Thinking & Feeling

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

75 days...

Natey Boy, it's been 75 days since you left us.

That's 2 and a half months.
It feels too long. It feels like you were just here, and you could come back at any moment...
But you don't.

You are everywhere and nowhere.
I see photos of you all day. On my phone, in the house, on my laptop wallpaper, on Facebook.
We have a nook in the bedroom with all your 'stuff'. Rocks, stones, feathers, well loved cars, baby bear, your art from school, your favourite books (Remember how you used to giggle when I used to Read you the 'Bunny Pie' book?), the black feather I found.
I still say the things you'd say: 'Are you kidding me!?' 'Holy Cow!' 'A little more milkie please?' 'My school!' 'Dat boy whadup?' All these things make me smile and laugh.

I see your crows everyday. Not a day goes by that I don't see at least one, usually more. They bring me great comfort and make me smile each time I see one. They very often fly right over me.

But they are not you. Your photos are not you, you memories are not you.

And every now and again the enormity of the hole you have left in our house, in our lives, in our hearts really hits and feels so big. Too big to bear even. So big I can't let myself feel it completely yet. I can;t bear to think of all the potential and possibilities you had, and how much more you could have and should have got to be, get and give here.

I miss you baby boy. Life is just not the same without you in it. It's hard to find joy, and fun again my boy. We try to keep going to live #LongDays and to keep #DoingItForNatey, but it's hard.

I love you.
I am sorry
Please forgive me

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Natey's Red Cross Memorial Plaque

We were invited to visit the Red Cross Children's hospital and to tour the facilities and especially the cardiac unit. 

An in-memorium plaque was placed in the memorial garden at the Red Cross Children's hospital in honour of Natey and in thanks for the fund received in his name which will be used towards helping other children with Childhood Heart Disease. 

About R60 000 was donated in his name. We sincerely thank each and every one who donated and who helped save or better the life of another child.

 Natey's plaque was placed next to Doc Ollie's plaque. 

Us with Pauline, the Children's Trust donations coordinator.

Natey's Plaque

Doc Ollie and Natey's in-memorium plaques placed along-side each other

The hospital memorial garden

Cake (with stars!) & Sunflowers for the hospital staff.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart. 

#DoingItForNatey is about remembering to be present, grateful, spontaneous, to live long days, to push yourself beyond your fears or self-imposed boundaries and limitations. Be who you are and who you want to be without inhibition or apology. 

I will be riding the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and hopefully also doing the Platteklip Challenge again this year both in support of SAEP and also #DoingItForNatey

For every breath that feels tough during the training and the actual ride, I will be grateful that I can breathe and I will push on, because he can't. And if I can raise some awareness and money for the Children's Hospital *at the same time that will be an extra bonus. I am already riding in the charity group in aid of SAEP (South African Education and Environment Project). But will add this to my reason to keep going...

But despite fund raising this is a cause to seize the day and make the most of your life. Do it for you and keep #DoingItForNatey.

* In honour of dearest Natey there is a donation drive to collect money in his name (Nathaniel Leonidas Thor Canter) for the Children's Hospital Trust, in order to help other little ones with Childhood Heart Disease to get the life saving treatment they need.

Grateful for generous nourishment

Someone who works for Andrew set up a meal train  to provide meals for us for when we went back to work and all the guests and visitors we'd had stopped.

This is an online system to coordinate a meal provision service for someone. "When a friend is in need, everyone asks "What can I do to help?" The answer is always to make a meal. When many friends make and deliver a meal, this is a meal train."

At first we were embarrassed and a little resistant to accept it. I mean it's not like we were ill or disabled. We were back at work, walking around and 'functioning' throughout the day, and acting 'fine' for goodness sakes.

But both Andrew and I soon realised that we were 'at work' more than actually working. And that we were not that productive or functional at all. Attention spans were (still are) short, our focus is scattered and unpredictable. Our memory and recall is unreliable. We are forgetful. We zone out. We are easily distracted. We get easily overwhelmed and we are more often than not day-dreaming or a bit emotional. Between this we are trying to juggle our actual real jobs and the responsibilities we have to our clients, companies and teams. So while everyone is being kind and patient and giving us lee-way, stuff does need to get done. By the end of the day of frankly 'keeping our shit together' in public at work, we are pretty exhausted physically and emotionally.

I found that I had no time, energy or inclination to cook by the end of all that, and more so I was almost incapable of going to the shops to do grocery shopping etc for a good month or more. Noisy hustle-bustle public spaces - like shops - actually made me frightened. The sensory overload actually made me fearful and feel like retreating and hiding away (fright or flight mode). I couldn't easily face it. I am only just now not panicked at the thought of having to go do some shopping, but I still take it really slow.

Then for over a month I had almost no appetite. I didn't feel like eating, and nothing tasted good to me either. I ate to keep my strength more than for any enjoyment.

