Sunday, July 3, 2011

Diary of a bereaved Mother: Wonderful friends and a wonderful holiday

The beautiful Waipu beach.

Steve and Lynn Peeters, this photo was taken on a farewell party for us at Gary's place in 1990. We were leaving for Singapore.

The little Northland Township holds a special place in my heart.

Twenty one years ago, when my baby Andrew died, I was miserable with empty arms and grieving. My friend Steve Peeters invited me to his mother Nelly's kiwi fruit farm near the beach in Waipu. There I found solace as I sat by the little jetty looking at flounders lie on the shallow creek. Steve's dad had just passed away, and Nelly told me that life had to go on. She had to, because she had a big kiwi farm to run.

We came back to Auckland, and I found inspiration to live on. This is a condensed part of my book. I haven't seen Steve and Lynn since this photo was taken in 1990. I spoke to Lynn a few times over the phone.

Recently a friend quoted this: “Let your dreams be greater than your memories.” I want to marry the two, a dream based on memories.

Andrew 27th April 1990

I am in turmoil again. Just before Easter, I was reverting back to when I couldn’t control myself. Margaret Honey said perhaps my medication was working as it does happen. She changed the meds but I felt nauseas so I stopped taking the meds for two week. I was really depressed and didn’t want to do anything. The house is a mess and I didn’t go out to Keep Fit, or to the Play groups. I was thinking I should go back to Margaret Honeyman to put me back on the old meds. Last week, I didn’t go to her appointment and today she rang me to see how I was. She told me to go back to see her tomorrow. Things had been really terrible. Even the weather is not co-operating. It has become very cold and gloomy and wet. I had not done much writing for my journal.
Gabrielle was suffering, she didn’t like her bandages. I even bargained with God. I said you took away Andrew, that was enough for me. Please relieve Gabrielle of her dreadful itchiness. I kept reminding God of the pact that I made when Andrew was first born when I said, you can take Andrew, I won’t ask why me, but promise me that my life will be good from now on. God, you didn’t keep your part of the deal. I can’t end it all because I love my girls.
God must have listened. Steve Peeters from our Young Adults group invited us to go up north to Waipu and spend Easter with his mum. Steve’s family and us went back to 1977 when my sister Margaret went to Waipu to do her intern as a farming student. She got to know Steve’s family as they went to the Roman Catholic Church. Steve and I both taught the same Sunday School group before Deborah was born in 1984. We got talking when he said he came from up north. He got very excited that I was Margaret’s sister. He was a young boy when Margaret came home to lunch on Sundays.
We drove up to Waipu and Nelly Peeter’s kiwi fruit farm was by the sea. There was a little jetty, and I could see flounders lying on the bottom of the sea floor. We tried to catch them, but didn’t manage to get any. God had also brought us to Nelly. Steve’s Dad had died recently, and Nelly cooked for us, and told be to relax and enjoy ourselves. She said I deserved a good holiday. In the evening, Nelly sat down with me and told me about her husband’s death. She said she had a kiwi farm which was just beginning to ripen. Every morning, she had to wake up at 6 am, cut a couple of fruits and test for the sugar. She said, she had to do it, there was no one else to do it. If she didn’t check for the sugar, and they pick the fruit, the whole harvest would be wasted. She would lose her livelihood. We sat holding hands. I thanked God for Nelly. She was brave out of necessity. My necessity was the girls. If the girls didn’t have me, they would have nothing. We walked on the beach, it was already very cold. We didn’t swim. The girls played under the kiwi fruit vines and it was just so serene to see the egg shaped Kiwi fruits.
The beach, coupled with Nelly’s kind hospitality brought me back to the road of recovery again. I came home rejuvenated. I told God, I am giving you another chance, don’t leave me. I am fragile. Don’t let Satan snatch me away. God told me to lay down my burdens and assured me he would carry me. I took out Betty Steven’s Footprints poem and thank God for Betty.


  1. Thank the Lord for Nelly and for friends who gave you such a gift. I am so glad you persevered and made it through this terrible time. And that you are now able to write about it.

  2. This is beautiful. It is through pain that we realize our strength.