If I were dead
how would you know…

How would you know how deep
the love within you lives?
How would you know how to
keep me safe?
How would you know how to
make me laugh?
How would you know how to
love me….so deep?

Because I am still alive…
because I am still here…
I teach you every day about my sickness,
about my brain, not making all the right twitches.
I teach you about my interrupted, no-sense stringed conversations,
and how to look at me
how to answer me
as if you understand.

I am still alive for you…
Just to love me, for who I still am…
maybe just for a moment….
just for you! 

So many times, and so many days I wonder….what will I do? What will I do if this sickness is laid upon me? I wonder, because you know, my grandmother….  Will it be in my genes? Will I …? What then…

Dad phone 5 Mar16 072 (494x650)

And as I sit with them in our Home, I am so grateful for what they teach me.

A couple of weeks ago, our Home lost our dear aunty Anna. For more than six weeks I sat with her, talked to her, sang to and with her, tried to feed her, begged her to eat, and still two weeks after she left this World, I treasure the bruises on my fore arms where she clutched with her small fists trying to communicate. And I know…she was still alive…for me!

As I sit next to Jantje on her bed, trying to get her to get up like every morning for about two hours, seeing the wetness of confused tears in her eyes, seeing her being lost…I know. She is still alive for me! I still get her out of her bed, out of the blackness of her moods, as I crawl into her bed, and she starts to giggle so much as she moves aside, and I ask her: “ I do hope you are wearing a panty!” And then her laughter breaks through, and the blackness moves away and it allows me, to get her feet off the bed and onto the floor in one physical movement, and I know…she is ready for another day in her life….for me!

And the pain in me is severe, and it is reflected in the eyes of my Angel Carers, when we see Uncle G coming down the passage with one shoe and one sock, and we remember the professor coming into our Home not so long ago, with all his certificates, telling all my Angel Carers how important it is to study and to better your brain! But each and every morning he gets up with his purpose, and he drives with Johannes fetching the staff from the bus stop. He comes back Home later, with a big satisfied smile on his face…with a purpose!

Aunty Mary, who battles in the morning to remember where she is, and where to go, and what to wear. But as she puts on the same printed skirt every day, and the Angels helps her to take it off again, she can’t wait to stroll in the garden after breakfast, to bend down to pick up the fallen leaves and to dig in the ground.  She never forgets the garden, and where she left the little garden shovel and fork…

Our dear John, our gentle giant, who opens his arms as wide as his smile when he sees me, or one of the ladies, just ready for a hug, for a little time spend with him while he is basking in the sun! And as he was spending his fiftieth anniversary with his wife, Di and their children on the tea deck, I know….he is still alive, for them, for us, for me….

Aunty Honey with all the wrong words always in the right places, sometimes chasing us out of her room with her “kierie”, but with her bubbling sense of humour, always succeeding to lift the mood on the ‘stoep’, putting smiles on all the faces! So alive to wiggle her little body as we sing, “My Bonny lies over the ocean…”

And then…Pastor Errol, always packing and on his way, trying to get to his farm in Natal, from many moons ago, to join his brother, Benji. But as he walked down the passage of the house, blessings pouring from his lips, echoing through the house, always a smile on his face. He stood in front of us, our group singing old songs from memories of long ago, he stood like the Pastor he still is, directing us, loving his moment! He is still alive for his two daughters who walked in at that moment, into a warm embrace of a father!

What will I do if the sickness is laid upon me, will I live to teach you….