Who will cry for the Disabled?

Another International Day for People with Disabilities has come and gone (3 December 2017). The President and relevant Ministers and Deputy Ministers did their duty to preach equal rights for people with disabilities and how people with disabilities should be integrated into society blah, blah.


An organisation fighting for the rights of people with disabilities arranged an event where people with disabilities could travel from our very modern, recently renovated main railway station by train to a predetermined destination and back to prove that rail travel is accessible for people with disabilities.


train, Metrorail

The event was advertised via social media, invites were sent to journalists to join the event and let the world know how people with disabilities are now able to travel via train. No response. Not even one journalist was interested in providing media coverage for the event. Not even a “thank you for the invitation but I will not be able to make it”. Dead silence from the media.

The day arrived. A group of people with various forms of disability gathered at the agreed meeting point on the main station. A portable ramp was rolled out to enable those in wheelchairs to be wheeled onto the train. Will this ramp be rolled out every time a train arrives or departs during peak hour when people need to get to work or come home from work? I doubt that, but we claim our rail system is ready to accommodate people with disabilities.


The train arrives at it’s destination where one person (with a physical disability who is unable to climb stairs/steps) is waiting to meet this train because all her friends are on this train. She eagerly and excitedly awaits this train after forcing herself to climb three steps at the entrance of the train station to get to her friends. From the entrance of the station she gets to what she thinks is the correct platform for the train to arrive. She waits.

Finally the train arrives, but her excitement quickly turns to disappointment when she is told “you are on platform 1 and the train you are waiting for is on platform 3”.



Determined not to have her spirit crushed, she eagerly asks “so how do I get to platform 3?” and is told “via the subway” and is pointed in the right direction. Knowing that going through subways usually involves stairs she asks “so how does a person with a disability get to the other side?”  She is told “sorry ma’am, that’s the only way”. This now means that anybody on that train or who needs to get to that train in a wheelchair, cannot get there. There was no alternative plan. What would have happened if people needed to be evacuated from the station in an emergency?

Still, we are assured that our rail service is accessible to ALL people with disabilities.

This is a true story . . . I was there on 3 December 2017.

In Memory of Mom: Scattering the Ashes . . .


Where and how can I scatter cremation ashes?

Many people will hold a funeral memorial service, as well as an ashes scattering ceremony.

There are many options when it comes to scattering ashes.

If the land is privately owned, permission from the owner of the land will suffice. If the land is public, you will need to check with local authorities for any regulations.

Ashes can be scattered in lieu of preserving them in an urn, grave, or keeping them in someone’s home.

Some people have specific places where they want their ashes to be scattered, others prefer their ashes be scattered in a particular manner.

Some of the most popular and common places to scatter the ashes are in a river, pond, lake, hillside, golf course, hunting ground, flower bed, hiking trail, or garden.

Location will determine the method of scattering, but there is a specially designed urn called a “Scattering Urn” that can ease the task and maintain the sense of dignity in the service.


There are several different methods that can be used to scatter ashes:

Casting – the act of simply tossing the ashes to the wind. This is usually done by one individual person or a group of people in front of a grieving “audience”. The ashes will fall to the ground immediately, but the person tossing them should pay attention to the direction of the wind.
Trenching – This is done on land when a shallow trench or groove is dug in the soil. The ashes are poured into the trench, and then the soil is raked over at the end of the ceremony. Candles can be lit around the trench or a special symbol can be drawn over the trench.
Racking – The ashes are poured from the “scattering urn” evenly and loosely on the soil. They are then racked over and into the ground.
Green Burial – A hole is made in the soil, and the ashes are pored into the biodegradable urn or the ashes are scattered onto the soil.
Raking- The ashes are poured from the scattering urn evenly on loose soil and raked into the ground. This is often how it is done in the scattering gardens that are now located in many cemeteries. Your funeral director can help you find a scattering garden in your area.
Water Scattering – A “water-soluble urn” are specifically designed to gradually disperse the ashes back into the sea or body of water. Ashes can be cast directly into the water, but may get caught in the wind and cling to the sides of the boat. A water soluble urn will float for several minutes then slowly sink where it will degrade. The family members aboard the boat can cast flower pedals as a final tribute to the deceased.

Candle & purple flowers

There is great comfort in the idea that a loved one’s remains can forever be associated with a place that had special significance to them and their family.

The ceremony of the scattering the ashes can help give family members and friends the closure they need and begin the grieving process.

