Friday, February 23, 2018

saying goodbye

In 2017 my dog, my brother, and my dearest friend all had cancer.

It was too late for my beloved dog, we still miss her so much.

My brother had 6 grueling months of surgery and chemo, 6 months of physical and emotional distress, and is now in remission and feeling stronger every day. He had his port removed a few weeks back and is slowly becoming himself again.

No one was joking when we said 2017 was a bitch.

For my darling friend it has been a year of surgery and chemo and more. The cancer is relentless.
We have embarked on the long, painful, surreal, beautiful, terrible journey of saying goodbye.

How does one do this? Turns out, like everything else in life it happens despite you. Days follow days and each day the reality grows - simultaneously filling you up and hollowing you out with grief, anger, disbelief and immeasurable beauty.

There is utter screaming rage at this senseless thing - this cunt of a disease which takes so much, which marches on regardless, which is not satisfied to just break the body but must simultaneously break the heart of the person you love as well, inflicting so many different kinds of pain.

There is grief which stares at you blank-faced around corners.

There is fear for the future, for tomorrow and next year. There is horrified disbelief that we live in a world where so many thousands of women die from a disease which is not yet curable.

And there is so, so much love, so much gratitude. So much honesty and freedom in the cavern of pain which allows the space to say 'I love you. I'm so grateful for our friendship. I am not going to be the same person without you. I will miss you forever.'

These are not words I'd planned to say to her for another 40 years, in reality I'd never have needed to - we know this about each other - but I'm saying them now every day, in my heart and in my words. These are the words which we use to stave off the darkness, to keep the glow of love burning brighter, for now.

There is a different kind of pain in finding comfort, a sting of guilt, but I must find peace in the places that I can - and my over-whelming gratitude for her influence in my life is the calmest well in the midst of this sadness.
That I will never say goodbye to.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

the day it rained

Sad news made me very sad yesterday morning.
I was actually pleased that smaller daughter was off school with a cold so I couldn't really wallow -  it's hard to get properly emotional when someone keeps asking for toast with syrup and strawberries and your assistance getting to the next level of Angry Birds.
I imagine this is how mothers the world over keep on keeping on.

I got busy with tax submissions and other frightfully stimulating domestic tasks, popped out to buy some leeks and a bra ... you know, keeping on.

In the background the slow, agonising demise of Zuma churned away ... not for us the excitement of an overthrow, an assassination, a fit of conscience or a public resignation. No, just the living embodiment of the very South African phrase, now now. As in, Zuma is leaving now now. But when exactly remains unclear.
It's hard to drink celebratory champagne in slow disjointed sips. Not good for the bubbles really.
Can you believe it's been nearly a decade since this?

On the horizon thunderheads bubbled up, Google told me 'it's raining in Cape Town, stay dry' and the sun beat down unabated.

Later that evening my lovely parents came for supper.

We had a leek tart, mounds of roasted baby potatoes, beetroot, piles of fresh summery salady things, a fine wine, homemade panna cotta for dessert topped with juicy strawberries and figs, then more figs with blue cheese ... and more wine.
And while we were eating the storm outside got serious.

Thunder, lightning - after dinner we squeezed onto the stoep couch and ooh-ed and aah-ed at the light show playing out around us. At the rain pouring down.
The air got momentarily warmer, as the heat was released from the ground, and then deliciously cool.

My parents dashed out to their car, the girls off to bed, and I sat outside with the last of my wine and just one more fig, listening to the rain, watching the lightning and marveling at how one day can encompass so much.

Even in loss there is gratitude, even in drought there is rain.

UPDATE: He's gone! At 10:55pm on 'Zumatines' Day the old fuck finally resigned! Yippeeee.

Friday, February 02, 2018

camera roll: January

January really does feel like the longest month of the year. At 31 days it's not any longer than a bunch of other months but wow, it really encompasses a LOT.

31 days ago we were on holiday, nursing our hangovers with a long walk beside the ocean, a soft-serve, a swarm of bees and later, fortifying red wine as the first full moon of the year bathed our optimistic new year selves in warm golden light.

Then home, to the reality of the drought - hitting hard - and a dawn patrol of police helicopters, looking for an elderly man who went missing in his canoe. His body was found later that morning poor chap - a suspected seizure while out on the water. Not a bad way to go really. I got a text from my Mum saying 'Hang on to those unseaworthy craft of yours. Dad and I will take a spin in a few years time.'

The only part of our garden I care about keeping alive - my succulent babies doing well on rations of dishwater and leftover dribbles out of the family's water bottles ...

Good eating in January. The glut of fruit and fresh abundance, and the time to prepare and serve pretty, healthy things. All the indulgences of the holiday eating magically remedied (or so we tell ourselves!) in lots of fruit and salads.

Not such a great month for Nacho ... lil' pup finally got spayed after I won the furious puppies v no puppies debate. She was down and out for a couple of days but bounced back remarkably and was soon back to her mischievous self.

On the subject of babies, and mischef ... early beach mornings with my delicious nephew while my SIL and my eldest daughter played at surfing.

Even after Husband and I were back at work we successfully kept the holiday vibe alive (and cheered Nacho up no end) by procuring a second-hand sofa for the stoep. Perfect for lazing and dreaming and pretending we still have endless days for such ...

Goddamn that light is ugly...
There was even a teeny-weeny bit of rain!

And I discovered that the sound of water running into our storage tank actually brought a lump to my throat.
It doesn't take much to bring a lump to my throat lately.

My last pic of January 2018. Little old lady cat in the afternoon sun. Deaf as a doorpost, as cranky as always, only happy when she's lying tight up against me at night. Still my sweetest first baby.

31 days later the full moon rose again, but this time we weren't watching is ascend all chilled and wine'd up with buddies. This time we were chasing deadlines, and children to bed before school. A brief glance out the window, roused in the night by a glare to the eyeballs.
Same moon, same month, feels like a long, long few weeks in between.

And now, as experience shows, the year starts galloping along. Shew this crazy life.