Listen to that Little Voice Inside

Sometimes in life you forge a bond with someone that no amount of time, nor distance, can break.  You don’t have to talk to each other every day, nor do you have to see each other even once a year, or once a decade.  You’re connected, by something intangible, something some might even call supernatural.

I am extremely blessed to have a few of these ‘someones’ including Natalie, who I got to know in a very short period of three months, in 1993. Three years older than me, she was the proverbial big sister.

We stayed in touch over the years, writing actual letters to one another, when pen-pals were still a real thing, and then with the advent of Facebook and Skype, we got to share in each other’s’ lives, touching base on the odd occasion.

I watched her evolution from a timid, freckled-faced girl, into a successful, high-powered business person; an independent force to be reckoned with. After a long, tumultuous road, she married Jacob, a bloke she’d met while travelling on business in New Zealand. This year is lucky number thirteen, or maybe not-so-lucky…

Last night I spent the evening on the couch mapping out a few things for a story I’m writing, having renewed motivation after finding my writing tutor’s comment on an “on this day” post on Facebook.  It wasn’t that late, shortly before nine PM, when I received a message from her mum on Messenger, telling me that she thought I’d want to know: Nat, Jacob and Teagan, their ten-year-old, had been travelling home from a weekend away when they had had an accident. From what I can gather it was the result of a tyre issue.  Jacob came out of the wreck with scratches, but Nat is in hospital with pelvic injuries (which have fortunately not caused any internal bleeding) and a broken leg. Teagan is in a medically induced coma to slow down swelling on his brain. I was shaken. Not only because of the obvious shock and reminder (once again) of how precious life is, but from guilt.

For a while I’ve had this inkling to Skype with Nat and thought that if I did go to my parents this weekend, I’d schedule some time with her just to catch up.

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The adage of the best laid plans applies here. I am praying for all of them and reminding myself that she’s a tough broad, that loves life, her ‘boys’, her family and her friends – she has so many reasons to fight for a full- and speedy recovery. When she’s able to, come Hell or High Tide, we’re going to catch up. There is so much to tell her.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is that if you hear a little voice in your head telling you to get in touch with someone, whether it is just to say hello or make amends or whatever…heed it, because we never know what tomorrow holds.

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Goodbye April! Things are already better in May…

Inspiration.  It comes from the strangest of places sometimes most times.  More often than not, it isn’t really subtle either…

Today, the Giggling Gourmet, @Jenny Morris, whom I follow on Facebook posted a quote by Marilyn Vos Savant:

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If you read my previous post, you will be more than aware of how defeated I felt, how close I was to tossing it all in the fuck-it-bucket and having a pity party of epic proportions.  Giving up really did look like a promising option.  Not only because of my flooded flat, which more than two weeks later has still not been assessed by the insurance for damages, but because of the struggles my parents have faced of late.

Mom still mourns Marley daily, and their living conditions leave a lot to be desired, but, with that said, acceptance of- or resignation to the fact that this is how things may be for the foreseeable future, has made things a little easier to deal with.  I still hate having to see my parents live in an industrial area where all sorts of noxious fumes are the order of the day, especially with Mom’s propensity to bronchitis and asthma.  The confined space that she and Dad have to share is also not ideal because he is frustrated to the point of physical aggression.  Just yesterday, he tried to hang a shelf which he spent hours making.  A piece of the wood split when he drilled it into the wall and he almost smashed the thing to pieces with the hammer.  It worries me a great deal.  I wish there was something I could do, but short of holding a gun to their heads, forcing them to come and live with me, my hands are tied.

Then of course, there are the tired expressions, such as, “this too shall pass”, or “it could be worse”, or “count your blessings, not your problems”, which I will admit, are all true.  Hearing these platitudes from people who actually are in my- and my parents’ life is acceptable, but I have to muster every last bit of self-control not to tell other people who know us, but prefer to live in happy obliviousness in their ivory towers, to shut the hell up.

Before I get lynched, I have the greatest respect for the trials we all have to face, but no two situations are the same.  Your wife leaving you for another man is regrettable and tragic, but so is my parents’ loss of almost everything they worked hard to build up.  I could go on like a long-playing record, but I would rather not rant more than is necessary.

In between all of this drama, I had to still find time to complete my second assignment before my upcoming exams in June.  I finished and handed in by the deadline, but part of me feels that had things been a bit calmer, I could have done more.  I anxiously await the results.

Since last week I have received incredible support from not only my friends and my colleagues.  Elizabeth and her parents put me up for a few nights, feeding me well (she still makes the best chicken pie in the whole world!) and allowing me to enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings.  The restlessness of living out of a suitcase got to me though and I opted to take a colleague and his wife up on their offer of staying in the granny flat on their property until such time that my flat is habitable again.  At first I was hesitant, but after arriving, and seeing a beautiful bunch of proteas on the table to welcome me, I immediately felt at home.

The stability of a “home-away-from-home” without distractions, has afforded me the opportunity to begin revision for my final exam.  Heaven knows, I want to get this subject over and done with.  Having failed twice, many years ago, I’m hoping that the third time will indeed be a charm, otherwise I will forfeit all the credits I have obtained to date, and then have to do the entire year over, which is something I cannot afford.  So, putting the positive vibes out there – when I receive the notification that I have passed my Diploma in International Trade (Exports) exam, I will be celebrating with something bubbly – even if it is just sparkling mineral water.

The messages of care from friends far and wide have been a comfort in a time that has been so dark for my parents and I.  A surprise visit from a Capetonian friend last weekend also did a lot to lift our spirits, as did a visit with Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry and some friends.  Speaking of Uncle Barry – he worked incredibly hard to get dad’s car running again, which we are all so grateful for.  Dad can now get to work every day without hassles or stressing about rapturous steam billowing out of the bonnet.  Eliza and Nicholas have invited me to eat with them in the evenings (as they are very close to where I am residing for the interim), so I don’t have to cook.  Yay!

To every single one of you, who has, despite your own storms, blessed my parents and I with words of encouragement, a loan to keep the bank from taking my car back, a pot of soup, a bed to sleep in, an ear to listen, a long, flaming-hot shower, a back & neck destress massage or who did a load (more like a mountain!) of washing.  Thank you.  You know who you are.  You are the people that I will roll a boulder out of the way for.

So yes, things are not ideal, but they are 100% more ideal than they were in April.  And for that, I’m grateful, because while we’ve been defeated, we’re a long shot from giving up.