Thursday, January 11, 2018

Moving on...

Hi everyone. As mentioned in Monday's mail, I made a quick trip "up the hill" to Marquard. On Tuesday morning John and Eryn arrived in Debbie's vehicle towing a large trailer. They picked me up at 2.35am. 

Driving in the dark, the distance is eaten up  and before you know it, you've reached your destination.  
A stop/go road repair section of the regional road leading to Marquard
Early morning in the main street of Marquard - not a soul to be seen!
A strong sense of nostalgia as we drove into Angus and Amanda's yard. Grant and I owned this house for 17 years; it was our home-from-home base when we came out on break from Africa
Early mornings were always special while we lived here; I'd take Eddy and Skabenga for a walk on the golf course and Rina would sit on this patio drinking her first cup of coffee
What was our entertainment area, is now a formal lounge and dining room
Little Liam was the first awake when he heard us arriving. Here he looks at me wondering if he should come forward or not!
Moi with half of my precious grandchildren: Eryn, Joel, Abby and Liam. This littlest Hedges will be three tomorrow! 

After enjoying the packed sandwiches I'd made for the trip with coffee which Amanda made us, we set off into town. We had an appointment to see Flip, the General Manager of the retirement center where my mother-in-law lives in a unit Grant had had built for her in 2014.  I wanted to sort out some red-tape involved in owning this unit now that Grant had passed. In the streets, I was met by several people wanted to commiserate with me. 

Then it was off to the retirement center with a bag of goodies for MIL. Pam (Grant's mother, John and Angus' grandmother and Eryn and her siblings and cousins' great-grandmother) is still physically capable of caring for herself in this care-assisted establishment. However, we could see that Grant's death had affected her terribly and she'd aged since Grant and I visited her in July last year. While it's indescribable to explain how it feels to lose your life partner of five decades, it's not natural to lose a child; even if you are 90. 

Here I have to give a bit of backstory and explain about Pam and funerals. Where she lives in an old-age center, death, funerals and memorial services are the order of the day. And the oldies all attend these: partly out of respect for the recently deceased; partly for something to do and also for the tea and eats that are laid on afterwards. MIL does NOT attend these events. Grant passed away on the Monday night and instead of me phoning Pam, Angus and Amanda went to see her early the next morning.  After Angus had broken the news to her, she said "Well, don't expect me to attend his funeral.  I want to remember him as he was. In any case I never go to funerals." 

As you can imagine, there were many phone calls between family members during the week leading up to Grant's memorial. Grant's aunt, Gill who is Pam's younger sister, kept Pam in the loop by telling her what was happening. On Thursday evening my SIL, Shelley told Pam about the private burial Grant's children had had for him on the farm. Unbeknown to me, Pam took umbrage to this and complained to Gill that she was not included in her own son's funeral.  

When John and I visited on Tuesday, we sensed the bitterness and our hearts went out to her. John and I told her everything about Grant's burial and his memorial service. Although she seemed as if she wasn't taking it all in, I think she'll be able to process it later now she's heard it directly from us. 

After this we drove up to where my furniture is stored. There we were met by John - my old garden partner and Jacob who'd assisted Grant in his workshop after we'd returned to South Africa in 2015 - who helped John load the heavy furniture.

As usual it's so very, very difficult to find things in a jam-packed storage space. I had made a list of the smaller items I knew I had in crates but never found a single thing. Eryn loved going through the boxes - she kept saying: "Oh cool, Gran, I love this; I love finding things I remember from your old home".  Eryn is our oldest granddaughter and while I lived in Marquard alone (with Grant working up in West Africa), she'd spend many a day with me. So while we were searching and trying to find things, she and I reminisced about earlier days!