Brook_Water over rocks

What I also wrote:


October 2014:


November 2014:


December 2014:


January 2015:

February 2015:



March 2015:



April 2015:



May 2015:

June 2015:




July 2015:



August 2015:



September 2015:




October 2015 (One year down the road less travelled):


Dear Trauma Counsellor: I have ongoing flashbacks and voices in my head that just won’t shut up . . .

Vulnerability is

I have just had one of the worst weekends in my life. The trauma experienced this past weekend has left me feeling battered and bruised (emotionally and Psychologically).

I feel like I’m at the end of my rope right now. The events of this past weekend has just been too much for me. It has left me feeling frightened and helpless.

Please allow me to briefly take you through my journey. Looking at this post, it seems long but it is important for you to read everything in order to understand how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling this way right now.


10 October 2015 – Driving to relatives not too far from home, I am involved in a motor vehicle accident. After more than 30 years of driving, the first time ever that I drive into someone else (through no fault of my own).

First part of trauma. I’m deeply disturbed by this occurrence. For some it’s no big deal, just another accident. For me, it’s major. I’ve never made contact with another vehicle – ever except for them colliding with me.

At the same time, someone smashes into the back of my vehicle. Second part of trauma in one day. This is a reminder of the anger and helplessness I felt when it happened in March this year. Anger that someone dared to damage my vehicle and helplessness that there was nothing I could do to prevent it.

Third part of trauma – while getting my cellular phone out of my handbag, it is snatched out of my hand by a thief who runs off with it and leaves me standing there totally powerless, unable to chase after him.

This leaves me angry and feeling totally helpless. It is a reminder of an incident when I was 7 years of age and a thief dared to rip my brand new wrist watch off my arm in broad daylight and ran off leaving me crying my heart out for my loss and feeling totally helpless because not only was it impossible to run after him but even if I did, he would knock me over like a feather with one finger.

Life_Hand releasing butterfly

This last motor vehicle accident is the last straw, I cannot take it anymore. I feel like I’m broken in a thousand pieces. Messages of support pour in . . .

• “You are so brave”
• “You are so strong”. “You can get through this”
• “You won’t be given more than you can handle”
• “This too shall pass”
• “Just another knock my love. You are a strong lady”
• “He won’t give you what you not strong enough to conquer”

Why do these words sound so empty and meaningless? I know these words are meant to bring me comfort, but somehow they don’t comfort me.

When I can’t sleep because of ongoing flash backs and the voices in my head that will not shut up . . . The minute I close my eyes, my brain replays everything bad that has happened.

A mixture of the actual contact made with the car in front of me and the one smashing into the back of me mixed with the face and the touch of the person who grabbed my cellular phone out of my hand and ran off with it – my brand new cellular phone which I had only purchased the week before and was still struggling to learn how to use it.

This is intertwined with the entire 14 months of mom’s illness (from diagnosis to death) and now includes this last incident (motor vehicle accident). When will it end?

Health & Wellness Fruit Basket

What exactly is Emotional and Psychological Trauma?
Emotional and Psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter our sense of security, making us feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

Definition of trauma:
It’s an individual’s subjective experience that determines whether an event is traumatic or not.

A traumatic event or situation creates Psychological trauma when it overwhelms the individual’s perceived ability to cope, and leaves that person fearing death, annihilation, mutilation or Psychosis. The individual feels emotionally, cognitively and physically overwhelmed. The circumstances of the event commonly includes abuse of power, betrayal of trust, entrapment, helplessness, pain, confusion and/or loss.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves us feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it does not involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but our subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless we feel, the more likely we are to be traumatised.

Black and white butterfly

A stressful event is most likely to be traumatic if . . .

It happened unexpectedly (mom’s Cancer diagnosis and my two Motor Vehicle accidents and theft of my cellular phone)
We were unprepared for it (moms diagnosis, surgery, caregiving duties and subsequent treatment – chemo and radium)
We felt powerless to prevent it (moms treatment – chemo and radium, my motor vehicle accidents, theft of my cellular phone)
• It happened repeatedly
• Someone was intentionally cruel
It happened in childhood (the theft of my brand new cellular phone brought back memories of how my brand new wrist watch was ripped off my arm at the age of seven years old). I experienced the same sense of deep loss and feeling of total helplessness.

