What’s up with young, healthy people just dropping dead?

In as many weeks, I have heard of three young, healthy women, all with young children, just dropping dead. The first, a few weeks ago, a friend mentioned that her ex-husband’s new wife (early 30’s, slim and otherwise healthy), was found dead in her home, flanked by her two young sons, after phoning her sister to say she was feeling a little unwell. They still do not know what happened to her. Case two, on Monday morning, a good friend of mine called to tell me that the Gynae, Charlene, whom we both see had a massive heart attack on Sunday, without any prior warning, and literally dropped dead. I was shocked and saddened, not only because of the personal relationship that I had with her, but because she was young (mid 40’s) and seemingly healthy, and also the mother of two young boys. After mentioning this story to my dentist later on Monday, she told me that her sister-in-law died the week before, healthy the one day, dead the next. She also left behind a young child. She was not even forty.

To say that these three separate incidents have sent a creepy shiver up my spine, would be putting it mildly. It scares the crap out of me. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that these women’s young children must be going through right now. One of the greatest fears I have as a parent, is that I won’t be there for my babies. Or worse still, that they will grow up with no mother. Losing a parent at any age is hard, but losing your mom or dad when you are just a little thing, must be the most devastating experience ever.

Hearing about these three women, whose lives were snubbed prematurely, has made me stop and think about how flippant we all tend to be about our health. How seemingly insignificant niggles are often ignored, and sometimes even the big things are not checked. We are all so busy getting on with our daily lives that we forget to look after ourselves. Especially moms who are typically more concerned with worrying about their children, than looking after themselves. (After hearing about Charlene, I immediately phoned Gary to urge him to get a mole, that has started looking a little dodgy of late, checked.) It is so important to look after ourselves, both physically and mentally. Stress is a silent killer.

Life is so short, and sometimes we forget to slow down and take in the scenery, to stop and smell the proverbial roses. I, for one, am very guilty of that. So tonight, I’m going to read my babies that extra story even if it is past bedtime already. I am going to hold them and tell them that I love them more than anything, and I hope that they will always know this, no matter what. I am going to tell my husband how much I love him, and how much he brightens my world. And I will always hope and have faith that we will grow old together and be there for our babies as they grow up.

RIP Charlene.

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The end of an era…

This weekend, we did a car-seat shuffle. Caris has been travelling along happily in her rear-facing baby seat up until now, but was starting to look a little bit squashed of late. Alex has been in a front-facing seat since he was a year old, and seeing as Caris is almost 14 months now, I decided to make the move this weekend. This meant buying a brand-spanking-new booster seat for my big boy, and handing over his old seat to Little Miss. (The poor second child is destined to get all the hand-me-downs!)

So after an expensive trip to the local Baby City, to purchase one of Maxi-Cosi’s finest, and consulting my “how to remove the car seat cover” degree so that I could wash Alex’s old seat, we now have two forward-facing little travellers. (Alex was somewhat reluctant to use his new chair, being a creature of habit and all. So in order to avoid a melt-down, we all made a huge fuss about how cool his new chair is, and what a big boy he is because he can use the real seatbelt. He now thinks his new chair is the best thing since sliced bread.)

But, it is not without some sadness that I made the swap. This effectively means that Alex really isn’t a toddler anymore, and has firmly crossed the chasm into big-boy-ville. And my baby girl is no longer my little tiny one. She seems to be getting bigger by the minute.

The old Peg-Perego has been washed and wrapped, soon to be given away or sold, leaving me with only my memories of the two little tiny babies who once occupied it’s safe nest.

Graduation Day

The Great Hall at Wits is an eye-catching piece of architecture; the centre-piece in a world-class educational institute, and a reminder of an era when Johannesburg was once a young city. Within its walls students celebrate their coming of age and the achievement of their degrees. Hopes and dreams of careers as Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, Engineers and the like, are imagined within these walls, as that significant piece of paper is handed over. The culmination of years of hard work is celebrated with families, friends and loved ones during the prestigious graduation ceremony.

A mother’s heart is filled with hope when gazing into the eyes of her new-born baby for the first time. Hope that they will be happy, hope that they will be loved, and hope that they will be successful in whatever they set out to achieve in life. When I first met Craig, he was fourteen years old: a typical teenage boy. He was outgoing and loud, occasionally self-centred and messy, and had a tendency to share way too much information. He was confident and funny, the type of guy that most people just liked. He was always surrounded by friends, and loved being the centre of attention. He was good at rugby and swimming, and he worked hard to remain at the top of his game. Academically, he did well, but it is fair to say that he probably could have worked a lot harder and achieved a lot more. (I think all parents say this of their children at some point!)

It has been a great privilege for me to watch this boy develop into a young adult, and to have been part of the journey to this high point in his life. And although I have not been there from the beginning of Craig’s life, my heart is still filled with the same hopes for him: love, happiness and success in all things, always.

On Tuesday morning, we arrived at the Wits Great Hall to share Craig’s graduation day with him, to mark the end of his studies and celebrate the beginning of his career as a Lawyer.

Our hearts swelled with pride, and our eyes welled with tears as his name was called (with distinction!) to come and receive his Bachelor of Law degree. To have graduated Cum Laude is a fantastic achievement.

This is not the first graduation of his that we have attended, as he attained his B-Com 18 months ago, but the Law degree was always the big-ticket item: the main degree he was setting out to achieve. So for all of us, getting the Law degree signified the end of his studies. When Craig expressed an interest in studying law, Gary suggested he do a B-Com Law Degree, so that he had general business knowledge as well. And although he hated every minute of it, he persevered and got his B-Com too. Craig worked harder than I have ever seen him work before on his Law subjects. He spent hundreds of hours locked away in the study during exam time, slogging away till the early hours of the morning, living on coffee and bio-plus. His chosen field of study has certainly been a natural fit for his gregarious personality, his love of history, and his penchant for watching the crime and investigation channel. His Cum Laude degree is well deserved, and testament to the incredible amount of effort that he put in to achieve this.

There is no doubt in my mind that Craig will achieve whatever he sets out to do in life from here onwards. I am so very, very proud of him, on Graduation Day and always!

Love you my boy! xx