Did you fail….or did we?

Seeing her in that coffin, broken. They said I can’t touch her, because she’s broken and that they couldn’t fix her. I can’t kiss her, I can hardly even see her  through the tears streaming down my face…I struggle to breath. I feel light headed, I can’t control the shaking, I hear roaring in my head.
I need to breath, but I can’t breath, it’s so hard and I should be the strong one, it’s expected.. but as I look into her broken face I can’t help but to wonder….did you fail, or did we?

Did we do enough to help you cope with your demons? Or tried to understand how you felt about your losses?
Were you sad?
Did you cry?
Did you feel lost?
Most importantly, did you feel alone…?

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My world changed completely the day you were born, 17th October 1976. I was no longer the center of attraction. Every one doted over you, and everyone stopped seeing me. I didn’t like you! You slept on my place, everyone said how beautiful you are, you got toys that you couldn’t even play with!
I can still see the look on your grandparents face the day they saw you for the first time.
Your grandmother’s face lit up and she  couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear with so much pride and you being born was the best thing that happened to them!

Ugh, I didn’t like you! I didn’t understand the fuss! I didn’t understand that you were the first grandchild on your father’s side. I didn’t  understand that you were the first born of your mom, and of course in the house. I felt like you took my mammie from me. My mammie that belongs only to me, who doted over me for years..ok for the six years I was around. I’ve just started sub A and everyone said I was a big girl now and how I needed to “look” after you. How?? I was still a baby myself, well I believed I was..

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Top Left : Your Mom, Rhoda, Denise, and of course…you

The feeling of resentment changed when you were six months old, you just had your first pair of earrings inserted. You fretted the whole afternoon and wasn’t happy about something. And you never fretted or cried unnecessarily, never.. You were such a good baby. You were so easy and everyone loved you.
Your mom then decided to see whether you needed a nappy change. She took off your nappy and saw you needed a change and asked me to stand in front of you at the bed so that you don’t fall off whilst she went to warm up your cloth.
I was seldom allowed to keep you unsupervised and jumped at the chance. As I looked down at you and you looked up at me, something happened that very moment. You smiled at me and for the first time I noticed your beautiful face, how perfect it was. You didn’t have any hair on your head, well hardly. Your skin was the color of fudge, and so soft, you smelled like baby and you were perfect!
You started a conversation with me, “gaagaaa, gooogooo” and I was a goner. I fell in love with you that very day and without knowing, it was written that I was going to fiercely protect you from all harm to come, I am going to sustain you in every way possible, I am going to be your surrogate mother.

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You grew up a beauty! You were spoiled rotten. Your grandparents from your dad side was crazy about you. You lacked nothing, absolutely nothing. It was my job to take you to them and I was more than happy to do it because I got my gifts as well. I got showered with love as well. And most importantly, I got fed. Oh yes, I always loved to eat, still do!
Whenever we went there it felt like Xmas. Your granny used to lay the table and you would swear I was a visitor for the first time. She would serve two or more different dishes and then dessert and would sit with me at the table whilst playing with you. Every often she would coach me “You must eat, you only ate a little”
Goodness, I believed I ate myself to a standstill!
I’ve never experienced such hospitality ever again in my life. If I want it, I have to pay for it now!

Along came your first loss, you were about four years old and one of your favorite people left this earth very suddenly. I, for once was devastated because I came to love your granny as my own. I mourned her loss maybe for selfish reasons but felt the loss nevertheless.

From here on-wards, your life spiraled out of control, riddled with bad luck and your destiny already carved but still unknown to man, to those close to you…

One evening whilst we were sitting at the dinner table , over tipped the primary stove with boiling water and spilled all over you! I can still see it as if it happened yesterday. I still hear your pain filled shrieks, I still hear mammie’s screams. She didn’t mean to, she didn’t mean to!!
You were burned on the whole of your chest, and close to third degree burns!
We thought we going to loose you then already, but God had his own plans. I think you spent about three months in hospital, and at times it was touch and go. But you survived and went for numerous skin crafts to repair your breast tissue. The concern was that you won’t ever be able to breast feed one day, but you’ve won those odds as well!

Then we lost our mammie, the one person we felt safe with. It was devastating for me and I broke away from you wanting to be myself to wrestle with my own demons. This was a mistake but I couldn’t see how much it hurt you.

