Archive for the ‘family’ Category


Aged 11

Aged 11

As parents, we always wonder how we’ve raised our children, have they become the people we had hoped, are they the people they had hoped to be.

My son Hillary is a wonderful father and husband, very loving, a dedicated doctor, I can see he is the person I hoped he would be. I can see it in the loving face of his wife, the adoring expressions of his children, the grateful thank yous of his patients. Sophie is still too young I do not believe she has yet become the person she wants to be, but I think she is on the right path.

With Grayson it’s so difficult to know, he’s so private, and he’s been away for the last 3 and a half years, I used to think he was a person I could be proud of, but now I know he is. The overwhelming response the flood of emails, asking about him, while he has been ill has touched me very deeply. He has always been popular with the ladies, young and old, he has that certain je nais ce quis, a charisma, that attracts them, and he is down right too handsome for his own good!

But I have received communications from people who have only known him for a few months, from people who have never met him, and while the words are different and the expressions used variable, there is one underlining theme. That he is a compassionate, caring, person, that he is a great friend, and would do anything for his friends, in the real world or the cyber one, that he is funny, a good listener, gives sound advice, passionate, and some what of a rebel ( that part I already knew ).

From L-R, Greg, Grayson, Donnie

From L-R, Greg, Grayson, Donnie

It feels my heart with joy to know that, people love my son, that they care for him, he has always said he wants to do something great , something to be remembered for, and I think he has accomplished that, true he has  solved no conflicts, nor has he discovered a cure for deadly diseases, he has not unmasked the mysteries of the universe, but he has touched lives in a way some never do, he has left his hand print  ob this world in the way that his friends, love and care for him, and when all is said and done,  when the books are opened and the judgment begins, I think that is the most important accomplishment he has achieved.

Just a few exerts from emails I have received :

Ash, NYC: “I must confess to you something, tears are rolling down my face right now..tears of joy and gratefulness. Im so overwhelmed with emotion that if Gray were here he would try to crack a joke just about now to change the mood. I miss him as he and I share a strong bond.”

Janna, Tasmania: “He saved my life, I almost drowned and he gave me CPR and brought me back, a world with no Gray would be a terrible placed to live’

Stephanie, Australia: “I’ve only known him a short while, but he is a wonderful person, he makes me smile, when I am sad, he’s not afraid to show his tender side, and be silly, make faces or crack jokes, even at his own expense”

Alejandro, Spain: ” I ‘ve never met him in person, but the dedication he has shown our cause, is overwhelming

Michael,England: ” All i can say is you must be very proud to call him your son

Jean-Paul, France:An amazing man, a caring nurse, a devoted friend, I do not take to people so quickly but after a few moments I felt as if I had known him all my life”

Helle, South Africa: ” We chose him to be our volley ref, not just cuz he’s so gorgeous, but cuz he treats us with so much respect

Jenny, South Africa: ” he made me a better nurse”

Phil, Namibia: “he puts others first, his selflessness is unparalleled”

Cara, Los Angeles: ‘ the first time I saw him he was drunk as a skunk, with a beer can stuck to the bottom of his shoe, and a mustache and goatee, he’s drawn on himself with an indelible marker “

Shannon, Dublin: ” he comes up to me and says, “Crikey and I thought I was good looking, lol, how could I resist?

Bryan, Chicago: ‘ lol he gave  me this scowling look and said, “Bru, she’s someone’s sister, knock it off! I have admired him ever since

Donnie, South Africa: ” so i says to him, bru you trying to look like me or what, and he says yea I’m trying to be ugly, lol but he shaved the beard off anyway”


Home sweet home

The house sale is final we now own a beautiful Cape Dutch house 12 miles from Stellenbosch cicra 1816. The previous owners tried to turn it into an inn, but it is far off of the beaten track that it just didn’t work and they had to relinquish it. While it is in the middle of beautiful wine country it is actually very isolated and not on the popular route.
The landscapers we hired have been busy, transfering and planting my flowers from the Mowbray estate,and erected a hot house for my more exotic flora. A pond will also be excavated to provide a new home for my darling koi,to swim away their little lives. The inside of the house has been newly renovated and is quite lovely, a lot of the features are modern but the owners managed to keep some of the original features like the doors and windows and fireplaces. It is quite lovely, and I can’t wait to move completely, some of our things are going tomorrow , the big things we can do without and the other things we shall take down ourselves.
I am sorry to leave my old home, for 25 yeas it has given me and my family shelter, it has kept us warm and dry, kept us together and seen many a happy time, my younger children have run down it’s hallways and played in it’s gardens, slid down the banisters, even though I told them not to, and played “bobalobajuju” ( a game they made up with their cousins ) in the attic. My grandchildren have read in the library and spent many a summer day in the gazebo or on the swings,Hill was married in the rose garden, Grayson announced his engagement in the water and rock themed part of the garden, our 40th anniversary party was held a few feet away around the pool. So many beautiful memories I am sad to leave it but I hope it brings the next owners as much happiness as we had there, and I hope they show it the love and respect that it deserves.Goodbye home, I was proud to have owned you.And I look forward to the new memories we will make in our new home


Leopold has finally decided to retire-again. Yes he retired from medicine nearly 8 years ago, but since then he has sat on the board of 3 different hospitals. As he reached the big seven oh this year and I am not far behind him, he has decided it is time for us to leave Cape Town and set off for the wine country and realise our dreams.
I shall definitely miss Cape Town, it’s buzz and hub, it’s beauty in the summer, the society, but I shall stay in touch with my many charities, through email and phone, although I may limit the number and the amount of work I am prepared to do. Neither Leo nor I are fooled into thinking we have forever, we are no spring chickens anymore, and we went to relax and enjoy the time we have left in this world. The estate is far too big for us now all our birds have flown the nest, and even with a house staff it seems so empty, a nice little hom enear a vineyard where we can wine taste until the end of days, has always been our dream.

