I post this in tribute of my dear, yet sadly, departed mother: Veronica Worthmann
How time has warped for me. Two years. Personal loss, life… work… COVID-19!
Let me backtrack a little. At the beginning of February 2020, I made the trip from the Netherlands to South Africa with the sole purpose of visiting my 80-year-old mom. Getting on in age, and showing the signs thereof, this was an incredibly important trip for me to make. COVID-19 was already making headlines, but somehow, tucked away in South Africa and spending precious moments with my mom, I was sticking my head comfortably into the sand. On the evening of the 13th of February Mom had a fall and was admitted to hospital late that night. Diagnosis – severely broken hip. On a couch in the visitor’s room at the hospital, I tried to make myself comfortable and did my best to “settle in” for the night. Running through my head continually was what I considered my options for the immediate circumstances to be. Before dawn, I returned to Mom’s bedside, she was awake. Considering that my return flight was in less than 48 hours’ time, I proposed that I delay my return home. Her response: “No my girl, it’s your time to go home!”. We chatted about that for a while, but her response remained unchanged.
Later that morning I returned to my family’s home to shower, change, and pack my bags. I returned to Mom’s bedside, repeating my proposal to delay my return to the Netherlands. She was unwavering in her response: “My girl, I love you, but the time has come for you to go home!”.
Those are words I will never forget. I hold onto them every single day. They comfort me.
Return home, on schedule, I did. Within a matter of weeks lockdown was in place in the Netherlands, and progressively, the rest of the globe. Any thoughts of return to my mom’s bedside were curtailed.
The remainder of 2020 was, for my beloved mom, full of tremendous pain and suffering. She never did recover from her injury and subsequent surgery. It is nothing short of tragic. She found peace in her sleep on the evening of 25 December 2020 when she gracefully did not awake the following morning. May she rest in eternal peace!
Receiving my brother’s phone call in the early hours of that fateful morning feels like yesterday for me. It’s like time has been standing still for me, until several weeks ago. In response to an overwhelming gut feel, one of those that force you into acting, I booked a trip back to South Africa in November 2021. A gap in the COVID-19 travel restrictions indicated that such travel was permissible and so I seized the moment. In my gut was the angst that this is most arguably the highest risk that I’ve ever undertaken. Nonetheless, I undertook a whirlwind trip to South Africa where I placed extreme emphasis on spending time with immediate family only – hyper focus!
I learned a tremendous lesson … as one who has always felt “removed” from the sense of family, I learned that family, and the sense of family, is vitally important. This trip has been healing for me in the most amazing ways, and a tremendous growth point. The entire experience was cathartic for me. Ralph, Jennifer & Tracy, you have no choice in being my siblings, but you have a choice in how you engage with me. Thank you, each of you, for being such gems in how you do so. I love each of you more than I can express.
Family – honour them. Love them. Support them.
I love and miss you Mom x x x