All of this was contradicted with a feeling of duty and responsibility - and also wanting - to make sure the boys and Andrew are looked after, properly fed and nurtured. To make them feel valued and to support them through their grieving process. It was a bit of a conflict in me; I didn't care about eating myself, but felt I had to look after everyone, but I also didn't really have the energy to bother. It was a weird and unpleasant tug-o-war inside me.

So when Andrew found me sitting at home literally having eaten an old discarded crust of bread for dinner one Friday night (ah Fridays those weekly reminders of what happened)... he decided the Meal Train would not only be welcome, but actually probably practically necessary for us at the time. And so he graciously and gratefully accepted.

It is such a marvelously practical way to coordinate and help people in need - whether due to a new baby, illness, injury, a death or any reason why someone would need help with meals. For the past month or so we have been blessed with kindness, care, generosity and nurturing nourishment in the form of a hearty home cooked meal each week-night. We have had curries, lasagnas, pasta bakes, picnics, quiches, pies, chicken, paella etc. All lovingly made and delivered by friends and colleagues.

I am so grateful for the wonderful people who have helped us so much during this terribly hard time.

It has given us room to breathe. Space to be still and to think and feel. Time to talk. And very real actual nourishment to give us the strength and energy to get up each day and put one foot in front of the other and to keep #DoingItForNatey.

I'll be forever grateful.
I hope to be able to pay this act of kind service back one day. When in a situation where you want to say 'How can I help?' chances are providing a meal is a really good way to do just that. Remember this.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Friday, 17 February 2017

And the worst part is there's no one else to blame...

Breathe me - Sia

Help, I have done it again

I have been here many times before

Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there's no one else to blame

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch, I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah, I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Saturday, 4 February 2017

You are golden

A song for Natey - from Minda. This is not my usual type of music but I've been listening to it for a week now since Melinda sent it to me, and it is perfect for my golden boy.
<3 span=""> x <3 span=""> x

"The day you strolled in, my heart was stolen
Cause you are golden
Oh so hard to find
Yeah you are goodness, forgiveness
Of the purest kind"

How can something like this happen?

Surely we had safety precautions??

Yes. We had a pool fence, and also baby gates* on the 2x sliding doors leading to the pool-deck. One of these doors was never opened anyway, the other we kept mostly closed usually, and ALWAYS had the baby gate closed. I was the one always nagging people to make sure it was properly closed, and to make sure he was never out there alone  - despite the net.

Andrew had also decided he wanted to get another line of defense. A pool fence. He'd gone so far as to find and buy one too. He found it on Gumtree and I had gone to fetch it after work on my last work day before the Christmas break. He'd said once the fence was up we could take the net down, and I was adamant that no, the net would stay. Yon can never be too careful, we'd have the net, fencing AND keep the baby gates.

While Andrew was working that last week he had been trying to make a plan to get the fencing installed. We had a discussion about how he was trying to hire the large drill bits needed to install it, but everywhere he'd contacted was closed. I assured him it could wait until the following week when everything opened up again (again, what a stupid fool I was!!!). And that it was ok, that everyone took a break to enjoy that special down time between Christmas and New Year. Where life slows down and the days are long, relaxed and magical. So the gate which had actually been lying around the pool ready to be installed, got bundled into the garage to wait for the next week....

I had recently started teaching Natey basic pool safety while enjoying swimming with him during the summer break. "Hold on to the sides." "Monkey walk" "Kick kick kick" "Careful on the step, don't slip".

And we even had a book, 'Curious George goes to the Aquarium'.  Where the baby penguin who can't swim yet goes to the water's edge without his mommy, and slips. Luckily George was there to save him that day.
Natey knew that story well and would frequently mention how he mustn't go by the water without mommy. That last day at the World of Birds when we past the penguins he even said, "The baby penguin can't swim, so he mustn't go near the water without his mommy". He KNEW about this.

So how could this have happened?

Well, we had just had a swim. Instead of pulling the net closed - which was difficult, to the point of not even possible for me to do properly alone - I decided to leave the corner open, in case we wanted to swim again with daddy when he got home.

And then the gate. That damn gate. Did I close it behind us? If I did, did I make SURE the top and bottom were clipped closed? I think so... I always did, so why wouldn't I have? And then in our comings and goings over the next hour or so as we were pottering around did I open it again so he could go out and wee (we were potty training him and would prompt him to wee in the drain on the deck every now and again)..? Did I? I don't know. I just don't know. I know he knew how to open the gate, but he shouldn't have been able to easily get out. I wish I knew HOW he got out...

How can something like this happen??? It seems true that you really never can be too careful. The number of stories I have no heard of other little ones that have fallen in water. Many may saved (thank-fully) and many also ending in tragedies such as ours. It's just too sad. And to much to bear.

* We still had about 6 baby gates in the house, at one point we had about 10.