"Don’t vote me off the island just yet"

As some of you know my son has been in a coma for the last three weeks, due to complications of his heart condition and a bout of malaria he suffered from while abroad. His numerous afflictions at times seemed too many for one single person to suffer from, apart from the obvious that comes with having DCM, he was on the brink of renal failure, he was suffering from pulmonary edema, he couldn’t breathe on his own, he had lost 30 lbs in weight. He was put on a ventilator and a hole was cut in his chest to drain the fluid build up from his lungs, the doctors then put him into a controlled coma so not to put any more stress on him.
Three Sundays ago, we were told to prepare for the worst, we had Father Ptrick on speed dial incase we needed him to perform the Last Rites on Grayson before he passed away, Leo retrieved Grayson’s will and list of requests from the safe, so we could follow his wishes as to his funeral.
For three weeks I sat by my son’s bed, holding his hand, knowing what we were doing was against his wishes, he has always asked to be let go, not to be kept alive on machines, several times the doctors tried to see if he could breathe alone and he could not. but he was functional on all other levels, and it is that which covinced us to go against his wishes and have him treated according to what his doctors wanted.
Once during the 3 weeks, he woke to scribble on a pad that he wanted to donate his corneas, as all of his other organs were failing and were no good for donating.
There were times that I gave up hope, that I lost faith and believed we would lose him, I was so angry, the anger I first felt when he was 19 and we discovered his condition, the “Why my child, and not someone elses child” rage, the unfairness of it all.
But he never gave up, despite his weakened state, he held on, and tonight I held his hand as the doctors removed the tubes, as they injected him with the medicine that would wake him up, they removed the tape that had held his eyes closed for three weeks, and my beautiful son opened his eyes he smiled at me, and I cried, tears of happiness, of relief, of exhaustion, he motioned for his pad and pen, and wrote,” stop crying mother, i’am not going down with out a fight :-P” and then he wrote ” i missed you”.
I thought I would pass out I was so overwhelmed. I was shaking so hard, Leo had to almost carry me down to the car.
He has a long way to go, he’s not out of the proverbial woods yet, but he is awake and I know how stubborn he is, as he always jokes, when he has one of his episodes ” Don’t vote me off the island just yet”. I know he will walk away from this.

Sundays, Sundays.

I haven’t blogged in a while and that is because I have been quite busy, as some of you might know,my youngest son suffers from heart failure, and he is currently in the hospital, and that is where I have been spending most of my time. I’m not going to drag you all down with the horrors my son is going through. But that is the reason why I haven’t been so cyber active in the last few weeks. Thanks for understanding and I hope to be back as soon as possible.

Is it better to have loved and lost……..?

As I might have mentioned my best friend Trudy lost her husband a few weeks ago, after 42 years of marriage. She was of course devastated, and I spent many an evening with her trying to comfort her, one evening she said something that made me begin to reflect on my own life, she said “I am lost without John, I wish I’d died first”
Later that night I began to reflect upon my own 44 year marriage, and I understood what she meant,while no one really wants to die, the thought of losing Leopold after so long, does indeed terrify me. I have lived with him for almost all of my adult life, we have never been apart for more than one day the idea that I might have to one day spend the rest of my days without him is very frightening.
I had a friend at school a long time ago who told me she was never getting married, when I askedher why, she said because she wasn’t going to spend all her life loving some man who would either, run off with a younger girl one day or die on her. I often wonder where she is now and if she is with someone or has she spent all these years alone. This poses the question, I suppose, Is it better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all?
For myself I am glad Ihave had the last 45 years with Leopold and I will be grateful for whatever amount of years I have yet to spend with him

Golf, porn and Father’s Day

I really should have written My Father’s Day blog by now, but I haven’t so I shall do so now, because I have another blog in mind, and I want toget them both typed up before they flee my mind!
All the children came home to celebrate Father, even Little Miss flew from Johannesburg. It’s been since Christmas that we have all been together in the same place and nearly 4 years since we have celebrated a Father’s Day all together, Errant Son had finally planted roots, or so we thought. The grandchildren presented their gifts first, a loevly shiny pencil holder for Granpa’s desk and a very colourful Kleenex box cover,which I am sure Grandpa will treasure. Grandpa has been a little grumpy of late, quite angry with his fellow doctors for taking part in the strike. But he was soon cheered up with the children in the house, he could talk medicine with Hillary, and be spoiled by Sophie and debate ( which is what we call his little arguments with Grayson ) current affairs with Grayson. And he loved his new golf clubs,which the children all chipped in for ( meaning Hillary and Grayson, Sophie no doubt spent this month’s and next month’s allownace on shoes! ). They even had a set of 12 black golf balls monogrammed with Father’s intials “LSJ” which I thought was a lovely touch even Grayons’s naughty pornography book went down well, I’ve actually had a look through quite interesting, there is so much more to pornography then sex, tried to have a discussion with the culprit who bought the book,children claim parents are so prudish about sex, but really they are the ones with the hangups! Sex is as natural as living or dying, it is a part of life!
Little Miss Sophie also made a lovely cake, which despite being her first effort and did not come out of a Betty Crocker packet was quite deliscious.