Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My neighbor. Pienkie

Many readers of this blog will remember that I've spoken often of my erstwhile neighbor,  Pienkie. 

The day I moved into our home in July 2000, with the furniture still being carried in, Pienkie arrived on the front lawn with a tray of tea.  This was the beginning of a very special friendship. Pienkie was at least 20 years my senior but, no, she wasn't my "mother". She was a dear friend and companion during the years we'd both been lone women here in this street. 

When I joined Grant on the mines in West Africa, Pienkie ensured my three dogs (at the time) enjoyed human contact. After parking her car in her garage, she'd come out to my motor gate where the dogs would be waiting at the gate; tongues lolling, tails wagging. Not fearing, she'd put her hand through the bars and fondle each head and speak to each one. 

When at home, if I heard Pienkie on her back veranda, I'd stand on the little ledge on my side of our wall. I'd call her and we'd chat for an age. Sometimes she'd call me over for tea; other times, she'd have tea with me. She taught me to knit a pretty pattern for baby blankets. 

Pienkie was involved in any and all family celebrations that we held. When my first grandchild, Eryn, was born, and I was babysitting her for the first time, I wheeled her over next door to introduce her to "Aunty" Pienkie. Not only did she share in our joy: years later, Shasa, our Rottweiler attacked the same granddaughter. Fortunately John grabbed his chain and pulled him off Eryn where he'd started to sink his teeth into her neck.  John and Debbie calmed the poor little girl, screaming hysterically, while Grant and I stood by - stunned.  They then took her to the doctor for treatment. Fortunately Eryn bears no external or (I believe) internal scarring from this horrific experience. Immediately afterwards,  I loaded Shasa  into the back of my pick-up, drove the 34 kms to my vet where he put the dog down. The next day, when the horror of what-could-have-happened-if  had lessened slightly, and I was alone here at home, Pienkie came over and sat with me. She had known Shasa, petted him through the gate bars and was saddened with me that he'd reverted to nature like this. 

In 2014, it was obvious to Pienkie's family that she couldn't live alone any longer. Although still bright of  mind, she became physically frail over the months. For days she'd forget to eat the meals her DIL had prepared and frozen for her. She'd forget to take her daily blood pressure tablet and then take several at once. The crisis came one Sunday when they noticed she wasn't in church. They came up her to her home and found her - dressed for church - lying on floor in her bedroom. She'd fallen earlier and had been unable to get up on her own. 

Her family moved her to the old-age section of the retirement center. Here, she and MIL Pam were neighbors. As her room was first, we'd always stop off and greet Pienkie and have a chat. More often than not, Pienkie would have one or more visitor; her elderly friends from town- some still living independently - others now living in the center. 

This Friday past,  just after the doctor's weekly visit, Pienkie was at her kitchenette making a cup of tea. She turned too suddenly and fell. She pressed the panic button hanging around her neck and within minutes the doctor and staff were at her side. Her hip was broken. 

An hour later she was on her way to the city in an ambulance. Her daughter from a neighboring town, and son and daughter-in-law who are local farmers, were at the hospital to meet her.

She underwent surgery to reset the hip. On Saturday when I asked MIL what she knew of Pienkie's well-being, she said she'd heard she was in ICU.

On Saturday afternoon, MIL Pam phoned me to say the sister had come to her room and told her Pienkie had just passed away.

Grant and I were shocked and saddened. I sent Angus and Amanda a text and within minutes they were at the wall, feeling the loss with us. (They rent Pienkie's house)

Yesterday her daughter, Susan (she's named after her mother, who's real name is Susan) popped in to see me. After we'd hugged and cried together over this dear lady, she said she'd heard I had recent photos of her mum. If they were suitable, they'd like to use them for the funeral notice. 

In October I took photos at the dance held by the MGO (section for the aged in the retirement center). I've sent them to the granddaughter to see if she could use them. 
Pienkie having a laugh at something Rina (off photos) had said to her! 

The same photo cropped
Rina posing with Pienkie. Several other oldies look on - MIL Pam in the bottom right corner
The epitome of a grand old Afrikaans lady



I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here


  1. So such to lose such a dear woman, Jo. Sad for her family and all her friends. How close you were living side by side for so many years. I do recall you writing about this dear woman on many occasions. Falls and slips are one of the leading causes of death of the elderly. It is very sad indeed. Hugs. xx

  2. She was a lovely looking lady and it wonderful the years you had her as a great neighbour and you will miss her.

  3. Hello Jo, I am so sorry for your loss of your dear old neighbor and friend. Pienkie was a lovely woman. My prayers go out to you and the family.

  4. Your photos of her are beautiful. Such a loss for you and her family.

  5. Always we know some life from your blog..!

  6. this is a beautiful story of friendship and a perfect tribute to your friend. both photos are really lovely shots of her, i can see her friendly personality in both photos. i know she is missed already.

  7. Aww, so very sorry to read this Jo. Pienkie was a beautiful lady, your words speak of a kind and caring friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  8. So hard to loose a dear friend yet this post indicates her memory will be carried forever.

  9. bless you all for your loss. she was a good friend.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo