The Heaviness of the Hollow

The sculpture above is called Melancolie, sculpted by a Romanian artist Albert Gÿorgy. He mastered this piece after the death of his wife to try and put effect to his grief. Melancolie sits with his hollow pain at Lake Geneva, Switzerland, offering solace to those who can identify with that heavy, empty hole that’s left after someone you cared for leaves us.

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The Storm in the Desert

We planned a holiday to Namibia and Botswana in 2019 for the June holidays in 2020. Alas, Covid closed houses and borders for many months. We were all taken by surprise by the unforeseen consequences of a global pandemic. I wrote about 20/20 vision and our inability to plan or predict any single day of our lives. Having had first hand experience in adjusting life and holiday plans on a whim, we replanned our Namibia trip for December 2022 and set off as planned on 16 December.

Our first stop in Port Nolloth was on the beach, beautiful, carefree. Over the expansive Orange river the next day, Gemsbok walking freely in Oranjemund town and onwards to a windy, but wonderful few days in Lüderitz at Shark Island. We made special memories swimming in icy water and sunbathing and fishing on a secluded boulder blocking the wind. We travelled further to Sossusvlei, Desert Quiver Camp. Both these places we visited and utterly loved in 2018. We managed to climb Dune 45 and see the Deadvlei all in one day. That left us with a free day the following day and we treated ourselves to a Christmas present, a scenic flight over the desert.

Lazily sitting around the pool, the only spot with wi-fi connectivity, a call came through that changed our lives forever. The distressed voice on the other side cried over and over: ‘It’s Dubs, he is dead, I don’t know what to do’. My father passed away on Thursday 22 December from a sudden heart attack. He was peacefully asleep on his bed, at his house which he owned for more than 45 years.

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Underneath the Sycamore Tree

We recently went to see a rare reunion of the band DNA Strings at Lourensford. It was a beautiful evening, apart from the thunderstorms that were predicted for the night. It’s Cape Town. A winter rainfall region. Surely 2 weeks before the official arrival of summer would not see a thunderstorm? Cape Town doesn’t even have thunder in the rainy season! The event managers took head to the unreliable weather prediction and moved the venue from a complete open sky venue to a venue where a few Sycamore trees and a roof over the stage at least provided some protection from the elements. It must be the best feeling in the world when you plan for rain and it pours! (See my blog about how the rain wrapped me in gold with my son’s birthday party.) There we were, in the midst of a beautiful thunderstorm, sheltered underneath a Sycamore tree, reminiscent of many years gone by.

The Sycamore tree is referenced 9 times in the Bible.

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Moving On

Today marks the 4th anniversary of our move to Cape Town. It has been a tremendous journey and if I look back at where we started to where we are now, I’m nothing but grateful for everything we have gained, but also for the things we left behind.

I remember saying good bye to our house in Pretoria. I went into each room and absorbed all of its memories. I started in the kitchen and remembered meal times, happy, sad and frustrating. I wrote about my journey with food when I was breastfeeding my son and his allergies, so these memories were deep and entrenched. I walked further into a renovated bathroom and remembered the frustration and haste to get everything done before our first baby arrived. The next room was the guest room my husband slept in before we married, before I moved in. He didn’t want to occupy the master bedroom on his own and delayed moving to our room until I arrived. Feelings of gratitude flooded over me. I cried, no I sobbed when I walked into the nursery, the room I brought two children home to. The countless sleepless nights, the hours and hours of feeding, nappy changing, of laughter, tears and stories. It was in this room where the Lord told me that it was time to move on two years prior. Saying goodbye hurt so much, it felt like I left a piece of me between the bricks and mortar when I locked the front door one last time. The house empty, but filled with memories no one could ever erase.

Fast forward to our new home in Cape Town where my children attend a public preparatory school.

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Exposed

Ever since the start of the pandemic, this image warning of potential exposure to biohazardous material, has become part of our natural lives. It used to be confined to movies with actors in hazmat suits like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial or the Grey’s Anatomy series. The level of biohazardous material we got used to in our average, daily lives surpassed even the most far fetched science-fiction movies of our past.

It was after a recent visit to the gyneacologist’s rooms that the thought crossed my mind how different this rather dreadful experience had become post children. Being prodded and poked during 18 months of collective pregnancy, birthing two children and a total of 36 months of breastfeeding exposed my most private body to far more than what I felt I signed up for. Raising babies who only start realizing that they are a separate entity to their mom at six months of age and then having them grow into children who often cling, sit so close to you they might as well be on your lap, lie on top of you, and breathe warm air onto my sensory sensitive skin as they fall asleep next to me, makes me wonder if my body will ever be my own again.

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Unveiling

This is my 82nd post. Incidentally it is also the year I was born in, which would make me 40 this year. This is also the year that I feel that I have unveiled myself to the world. Brave enough to show people who I am regardless whether they agree with my views or like what I do. You’ll remember from my post Gifting a Memory that friends have said about me that I’m claiming my stake, and that’s probably what’s happening here. Turning 40 really is liberating. You become who you are.

If you are new to ‘me’, welcome. You are probably lucky not having had to endure all my growing pains over the last 5 and a half years, but you would be worse off not knowing my journey. I therefore take you on a quick tour through my heart. If you’ve grown with me and in me, thank you for the safe space you have allowed me to be and become me. Here’s a recap: (Click on the underlined hyperlink to read the related blog.)

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Storm

Storms are part of our lives. Literal and figurative storms come and go, and although the timing of it is not always predictable, the fact that there will be, is a given.

I miss the intensity of the electric storms we had when we stayed in Gauteng. The rumbling of the thunder and the clatter of the enormous drops of rain on the roof. Sometimes these storms would bring hail and along with it devastating damage. Most of the time the storm would be over as quickly as it arrived. The storms we have in the Western Cape are somewhat different. Quiet, but relentless. The rain falls sideways because of the wind and the cold it brings freezes you to your bones. It is senseless to own an umbrella in the Cape. You brave the storm in your wellies and a waterproof jacket. Not even a roof overhang protects from the sideways rain. You’ll be wet. That’s a guarantee.

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Passion & Fruit

When we moved into our new home at the end of 2020 we also planted three grenadilla plants to creep up our pergola. Grenadilla is also know as Passion Fruit in other parts of the world. These plants have kept me guessing and looking into nature like nothing before. Man, have they taught me about life!

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A Moment in Time

Having kids is a tiresome, exhausting, never ending task. Some days feel like it will never end. And when they are small, it feels like the only thing you are doing, is planning their day, from the moment they wake up, so they can go back to sleep again at night. I remember those days where I survived from one night’s interrupted sleep to the next. I remember them like they were yesterday. The years have rushed passed and I’m reminded on a daily basis how little time I have left. The days are long, but the years are short.

I have written about the dangers of twisting the words and messages in the Bible in my post Half Truths and Whole Lies. I was amongst others referring to the evolution teachings and acceptance of it in society and in churches. Two specific sections in the Bible are often cited for accepting the creation of earth over billions of years and funny enough it all has to do with the saying above how the days are long, feeling like a thousand years, yet how I remember many years ago, like it was yesterday.

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Vessel to a Rose

It’s officially Women’s Day in South Africa where we commemorate over 20,000 women marching to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest to the carrying of pass books to limit the movement of women of colour in the Apartheid years. Over the years, internationally and at home, women have fought for their rights, freedom and equality relentlessly. Many men have fought alongside women in our persuit of equality, and I am forever grateful for a husband who celebrates me as a strong woman. It is however only recently that I’ve started to wonder whether we’ve gotten this ‘equality’ thing all wrong.

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