Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Natey's Yahrzeit Memorial

Firstly a disclaimer: I am not Jewish, so I am by no means an expert on anything relating to Judaism. But Andrew and his family are, and Natey was too...

Well technically Natey hadn't had his official conversion yet, which was required due to the fact that I am not Jewish - and yes very strictly in Judaism if the mother is not Jewish the child cannot be - which would have required a sort of water-baptism etc. But he did have a Bris on the 8th day, he attended a Jewish school, we sat Shiva with a Rabbi and observed the basic Jewish customs when he died (although again, he was cremated, which is not traditionally allowed in Judaism). So let's say, like Andrew, he was going to be 'culturally Jewish' if not fully compliant.

Anyway, the point is having been exposed to Judaism through Andrew and Natey now, I have seen and learned a fair amount about it and I have found that the customs and strong sense of community of it are pretty special and meaningful.

One of the traditions of Judaism is the Yahrzeit.

What is the Yahrzeit?*
The word ‘Yahrzeit’ is Yiddish and is translated to mean “time of year" and taken to mean the anniversary of a death. In Judaism, there is a focus on carrying on the memory of those before us from generation to generation. Based on Jewish law, the Yahrzeit is the day one year following the death of a loved one as calculated in accordance with the Hebrew calendar. This remembrance is performed annually by reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish and burning a Yahrzeit candle for 24 hours. Traditionally, the observance begins on the anniversary of the Hebrew date of death and the candle is lit at sunset. 

The Yahrzeit candle reminds people of the fragility of life and encourages them to embrace their life and that of their loved ones. A candle is often believed to be a symbol of the soul. This is one of the core reasons that candles are such an integral part of the Jewish religion.

Traditionally, mourners keep the candle lit for the entire 25 hours from sundown on the eve of the yahrzeit to sunset on the day of the yahrzeit and allow it to burn itself out. 

When the Yahrzeit candle is lit, the intent and focus for individuals is to take time out of the day to remember, honour and celebrate the life of the loved one. Traditionally, you will find that the Mourner’s Kaddish is recited on the Yahrzeit. It is customary and suggested that family and friends use this time to share stories and reflect upon the person who has passed and the legacy he or she has left behind.

As mentioned the official Yahrzeit is calculated according to the Hebrew calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar we use in daily life.

We will be using Natey's normal calendar date (30 December) as a day of memory for him, but will also be mindful and light a Yahrzeit candle for him on his Hebrew anniversary, which for those of you in the know is on Tevet 1.

This means that today, 19 December 2017 is Natey's Yahrzeit.
And coincidentally Natey died pretty much spot on at Sunset so the time of lighting the candle - which is at sunset - coincides almost perfectly.

Sunset today is at 19:56.

Sunset on 30 December is at 20:00.

#DoingItForNatey  #LiveLongDays

Natey's official Yahrzeit dates:
01 TEVET 5777
Tevet 1, 5777,"Friday, 30 December 2016"
Tevet 1, 5778,"Tuesday, 19 December 2017"
Tevet 1, 5779,"Sunday, 9 December 2018"
Tevet 1, 5780,"Sunday, 29 December 2019"
Tevet 1, 5781,"Wednesday, 16 December 2020"
Tevet 1, 5782,"Sunday, 5 December 2021"
Tevet 1, 5783,"Sunday, 25 December 2022"
Tevet 1, 5784,"Wednesday, 13 December 2023"
Tevet 1, 5785,"Wednesday, 1 January 2025"
Tevet 1, 5786,"Sunday, 21 December 2025"
Tevet 1, 5787,"Friday, 11 December 2026"
Tevet 1, 5788,"Friday, 31 December 2027"
Tevet 1, 5789,"Tuesday, 19 December 2028"
Tevet 1, 5790,"Friday, 7 December 2029"
Tevet 1, 5791,"Friday, 27 December 2030"
Tevet 1, 5792,"Tuesday, 16 December 2031"
Tevet 1, 5793,"Friday, 3 December 2032"
Tevet 1, 5794,"Friday, 23 December 2033"
Tevet 1, 5795,"Wednesday, 13 December 2034"
Tevet 1, 5796,"Tuesday, 1 January 2036"
Tevet 1, 5797,"Friday, 19 December 2036"
Tevet 1, 5798,"Wednesday, 9 December 2037"
Tevet 1, 5799,"Tuesday, 28 December 2038"
Tevet 1, 5800,"Sunday, 18 December 2039"
Tevet 1, 5801,"Wednesday, 5 December 2040"
Tevet 1, 5802,"Tuesday, 24 December 2041"
Tevet 1, 5803,"Sunday, 14 December 2042"
Tevet 1, 5804,"Friday, 1 January 2044"
Tevet 1, 5805,"Wednesday, 21 December 2044"
Tevet 1, 5806,"Sunday, 10 December 2045"
Tevet 1, 5807,"Sunday, 30 December 2046"

* Info from:

Friday, 24 November 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

At first I didn’t want to celebrate thanksgiving this year. It felt like I have nothing to be thankful for… but then the more I thought about it, the more I realised I do indeed have a LOT to be thankful for.

