Thinking & Feeling

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

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. You 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.

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Sunflowers

The Sunflowers 

by Mary Oliver

Come with me
into the field of sunflowers.

Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines
creak like ship masts,
their green leaves,
so heavy and many,
fill all day with the sticky
sugars of the sun.

Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy
but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young -
the important weather,
the wandering crows.
Don't be afraid
to ask them questions!

Their bright faces,
which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds -
each one a new life!
hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,
is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy.

Come and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garments of leaves,
the coarse roots in the earth
so uprightly burning.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Natey's Poem by Mel

by the wonderfully compassionate and biggest-hearted Mel.

A little star, I never met,
Yet feel so real and in my heart.
You fill my thoughts and soul and mind
Your family too and all your kind.
And not just me but many others,
Loved and adored around the world.
What is it special little star
That has us grieve you near and far?

I never saw you face to face
Your wriggly toddler body embrace.
I only saw your daily pics.
And laughy Natey toddler clips.

Yet that was enough for me and others
To get to know you and your brothers.
I have watched them too for many years,
Chubby cheeks and freckles, laughs and tears

We waited for you little star,
While you twinkled in the sky
And then plucked down and brought to life,
In a family of love, no stress, no strife.
Your galaxy on earth so perfect,
Filled with all that’s good and right.
Your laugh, your eyes, your brightest smile,
Your beauty we shared for just a while

It’s far too short and is not fair,
It makes no sense the grief we bare
It makes no sense you had to leave,
A void now left with so much grief.

At night I sit and want to cry
So pause and look up at the sky
And though so far away I see the light,
I see you twinkle in the night

I see you little shining star,
I feel your light and love down here
It hurts like hell I will not lie,
Bright twinkle boy up in the sky.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

To Natey-Bug - from your Minda

Natey's beloved au-pair/girlfriend Melinda sent us a beautiful letter she wrote to him a few weeks back.

She was so very wonderful with him, and he ADORED her.

She had to start a new job today. That can't have been easy for her, and it was SO hard to say goodbye to her. I hope we can keep her in our lives because she is simply wonderful.


"A letter to my Natey-bug 

My dearest baby bug, 

I sit here waiting to pick you up from school. Wanting to see that big smile on your face as you see me walk into the classroom. Wanting to put you in your little car seat and then quietly lay you down as you take your afternoon nap. I now sit here watching the time as two hours pass by knowing you'd be coming down the stairs, shoes in one hand as you sleepily make your way over to me. You insist that I put your shoes on but as I take your shoes I ask "cuddle Minda first please?" You agree given I switch the tv to your favorite show as you allow me to cuddle you for a few minutes head resting on my chest. Oh what I wouldn't do for just a few more minutes of your sweet cuddles you gave so freely. 

You didn't know it at the time my bug, but each and every day you crawled deeper into my heart. I cannot bear the thought of the pain that mommy and daddy feels each and every day, if what im feeling is but just a fraction of their pain... 

You filled my days that now feel so empty. I feel so guilty for wanting to fill my days again for the emptiness becomes too much to bear some days more than others. Perhaps fill my days again with another's little laugh or cuddle, equally as innocent and as lovable as you were.

But never ever the same. 

No one will ever be able to fill that place in my heart that you crawled into. You will always be there smiling, laughing, bouncing, running wildly freely as you loved to do. 

Natey, our journey together was more to me than just a job I had to be good at. Much, much more. I loved you wholeheartedly as you showed me every day how much you loved me too.

I cherish every trip to the park, our many trips to checkers, our wonder-filled and quick trips to the aquarium (Yes you are probably the only todler to cover every inch of the place in less than 20 minutes). I cherish bath time and swim time and most of all taking naps together. I cherish the moments having you sit on the counter, watching me prepare your lunch and sometimes while I cook dinner. I cherish the moments of when I got to swing you for a full hour at the park and made me run after you another hour after that switching back and forth between swings as we go along. I cherish the few moments I got to co-sleep and being kicked in the face every time you tossed and turned. I cherish being woken up at 3am for yet another bottle of milk. (I am now convinced mom and dad wanted me to have first hand experience of their nightly fun filled routine).

With that said My Bug, just know that if any of us could just have one more moment with you, we would jump at the chance to see your sweet little face again. 

I am not sure how to do this...this moving forward business. I am not sure when the emptiness will feel less empty or when it will ever get any easier. All I know that for now, holding onto the memories of you, is something I try to gain strength from every single day. I can now watch your videos and laugh at how cheeky you were and smile knowing how free and happy you were. 

I wouldn't change a single moment of my time spent with you.Through all our ups and downs, our moments of laughter, ouchies and being a little sick sometimes, you were always such a joy to be around. Yes, you sure did find ways to drive your Minda crazy some days but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. 

Thank you for showing me my capacity to love. Thank you for putting a smile on my face and making me laugh every single day. Thank you for teaching me how to be more patient and for opening my eyes to new ways to live and love life. With no regrets knowing that every day was lived fully. Thank you for deeming me worthy of your love, kisses and cuddles and for showing me a heart as little yet as big as yours can love and impact so many all at once without conditions or expectations. 

You will always be my little love bug and I will write about you again. 

I will miss you every day and my memory of you, Natey-bug, will never ever fade ♡ 

With love,
Always your Minda ♡ "