I lost my youth much earlier in life and nurtured you as my own. I fought your battles, physically that is, try to protect you from what a child your age wasn’t supposed to have been exposed to. I’ve tried my best to protect you from witnessing the physical abuse from one to the other and at times I felt I lost the battle!
And the loss of that relationship contributed to your downward spiral. Your world fell apart then, your support basis crumbled, what you thought was, was not.
And yet this was not an isolated case Sam, it was two people pulling in different directions, two people that fell out of love, two people that never stopped loving you. But who was there to reassure you? No one…And I wish I had the insight I have now, to be able to have sit you down and reassure you that no matter what, that things are going to be OK.

Sam, I had to leave to start my own Journey and couldn’t stay around.

Your babies :)
Your babies From left: Tamia, Wesley, Darren and Tyler

 

You were never demanding, never very vocal and were very respectful. This is what everyone remembers and still talk about long after your sudden death.

You had your first son very young age and we were all disappointed, but because we loved you, we supported you 100%
The relationship with Wesley’s father didn’t work out and this was your first love that you’ve lost. I don’t have much recollection of this time of your life as I was desperately trying to mould my own.

Then you introduced us to Sharief. What a handsome guy he was and a beautiful nature to match. He wasn’t a talker and always just smiled when we started reading him the “how to treat Samantha for life, cos if you don’t, we will find you and hurt you” The poor guy was constantly reminded of this but we soon saw that he had nothing but love and respect for you Sam. He adored you and you adored him. You apparently were planning to get married but along came the handsome, beautiful Darren :-). He was your little Cherub and we instantly fell in love with him.
He misses you the most Sam. My heart breaks every time I look at him. He is struggling to overcome your loss, Sam. You left when he needed you the most, slap bang on the verge of his teenage years. Oh I know very well what he went through having to cope with the biggest loss of his life,  while scrambling and deciphering between hormones and what is real!
But for him everything was…
Of all your children, he is the one that we worry about the most. He has so much anger and I pray that he let us help him deal with his losses and not choose the path you did…
But he is lost without you Sam, he lost you and his father a few years before you. Darling Sharief’s life was tragically and prematurely taken and this was, what I believe, the biggest loss that defined your path ahead. You’ve lost the love of your life and very suddenly without any goodbyes. This ultimately shaped what was to follow….

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We’ve lost you long before the drugs and the life on the streets consumed your whole being. We’ve lost our pretty pop to an illness only you could help yourself with. We prayed to God to bring our princess back. To bring her back to obvious, away from oblivion.

Oh you had a hidden, untapped talent for dress making. You had an ability to transform the ugliest pants into a stunning and stylish skirt. You would take a shirt, cut off the sleeves, rip the sides slightly and viola! You created the sexiest, low cropped top! Oh my word, you were good and I wish I’d done more to assist you in making this dream into a reality for you. Please forgive me..

Your Mom cries every time she listen’s to Tamia’s “Make Tonight Beautiful” , “Missing You”, “Give me You”, “Stranger in my house”….

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From here on-wards your life very quickly went downhill, and it’s the saddest part for me. I cannot talk about you without falling apart..I wish I’d done more!

You went from a beauty to a hardcore drug addict. Our Sam no longer noticeable to us. Your beautiful fudge skin color, replaced by dark blemishes, your beautiful white teeth no longer, you went from having a body of a super model to that of a skeleton..All we could do from here onwards was to pick up the pieces you left behind on your quest of self destruction. At most times we felt hopeless but prayed that you would be stronger than the drug that consumed your life, that ultimately took you away from us.

And then Cheslin was born and lived only for five days…he was the first offspring of your drug induced life. I held him in my arms whilst he took his last breath and because you’ve asked me to… but I insisted at the time that he spent the last and only few seconds of his life,  in your arms. We wanted and hoped this was the ultimate wake up call for you. To loose a child before you even had a chance to carve a life with him, to realize that you as a parent was responsible, that you were selfish and didn’t think of the little being, nestled under your rib cage for nine months and then finally had to lay him to rest in a beautiful white coffin with a yellow flower arrangement…Sam, I thought this was a turning point in your life, and that you wanted to change for the better!
But you only resisted the cravings for a short while,you couldn’t fight against the destruction and we lost you again..Gone in the wind..

