Touching lives

I have always believed in the power of sharing your story and owning your truth. I was reminded how sometimes simply sharing your experience can connect you with someone else for a profound moment. Seeing as it was Women’s Day today it seemed fitting to share this story.

At the expo I did in Joburg with Carle I had the following experience. I was chatting to a lady about crocheting socks, she was a vendor at a stall a couple down from us. As we were chatting I overheard 2 of the other ladies saying “not that I will ever get married again, but if I do this is such a nice idea” – she was paging through a magazine. I never saw what she was talking about, but being a bit of a big mouth, I could not help but pipe up “I also said I would never get married again and now I am” She looked at me as if to say; Yes, but you don’t know where I have come from. She then said “can I ask you something personal, why do you have pink hair”. I told her that after my disastrous marriage I came out having lost who I was, and very very sad. The pink hair was the road to finding myself. It made me happy and it reminded me to never again forget who I was or let it get changed or buried by someone else. To be true to myself, even if that person was a bit odd and quirky. She said something like it was lovely and rather brave. We small talked a bit and then I had to go back to our stall.

Later just before I was leaving for the airport she called me over and she said “I just wanted to say that I really admire you, you came out of your bad marriage with pink hair and I came out fat” I looked into her eyes and could see the pain as clearly as if it it had been freshly carved into her soul, yet there were layers of hurt from years of pain. I just said “You are a strong and beautiful woman and you can find the person lost inside again – it will get better” There was a connection and moment when time stood still and I just held her eyes and tried to send as much love as I could. I was then called to leave and the moment was over. I hope she believed me, I hope she knows how special and valuable she is as a person, worthy of great love. I saw someone who believed she would never marry again as she had been so torn down, she did not see herself as able to find someone to love her for who she was. I hope she finds that someone, but most of all I hope there are more women on her journey willing to share their stories that might help her heal.

I hope I touched her life in a small way because she touched mine, she connected with me and gave me a piece of her hurting soul that I will carry with me. I hope I gave her a piece of my vision that it can be better and that it lightened her load a little.

Someone once told me he did not want to love again because each person he loved he gave a piece of his heart to and felt like soon there would be nothing to give anymore. I think he missed the point or maybe I remember his point wrong. I feel different, I feel that we have to give pieces of our heart and soul away so that we can receive pieces back. These help us see the world through experiences different to our own. I know he was talking about a girlfriend, but when you fear connection, be it in a relationship or in a brief encounter with a stranger, I think you lose the chance to change your life and theirs. Not all people were supposed to stay in our lives for long, some are just a passing encounter. We only have to be open to looking past the masks we all wear and seeing the soul.

This is not a pat me on the back kind of story, see how great I am for connecting with someone. It is to show that sometimes we don’t know how powerful sharing our story can be and how much it can touch someone else’s life. Being able to feel like we are not alone in our experiences, is often what we need to find a way through them. I have had those who have inspired and shared with me that have made my road easier and to each of them I say thank you.

Hug from Far away

My dear friend Sam is grieving, her beautiful baby boy Joaquim was only with her for 2 months before he died. I can’t not even begin to imagine her and Manny’s pain. They are in Benoni and I am in Cape Town so very far away. How do you even begin to offer comfort and support? I kept contact with Sam but told her that I was making her something that would arrive later, when the calls stop coming and the world moves on and yet her world would never be the same. For the days when she needed to know that she has people that care because the loneliness of grief can make the world feel cold some days.

I did see her when I was up there for Christmas. It was a wonderful day with our friend Ghilraen too. We talked and cried and just enjoyed being able to share and support one another. I never got to finish my gift while I was there but she did see me working on it and I posted it yesterday

It was a comfort shawl called Faraway so close, written for someone who had lost a baby. I made it so that Sam could wrap herself if my hug even when I was not there.

The beautiful Yarn was custom dyed by Carle of Nurturing Fibres I saw Carle dye this very special yarn for Sam, it goes from black to blue with white spots and silver twinkle from the kid silk. It is the early morning sky as night fades and another day starts, a few remaining stars in the sky. There are many midnights in grief but there is also the morning, the new day and the hope of tomorrow.

My Dearest Sam nothing can take the pain away or make it better but know today, tomorrow and always that you are loved and that friends, even faraway, walk this path with you.
Love you
from PinkHairGirl

Faraway so close

Sam's shawl

Comfort Shawl

Christmas without her

To my dear Annatjie, Yme, Jacques and  Wouter

Christmas time, a time of family, presents, love and laughter, but also sadness.

Someone with a vibrance as big as Natasha leaves a huge hole. The first Christmas without her, feels surreal like soon she will phone to discuss presents or get excited about gifts for the kids.

She loved spoiling them, Rachel and Caleb were not even related and yet she loved them and spoilt them as much as any Aunt. She would have gone so overboard at Titus’s first Christmas.

I choose to remember last year and the secret Santa gifts, the dancing wind up penis and boobs. She was happy and laughed so much. I am so glad we got to have that last Christmas with her.

