Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Thank you 2013 - for all the experiences I have had this past year

It is nearly 2014. In less than 24 hours we will turn the page on our calendars.

What a date - 2014. 

How different the world now looks, 100 years on 1914. A time of war and poverty, hunger and unrest. I am convinced people wished each other Happy New year on the 31-12-1913. It took 4 years for that to happen.

Now here we are again- on the brink of another year, another chapter in our lives. And once again millions will be wishing each other a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Joyful New Year.

My wish for your 2014 year is for,

Happy -  by being thankful for what you have - not what you want. Count your blessings in thanks and gratitude. It makes the world smile at you. So smile back and enjoy.

Healthy - by making the right choices for your physical and emotional well being. Smoking, drinking, eating, exercising- all part of our responsibility- not the National Health Service! We were given a body- so we need to take care of it.

Prosperous - that you are able to take care of the needs of your family and hopefully also share and contribute to those less fortunate. This being in many forms like sharing skills, giving practical help, a listening ear, a supporting shoulder, gifts of love and compassion and where necessary monetary donations. Help others have a prosperous year too.

Joyful - that each day brings challenges and opportunities that give pleasure and satisfaction. Learn from experiences and look before you leap, take advice, weigh up pros' and cons' wisely. Life is a learning process and adventure, a gift to use well.

I am grateful for all that 2013 brought me. Yes, the sad and happy moments alike. Life isn't always a smooth ride, and it needn't be. I am grateful for those around me who walk along side me, for my faith which carries me and lifts me up when I am down, for those who laugh with me when I laugh and share with me when they need to share. With joyful anticipation I look forward to 2014 and all it's challenges and opportunities.

That the lessons I learnt in the past are strongholds and acts as a beacon for my future.



Thursday, 19 December 2013

To pa, with love

Pa loved life and all it offered him -
including a cold beer on a warm day.
Woudrichem Hotel mei 2012
On 19 December 2012 at approx. 9am pa Fijnekam, our dearest most loving and gentle father ( in law) left us for ever. What a sadness, what a pain, what a loss we felt. Unbelievable to have him with us one minute and gone the next.

Dear pa,

In just three weeks your independence slowly ebbed, your body began it's shut down process and although you wanted to ' stay just a little longer", your time to leave us had come.

We were heartbroken yet grateful that the battle was won- that you surrendered and received eternal
peace - a fitting reward for a beautiful and honourable life. Pa, you are a fine example of fatherhood, having nurtured and guided Leen and Arie in their lives, having been a wonderful father in law for both Irene ( RIP - 24 January 2001) and then accepting me as your second daughter in law- and I know from all those who knew her and loved her - you were a loving and generous husband to ma ( RIP - 24 January 1998).

Arie, pa and Leen - Zoutelande 2007
You suffered heavy losses three years apart- there were disappointments too, yet you kept your love for life alive by the way you shared this love with those around you. Every Wednesday lunchtime you sat at our table and shared lunch. Almost every evening you cooked a meal for you and Arie, every Saturday you visited tante Jaantje and most days, weather permitting,  you sat along the river watching the boats sail by accompanied 30 years long with your trusty friend(s) Rando I, II and III till July 2006 when your third German Shepperd died. Again you lost something dear to your heart.

Pa, you lived a full life, shared what you had in abundance and treated others with respect - you were loved by many and this became clear the day we committed your earthly body to the ground. What a crowd- what an attention, what a love surrounded us that day.

Today loomed, the past months you have been with us in memories and conversations. It was almost as if you hadn't quite left. Today the three of us will share our evening meal- topic of conversation- bet you can't guess what it will be? This past year, despite the highs- we've had many lows. Letting you go is harder than we thought it would be.

Dear darling pa, Rest in Peace - it is no more than you deserve. Go be with the angels and watch over us.

With love

Leen, Arie and Anita

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Picking up the routines of daily lfe

After being so spoilt, having 4 weeks of holidaying and being free from musts' and have to's it has taken longer to get back into some form of routine than I imagined. I think this was also influenced by the fact that my husband accompanied me on this trip whereas he normally stays home. Now both our routines were put on hold- instead of only mine.

Our visit to Terschelling- a joyful memory
The month November has quickly turned into December bringing with it the memories of 2012. On the 3rd of December my dearest father in law was admitted to hospital never to return his home again. I accompanied him that day in the ambulance- he was so distressed and unsure of what awaited him. So were we, my husband, brother in law and I. We were a close group of four sharing many many moments together. Enjoying each others company, respecting each others differences. We all felt deep down that this closeness was under threat. We were about to loose something and someone special. And that we did. On the 19th of december 2012 at approximately 9:00am pa ceased to be. We were devastated, totally grieved and mourned this great loss- our only comfort being that pa was without pain, at peace and sleeping the gentle everlasting sleep.

The normally cheerful month of December turned somber, dark and dreary. I remember vividly walking downstairs into the hospital lobby, after spending almost 3 full weeks at pa's bedside, wondering how on earth these people, who milled about with Christmas music everywhere and a huge Christmas Tree all decorated up, could be so cheerful on such a sad day. I wanted to scream at them- shout my grief out loud for all to hear- just as I wanted to shout my joy at the birth of my children and grandchildren. Such a huge and burdening emotion! Death - and thereby losing someone you love so dearly.

My dad always said " there is only one thing that is certain in life, and that is death. We will all experience it in due course". And I know that- but that doesn't and didn't make pa's death any easier to accept. Not on the eve of Christmas.... when the world is full of songs that proclaim the ' jolly tidings'.

I am a believer, I have faith and I pray. I pray in good times and in bad...I pray in thanksgiving and I pray for wisdom, for relief from pain and sadness, for others, for myself, for peace- for harmony and for forgiveness. I and thankful to have this faith and opportunity to pray. I also understand that there are those who don't pray or see the need to. What you've never had, you can't miss! Or don't you? I cannot for the life of me imagine what my life would be like without prayer.

Bad things happen to good people too! Having faith doesn't mean you are without life's struggles. It does offer me hope, peace, help in dark times and thankfulness in good times. When in doubt- pray! For guidance, for insight, for support, comfort, sharing a burden or joy. Praying doesn't mean begging. Praying is communicating- with one's God, for me with my God!

Here, December is in terms of seasons, the winter season. Long nights, darkish days where daylight is at a minimum- the shortest day is on the 21st december. It is, for many a time of doom and gloom, of not only dark days but also of dark thoughts. Loneliness and depression.

I have elected to pray this month for light- that lights will shine in hearts. That people will feel the message of hope that Christmas brings, that the joy isn't only heard in the carols but felt in the hearts of those needing the warmth of that light in their lives.

I know that the sadness of missing pa also allows me the room to be joyful and thankful for all he has meant to me and to all those he loved. And in that love I aim to enjoy the spirit of Christmas again- like I am meant to.

December the month of hope, light, peace and promise.

Let there be light

(Song to be heard while reading the lyrics)
Choose option - 'listen while you read'