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) <https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/our-solar-system/overview/> accessed 15 April 2020; [2] Elizabeth Howell, ‘The Planets in Our Solar System in Order of Size’ (Universe Today, 21 April 2014) <www.universetoday.com/36649/planets-in-order-of-size/> accessed 15 April 2020; [3] Kimberly Williams, ‘NASA Selects New Research Teams to Further Solar System Exploration Research’ (NASA, 17 March 2017) <https://www.nasa.gov/ames/press-release/nasa-selects-new-research-teams-to-further-solar-system-exploration-research/> 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) <https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/our-solar-system/overview/> accessed 15 April 2020; [5] NASA, ‘Solar System Exploration’ (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) <https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/our-solar-system/overview/> accessed 15 April 2020


Helplessness

Having worked a lot within Customer Operations, I find managing people’s expectations, increasing customer satisfaction and decreasing customer contacts is easier to achieve when you can communicate exact time frames i.e. you will receive X on Y date at Z time. Things become a bit harder to manage when you can’t give exact details or the date of expectancy or what is reality is beyond what they would consider reasonable. Functioning during difficult times unfortunately is an art we must all learn to master throughout our adult life.

It is hard to know what to do when difficult situations are out of your control. When you are in the passenger seat of the nightmare of someone close or you are the driver of your own and there’s nothing you can do besides praying to improve the situation. During an extremely difficult year for me my friend lost her mum to cancer, it was sudden, it was brutal, and it was unfair. I cried a river, I prayed, I believed and yet her mama bear still left this world. Typing this now I am crying again, even though it has been a few years and she is doing much better, as her loss was so great and she did not deserve to go through that. She has since gone on to help lots of other people who have experienced the same thing. Through her work she set up a hospice foundation in her Mother’s name. I have no doubt that even though her mama bear has changed her universal postcode/zip code, she is still rooting her on from above and is very proud of her [I am mega of her proud too]. She raised a lil fighter who is going after life with everything she’s got and trying to help others as she goes. There may be lots of narrative we cannot control, but we all have the power to do something positive with the BS we experience when we are strong enough and we feel the time is right. When I say, ‘something positive,’ do what is within your remit. As my mum says, “cut your material according to your cloth.” Surviving and trying to live your life responsibly is a positive.

My friend is not married yet and I have big hopes for what her relationship with her mother-in-law will be like, I am believing she will truly see and treat her like her own daughter. Technically it doesn’t have to be her mother-in-law, anyone could pop into her life that adds an extra special motherly unconditional love cushion [as only good mothers can] and I would be celebrating. Mama+ will never replace her mama, she doesn’t need to, they can create their own unique bond. So this is where I am channelling my prayers and when I pause to think about this, I get genuinely excited. 😊

Photo credit: Kent Pilcher (Unsplash)

When its unsteady

Faith during the hard times

As a starting point let me say I do not have this completely on lock to the point where I do not worry. Having survived a few personal tornadoes, hurricanes, attempted drownings, emotional rock bashings and kicks down the stairs, enables me to function relatively well during times I find rago (difficult and messy). But as we encounter different things along this journey called life, I could never say I 100% have this in the bag as I do not know everything I am going to face.

Though there will be days where I struggle to stand, my aim is to always get back up. I have learnt that total faith doesn’t always lead to your ideal outcome, the examples I have of this are actually endless. There are times I have had total faith in God’s resolution abilities. That he could and that he would answer my prayers, and intervene and resolve a situation exactly how I was praying for it to happen. Only for the situation to get worse or for nothing to change. Right now, you are probably thinking, “wow this is just the positive hope-filled read I need in the times where Coronavirus is upon us….,” but stay with me!

My Basis

To clarify my views, I believe in God, more specifically I believe in Jesus Christ. To see exactly what I believe in I would love for you to watch Joel Osteen’s docudrama called ‘Jesus: His Life’. I am a major fan of docudramas as you get the best of all worlds, expertise, years of history and drama! I cannot recommend this docudrama highly enough. I also cannot see how you can view or buy this (helpful I know!). I watched it on the History Channel last year and then puff-the-magic-dragon it has disappeared ever since, but who knows maybe you can find it somehow and let us all know where we can get it from. In short, I believe that back in the day God became flesh by sending his son [Jesus] to earth to die for our sins. Jesus’s rising after death is the big Easter miracle that provides us with grace as he took away our sins by dying for us. Before leaving Earth to join his father he left us the holy spirit [also known as the comforter], He lives inside of us. I really don’t know how to describe this; the only thing I can say is He provides us with a sense of intuition. If I were not religious and I read what I just stated, it would be like someone telling me they just spoke to E.T. yesterday and he said not to bother phoning home, he would catch me later…., I understand how this sounds. I grew up in church so all of this is very familiar to me, but I appreciate if I didn’t this would be just out there, probably too far out there at first.

Like all of us when I was younger I did quite a few stupid things, there can be this invincibility vibe or just plain ignorance that certain types of bad things really can happen to you. There are a couple of times where I had limited options in regular situations, but I had a strong sense I was in danger and I came out just fine. There are other times where I made a right choice somehow, I say somehow because I didn’t appreciate just how right they were until a long time after. It has been many years since then and I am talking over a decade, but as I sit here now I remember it like it was yesterday. In the danger situations I prayed internally for help as that’s all I could do. In the right choice ones I was not praying at all, I just knew that I shouldn’t do it; one was accepting a ride to school from someone I knew but I didn’t really, and in the other one I had had quite a bit to drink beforehand but still something rang through that I shouldn’t do it.

There are some choices that historical military, civil rights and political leaders have made for the greater good, that when I sit and properly think about them I shiver, due to what was at stake at the time and the courage required to make that call. There must have been something deep down inside of them guiding them.

There is so much in the world today that is just not right, seriously bad/extremely complicated or both, with no quick fix in sight and I struggle with this at times as I believe in God. History and present whether it’s your own, or someone you care about, or nations that you love can be difficult to digest. If God has all the power and can do all things, then why do the innocent suffer? Logically suffering doesn’t make sense to me. The statement “we live in a fallen world”, I get I have heard many times in church, you just need to turn on the news to see it. But if God has all power, get out the lightning bolts player and start zapping you some baddies, we shouldn’t be needing to call 999 or 911 or go to court, get those bolts on the go! But that’s not how it is for reasons that are beyond me clearly. However, this does not take away from my belief in God’s justice in this life or the next. Nor the fact that we need systems in place to carry out justice and protect people now. We need doctors, scientists and researchers to help us continually fight for our health.

Photo credit: Josh J Fisher (Unsplash)