joaquim, or a guide, or an angel, it is physical proof for us that there is so much more to this existence than what we experience with just our 5 senses.

Apparently young children have the greatest connection with these senses. My four year old daughter has been my strongest supporter in recognising these signs. I was playing the piano the other night with my daughter on my lap. I was particularly engrossed in the piece I was playing and I was getting lost in the melody. In my peripheral vision, I saw what at first I thought was my 7 year old son standing next to me with the hugest grin on his face; clearly he was enjoying the piece as much as I was. When the piece was finished, I turned to look at him, but he was gone. I called for him and he answered that he was at the dining room table. I asked him if he had come to stand next to me at all, and he said “no”. My daughter immediately said, “Mommy that was Joaquim”. She feels him all the time. When I was meditating in the garden one day, and the tears were falling on the ground, she came up to me gently and said, “Mommy, don’t cry. Joaquim is all around us, he is in the sticks”.

When you feel that you are missing something, maybe it is that this something is missing you!

Only two things can reveal life’s great secrets: suffering and love. We experienced them both through Joaquim.

This picture was taken shortly after Joaquim passed, when all of the siblings and cousins were playing together outside at night.





Day 20 - Scents



Day 12 – Scents
 Throughout the pregnancy I was paranoid about carcinogenics. I found a wonderful organic range of products called “enchantrix”. This is what is written on the bottle, “Children are the future, treasure them- they are gifts to teach us the way. Their bodies suffer when exposed to toxic chemicals, junk food, and sugar. Try to feed them organic food and use products that are nor going to harm them. This baby wash is made with love and care from the finest ingredients we can find. It will not harm you, your baby or the environment. The oils used in this wash are organically grown with love and reverence for the earth.”

The oils are geranium oil, lavender and lemongrass. A really unique scent when combined. We used this on Joaquim when we washed him, and they are the same oils we bathed him in when we prepared his body for cremation. When the longing gets really bad, I open the lotions and rub them in my hands, and the scents allow for the memories to flood back.

The irony is not lost on me however, that as powerful as my intentions were, I could not prevent the cancer that claimed him in the end. Today, in South Africa, it is National Bandana day, creating awareness for the sunflower foundation, for childhood leukaemia which Joaquim had. So that is my background picture. If you have not already done so, please pop out to your nearest garage or Pick n Pay store and support them. I would love if you could then send me a picture, or tag me in it on fb with you wearing your bandana, as I am making a collage for day 20.


Day 11 - Support System


Day 11- Support System

I want to thank each and every one of you for standing by me, and helping to get me to where I am today.

 Whether it was by sms, email, face book, bbm or personal visits, being present at the funeral or just sending prayers, love and light, I really couldn’t have come this far without you!

I was wrapped in a cocoon of love and support immediately after Joaquim passed away. 

Family and friends dropped everything to come and support us. We didn’t have to worry about meals or cleaning up, we were surrounded by unconditional love. There are so many people to mention, I apologise if I missed one of you, it was impossible to add a picture of everybody. 

But the focus of today’s picture has to be of our dear friend, Aunty Liz Crackett.

Joaquim was admitted to hospital very suddenly. We had gone for a paediatrician check-up because we were concerned about him. We thought he may just need a supplement. We had no way of knowing that the world was about to come crashing down around us. The paediatrician rooms were in the hospital. My mother was there visiting my step father who was having back surgery, we bumped into her, and her best friend, Aunty Liz in the passage. They stayed with us through those nightmarish hours, never leaving our side. They held our hands, and caught us as we collapsed at the end. 

Our dear friend Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks later and passed away suddenly only a month ago. 

I feel that if I can dedicate today to anybody, it would be to her. She was a huge part of my support system my whole life, she held my hand through every major event in my life and when he passed away, she was with me through the darkest moments, and now, she is holding Joaquims hand in heaven. I will always love you Aunty Liz, take care of my boy for me! Till we meet again!