My husband and I lost our daughter when she was 15 years old. I then realized I had a choice. I can be sorry for myself, indulge in the pity of others, climb in my bed for a year and wish to die.
Instead I chose to grab life by the horns, get out of my comfort zone, away from the safety of home, family and friends. Begin a new life. Dragging my long suffering husband, ‘kicking and screaming’, with.
Helen, my daughter had a motto; ‘L♥vin’ Life’ from Lizzy, her favourite surfing gear brand. I added another one. You have only life, live it.
She was an exceptional human being, a dauntless spirit. Her death made us realize just how short a life can be. There may never be … when I retire … or one day …
This is the story that began in 2007 – the story I want to write and blog about.
I decided to take up the Helen’s challenge and her legacy of loving your life and went sailing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 07/08. A race around the world of ten identical 70′ racing yachts, crewed by non professional sailors. People like you and me with the courage to face danger, which are brave, resolute, determent to do something worthwhile with their lives and leave a legacy. Just so you know, I have never sailed before; never mind a powerful racing machine, where one mistake can mean death or serious injury. This really was frightening. While working hauling a jib one day, huge waves were crushing over the bow. Spray flying everywhere, I could not breathe and it felt as if I was being tumbled in a washing machine. I actually laughed out loud; swallowed half the ocean and nearly drowned. Then you really appreciate being alive. When for weeks you put on wet, heavy foul weather gear and do your job, three hours on watch and three hours off watch; you dream of a warm and dry bed with four legs that stand still. But I persevered, survived the challenge, made wonderful friends and I never looked back.
In Afrikaans we have a saying for people that go through life like sleepwalkers. People who are afraid to make waves, who never speaks out about injustices; we call them ‘suurstof diewe’ (oxygen thieves). This is most definitely not the person I want to be.
I want to make a difference and pay forwards the kindnesses and compassion my husband and I received and still am receiving from strangers, friends and family.
I had the courage to change my life. The courage to be responsible for the choices I make and to stop blaming others for my failures or shortcomings. The courage to make a better life for myself, doing what I love.
This blog is about sharing my experiences and living my life to the fullest. I want to help people deal with heartbreak, sorrow, anger, rage and abandonment in a time of bereavement. I want to show you that you can find love, happiness, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets, joy in simple things and laughter. I want you to find health, body, soul and spirit.
And in the process we are going to have truck loads of fun. Oh, one last thing, I love ice-cream. I make my own and am somewhat of a connoisseur.
You have only one life, love your life.