In 2014 I met an actual angel. But not until I had seen the intricacies of hell.
Many of you know that in 2015, I dedicated my life to the Lord (for those confused, I am referring to Jesus, not Voldemort). Since then, I have been an on and off Christian at best, because logic and spirituality more often than not seem to be rivals… But I am no stranger to love/hate relationships.
With conviction, I announced earlier this year that I would also no longer swear, and that I would only use my mouth for good. I guess whether the latter is true is a tale for my husband to tell. As for swearing, my attempt was the equivalent of a proper Christmas trifle… a fruitless endevour.
And my swearing seemed like it wouldn’t end, ever.
Upon reflection, however, (I am being literal, I was actually looking at myself in the mirror when this epiphany struck), this is the time of the year when it is totally acceptable to make lists of goals not yet achieved.
At least this way, I can pretend that I will commit an entire year to improving myself, by merely writing things down, then forgetting about them until December 2018.
So this time, I am writing my list of 2018 resolutions in front of witnesses.
Contrary to popular belief, my walk with God started some time before Riyaahd and I decided to date. I know many people think that my conversion was due to wanting a man, but actually I had an encounter, pre- church-tollie, that made me question my purpose on earth.
When Rose was born, my life had already started to make the slow transition from ‘two biere’, to ‘the blood of Christ’. Very different taste, but very similar feeling.
I felt intoxicated by the power of prayer. But still argued with myself whether I was a victim of the placebo effect, or if the Lord was actually trying to change my life.
Then Lyle died, and I knew there was a God.
Yes. I just said that.
But to enter the New Year, I want to tell you a story. These events, which I will tell, arse-end first, were my actual confirmation, post catholic confirmation, pre-Lyle’s death, which convinced me that the Lord had a plan for my life.
I don’t care if you believe in God, Allah, Jah, Garfield or Mr. Wendall.
Hopefully, my story will help you identify your moment of purpose, whether it has already happened, or is still on the cards.
Rose was born in 2014. The day itself was very eventful, but I will get to that.
A few weeks after, I was home, on maternity leave. I remember that one evening I was feeling very ill, but not taking too much note of it, assuming that I was merely coming down with the flu.
I recall breastfeeding for a while, and then laying her down. I readied myself for bed and switched on my laptop to watch series. I climbed into bed and immediately fell asleep.
This wasn’t an average sleep, though. I remember being able to see through my eyelids. I was unable to move, but felt my body slowly contort.
I have watched enough documentaries to understand what sleep paralysis is. I know that our bodies and brains have different phases to go through as we relax and drift into sleep. I understand that skeptics will have many comments.
This isn’t your fucking story, shut up.
After what felt like hours, I ‘woke up’, not completely convinced that I had fallen asleep. My logical mind rationalized that I had probably had a nightmare. I looked at Rose, she was fine. I looked at the clock, it was 3.33am.
I put my head back down, and fell asleep.
The next day, I still felt flu-ish and noticed that I had broken out in a very fine, full body rash. As the day progressed, the itching worsened.
My mind raced. I had had a C-section only a few weeks ago so I called the emergency room, convinced I had measles.
The emergency room said to come in immediately. I left the baby with my mom, and Lyle took me to Mitchell’s Plain Melomed hospital.
I remember that the emergency room was very full. When my turn came around, I was taken to the only room available, the trauma room. I laid back, and was given a saline drip, while I waited to see the doctor. I remember drifting, like the night before, again looking through my eyelids, when I was woken up by a hysterical scream.
“KENZO!” a woman’s voice echoed down the passage, outside the door.
The door swung open and a murder of doctors and nurses flew into the room.
“You need to get up, ma’am”.
Only then did I notice that one nurse was carrying a baby boy. A toddler, no older than 3 years old.
Someone pulled me up from the bed, but as I attempted to leave the room, my drip hooked onto the side of the bed. I turned around to free myself from the contraption, just in time to see them lay Kenzo onto the bed. I saw his chest sink into his torso.
In that second I saw the life drain from his body. I looked him in his face.
At that exact moment, he died.
I managed to free myself and ran out of the room.
For the next ten minutes, the door ajar, I watched from the passage as the medical staff tried in vain to resuscitate another woman’s Sidney-Jonah.
The nurses came out of the room first, defeated. One was crying, but subtly.