I love you all, and am sad for the pain you all feel this year. You are not alone, we still walk this road and remember her, keeping the memory alive together.

All my love
Pinky

P.S. Natasha damn we really do miss you!

In Memory – Natasha

Photobucket

Yme’s sister died last week – gosh I can’t even bear to type those words, to see them like that in black and white. How can they possibly be true? How is it that one year after I met vibrant alive gorgeous redhead that we were saying goodbye?

The first time I met Natasha was when I came down to Cape Town with the pinklets to do our ART roadtrip, it was exactly a year ago . Yme had offered that we stay at his bachelor flat, he moved to his mom’s house for that week so the Pinklets and I would have somehwere to stay in CT. Natasha, knowing what boys are like had offered to help him clean and tidy up before we arrived. I liked her instantly and the bond between them was so clear right from the start.

I had the great privileged of getting to know her on our trip as she drove most of the way with me and the kids. We talked about love, life, dreams, South Africa, her family, kids, well basically everything. She always supported The Geek and I. Lets face it when your brother suddenly has a girlfriend with pink hair and 2 kids one could expect a sister to be critical or protective, but Natasha embrased us all and was so keen to be an aunty to the Pinklets.

When we moved to CT, she made such an effort with them, she would baby sit and buy them things, she would come shopping with me, do my hair and organise my makeup when I had to go out, help clothes shopping. My sisters are both in the UK and it was so nice to have a sister around again. Her and Arthur would come and braai with us and play with the kids and spoil them. She was so very excited about the new baby. She teased Yme about him being Koos forever.

Then she got sick, watching a vibrant 27 year old with her whole life ahead of her being ravaged by a disease that the Drs knew so little about was hard. Natasha got a rare auto immune disease. She was in hospital a long time at the end of last year and there were many times when things were touch and go, but she fought like mad and we were so glad to have her home for Christmas. We had a big family Chtistmas at our house and I am so grateful that she was with us. Those memories will always be very specail. Soon after new year she got sick again her very weak immune system was over run but some very nasty treatment resistant bugs. But again she fought, she fought on a ventilator against the odds for over 60 days until it was just too much. She could not anymore.

She never got to see Titus, never got to hold him, or ooh and aah and laugh and say how perfect he is. I know she would have been instantly in love and would have enjoyed him so much. She only even got to see a picture. I am determined that he might never have met her but he WILL know her, she will be part of his life as she lives on in our memories and we share things from her life.

My pain and loss is by a drop in the ocean of what her mother and brothers are going through, I can not even begin to imagine. I can only hope in a tiny way to offer the support they need. Something like this never goes away, the hole that someone as vibrant as Natasha leaves is huge. Annatjie lost not only her daughter but her friend, her companion and confidant. I marvel at her strength in all of this. Yme and the other brothers are quiet men, they do not wear their pain out in the open for all to see. But if you look, the eye are always windows to the soul and you see the pain etched there. Wouter, only 19 astonounded me with his bravery and calmness at Natasha’s funeral where he chose to say a few words about his sister, he spoke clearly and without falter making a moving tribute to her.

Time is a healer or so they say… I do not think that grief is something we deal with and get over. I think it is just something that we learn somehow to assimilate into our daily lives and we learn to live alongside it.

What I learnt today

– my integrity matters.
– some friends are all talk but when you need them they can’t stand to be in the center of raw pain and emotion – I needed you tonight, I asked and you left!
– I am worth more than the way I have been treated.
– I want someone who would never have left me or gotten me into the situation I had to deal with alone today.
– My world is complex and difficult so look before you enter.
– I am stronger than I ever thought but hurt more than I conceived imaginable.
– I am harder and more guarded because of today and I hate that.
– feeling lonely is one of the hardest things in the whole world.
– when you think there are no more tears there are more.
– It is worth looking beyond what you get to who I am.
– Promises are empty without actions.
– I want a man who is safe and strong enough to give me his all.
– Sometimes just breathing feels too painful – I want to stop.
– Time carries on and as much as I do not want the sun to rise tomorrow, it will.

Does it always hurt so much?

So I fell in love and got my heart broken (shattered, pulverized, torn apart, add more painful adjectives here _____). The love I blogged a while back about never having felt before well it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was not looking for it, in fact it was really not the best time in my life at all. But I guess no one tells your heart that it is supposed to be logical and choose its time to fall in love. The heart has motivation all of its own, that saying should be that a Heart rushes in where Angels fear to tread – rather than fools, but maybe the heart is foolish. Some one new just walked in and turn my whole life totally upside down

There was a moment this morning as I lay in bed unable to sleep that I wondered if it was better to be in a marriage where I did not feel love, at least you were insulated from the intensity of the pain when you loose love. My problem is that I have big emotions and they take over my world, I can’t do things in halves. I really wish I could. – All I want to know is when does the numb part set in, or if you feel this big do you just not get the pleasure of numb?