Despite the worst possible start this year, which has by far been the very hardest of my life, I am thankful for:

Cynthia continuing to fly the Cape Town Thanksgiving banner high. And organising the whole thing on her own, and doing a superb job of it too. This year all I had to do was rock up. Rather than the large extended (40-60 people) Thanksgiving dinner we'd been hosting, this year was a smaller more intimate group of about 16 of us. It was perfect.

Andrew. Whose love care and commitment to me has remained constant, despite no obligation to do so. He proves himself to be a consistently good and really decent person in all and everything he does. His continued acceptance of and care for me has been truly humbling. He is the true embodiment of a mensch as they’d say in Yiddish.

My boys Quinn & Griffin: Who despite many hardships, curve-balls and tragedies in their lives, and especially this year, remain positive, enthusiastic and strong, and so supportive of and gentle with me. Looking after me when I can't (but should be) the one looking after them.

To all the amazing people who have surrounded us with love, care, support, generosity and connection throughout this year. I don’t think we could have done it without you all, holding us up, when it felt like we couldn’t.

And this new life growing inside me: Who I hope will grow and thrive and that we will be adequate parents to.

And for Natey. Who was here for far too short a time and left us far too soon, but who lit up all of our lives and brought so much joy, love and happiness to us all.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Thank you, again for your generous donations

Dear friends & family

The Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town has advised us that all of your contributions in the name of Nathaniel L T Canter have allowed them to purchase two "Saturating Machines" (to quickly & easily measure the blood oxygen levels of children) for their Cardiac Unit. In our engagements with the hospital they suggested that these machines were what was desperately needed.

Thank you all for your generous gifts that have provided this legacy for Natey.

It's been almost 10 months since the death of our little Nathaniel, we've marked each passing month with sadness… and notably August 29th – what would have been his 3rd birthday.  We've ridden the "waves" during the year… we've stayed close to each other… we've sought to make "new memories" with various travels… and we've re-engaged with our lives, mostly successfully (although perhaps lacking some spark at times).  We keep Natey in sight (through photos, screen savers, mementos and such) and in mind every day: Not a day passes without a twinge of sadness, a (literal) groan of regret, a stab of loss, and sometimes a (physical) pain in our hearts. 

But we carry on: Because there is little choice, and because life has to be lived.  And we are okay.

Thank you all again for the love, support and your donations for Natey,

Andrew & Jane

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

What bothers me about #MeToo

What bothers me about #MeToo...

I can not bring myself to post a #MeToo status. Not because I have never been subjected to some inappropriate attention. I have seen a flasher when I was 13 (I merely looked away and crossed the road), had some innuendo from colleagues (hell, I have dished a lot of it out myself), I have even had a manager playfully ask me to sit on his lap in my early 20s (er, no thanks dude!). But I have never felt like a victim and I have never felt like I have been exposed to anything I could not handle, or that I was in full rights and power to control. Sure, some guys have been inappropriate at times, and I am not even going to try to justify it with the 'boys will be boys' saying.

But I feel that by demonising each and every even-slightly suggestive encounter with males, we really are demonising ALL our men-folk.

To be clear, I am fully in favour that those that rape, molest and abuse should feel the full consequence and might of the law and complete public scorn. I do truly sympathise with any woman, or man, who has endured such horrific ordeals. It's unconscionable.

However, if I think how much joking and innuendo I myself have been part of, willingly and playfully with the people I was sparing with, someone could just as easily write #MeToo about an encounter with me! But I can honestly say with a clean conscience that I don't think I have ever been truly inappropriate or have harassed, or abused anyone in this way... (please do call me out if you think I have!)

So when is the #MeToo thing too much? It seems every woman who has had someone so much as admire them now feels harassed and victimised. Really!? Come on!

Also, I went to the an all-girls' school and the way those girls would bray and behave if even so much as a fat bum-crack-barring plumber rocked up to unclog the toilets was frankly disgusting and embarrassing. Those poor plumbers/electricians etc. were certainly harassed and abused!

So I do have an issue with everyone, and their aunt, jumping on this band-wagon (but I DO acknowledge that many, many , many of these are legitimate #MeToos and that there is a problem and it is far too pervasive). And as I have blogged about at least twice before... as the mom of boys I am so painfully aware, that especially now, they are demonised completely and it is purely because they are boys.

