Sunday, 24 April 2016

Memories and heartache.

Parting is such sweet sorrow: Shakespeare!

It is 400 years ago that Shakespeare died. I just heard that on the news. Wasn't aware of this fact till then. Apparently there are numerous activities planned to commemorate this event. The man and his works live on.

When Freddy Mercury, alias Queen, died the world mourned. When Princess Diana died the world mourned. Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela...well you get my drift.

To the world these people were heroes, were looked up to. Were considered "special' because they had in their own way ' made a difference' in, for and to our world. Those 'followers' take a moment each year to remember them - their 'heroes'.

Daily, people die. Some close in relationship to ourselves, others anonymous, unknown to us and far removed. Instead of being physically present in our lives - they remain in our memories forever. We can still smile when we recall a shared moment of pleasure- and we can certainly shed tears when the heartache overwhelms us. Grief has so many faces and is timeless.

When my parents died- I felt as if the world had lost heroes- people who had made a difference. I walked around in a daze, feeling numb and bereft. But the whole world didn't mourn along with me - just a small community of people connected to my parents. Many of those I have loved have gone- died through either illness, accident or old age. 

Today is ANZAC day in Australia en New Zealand. A day of remembrance of those who fought in wars - never to return home to those they were protecting.

Many a year I attended these services - and saw the pain and grief on faces now wrinkled and worn. Names are called out, flowers are laid and silences held.

These people deserve a moment of our time - no matter what your thoughts are on war and peace.

I for one will be REMEMBERING them - each 25th April.

Now, back in my country of birth, Nederland, I have included this remembrance date to the 4th of May, when I hang the flag half mast on my home as is the custom here. I don't physically attend the services - but together with my husband we watch the live broadcast on tv.

To give a moment of time - in remembrance to those who have died - is one way to make sure their names and faces live on - famous, brave, unknown and unsung. Our own personal heroes deserve that.

That they may all be remembered and treasured in our hearts.

Monday, 18 April 2016

On this day, back in 1971

On this day, casting my mind back to 1971, I recall becoming an aunt for the first time.

Our family to-ed en fro-ed between Nederland and New Zealand between 1966 and 1971. We arrived back on the 16th of April. I remember that day so well. My sister, married to Lionel and living in New Zealand, was pregnant with their first child.

My mum, youngest brother Paul, only 4 years old and I (almost 18) arrived on their doorstep to stay a few months - while awaiting the arrival of my dad my other brother Lex and our crate with belongings from Nederland. We then would move into our own home. In the meanwhile we were guests in Glendene, staying with my sister and her husband.

The due date of the baby had been the pivotal item in our decision to arrive in separate units- so to speak. My mum was keen to be present and be a help for my sister after the birth of her first child. When my mum had her first 3 children she and dad lived with my (maternal) grandparents and she too had the comfort and assistance of her mum at the times of those births.

18 December 1971 - my very first nephew was born. Not only had i just embarked on a new fase in my life but I had also become an aunt. WOW!!

By being present in the home I was privileged to have had many moments to be able to hold, feed and cuddle this bundle of joy. When my sister needed some time out it was no problem at all to be 'aunty' and fulfill my role as such.

Because of the two special dates - being so close, these 2 events are remembered each year and thought back on with a certain fondness, melancholy and much present JOY!


Happy birthday dearest first nephew. Thank you for my memories. I love you!

Tante Anita

Monday, 11 April 2016

Social Media - how much is too much?

Can you imagine your life without Social Media?

Have you ever counted the hours spent reading messages, replying to them or searching the web for information?

I use Internet every day.

Each morning I have an early morning chat session with a friend. That way I know she's ok- had a good or bad night's sleep and we occasionally exchange our day's plans/planning. It is just like the neighbour who is alert and sees that the curtains next door are open or not! No contact then something is amiss.

I also check for messages from my children- they are up and about while I sleep. My grandchildren- the somewhat older ones have access to Snapchat and send me photos and or messages. Love getting those before I eat my porridge.

I blog - sometimes daily- because I have a number of blogs each with their own theme,  I try to keep my contributions regular and interesting.

And yes, many years ago- I enrolled myself on Facebook. My children thought it a great way to share photos and happenings- and I was asked to join them on this 'new' platform to keep me informed of their activities.

Without realising it- one can spend HOURS online. Chatting, message-ing, sharing your own and peaking into other peoples lives.

I do not only write Blogs, I read them as well.

I do not only have my children as 'friends' on Facebook- but many 'friends' as well.

I do not only 'chat' with one person - but respond to all my friends when they appear on my screen.

I haven't 'timed' my online moments- as I still have time to do my shopping, hang out the washing, do the ironing, cook dinners, bake, wash windows, have girl's nights out, couch sit watching my fav tv programme, read, follow a course and spend time outdoors. I visit friends and relatives, go out for dinner with my husband and have face to face personal conversations with friends and neighbours. And yes, I get my 7-8 hours sleep a night.

With all the comments about spending too much time on Social Media I would like to say - it is all a matter of planning, of schedules and availability. Being sensible- moderating, planning.

Just like healthy eating- make sure you don't 'over eat' by being sensible. There will always be 'over eaters' in either food, Internet usage or other 'too much' categorised activities. Guide the young - influence them by example. Open doors - don't tuck the computers away in dark corners but let it be a communal activity. Laugh at each others funny clips and respect each others privacy. Don't just BE but GET involved. Like watching tv as a family ( which also was something one had to learn and adjust to) so too is being 'online' something you can share.

It was meant to be fun- and it CAN be just that. FUN!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Blogging runs in the family

What a lovely surprise I received this morning.

My eldest granddaughter has started blogging.

How lovely to read her items- so pure and from the heart.

A new way of keeping in touch with her development as a maturing young woman.

It will be wonderful to keep abreast of her interests and impressions.

Hopefully she will continue with this activity for many years to come.

As her blogging 'oma' I hope to see her articles increase in number.

Well done Charlie.