Commonly overlooked sources of emotional and Psychological trauma:
Falls or sports injuries (my fall in 2007 which resulted in my hip replacement)
Surgery (especially in first 3 years of my life) – my surgery aged 2 – 5 years
The sudden death of someone close (my grandmother’s death when I was 11 years old)
A Motor Vehicle accident (every time someone goes into the back of my car and my recent first time experience of going into someone)
The breakup of a significant relationship (my parent’s divorce)
A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience (had a few which I’d rather care not to mention here)
The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition (mom’s Cancer diagnosis)

Mystery Woman

Trauma Reactions: There are three primary reactions (domains):
Reminders of the exposure (flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares)
Activation (includes hyperarousal, insomnia, agitation, irritability, impulsivity and anger)
Deactivation: (including numbing, avoidance, withdrawal, confusion, derealisation, dissociation and depression)

For most people, these reactions are transient and will diminish in a month. If these persist for longer than a month, it is considered to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and should be treated as such.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about my experience of trauma.

How about you? Can you identify with any of this?

Let me know your thoughts.

Source of information: Joanna Beazley Richards South Africa February 2013: Trauma and Recovery

What I’m learning on my journey to wealth creation – part two


Many of us have been taught to go to school, get some tertiary education if at all possible, get a job, invest in a good pension or provident fund (for the long term) and eventually you will have a comfortable little nest-egg which will enable you to retire from the world of work, sit in the sunshine sipping cocktails on the beach.

This past weekend I attended one of Robert Kiyosaki’s free seminars to learn more about his Brick-Buy-Brick training method where he teaches one how to invest in property whether you have your own financial resources or not. For those who don’t have their own financial resources, his training programme teaches how to go about finding other sources of income to create wealth for yourself by investing in property.

I went to the workshop as a sceptic, determined to find faults and flaws and to write this off as just another scam, however, I was not able to find any flaws or faults so if it is a scam, it is a very well disguised one.

In my previous post I mentioned that the property you are living in is not an asset but a liability. In terms of wealth creation, you would need at least one additional property from which you can receive rental income which will then be an asset to you. Your (financial) aim in life should be to increase your assets and reduce your liabilities.

Vineyard Hotel Garden_2015-02-28 14.01.46

According to Robert Kiyosaki, there are six steps you need to take to become a property investor. These steps are:

1. Decide to learn how – the first part of your investment should be in your education. Education about the property market, the do’s and don’ts of buying property etc
2. Find an area to invest in i.e. find your deals. Focus on the areas closest to your own home so it’s easily accessible should the need arise for you to go there.
3. Identify potential properties in the area(s) you want to work in.
4. Find a good Broker (Estate Agent)
5. Put the deal together
6. Manage the property

What I learned this weekend:

1. You need to have an Action Plan and it needs to be in writing. Having an Action Plan in your head is no good. Do you have a financial Action Plan for the next 12 – 24 months?
2. Success is something you attract by the person you become.
3. You need to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Of course you still need to give 100 percent at work, but when you’re not at work, you should work harder on yourself than any other part of your life.
4. Self-development for the next 12 months should include: attending at least two seminar/workshop events (more if possible), read at least one book per month (more if you can) and listen to at least one audio book (more if you can).
5. We should not wish for less challenges, we should wish for more wisdom i.e. focus on the opportunities and not on the challenges.
6. Work on that which you can control i.e. you can control your income (cash flow) but you cannot control the Government, inflation and/or recession etc Leave politics to the politicians. Focus on improving your own life.
7. Knowledge equals confidence.
8. Pain can motivate you – embrace your challenges
9. Allow people to help you. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
10. Three keys to success: Opportunity, knowledge and Action (massive action)
11. We need to have a positive mental attitude (PMA) and a millionaire mindset
12. Study yourself: keep a journal (write daily learnings, your life’s mission, your vision board etc). Go through your journal every quarter and again at the end of the year and see how far you’ve come.
13. Believe in yourself.

“Hell on earth is meeting the person you could have become”.
Keith Cunningham

Stop the bus . . . I want to get off!

Bus Back View

Yesterday I was, and today I am sad . . .

This week marks eight months since my mom’s death. Yesterday (24 June 2015) was exactly one year since finding out that my mom had another tumour and further surgery was not an option. What followed was a whirlwind fourteen months of caregiving and watching how mom deteriorated to the end.

Yesterday, at a routine visit to my own doctor, I was informed that I need to have a Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy as soon as possible. Since mom’s death I’ve been prescribed Vitamin B12 injections together with an Iron supplement and, in spite of this, my iron levels are not increasing and doctor says we need to find out why my body is not absorbing the iron being pumped into it. There may be many reasons for this – but I’m scared . . . Why?