I remember your mom phoning me one day, sounding very happy and enthusiastic because you were home and wanted help! I said thank God, he finally opened your eyes! Your place at rehab was organized and all you needed was a certain tablet, which I got at the chemist, bedding, pajamas, slippers a couple of changes of clothes and you were ready to go. I remember everyone contributed, some came from afar ( Thank you all ) to give assistance and there was a hyped of happiness and congratulations and motivation was passed along to you…

That didn’t last long, you ran away and the drug won again! And this happened a couple of more times..rehab in, rehab out..

We were devastated, I was devastated and besides myself! I was angry and disappointed and decided I wanted nothing to do with you again…How could you? You have two beautiful sons that is living their lives without you in it, that needed you?? How could you Sam…
But our anger and resentment pushed you further away and you continued your drug induced life without us. Once again you were Gone in the wind…

You could have been his daughter, almost half his age and we felt it was the last straw! You wanted a life with him but it was a mirrored image of your own! We felt he was nothing but more trouble and that he would not be of any help for you. Deep in the drug filled life himself, he strung you along on this path. We tried talking to you but you didn’t understand no reason. Had we only realized or understood that you needed him to replace a figure you craved. Had we known that you found your last love, that he was your soul mate, that you loved him and that he loved you more, as he couldn’t go living without you and followed you 7 months after your death. He wasn’t prepared to deal with life without you in it,  and gave up hope because this was easier than living without you….

Age is just that

Tamia was born a few days after my 40th birthday. A born drug addict but today a lively, almost six year old. Just last night she reminded me ” aunty Kamilah, its my birfday on Wednesday”…how precious???
A little girl who is going to grow up without her mom, who will one day want to know about you. And I will readily tell her your tale..
Tyler…oh my god! He is our nutty professor! He is too clever and one could almost swear that he didn’t start his veins full of drugs. He constantly tells me ” I love you, I love you, I love you aunty Kamilah “… He makes my heart skip a few beats and make me instantly fall in love with him over and over and over again!
(See their story previously published.

Mia and Ty. From oblivion to obvious

The saying is that God works in mysterious ways, we’ve physically lost you whilst you were in your prime, but we lost you way before then…Your untimely death on Friday the 15th of May 2015,will be a day forever carved in my memory. I lost one of my surrogate babies and I lost a piece of myself. Your death inadvertently changed my life and made me realized that I wanted more from life! I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be loved and by the mercy of God I’m hoping that the changes will bring the happiness I deserve…that so many deserves…that you deserved..

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Samantha Hartogh: Born 17.10.1976 Died 15.05.2015

We’ve layed you to rest on an overcast day and it was beautiful! I chose yellow flowers, my favorite color for flowers. We made sure you got the dignified goodbye you deserved ( Thank you all). All your children in a row bidding you farewell, it was one of the saddest days of my life. And whilst your coffin was lowered down to the grounds, light showers started to fall..oh Sam, it was perfect! It was beautiful, just the way you were.. I’ve bid my farewell with a few words and as hard as it was, I had to admit that you were finally at peace, no more demons, no more losses, just peace..

 

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Kamilah

 

We want the same..

So many things has happened in the last three months. There were  big revelations, falling out of love, the gains, the losses and the near losses, the strengthening of old friendships and the start of new friendships. The ultimate wake up call, long overdue and the result of years of festering…

And for those that might be going through something similar…If you have good, if you have great, don’t let it fester. Talk about it, give the benefit of the doubt, and move on. The longer you take to do this, the longer it takes to go back to the way it used to be….

I’m propped up, it’s 2am in the morning and I want to put pen to paper.. I find this is the best time to write, it’s quiet and the only other presence with me is God.

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I think I am quite the remarkable woman, I’ve made huge changes to myself and for myself. It was a quest I set out for myself growing up. I wanted more of life. I wanted to be the improved version of growing up. I dreamt on a daily basis of the castle, the hero, the babies and the love of my life. What I have realized now is that it doesn’t always work out the way you planned and this was hard for me to accept because I am a stickler for planning, I like forward thinking, and always has to have a plan B. I take motivation from other people. I observe, I agree, disagree and I learn. During the past few months I’ve come to the realization that I wanted more from life, for me personally. There wasn’t a need for me to grow as a professional as I found my niche and nest. Gosh, looking back to the past three years ago, I never ever thought I’d say this. I felt like I was constantly searching for “the perfect job”.. of course there is no such thing.

