Hey Caelum, what is Father Christmas bringing me this year?
I asked him this last night to which he responded –
Erm… I don’t know. You will need to write him a letter…
Can’t really argue with that, can you?
Ok, so Caelum’s first tooth came out yesterday and of course the tooth fairy duly placed some money under the pillow that evening. This afternoon after school he tells me that the fairy left him money under his pillow –
So I ask him what he is going to spend his money on and he replies with this gem :
Erm, I think I will use the money to buy a new tooth.
A short while back, I wrote this article, and at the time of writing it, we were all overjoyed with my father-in-law’s progress since December. He was genuinely feeling the fittest he had felt in years and was looking great. Consider then our shock when just one month later, my brother-in-law called me with the tragic news that he had passed during his dialysis session.
Pappa had been sick for the last two weeks. It appears that his heart was very weak and as a result of water retention, he was suffering from pneumonia. During his dialysis session, on the Saturday morning, his blood pressure completely dropped and he passed away.
Although we knew he was not well, the news was still a huge shock to all of us and was difficult to take. We managed to all get aboard the next flight to SA and was back there on the Sunday morning.
Pappa was truly a great man who was loved by many people. I had the great privilege of having him as my father-in-law, and from the first day we met, nearly 12 years ago, he treated me like a son.
After his stroke in 2004, his heart was not physically strong, but it was big and full of love. Pappa was at his happiest when he was giving. Nothing pleased him more than seeing others happy and he would do everything he could to achieve that.
Pappa also loved to laugh. He laughed at everything! He would almost split his sides laughing at his vicious parrot, or from some of the stories we would tell him of Nigeria. But what really cracked him up was if the stories involved Mamma. No matter how many times the story was told, he never ceased to break out into a chuckle.
For us who have many years of special memories of him, we can look back and enjoy those times we had and recall the funny and loving things he used to say and do. It hurts most to think that the grandchildren were not afforded more time with their ‘Oupa’. He so loved his grandchildren and they were just as equally fond of him. He could be upset or just feeling down, but that would change in an instance and he could light up a room simply from the joy of seeing his grandchildren.
Not only will Pappa never be forgotten, but the love, joy and happiness he gave to so many others, means his memory will live on. It is our job to pass on the wonderful things he taught us and the great experiences he shared with us, to our children.
We will always miss you, Pappa. May you rest in peace.
Today Anelda was explaining to Caelum that when his baby teeth eventually fall out, he must put them under his pillow for the tooth fairy to bring something for him. She asked him to guess what it was that the tooth fairy will bring. His response tells you a lot about his thought processes and his personality :
Mamma, I think that the fairy should bring a tooth brush.
Over the last seven years, my father-in-law’s recovery from the stroke he suffered has been long and hard. The effects, temporary and permanent, have been difficult for all his friends and family to witness, especially my mother-in-law. December 2010 was a very difficult period, and could easily be described as one the lowest points. His heart was suffering and his kidneys had completely failed. It was bleak. The doctors did not want to operate on the heart due to the weakness of the kidneys, fearing that the operation would be too much.
We returned to Lagos shortly afterwards in January and in all honesty, we feared that the next news we would receive would not be good. What transcended from January onwards has just blown me out of the water.
We were told that my father-in-law would have to immediately start dialysis due to the failure of his kidneys. This was something that at the time, he was not enthusiastic or optimistic about at all. It meant a complete change in lifestyle due to the three, four hour dialysis sessions per week. Four hours of your waking day is a lot of time to be spending in a hospital, so we all tried to put a positive spin on the treatment.
However, once the treatment started the benefits have been amazing. He initially lost over 18kg and according to the last set of tests, his kidney functionality has risen from 2% to 37%. He started to become very active again – He has transformed our garden by chopping down trees and planting fruit and vegetables. He has also been doing renovation work around the house, replacing all the guttering and if I don’t watch out, my house will soon be completely transformed!!
The doctors suggested that he was well enough to have a pace maker fitted. The six hour operation to fit the pace maker was done a little over three weeks ago and the additional effects have been nothing but miraculous. Just last week my father-in-law walked to the local shopping centre and back several times during the week which is approximately 3.5km for a round trip. Having seen him in December, I do not think that anyone would have thought this to be possible.
One of the most amazing things throughout this whole ordeal has been the faith shown by both my mother and father-in-law. At times, they could have easily have been forgiven for being angry or bitter, but yet they remained strong and have been a constant source of inspiration. With quiet optimism, we now look forward to my father-in-law turning that corner and living out a full and healthy life!
“Caelum, it is time for bed…”
“I don’t want to go to bed now”
“Look at the clock – it is 8 o’clock”
“Pappa – I want to throw that clock in the ocean!”
Caelum, on the flight back to Nigeria recently tells us that he needs to keep the headphones. We inform him that he already has a set and that these ones need to be given back. He says he needs to keep these ones because :
“When Mr Idris’ phone is ringing, I can use the earphones so I cannot hear it”
Idris our driver is a muslim and has a call to prayer ring tone!