I Write This Today

Because you held my hand
Because we fell in love
Because you said "I do"
I write this today

Because we moved from home
To somewhere foreign and strange
Because you stuck by my side
I write this today

Because you chose to forgive
When I took you for granted
Because you saw who I was in Christ
I write this today

Because you mothered our girls
So beautiful and true
Because of your legacy in them
I write this today

Because you showed me true love
Unconditional and so consistent
Because you always said what was right
I write this today

Because of your undeniable beauty
That shone from within
Because of the lives you touched
I write this today

Because of your strength 
Not only in your last days
Because of your unswerving trust in Him
I write this today

Because of all these things
I still can't say goodbye
Because I love you so
I write this today

Because it is so hard to say
Happy first birthday in heaven
The girls and I miss you 
Until we meet again

Elmarie Taman 20160918_190637

Firsts

I have heard and read that one of the hardest things I will have to endure is to spend and try to celebrate the “firsts” without Janine. The “first” Christmas, the “first” New Year’s, the “first” birthday, the “first” special meal in our favourite restaurant.

For me, as tough as those days may have been and may still be, these are some of the “firsts” which, although have brought me such joy, have been the toughest. These are the moments where I have felt my beautiful bride’s absence the most:

The day Amy-Leigh rode her bike without training wheels for the “first” time. Gabby and Becky’s “first” training show in a horse jumping arena. The “first” time Gabby won a 100m sprint in the inter-house athletics competition. The “first” time Becky read the first seven pages of her story that she has started writing. The “first” time I finished a 70km mountain bike race without my stunning wife’s warm and comforting embrace to greet me at the end.

But today, I am aching for you and missing you like crazy. Happy Anniversary my darling. Another “first”. So far, probably the hardest “first” of all.

You were most certainly the “fairest of them all”, my beautiful queen. How blessed I was that day 18 years ago.

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My beautiful bride_2

All for the Good

“And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”          Romans 8:28

I’ve asked myself obvious questions many times since my beautiful wife’s passing (exactly 9 months today) – “Janine loved/loves God, how can anything good come out of this? How can anything good come from this unfair situation where three beautiful girls are left to live a life on earth without the best mom in the whole wide world? How can this be a part of God’s sovereign plan? Where are you in all this God?”. I have wrestled with God, shouted at Him, blamed Him. I have cried, screamed, pleaded, yet I have heard nothing. No rolling thunder, not even a whisper in the dead of the loneliest of nights. Will I ever know the answers to my questions while I am still breathing on earth?

While questions still remain, and the grief and despair still lingers, I have realized truths and miracles that I am eternally grateful for. Truths that make each new day worth looking forward to:

Gabby, Becky and Amy-Leigh are shining. In the face of such deep adversity, I have seen such remarkable bravery in them that I am certain is supernatural. I know this was instilled in them from an early age by a loving mom who loved and I know is still loving her Saviour. Janine my darling, your legacy lives on in your stunning girls. They are such a huge inspiration to me and so many others. Gabby is breathtaking on a horse, plays her ukulele so sweetly, and writes stories and poems that are far beyond her age. Becky is so soft and gentle and beautiful, and reads like you can’t believe. Amy-Leigh is so adorably cute, is amazing with a tennis racquet and will make some children double her age look like amateurs on a tennis court. They are such beautiful girls and all have an incredible capacity for love.

My loving father (with the support of my blessed and ever loving and faithful mommy), who came to know Jesus through Janine’s illness in April last year. His faith has grown in leaps and bounds ever since and he is now more of an encouragement to me than he will ever know.

My loving mom and dad Van Breda and my brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces who are all a bright light, a constant stream of encouragement and love.

The most awesome friends that anyone could ever hope for, who I can call on at anytime and who have and continue to support the girls and I.

My selfless au-pair who loves the girls as if they were her own and puts their needs above hers.

My girls school, for the love and consideration that it has shown towards us.

A community and a church that loved / loves Janine and still loves and surrounds us. They have been our spiritual food in a time of drought and dry bones. My Pastors that have given me guidance and valuable counsel through the good and not so good times.

The fantastic company that I work for, that has and will continue to support me through thick and thin.

The beautiful town that we live in, the one surrounded by forest that is presently crowned with the glorious colours of autumn and basks daily in crisp clear sunny blue autumn skies.

And so many more miracles!!!

So I might still and may always have many unanswered questions, and there may be some tough times ahead, but I am starting to see through the grey clouds into a ray of sunshine that is coming from heaven above, where my beautiful wife and her loving Saviour sit side by side.

I can just imagine you my darling, dancing and twirling and smiling down on us, praising God for all the good things He has done.

I love you and miss you.

6 months goes by

It has been 6 months, and I still wake up after a dream to remember that you are no longer here. My darling, how I miss you so. You were my everything, and I still don’t know how / don’t want to live life without you. I want you back on earth, but I know that this will never be. I know that you are in the best possible place, and that our Lord has His best in glory with Him – you.

Gabby, Becky and Amy-Leigh are doing so well, but miss you more than you would’ve imagined if you were here. They really need you, and so do I. They are so strong and loving and kind, I am such a blessed dad. You were their ultimate example of a loving God. You were the mommy of all mommies.

Not a single day goes by without a memory, a fragrance, a smile, a laugh of yours. You are everywhere – in my thoughts, on my computer, in my car, on my radio, in the girls…   . I saw a picture of you the other night in a beautiful purple dress (with a younger Gabby, Becky, Ethan and Joel), and oh my hat you looked stunning. I just want to give you a big kiss and a hug and a squeeze, just one last one. I long to hear your voice one last time, or that cheeky little giggle. I want to go for a run in the forest with you, or talk about our God together over a cup of coffee and a rusk on a Saturday morning.

Thank you for your life, your unending, unconditional love for your precious princesses and I. You were / are the perfect picture of what Christ would look like on earth.

How I long to see you again. I am lost without you.

I love you  – your man forever

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How to be a single working dad

Who knows, I’m clueless. Raising three beautiful girls as a single dad is not for sissies. When Janine was around, life was easy. Everything was done when I got home from work – girls bathed, food cooked, homework done, everyday book signed etc, etc, etc. I didn’t even know what an everyday book was. Now I do!!! I realise now that I don’t think I was the most participative dad. I’ll tell you something, if you are married with children and have a job, cherish every moment with each precious person in your family – be involved. My beautiful bride was the perfect mommy and wife. At the moment I am lost without her, scrambling as a dad who has realized he has serious shortcomings that need to be worked on urgently. After all, I have three extremely unique, talented, stunning blue eyed princesses who miss their mom and are looking to me for all/most the answers – no pressure. 

I now have a glorious opportunity to have a serious influence in my girls lives.

Lord please help me on my new journey.

How do I/we live without her?

A question that I have been asking myself and, even more importantly, the Lord since about 9pm on 07th September 2016.

In mid February 2016 (less than a year ago), my beautiful wife of 16 years and mommy to three beautiful princesses gradually lost the use of her right arm – no numbness, it literally just stopped working. We thought that it could be as a result of a pinched nerve in her neck, or her riding position on the bicycle (she had just started riding again after years off) or carpal tunnel. After three weeks of physiotherapy, no improvement. On to a sports physician in Nelspruit South Africa on 10th March, then a MRI scan the following Monday. Upon receipt of the MRI results, we sat in front of the Neuro Surgeon who was visibly concerned and not sure what to say. Placing one of the scans on the light thing (not sure what you call it), he showed us a picture of Janine’s brain and pointed out at least two distinct spots on the right hand side. METASTATIC CANCER he called it, probably originating from the breast (“WHAT, EXCUSE ME – YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING!!!!!”. Did we hear correctly?). The following day, more tests; Blood tests, CT scan, mammogram and a biopsy taken from a lymph node under the right arm. Then the visit to the oncologist that afternoon (Tuesday 15th March, 2 days before Janine’s 40th birthday). After studying the CT scan, she said that there was a spot on the lung, which meant lung cancer which had metastasized to the brain. She said that my beautiful, fit, loving, non smoking and non drinking, God fearing wife had 6 months to 5 years. Total disbelief followed, and through prayer we broke every negative thing said. We really thought it was all a huge mistake and just a major spiritual attack. On 23rd March 2016 the results of the biopsy confirmed the metastatic lung cancer diagnosis made by the oncologist.

The months that followed were a blur. During that time, we frantically searched the Lord for answers – why us and where to next, which treatment, what to eat, which doctor……? Never once believing that life on earth would end for Janine. On 27th June 2016, Janine went into Nelspruit Mediclinic and after a ten and a half week battle in the hospital, my beautiful wife went to be with the Lord.

Since then, life has never been and will never be the same.

My hope and prayer is that, by sharing my thoughts through the “Undies Blogspot”, you and I will be encouraged and edified – “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death” Revelation 12:11.

I dedicate this blog to the memory of my beautiful wife Janine and to our three beautiful girls. 

Bless you all.