The doctors followed shortly after.
The mother, now almost catatonic, was being held by who I assumed to be her sister. I never asked.
“Is my baby dead?” she asked. She was very, very calm.
I hated that no one answered her.
She was ushered into the bereavement room. All I heard was a scream.
I spent the entire day in that passage. There were no beds, so all of my tests were performed in the emergency area. When they finally decided to transfer me to Gatesville, the ambulance pushed me pass the room in which Kenzo died. His mother, hours later, was still sitting with him. She had wrapped him in a blanket, still protecting him from the cold.
She kept making sure to cover his tiny feet.
The doctors never found anything in my blood, or on my skin. No measles. No foreign bacteria. No reason for me to be there.
My stay at Gatesville was merely observational. Uneventful. Insignificant.
The last time however, now finally made sense.
Rose was born at Gatesville Hospital on the 2nd of June, 2014.
While I waited for Dr Khamissa’s team to wheel me in, Dr Davids came to check on me pre-surgery, and asked me several very private questions, publicly.
One of them being “I see here that you will be having a sterilization as well?”.
“How old are you, miss?” he almost scolded.
My answer was to avoid the question. “I don’t want any more kids”.
For some reason, he got preoccupied, and a woman I had never seen before in my life, touched my shoulder.
I looked at Lyle. I looked at her.
“Hello my baby”, the old colored aunty/nurse greeted me.
She didn’t even acknowledge Lyle.
I greeted, and realized that she seemed familiar, and I was comforted by her hand.
“Can I pray for you?”, she asked. But didn’t really wait for me to answer.
Her prayer was silent, but I promise I felt it.
“Sorry for eavesdropping, but I hear you want to sterilize yourself. How old are you my child?”.
“I am 25 aunty”.
“No my baby, the Lord sent me over here. You don’t know what your future holds. What if you meet a man and he wants another baby”.
I looked at Lyle.
“Should I get sterilized?”.
“Yes. Do it”, he demanded.
Again, she paid him no mind, I don’t think she could see him.
“The Lord has a plan for your life, my child. Trust me. Don’t do it”.
Dr. Davids returned. Clipboard in hand. And asked me the same question again, as if he hadn’t been there before.
“So, are you going to do the sterilization?” he asked.
I looked at him. I looked at Lyle. I looked at her.
“God says you will soon see the value of your children”.
They brought Rose to me shortly after that. I wrapped her in a blanket, to protect her from the cold.
I made sure to cover her tiny feet.
Resolutions always leave me tickled.
I too am guilty of the January diet, which is easy to maintain… until January pay day.
It’s easy to quit smoking when you don’t have entjie money.
It’s easy to jog every day when you haven’t gone back to work yet.
But once the year settles in, and things are back to normal… the truth is… old habits die hard.
So this year, instead of resolutions, I am making a 2018 bucket list.
Instead of sterilizing my life, I am deciding that in 2018, I will add to it.
- Take care of my hair. It’s pretty ratchet. I want to let it grow.
- Learn to speak, around swearwords. I will learn more adjectives.
- Pray more.
- Give birth to a healthy, bouncy baby girl. This means allowing this pregnancy to happen for the best of the baby, without obsessing over my weight and patchy skin.
- Eat healthy.
- Do the one thing that terrifies me: This is singing in public, or on video. It has been a decade.
- Finish my book. (Or for the Love of all things, at least fucking start).
- Stop spraying my crotch with air freshener, even when it is too hot to bath.
- Go on stage at least once, for something.
- Glorify God in all that I do.
2017 was a beautiful year for me.
I entered it Ms. Genever, and I am exiting it as Mrs Fife.
Many blessings were bestowed upon me. As unworthy as I am. As tainted and sinful as the last 28 years were, I was shown grace.
And that is a grace I hope all of you experience in abundance.
I wish all my readers happiness, inner peace and self-acceptance.
Thank you for the abundance of support you have shown me as I shared the intricate, and sometimes ugly parts of myself with all of you.
Have a safe, prosperous, merry trek into the New Year.
And every day of 2018 that you wake up, that your kids are well, that you have a roof over your head, that you have a family you can depend on, or even if you just have a befokte WiFi connection so that you can read my blog… Be grateful.. and smile.
There is a reason that you are here.
I love you.