Well, a lack of iron and constantly feeling tired was the very reason why my mom decided to go for a routine Colonoscopy in her late sixties. Fortunately for mom (at that time) her result came back negative. Her gut was so clean the doctor said he wished his gut could look like hers when he reached her age. Her next Colonscopy just over five years later – showed she had a tumour 20mm in diameter and a very aggressive form of Cancer which resulted in a whirlwind fourteen month end to her life eight months ago. From totally healthy to dead in fourteen months!

Today, I cried . . . I cried for the whirlwind fourteen months spent taking care of mom that just wizzed past me as I juggled a full time job, part time studies and taking care of mom in the last fourteen months of her life.

Mother's Day 2014 Rhebokskloof

Mother’s Day 2014 Rhebokskloof

I cried for the grief I feel and mourning her loss for the last eight months.

Crying Baby

I cried today, for the prospect of facing the same journey my mom faced . . . today, I cried.


Part of my grieving journey is to feel immensely sad from around the twenty fourth of the month to around the sixth of the next month. I assume this has something to do with the fact that it was around the twenty fourth of October that mom looked like she was close to the end of her journey but only died on the twenty seventh of October. We had her funeral that same week so my guess is, from a Psychological point of view, why I usually feel sad around the last week of the month. This makes sense to me – I don’t know if it makes sense to anyone else?

Bus Overloaded

What have I learned about Colonoscopies?
A Colonoscopy is a day-case procedure in which the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum) is examined. A Colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, or changes in bowel habit. Colonoscopy is also advised for adults without any symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or Cancer. A screening Colonoscopy is advised for anyone aged 50 years or older, and persons with a family history of colon polyps or Cancer should be screened at an age 10 years younger than it was diagnosed in the family member.
In my mom’s case – mom was diagnosed just after her seventieth birthday which means that my first Colonoscopy should be around age sixty (I’m not sixty yet).

What happens before a Colonoscopy?
In order to have a successful Colonoscopy, the bowel must be clean so that the physician can clearly view the inside of the colon. The physician gives very strict instructions regarding a particular liquid you have to drink and a very specific diet you have to follow prior to having a Colonoscopy. Without proper preparation, the Colonoscopy will not be successful and may have to be repeated.


What happens during a Colonoscopy?
The doctor will insert a long flexible instrument into the rectum and will progress to the caecum (beginning of the colon). If necessary, pieces of tissue (biopsy) can be removed for testing, and polyps can be identified and removed. The Colonoscopy may allow accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems, without the need for a major operation.

The Colonoscope is disinfected between procedures so is completely safe. An intravenous line is inserted (a “drip”) and you have to lie on your left side. A sedative and a pain-relieving drug is given to make you more relaxed during the procedure. Your vital signs are monitored, and you will be given oxygen to maintain a normal blood oxygen concentration. The procedure lasts between twenty and forty minutes on average, and you will be allowed to rest until you are fully awake. You may feel slightly bloated and uncomfortable after the procedure, due to air inserted into your colon to improve visibility.

Bus puffing smoke

What happens after a Colonoscopy?
You will remain in a recovery room for observation until you are ready for discharge from the hospital. You may feel some cramping or a sensation of having wind, but these symptoms will eventually go away. A responsible adult must drive you home after this procedure and you should avoid driving or operating machinery for twenty four hours afterwards. Alcohol should be avoided and a course of pro-biotics is recommended to restore intestinal flora.

Unless otherwise stated by your physician, you may resume your normal eating habits after a Colonoscopy. Wait until a day after the procedure before resuming normal activities e.g. exercise. If any polyps were removed or biopsies taken, you have to avoid using any medication containing aspirin ad anti-inflammatory drugs for two weeks. Anti-coagulants e.g. Warfarin or Piavix can only be taken once your physician has given you permission to do so.

Dolphins in water

If a biopsy was take or a polyp removed, mild rectal bleeding may be noted for 1 – 2 days after the procedure. If heavier bleeding is encountered e.g. clots of blood, or if you have severe abdominal pain, this must be reported immediately. If you are unable to contact the physician, report to the emergency room at the clinic or hospital where the procedure was performed immediately.

Gastroscopy – same as above except that the inside of the stomach is examined and the doctor will insert a long flexible instrument into the stomach through your throat. The rest of the procedure is the same as for the Colonoscopy.

Funny (suprised) face

So in a few weeks I will have the (joy) of having two tubes inserted during the same procedure – one down my throat and one up my back passage. Yay!

How to help a grieving friend

I recently wrote a post about grief, mourning and bereavement and the difference between them. You will find the post here:https://africandream01.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/re-investing-in-life-moving-on/


I am finding my experience of grief and mourning very strange. To allow myself time to grieve and mourn I have pushed those closest to me away to give myself the space to grieve and mourn without having the pressure of “getting on with life” from others. Generally people (society in general) have the perception that now that the funeral/memorial service is over, you should be okay and ready to “get on with life”.

I have now reached the stage where I’m missing that contact with my friends and family and want them to “come back” to me but at the same time I’m not ready to have people sitting in my lounge drinking tea and coffee for hours. I’m at the stage where a quick pop-in visit or quick telephone call to say “how are you doing?” or “is there anything I can do for you?” would be welcome but it seems like people are waiting for me to make the first move.


Ocassionally, especially after a busy week, I sometimes wish I can get a call from someone asking if they can bring me a meal or a sweet treat, but at the same time not expect to be invited in to sit and talk for hours. The idea of calling first before coming is also good because I may not be in the mood to see people. I may want to just walk around in my pyjamas (or even naked for that matter).

My best friend of more than 30 years has not even tried to make contact with me since the end of January. She did not even make contact to wish me for my birthday. I had a missed call on my phone from her on 6 February and I have deliberately not called her back to see how long it would take for her to try again. At the time of writing this post, there’s still been no contact. I do understand that it is probably difficult to wish someone a “happy birthday” when you know they are grieving/mourning. There is nothing wrong with changing that to “Hi, thinking of you on your birthday. Hope you manage/managed to enjoy the day?” An alternative to this would be “hi, can we come around to bring you your gift?” and then surprise me by insisting I sit down and making me a cup of tea instead of expecting me to make you a cup just because you are visiting?


Today while writing this post I was watching a movie on television about the life of actress (who also married a Prince and became a Princess) Grace Kelly. There was a scene in the movie, just before Grace Kelly was going to board the ship to leave her family home, where her father told her he loved her. This brought me to tears again. I am obviously still very volatile emotionally and is probably why I’m having this want/don’t want relationship with contact with the outside world. One minute I want people to come visit but within a few minutes I wish they don’t come.

What I’m also experiencing at the moment is that my attention span is very short. I find that I can’t focus on one particular thing for longer than five or ten minutes then I move on to do something else. I also lose my train of thought in mid sentence and forget what I wanted to say. My mind just goes blank all of a sudden and I cannot remember what I wanted to say. Maybe that’s also why I’m reluctant to have visitors at this stage? Maybe I’m scared that I will be bored with their conversation after five or ten minutes and that they will misunderstand or misinterpret my behaviour and think that I’m being rude?

Birthday milkshake_Cheers

Will my visitors understand when I suddenly burst into tears for no apparent reason? Will they panic and try to make me feel better by saying “don’t worry everything will be alright”? or “it’s ok. Mom is in a better place now”? when all I need is a loving hug or someone to hold my hand, without saying anything at all.

This behaviour is all new to me and I’m finding it very strange. Is this a temporary change in my behaviour or is this taking me to another level of maturity i.e. where trivial things no longer matter to me?

View from our table

As a child I’ve always heard adults say “you are never really grown up until you have lost both your parents”. Is that what’s happening to me now? Am I now finally becoming a “grown up”/an adult?

. . . but I still like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse? Just saying . . .

Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Black and white butterfly

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my “journey called life” and welcome to 2015. Can you believe we are already in the 21st day of January? Where has the time gone?

To all my loyal followers and to the new ones who have joined along the way, as the New Year begins, let us pray that it will be a year with new Peace, new Happiness and Abundance of new friends. May God bless you throughout the New Year.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the long break since my last post on 24 December 2014. My regular followers would know that I lost my mom to Cancer on 27 October 2014 so my sister and I have had to face our first Christmas and New Year without our mom.

Grief Whirlpool

Then on 8 January 2015 we received the news that our dad had died which had a whole host of emotions of its own attached (we’ve had no contact since my parents divorce) and he died a day before the 13th anniversary of their divorce.

Grief_Stages of Grief

The 18th January 2015 would have been mom’s birthday and it was our first one without her so more emotional stuff to deal with here.

Happy Birthday pendulum

In between all of this, I was kept busy with the Administration of my Late mom’s Estate – if any of you have ever been an Executor of an Estate you will know how much paperwork this all entails.