What did I learn:
– that I can love and that this amazing intense emotion is out there and that it is everything that they write, sing and make movies about and maybe even more.
– that love is not rational and that it comes when you least expect it and that you can’t plan to do it or plan to avoid it.
– that love takes a lot a guts and that you have to be willing to risk a lot, I think the risk is worth it as long as you always stay true to yourself.
– that I can be loved just as I am.
– but the biggest lesson I learnt was that saying I will never settle is worth sticking to, I need to be loved enough that I am someone sun, moon and stars, they have to be willing to fight for me, make the unpopular decision to be in my world. And if they can’t love me enough for this then the fault is not mine, it was not that I was not good enough it was that they did not love enough or have the courage to go with their heart.
– I want to say that I learnt it was worth waiting for the one that will love me this way but through the heart ache at the moment love feels like something that I need to avoid for a while.

I blogged yesterday about wanting a safe place, wanting and needing strong arms to hold me – well I never got it. One day I will, one day I will find my safe place and those strong arms that help to hold me up.
I got 3 things yesterday:
1) I got 2 amazing friend who literally held me up. Laura is my rock at the moment and her kindness and help is just what I need, the other person I have never even met, they just were on line at the right time and offered more support and help then I think they will ever realize. They stood in the hurricane of my emotions and literally helped me take the next breath when it felt like the pain was just too much to be able to breathe.
2) And then I got to go on, to be a mom because for 2 little people I am their world and they need me to cope. I don’t get to melt down.
3) And then I got boxes.

Our shipping arrived yesterday from England and while it seemed like the worst time in the world it was a good distraction. Even though I can’t really lift or do much I can open and slowly one thing at a time create some order in our little world. I can give my kids the joy of discovering their toys again and I can create a little world for us – maybe for now I just have to make ‘safe’ for myself.

The new Boobs have landed!!!

So Thursday rolled around quite quickly, you know when you have been thinking of doing something your whole adult life and then suddenly it is there and it seems too soon. I am glad that from the time I saw the Dr to the time that I had the op was relatively small as did not give me enough time to chicken out. Although I did wobble a few times. Especially in the parking lot, I wanted to turn around a go home.

I don’t think I was quite as nervous on the day as I thought I would be. Needing to be there early, rushing to get the kids ready and generally being a little distracted helped me not to have enough time to get nervous. Even at the clinic all the papers filled in and waiting I was so much calmer than I had anticipated. I even got a call from Great Expectation wanting me to be on TV so not enough time to stress just be excited about my TV début.

Finally the nurse comes to call me to go through, no turning back now, I did once or twice wonder if I should just bolt for the door but since I was now dressed in a lovely hospital gown and slipper I did not think it would be the wisest move. There is something about entering the realm of the ‘medical’ which means you leave your privacy and personhood behind. I know I am a nurse. Medical staff see naked people one way or another all the time; it is just part of the job. I think what we forget is that for the person doing the undressing and standing naked in front of a room of strangers it is not the norm. They still feel exposed and vulnerable.

That said the staff were all wonderful and very kind. Maybe it is having pink hair but I stand out in people’s minds so they tend to look me in the eye more and I engage in conversation that makes me more of a real person. Maybe it is not the hair at all; maybe it is just me and having been a nurse and my subconscious determination not to be ‘another’ number. The Dr asked me to take the gown off and then very matter of fact draws lines all over me and double checks measurements. 400cc is the decided size. Everyone has been asking me what cup size this will be in the end, I have no idea, I guess in 4-6 weeks when the swelling has gone down we will see. Whatever it is, it will be more than the nothing I had.

Don’t you just hate the pre falling asleep stage when your eyelids are struggling to stay open and you can feel the cold aesthetic creeping over you like a wave to take you into unconsciousness. Next thing I was back in the bed where I had waited for the op. I DID NOT CRY, this is a first for me, I always cry when I come round from surgery. I was awake, a little woozy but no tears. I do wish they allowed people into the recovery room and that I had had a friendly face to wake up to, but it was not to be. They are too busy to have people in the back so when you are ready you dress and they show you back out to the front waiting room.

I am proud to say that I even did my post op exercises straight away ( which you are supposed to do every hour!), the pain was there but manageable at this point. I was able to get dressed and walk out. It was over – I really really had boobs for the first time in my life, well that and a horrible drain that can come out in 3 days.

The real pain was only to hit at about 1pm, I tried to get to my pain meds for an hour but could not actually move even with having had a morphine injection of earlier. When I did ask Barbara to help me sit, the pain was indescribable I wanted to throw up and faint at the same time. I broke out in a cold sweat, horrible horrible and I even had extra pain medication with the Morphine my dad got me. I have no idea how people without cope. Well the debate of how badly post op pain is managed is one for another day…

The Thursday and Friday were a bit of a blur really. I hope I did not say anything to anyone I should not have as I was sore and out of it. The good side was it was probably the most sleep I have had in months.

My friends have been amazing but that is a whole story on its own and one I will write tomorrow.