* Looking back *

It has been a while since I have written and while I remember my Mum always saying that ’empty barrels make the most noise’, I decided that today I would write and try to find something worthwhile to say, so here goes.

I have been in England without coming home since the 13th of August last year (183 days, 6.01643 months, 26.1429 weeks) but hey, who’s counting? I came over this time feeling positive and focused, my eye on the end goal of eventually coming back to South Africa to start a brand new chapter in my life. Exciting days ahead! I have a slight feeling of trepidation due to the fact that I still have no idea what lies ahead. All I know for sure is that I would rather live in my beautiful South Africa and close to all my family and friends than anywhere else in the world!

When I look back on my life, I see that I have survived many trials and thinking of it now, some of it seems a little unreal. I have faced moments when the pressure was beyond what I felt I could handle and often I wondered if I would find the strength to carry on. Sometimes I thought it was not fair that life should demand more of me when I was giving all I could, but sometimes this is the way life works.

Looking back now and seeing how I survived the many trials and surmounted so many obstacles (to my own amazement and of course with loads of faith), I found out just how much I could handle. We all have ‘reserves’, I found a deep well of energy and inspiration through it all. I have reached a new understanding of the strength I had stored within myself and I know now when I look back on my life, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could handle what life had in store for me. But I did.

In a nutshell, I am tough as nails and I love my life. I love that I am able to appreciate the good times and even though I am far from home and my awesome family and friends, life IS good and I feel blessed right out of my socks!

For the past 6 months, I have had my head down and have been seriously focused, treating each new day with a renewed strength to ‘care’ with all my heart and soul. I have unfortunately not been unable to go for my daily walks. At one stage I thought I might go mad. I love being outdoors, I love taking photos and breathing in the beautiful fresh air (yes, even when it is raining & snowing). I have downloaded more than one indoor exercise app on my phone but I have only succeeded in watching them. I figured two food tins would do well as exercise weights but they are empty now (before I could use them) Oh my word, things really do go south without exercise!

In life, most of us want things to go to the places we have envisioned ourselves going. We have plans and visions, some of them divinely inspired. We want to be happy, successful, and healthy, all of which are perfectly natural and perfectly human. I have discovered that ‘success’ can be measured in so many different ways, it is definitely NOT about how much money we have in the bank. So when life takes us to places we didn’t consciously want to go, we often feel as if something has gone wrong, or we must have made a mistake somewhere along the line. This is just life’s way of taking us to a place we need to go for reasons that go deeper than our own ability to reason. I am happy that I know this now. I am so excited about my future.

Confession time…I have developed an obsessive, compulsive disorder (OCD) since I started caring. I am quite beside myself when I can lay my hands on new cleaning cloths and sponges, disinfectant spray and bleach (I still call it ‘Jik’). I actually drive myself quite crazy but I cannot stop, I LOVE cleaning!!! It puts me in such a good mood. I laugh at myself sometimes and wonder if I am going to be able to stop (or slow down) one day or if it will become worse as I grow older? Oh dear.

I cannot believe it is nearly 5 years ago since I embarked on this amazing ‘caring’ journey in England. I have felt honoured to share in a person’s ‘end of life’. I am caring for a lady at the moment who is in the advanced stage of dementia and still I can see what an amazing and intelligent woman she must have once been. I do believe that she has too many regrets, she has held onto some pretty awful memories and never ‘fixed’ relationships before it was too late. Caring for this lady has taught me to let go of all my feelings of regret. Holding onto regret is like dragging the past around with you everywhere you go. It drains our energy and it leaves us less available for life in the present. I have found an inner peace which is simply wondrous. I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now and only something new and beautiful can grow in place of these feelings of regret which I had held onto for too long. So on this rather philosophical note, I say cheerio until next time.

ps. 80 days until I come home!  (and yes I do count the days every now and then) and I can hear the wedding bells ringing! Much excitement in my family. Happy days!


  1. Chantelle says:

    Sage words Chez and well worth noting. My mum has onset of dementia and it’s the past regrets and negativity that she clings to – really hard to keep cheerful around all that!

    • Oh Chantelle, I am so sorry. A word of advice, make notes of all the happy times/places/relationships. It will be so important to remind your Mum of all these times. My client’s daughter sends her a postcard every other day with a past happy memory and it helps tremendously. Thinking of you and if you ever need to chat, please don’t hesitate to contact me x

  2. Linda Kidd says:

    Your post really got me thinking today about what I would deem traumatic events in my life. And yes I know there are people who go through a lot worse that I could ever imagine, but I agree with you, we all have an inner strength that amazes us in these situations.

  3. Arkwright says:

    I felt so uplifted and positive Cheryl, after reading your blog. It helps me to look back on my past and I remember the positives and not the “What ifs”.
    Thank you, you lovely lady, you, Jay and your great family were always part of the happy memories I have of the White River days .
    Love to them all❤️

  4. Jenny says:

    Yes Cheryl. Your ‘ journeys’ have really been to ‘places’ not many have been. You have become stronger. You are awesome. Lots of love

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