Grief_Coping with Bereavement

Amidst all the emotional turmoil and administrative paperwork, I am also trying to set up a home-based business which needs to be up and running by June 2015 so I can be earning a steady income by January 2016.

So much thought needs to go into setting up a website (what I want it to look like), content (what I want to say on the website), what services I will be offering etc. This actually takes up a lot of time (mentally) and physically sitting behind a computer.

Grief_Kubler Ross the-change-curve

While going through all the emotional turmoil of what I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been wondering about the difference between grief, mourning and bereavement.

People generally use these words interchangeably but what do they really mean?

Is there a difference between grief, mourning and bereavement?

I tried doing a Google search and this is what I found:
Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Grief is the response or reaction to a loss
Bereavement refers to the state of the loss
Mourning is the action you take following a loss

God knew we would mourn our losses because He said:
“Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Read the rest here : http://www.examiner.com/article/the-difference-between-grieving-mourning-and-bereavement

Grief_Mourning Dove

Other sources say:
Grief is what you think and feel inside when someone you loves dies. It’s the numbness, sadness, anger, regret, all rolled up into one. It’s the pain in your gut and a hole in your chest.

Mourning is expressing your grief, letting it out somehow. You mourn when you cry, talk about the death, write about it, or punch something.
Read the rest here: http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/counseling/difference-between-grief-mourning/

Grief_Candle Quote

More links on the subject of Grief, Mourning and Bereavement:




I hope you have found this post inspirational and the links useful.

Please let me know if you have any questions on other topics you would like me to do some research on. It’s an opportunity for us to learn together.

Till next time.

Why the obsession with loneliness?

Door opening with butterfly border

The face of loneliness . . .
The old man reading yesterdays paper telling yesterday’s news
• The old girl with dirty hair and tattered clothes carrying everything she owns in two carrier bags
• The old war hero with all his medals. One more forgotten hero in a world that doesn’t care

Why are we, as a society, so obsessed with loneliness and being alone? I know that mankind (humankind) was created to be social beings and that women were created as a companion for man not to live alone, however, through the centuries that have passed since Biblical times, many men and women have lived comfortably on their own.

Why is it so difficult to understand that some people (like me) are comfortable enough with themselves to live alone? When people hear that my mom has died the first question they ask (with a very petrified look on their face) is: “are you living alone now?” followed by: “why don’t you get someone to move in with you or move in with someone?”

My question to them is: “why?” The assumption made about my life now is “you must be so lonely without your mom”.

Why do I have to live with someone? Why do I have to share my space with someone? Surely if I was not comfortable with living on my own, in my own space, by myself, I would think of getting someone to live with me or I will move in with someone? Do I really need others to tell me this?

Their argument usually is: “but don’t you get lonely?” or “are you ok living all by yourself?” Really? What’s wrong with living all by myself in my own space? I can do as I please, when I please, how I please. I don’t have to dress up for anyone. If I choose to sleep all day or watch TV or read a book all day or walk around in my pyjamas all day, I can do just that. I don’t need anybody’s permission. I don’t always have to “look decent” to respect others who are in my space.

Mystery Woman

People often confuse loneliness and being alone. You don’t need to live alone to be lonely. You can have a crowd of people around you and feel like you are totally “alone”. On the other hand, you could be quite comfortable living alone without feeling “lonely and alone”.

So what is this loneliness or being alone everyone is talking about? Why is this so scary for many people? I love silence. I am comfortable in silence. I love my own company. Silence gives me the space to be more mindful, to be at one with my thoughts, to make sense of the noise inside my head. Silence gives me the space to get organised – organise my thoughts, my space, my “to do” list for the next day/week/month.

If the physical silence around me gets too much, I can turn on the television, the radio, listen to music but I can also choose not to have any gadgets on. I cannot wait to leave the noise of the office and the commute to and from work to get home where I can have as much silence and solitude as I need.

When I have the need for human contact, I have the freedom to phone someone and ask them to come around for a visit, or I could visit them or invite them for coffee. Sometimes I treat myself to coffee at a coffee shop to be surrounded by humans. I have an obsession with observing human behaviour so I find immense pleasure in sitting in a coffee shop or at a mall just observing people as they come and go.


Lonely? No, I don’t have time to get lonely. I’m always busy doing something – I can always find something to do. What do I do when I’m alone I hear you asking.