I have a beautiful family. My kids has come through for me in this difficult time and at first I thought..”who are they? Where’s my babies? Are these really the same people”?
Yes, children are far more resilient and wise than what we prepared to give them credit for. An important factor that we forget, is that they are the  production of us! We have nurtured, guided, motivated, inspired and instilled good values. It’s something I certainly forgot walking through the fog of maze. I never thought they would be the ones helping me through this. I am the provider, the guider, the shoulder..not the other way around.

Some times we have to accept that we are all actually so similar, and not the normal contrary analogy of  ‘people are all different..no I disagree..’ This statement will become clear by the end of my story.

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I thought my marriage was over and I wanted that and that and that, the list became longer as the days progressed. What I haven’t realized is that we allowed ourselves to grow apart. We get up, we put in the lunches ( ok I don’t do that..never did..) we scramble around, getting dressed in the finest,  we grab a fruit, we stuck in traffic, getting all flustered (I don’t do that too…stuck in traffic?…overrated! pffft) we go through the hectic schedules at work, we come home, no more pecking on the lips, no more quality time, no more chatting, no more touching ( this is important for me…I like being touched in private and in public…it’s a sign of affection and a promise of more to come..wink wink..) and suddenly we are miles apart, each one pulling in different directions. The original plans are no longer, the arguments becomes that of a personal nature, the actual objective long forgotten, fingers are pointed, assumptions are being made, trusts are broken, we start to resent, we become complacent, we rest on our laurels, we loose the faith, we don’t make passionate Love, we have cold, obligated sex, and we look for the blame in others… but yourself. Of course, why not? How can I be the one being wrong if all I wanted, was perfect and better?

 

Of course I’ve listened, I’ve pecked, I’ve touched, I’ve been vocal, I’ve given quality time….BUT did I? Our lives are not only one sided, we are not married to the perfect guy, him not being a social butterfly or interested in social media does not make him the wrong fit. It’s about understanding that, it’s about accepting that, it’s about a wee bit of compromise. Oh I believed I did so much of the latter that I detest using this word in a sentence. But so did someone else, compromised on some of my short comings..right..(rhetorical)

It came as a surprised to many! (the near and dear ones) We were the perfect couple, the handsome duo with the beautiful balanced kids, he’s the introvert, she’s the butterfly, together since high school, both hardworking and strived for that rainbow. The very same people tried to talk me out of it but I wanted nothing of it. My mind was made up, I’m leaving and was prepared to live as a single parent. No man was necessary, who needs a man, definitely not a strong woman like me. I have the brains, I have the financial stability, I have my career, I don’t need a partner for sex – I can play with myself..right..reaching an orgasm is just that…pfft nothing in it..!

No, that’s all wrong…

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I don’t want to be alone, ever! I cannot imagine being alone on that stoep. I’m too passionate, I love good company, I want to cuddle, I loovve intimacy..yes sex! (Why be ashamed of saying it out loud??) I like conversing, I want to hear breathing next to me, I want that constant presence next to me, I want to be touched, I want to agree to disagree, I want to communicate, I want respect and continues support, I want to share my hectic day, I want to listen and contribute, I want to be put on that pedestal and preserved forever, I want shared responsibilities, I want to be accepted for who I am,
I like a party,
I like to have fun,
I like to laugh,
I can talk to a stranger in a queue and instantly have a friend,
I love, love, absolutely love music!
I like to dance and bop to a beat
I like to spend time with family
I like talking shit and have a good laugh
I like reading
I’m passionate and sensitive
I’ve fallen in love with writing
And I like my own company..
And don’t want to compromise on this for anyone, ever! Love and accept me…

I want all of this…and will reciprocate without a doubt! Give me this and you have me forever..

So, I ask you… is this not what we all want…?

We allow ourselves to grow apart, allowing ourselves to stagnate, allowing ourselves not to “keep” up with our partners. We see it’s heading for disaster but we not doing anything to mend it because we’re either far ahead or far behind. We see the shortcomings, we don’t talk about it, but rather start comparing them to others, talk to others, complaining constantly to others..And how does this fix the problems?

We fix it by talking about it immediately, not three weeks later, by not going to bed angry, by doing it in a dignified and respectful way. Listen to understand first, then to answer…very important. Don’t think to answer if you don’t understand what to answer!

And don’t worry about what others think or say, because they not living your life for you. You don’t have to be visible to others when praying. You certainly don’t have to justify the way you live to anyone. You respect your elders, always! And remember that there is only one God. Do not make another god of anything or anyone else. We can love them, it, her,him but they are not the sustainer..they are temporary.

