Translate life

By Mrs Louise Mokhof

In a matter of seconds my vocabulary changed. I used past tense and it was strange! How can life translate such moments?

Losing my much loved son, Stephen was a shock. Facing harsh realities of what that was familiar. It wasn’t my first time to face shocks as such.

Ever since he was born, deep down, I knew something was wrong with his health. At the age of eight he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life threatening disease. Stephen and we as family had to learn to cope with future ahead. Facing hurdles after hurdles in order to get along with a disease that we had no knowledge of.

During these years, we were praying and hoping for an extension and prolonged life for Stephen specially on his later years as he was married and had a son. On the time of his departure, he was married for 8 years and his son was 4 years of age.

Born in Iran, such disease wasn’t common. When first I heard the word “cystic fibrosis” I thought of a disease similar to tuberculosis. When asked the doctor about it, was shocked of severity of it. The months ahead were like a hell! I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat well, couldn’t concentrate, was anxious, and scared. I didn’t know how to explain this new life with all its attachments to our son.

We were told by the doctor that he may not reach to his 21st birthday. Imagine the shock!!

Despite all prediction, he reached his 37 years. Exceeding in study, work, married life alongside his illness. Life wasn’t easy for him but he was full of life. Time after time being hospitalized made life in such way that we decided from early on to cherish each day as it comes. We gave him so much love and attention in order to reduce his worries but transferred it on us. This was a wise decision up to an age that Stephen could grasp realities of life……..

At the age of 34 his condition was as such that liver transplant was suggested by the doctors.

Eventually the day arrived and he received a new and healthy liver. His life was transformed, hope entered, his energy level soared. We thought he’ll live longer now. Exactly 6 months after his transplant, everything went pear shape and he was ended up in ICU ward where he breathed his last breath.

There is not a day that I don’t think about our last conversation, his last look into my eyes……

There is not a day that I don’t hear a whisper in my heart, talking loud, questions, lots of questions in my heart!!! In reply to these, what I do? I shot these voices symbolically down like reducing the radio’s volume. Life is not a silent one in fact very talkative! I deliberately keep these whispers’ volume down and keep on increasing the volume of the comfort and peace on high.

As hard as it is for a mother to witness such scene, I had to face this harsh reality. I couldn’t ignore it; it was and is just in front of my face!

I felt a big hole in my heart, felt a piece of me been torn from me. I was faced with the sense that; how am I going to see the days without him? It was strange. Still after nearly two years, I’m faced with this question!! Sometimes I feel a storm hit me and carrying me to unknown and unfamiliar places. There are emotions that I don’t have words for them, emotions that are felt rather than explained.

The worst can happen in life is that parents to bury their children which are against natural course of life. It’s painful, it’s cruel, and it’s unimaginable. Parents who go before their children are blessed as this is a natural life.

Our days are numbered, no one knows when the time comes, but when it comes, I take it as a joy because of re-union with our much loved Stephen. The hope of seeing him again is like a powerful engine in my body.

We have a grandson who shares his 2nd name as his dad’s. Our son’s name remains and lives in his son. I find this as a blessing, as beauty for ashes.

Life’s now been redefined….

Our solar system

Our solar system is something to behold! It consists of a star [the sun], eight planets including the one we are currently residing on aka planet Earth, moons, dwarf planets and asteroids, all of which gravitate around it[1].

The planets in size order[2]:

  1. Mercury (2,440 km / 1,516 miles) – 38% the size of Earth
  2. Mars (3,390 km / 2,460 miles) – 53% the size of Earth
  3. Venus (6,052 km / 3,761 miles) – 95% the size of Earth
  4. Earth (6,371 km / 3,959 miles)
  5. Neptune (24,622 km / 15,299 miles) – 388% the size of Earth
  6. Uranus (25,362 km / 15,759 miles) – 400% the size of Earth
  7. Saturn (58,232 km / 36,184 miles) – 945% the size of Earth
  8. Jupiter (69,911 km / 43,441 miles) – 1,120% the size of Earth

[1] NASA, ‘Solar System Exploration’ (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) <> accessed 15 April 2020; [2] Elizabeth Howell, ‘The Planets in Our Solar System in Order of Size’ (Universe Today, 21 April 2014) <> accessed 15 April 2020; [3] Kimberly Williams, ‘NASA Selects New Research Teams to Further Solar System Exploration Research’ (NASA, 17 March 2017) <> accessed 3 May 2020

So far, rocketing from planet Earth into space, there has been over 300 robotic spacecraft which includes 24 astronauts who have orbited the moon[4]. To date our solar system is the only one known to support life[5]. I recommend following NASA’s Facebook page and checking out their website. I am all about the space pics, their planet photos are absolutely stunning! Do follow a few astronauts’ pages too.

Reviewing what goes on in our solar system reminds me of the majesty of God as it is not man made; we are still exploring and trying to understand what is out there. Galaxies, space, etc, helps me to acknowledge that my understanding of how and why things are is limited. When I am grappling with history or the present through what I have researched, viewed, been taught, or experiencing I know I just have a snapshot of a grand plan, but that really is it just snapshots. I feel like I may butcher this hypothetical, but someone once told me something like, “trying to understand everything God does/allows is like you being blind-folded and being brought to a leg of a very large elephant having never seen one before, and thinking that you going around touching it gives you a full understanding of what it looked like.”

[4] NASA, ‘Solar System Exploration’ (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) <> accessed 15 April 2020; [5] NASA, ‘Solar System Exploration’ (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) <> accessed 15 April 2020