They are assumed to be bad, evil and that it's just a matter of time before they 'show their true colours'. The FemiNazi's are out to get them constantly, and showing ANY interest in a girl, unless SHE decides it's what she wants could have really dire consequences. Women are now seen as blameless and 'victims' and can really do no wrong. (Yet, I know some despicable women!!)

If I was a boy I would be terrified to put a foot wrong, or make any advances to anyone. It's a shame.

It's not that there are no issues that need to be addressed, of course there are. But bashing ALL men, does not feel like the right way to go about fixing it.

So yes I have had my share of #MeToo experiences. And I have also had a bad divorce and have an ex that has never contributed 1c since the divorce or contacted his children once since Dec 2009. No, I do not rate him as a prime example of a decent human being or parent... But those are not indictments on 50% of the human population. Every human born with a Y-chromosome.

As a mom of all boys I weep for them, and for how the world will see and treat them, purely for being born male. #BoysMatterToo

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Natey boy on your birthday

Dearest darling Natey. It's very nearly 8 months since you left us. 8 very long, sad and heartsore months. 

And today should have been a happy and very special day. Today would have been your third birthday. A celebration of the big boy you would have been now, and the bitter-sweet ceremony to mark that would be happening - the first cutting of your hair, your upsherin. Those beautiful, wild, unruly red curls. Which, just like you, refused to be tamed. It's hard to imagine how you would look without those cherubic curls.

But sadly today is not a celebration for us this year. As we are too sad still and miss you too much.

I do hope though that as the years pass that we can use your birthday to celebrate you and the light, joy and wonder you brought to our lives.

This year though my boy, we simply mourn and miss you.

I feel guilt and shame for not having been a good enough mother to you and not making sure you were safe one minute earlier. It's a heavy weight to bear, and it is my weight to bear.

Happy would-have-been-your-birthday my sunshine. Thank-you for all the crows.

Love Mommy

Saturday, 3 June 2017

INNOVATION CLUB - June 2017 - Jean De Villiers

Thursday night 1 June, was Innovator's Club time again. The last one I attended was Andrea Bohmert's Venture Capital talk in February. This time it was hosted at the slick new Citadel Investments building in Claremont (I think it's not THAT new, I have just not seen it or been there before).
And the guest speaker was Jean De Villiers. Yes, he of Springbok rugby fame. It turns out he is Citadel's 'Head of Philanthopy'.

What does Jean De Villiers have to do with innovation, you may ask? I was also wondering... in fact that was a big part of why I went along this time, to get the answer to that exact question.

So it seems that's a pretty obvious first question and one Jean addressed immediately as he got his talk started. He said that if we were there for tips on tech innovation, he had none, and we were in the wrong place. He went on to say that if however we were there for tips on the Springbok's rugby game play and how they can get back on top... he has none of those either, and again we were in the wrong place. And if that was the case, we'd better leave.

No one left and so he had to go on to tell his story. And what he did was give us a brief run-through of his development into and then extensive and lengthy career in the game of rugby, starting at the age of 5. I have admittedly not really followed the rugby scene closely for the last *cough* 10 *cough* years since the 2007 world cup win, but I do at least know who he is.

Jean has a candid, open, engaging and slightly self-deprecating and humourous style, which is quite endearing. This coupled with his story about his rise to fame in the rugby world, which was marred constantly by many and varied injuries at critical points, made for an interesting and engaging tale of repeated cycles of success and set-backs at every turn.

For me personally, and due to my own life experience, I related strongly and quite emotionally, to his message about how in those moments of set-back and failure you face your biggest choices. The choice to give up or try again. How you can either accept defeat and stop trying. Or you pick yourself up, learn and grow and try once again. And how each time you have to make that choice to keep going it actually gets easier. Not necessarily easier to do, but easier to make the decision to do so. Because you build grit, tenacity and resilience along the way. In my experience giving up also feels bad. Keeping going and trying to be and do better and to build on the failure to hopefully achieve possitivity feels much better.

He also brought in the sentiment of how you can't really claim to be innovative unless you have failed. This is a pretty widely held belief...

Jean then also spoke briefly about his philanthropy work much of which seems to focus on Early Childhood Development in underprivileged communities.

It was great to see speakers from many of the other Innovation Clubs I have attended there too, Sihle Tshabalala, Marlon Parker, Mark Forrester, and Andrea Bohmert and as usual getting a chance to network, chat and interact with interesting, dynamic and successful innovators and entrepreneurs is always inspirational.

I have been lucky enough to get a chance to speak to Sihle at several of these events now and each time he appears to be even more confident, successful and driven. He certainly seems to be doing things right and I was very impressed to hear that he is not only running his not-for-profit ventures which seem to be thriving but has now also running a for-profit set-up too which is doing really well - evidenced by his slick suit and the MacBook and iPhone he was toting. I just love his story and what he is doing. What an inspiration!