Finally the trailer was loaded; Debbie's vehicle was filled with pillows, duvets and a few small items, and we were ready to go. 
 David (left) and John at the front on top of the trailer. My trusty Sotho men from Marquard. They were shocked to hear that tate-maholo / grandfather,  had passed since we last saw them

John drove the vehicle and trailer back into town so that I could say hi to Rina where she manages a novelty and gift shop. I hadn't told her I was in town and when I knocked on the window into her office, she almost fainted. Being Rina, she rushed out, shouting my name and fell on my neck! Then my SIL, Cecelia (Amanda's mom) arrived in the parking lot. So John had to put up with three women having a quick catch-up chat in the street! I had to promise I would visit for longer the next time I came up!
The drive home was pleasant and uneventful. Steve sent me a photo of the display he'd set up on the veranda (I usually had the table on the other side) while looking after the shop for me
 I sent Steve photos of the view as we were driving "down the hill" from the Free State to Kwa-Zulu Natal
 My heart swelled as we approached KZN ; I was going home to the place where I was settling and of course, where Grant is laid to rest  

We arrived  a ten to three, after 12 hours on the road! Ronnie sent two Zulu ladies to help us unload the fridges, small stove, patio set and several boxes. 
The silver fridge is mine brought from Marquard. Grant had given it to Steve and Estelle to replace their shack's fridge which was playing up. In front of it is Collette's retro fridge which she lent me when I moved into the cottage
My main fridge which I will use . Eryn cleaned off the marks made by the fridge magnets and replaced them
A three-plate table top stove and oven which I'd had in storage. For now it's sufficient for my needs (see my roasted veg in the oven. The saucepan on top has steamed greens! 

So there we have it: I've moved in and am happy with what I have.

Musing about the trip, got to thinking about where I'm at now. It was incredible, but as I sat in Flip's office and later when I went into the cafe which we'd patronized for 22 years and chatted to old friends up in Marquard,  I realized that although Grant and I had spent  many special years in this town, I no longer felt part of it. 

I had moved on....



  1. I had a written a long post and lost it :-(

    I'll just say that I'm so glad you got to Marquard and picked up the furnishings that will make your life more comfortable in your new home. Eryn is growing into a lovely young woman and I'm so glad she accompanied her father to help you. I'm sure it was wonderful company for you.

    Your son and his wife certainly have a different style of decor and they have made their new home a beautiful place which I'm sure they enjoy. There is that saying 'you can't go home again' and I think you have seen in your case that it really is true. You (and Grant) made a new home and a new life and you have settled in very well to the Drakensburg. I pray you will enjoy some long and fruitful years ahead. Steve did a nice job of setting up the display while you were away. I'm so happy to hear you are doing wonderful business since the Christmas period. Hugs. xx

  2. Hello, Jo! It was nice that you were able to visit with Pam and Rina. Prayers for Pam! The scenery is gorgeous from the road trip to get your things. I hope having some of your belongings helps to make you more comfortable and life easier. I am glad you are happy moving on. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

  3. Glad all is going well for you though I am sure that missing Grant must be a huge part of your life. Take care Diane

  4. i am so happy for you the trip went well and you accomplished so much and now you have your fridge and a washer. glad you got to visit your friends and I do understand the feeling of having moved on. i moved here in 1984 and now when i visit the people and places of my prior life, i am glad to see it and even happier to be back where i belong. God bless you in your new home...

  5. You certainly have been on quite a journey Jo and I don't mean just to Marquard! You've had to face so many memories, that would have been difficult but I get a sense that everything will be ok.. you are surrounded by friends, old and new and of course family. Looking forward to hearing more ✨

  6. I hope your mother in law will be able to find peace. My parents lost two sons, one as a boy to drowning, the other to cancer when he'd grown up. No parent should have to bury their children.

  7. A long day. A challenging day. A successful day. Here's to many more.

  8. Glad you had a successful trip and got all the things you needed to make your life a bit easier. It must have been nice to see old friends but sad too especially without Grant.
    I also enjoyed your previous post about your pets. They are adjusting well, they always do, don't they. We had lots of cats through the years and they are so much enjoyment.
    Have a wonderful weekend Jo.

  9. It sounds like a very emotional trip.

  10. You will always have Marquard, and so many other wonderful places filled with memories which you take wherever you go. Nice to hear you're moving on. Hugs.


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