So let’s change the attitude and mind set, lets be innovative of how to get rid of the negatives and focus positively on how to get things back on track. It could be a slow process and accept this. We invest half a lifetime in a relationship and a lot of hard work has gone into so many elements and facets and we can only look forward to so many positive and exciting things..

Don’t take anything for granted and the one shouldn’t rely on the other for a kick-start. If you see it’s losing flame, give it some air…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
And say ” I love you”….more often.

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Mia and Ty. From oblivion to obvious

It’s such a joy to have them with me. There ain’t words to describe my love for them. They are an integral part of my Journey. They are an extension of me and my life :-).
We are spending a weekend at a friend’s house..more like a mansion. You feel the luxury as you step inside the beautiful hub. I’m not one to look at people’s luxuries, or material things but like most humans do, I couldn’t help but stare in awe…It’s called human nature.

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Tyler

To see Tyler initially having a fit for getting a bit wet, to not wanting to get out of the water at all is…MasterCard…priceless 🙂 ! He is so adorable with his round face, red cheeks and big head fulla brains. He is such a clever, intelligent boy. He scrunches up his face every time I ask “silly” questions. And with patience like an old soul, he would answer me with so much concentration and agitation at the same time. He’s such a sport!
Listening to him explaining and exclaiming, it’s hard to believe he’s an offspring of drug addict parents. He is unbelievably intelligent, which is normally not what happens with children being born from drug addicts. They always have some sort of – not disability, per se – too much of a strong analogy, but rather a few short comings eg: lack of concentration, stunt hair growth, speech problem but to mention a few.
But I don’t see it in Tyler, he’s like a tiny professor, with a fiercely enquiring mind, always pointing and asking about stuff.
What amazes me is how he describes something. When he first saw the expansive, plush toilet, he said ” nanna it’s billiant” (he still struggles with pronouncing R)
What made him think it was brilliant and not beautiful? Was it the way the light goes on when you enter the toilet, or the censored taps or the slight heated floors…
How could he distinguish between what is beautiful and what is brilliant..?
How come he had this amazing ability to reason like that seemingly he was literally a drug addict himself. The first few days of his life he spent wailing of pain, whilst the medical staff weaned him off his addiction, trying to ease him into reality and away from oblivion. An addict not by choice, but by the choices made by others.
The ones who should have nurtured him, was the same ones that made selfish and stupid choices.

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Tamia
I remember looking at her in the first few hours of her life, almost every bodily crevice plugged with a pipe, pumping life into her. She too was high and in pain and desperately fighting to stay alive.
I’ve seen that picture before a few years ago and that of her older brother. He unfortunately didn’t have any fight to live. I remember keeping him whilst he gave his last breath and then handing him over to his mother, the same nurturer..
She survived and refused to give up or give into the force bigger than man, the very thing that are destroying so many lives, the cancer that spreads at rapid pace and that there are no cure for. The only power that is bigger than this epidemic is the mind itself.
Tamia was very agitated as a baby. I used to bath her, make her bottles and tried to get her to sleep but most times it was in vain. She refused to be pacified and desperately tried to stay awake. Another side effect of drug abuse, no rest for the wicked.
At one stage her mouth was covered with ulcers, diarrhea and a badly inflamed buttocks. I have never felt so hopeless in my life, seeing how painful it was for her to swallow knowing she is busy starving.
At the same time water was running from her stomach and she was losing essential salts.
I picked up my bag and hurried to the chemist, trying not to burst into tears knowing that this was knowingly inflicted. Thus of her nurturer..
I hurried back with a bag full of medicine, new bottles, bottle scrubber with disinfectant and immediately began to slowly administer the medication at regular hourly intervals, hoping and praying that the medication works so that we can start giving her some formula so that she gets some nourishment. It felt like forever before she greedily sucked and swallowed the formula.

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Today she is a handful five year old ready to embark on her educational journey. She unfortunately carries more developmental scars than her brother. Her hair doesn’t grow at a pace it should, she has an obvious speech problem and we seem to think she struggles with keeping focus. The ultimate challenge will become obvious when she starts grade R next year.

That’s their story and believe me, a very short version. They are so blessed. They have two mommies, a grandmother and an aunt that will give them anything she can.

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Unconditional Love 🙂