I read and respond to e-mails or catch up with what’s happening on social media. I have a pile of books I’ve been buying (and keep adding new ones) ever so often in the hopes of reading them one day. I am trying to set up my own “work from home” business so I can stop this daily commute to a noisy office. I so badly want to get back to my crafts I used to do (I used to do fabric painting, I love making my own cards, I used to play piano – all things I’ve not had the time to do for a very long time.

Socially I have friends and family who want me to visit or have coffee or want to visit me. I’m studying part time (BA Criminology degree) so all in all, I don’t really have much time on my hands to even think about being lonely.

I hope this answers your questions?

What do you do to stop yourself from feeling lonely?

Do we place too much emphasis on being alone and loneliness?

I would like to end this post with a song sung by Roger Whittaker which, for me, perfectly sums up what it must feel like to be lonely. Reading the words to this song makes me realise that life is not so bad after all. If we spend less time focusing on ourselves and on what we don’t have, we will see how truly blessed we really are.

Streets of London
By: Roger Whittaker

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
hands held loosely at his side
Reading yesterday’s paper telling yesterday’s news

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She’s no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.


In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea last an hour
Then he wanders home alone


And have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman’s mission
Memory fading with
The medal ribbons that he wears.
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn’t care

Music: “Streets of London” by Roger Whittaker (iTunes)
Artist: Roger Whittaker
Category: Music
License: Standard YouTube License

I’m grateful for . . .

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was howling, the rain pounding down like it would never stop.

Sitting in church on the night of 25 July 1993 (21 years ago), listening to a solo being sung when the doors suddenly opened. Wild gun fire, hand grenades going off all over the place . . . everyone fell to the ground between the pews.

A bullet made a “zing” sound as it bounced off the pew in front of me, over my back across the pew behind me.

My mom, next to me, beside herself screaming because my little baby sister was not sitting with us at the time, she was sitting further back in the church with her friend and her family (the mother was killed by a hand grenade, we discovered afterwards).

When people find out that we were actually in church that fateful night and survived, they often want us to repeat what happened. I’m grateful for the fact that we survived that fateful night.

Here’s a link to the video (summary) made by the church after the massacre for those who are interested . . .

Dear Diary: Finding peace through forgiveness . . .

Forgiveness (butterfly)

“Recognise the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and honour wherever you fall in the process”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu have written a book called: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and our World. I read about this book in the You Magazine (http://www.you.co.za) dated 15 May 2014 and thought I should share some of this with you.

In this book the authors speak of the fourfold path to forgiveness, i.e.
1) Telling your story to the person you have to forgive
2) Naming the hurt
3) Granting forgiveness
4) The renewal or release of a relationship

Forgiveness is not something we give to the other person. In reality, it is something we give ourselves – we get to cut the chains holding us to the person who hurt us. Forgiveness is not easy – to be angry, devastated and grief-stricken are all valid and appropriate responses – they are all part of the journey of forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesnt excuse behaviourpg

How do we start the journey of granting forgiveness or being forgiven?

The authors talk about The Revenge Cycle:
“Whenever we’re injured we face the choice of whether to retaliate or reconnect”, the authors write.”

The revenge cycle looks like this:
• Hurt, harm or loss
• Pain
• Choosing to harm
• Rejecting shared humanity
• Revenge, retaliation, payback
• Violence, cruelty
• Hurt, harm or loss

The forgiveness cycle follows a fourfold path.
In choosing to heal . . .
• We tell the story
• Name the hurt
• Grant forgiveness (recognising shared humanity)
• Renewing or releasing the relationship

The authors then give very useful and practical exercises to be completed. (I’ve heard of similar exercises like writing a letter to the person who hurt you and then to throw the letter into a fire or to burn the letter to release the feelings of hurt and to move on with your life). The exercises provided in the book are as follows:

Carrying the stone:
• You need a stone the size of the palm of your hand
• For one full morning (about six hours) hold the stone in your non-dominant hand i.e. if you are right-handed, you will need to carry the stone in your left hand and vice versa. Do not put the stone down for any reason during this six hour period.
• At the end of six hours, proceed to the journal exercise (the journal will only be read by you).

• What did you notice about carrying the stone?
• When did you notice it most?
• Did it prevent you from completing any other activities?
• Was the stone ever useful?
• In what ways was carrying the stone like carrying an un-forgiven hurt?
• Make a list of people you need to forgive in your life
• Make a list of all those you’d like to have forgiven you

THE CLOAK OF SAFETY (Mindfulness Exercise):
Forgiveness can sometimes feel like it’s too much work, when all you want to do is to be still and feel safe. Create a cloak of safety that will always be within reach.

• Start by sitting comfortably. You may prefer to close your eyes lightly.
• Pay attention to your breathing. Don’t direct it – follow it. (Think about how your chest moves up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out).
• When you have settled into the rhythm of your breathing, allow yourself to feel the cloak of safety surrounding you like fabric.
• What is the texture of this cloak? Does it have a colour? Does it have a fragrance?
• Settle into this cloak. Does it feel warm or cool?
• Describe this cloak in your imagination as fully as you are able to. Pull the cloak around you and settle into feeling safe.
• When you need this cloak, know it is there and you can just reach for it.

You may want to surround yourself with the cloak of safety you created.
• Create a safe space. Think about a place of safety. It could be real or imaginary. See this place fully and inhabit it. Relax into this place.
• Someone is calling for you. The one who is calling for you speaks in a voice filled with warmth, love and delight. When you’re ready, welcome this person into your safe space. Who is your companion? Is it a loved one, a friend or a spiritual figure?
• Between you and your companion sits an open box. Tell your companion the story of the hurt you carry. Tell the truth about how you have been wounded, disdained, disrespected, shamed or disregarded in as much detail as you can remember. As you speak, see the hurt and the words pouring out of you like a stream. Watch the stream being poured into the box. When you’ve said all there is to say, close the box of sorrows.
• Take the box into your lap. When you are ready, hand the box to your trusted companion. Know that the box is in safe hands. You don’t need to carry those sorrows any longer.
• When you are ready, you may leave your place of safety. Know that your trusted companion will take your box of sorrows from the place but will return it should you have a need for it.

If a friend comes to you asking you to help them with their process of forgiving you should do the following:
• Listen
• Do not try to fix the pain
• Do not minimise the loss
• Do not offer any advice
• Do not respond with your own loss or grief (don’t tell your own story)
• Keep confidentiality
• Offer your love and caring
• Empathise and offer comfort

Forgiveness is a process of letting go:
• Think of the things you must give up or let go in order to forgive. The list might include things such as the right to revenge or the expectation of an apology. It might even include having to give up an expectation that the person who hurt you will understand the pain they have caused.
• As you make your list, pause with each item and offer thanks for the ability to let go of what you don’t need in order to forgive.

• Identify the feelings within the facts. Remember, no feelings are wrong, bad or invalid.
• Recognise the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and wherever you fall in the process.
• Find someone who will acknowledge you and listen to your feelings without trying to fix them.
• Accept your own vulnerability.
• Move forward when you are ready.

Forgiveness not done for others

• Forgiveness is a choice
• We grow through forgiving
• Forgiving is how we move from victim to hero in our story
• We know we are healing when we are able to tell a new story

This is a stone ritual in which you decide whether you should release the stone and all it symbolises or turn it into something else.
• Decide whether you will turn your stone into a new thing of beauty or release it back into nature.
• If you have chosen to renew the stone, decide how you will paint it or decorate it. You may also choose to turn it into something useful in your home or garden.
• If you have chosen to release your stone, you may take it back to the place where you found it and put it down or you may take it to a new place that is meaningful to you.
• Nothing is wasted. Everything, even a stone, has its purpose.

• Was it possible to make something beautiful from what you had?
• How difficult was it to do so?
• What did you learn about the renewing and releasing [of a relationship] as you completed this exercise?

• Get the support you need.
• Admit the wrong (although the path to making it right may or may not include telling your story to the person you have injured. Revealing an unknown betrayal may cause a deeper injury to the victim than that person’s ignorance or your deed. If this is the case, tell your story to a trusted counsellor).
• Witness the anguish and apologise.
• Ask for forgiveness.
• Make amends or whatever restitution or reparation is called for or needed.
• Honour your victim’s choice to renew or release the relationship.

• You will need a heavy stone. You want to feel its weight as burdensome.
• Walk with this stone some distance to a private place.
• Admit to the stone what you’ve done.
• Then tell the stone the anguish you have caused.
• Apologise to the stone and ask for forgiveness. You may imagine the person you have harmed in your mind’s eye or ask God for forgiveness.
• Decide what you can do to make amends to the person you harmed or how you can help others.
• Then set the stone down in nature.

Forgiveness_Life becomes easier

Wow, this sure is powerful stuff. There is so much food for thought here. The exercises are simple yet practical. Just reading all of this makes me want to go out to buy the book, don’t you?

The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and the World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu (Harper Collins) is available through http://www.kalahari.com

It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
– Unknown