17 August 2006 – 24 October 2014
a Reason to Smile
Theresa Botha Nieuwenhuis
People compare their pain with that of the parents’. But I have news for you. It’s totally different. Yes, they also lost someone important who meant a lot to them, but for a mother and a father it is completely different.
I lived with her every day… saw her every day, and hugged and kissed her, and now there is a place… just an empty room.
One’s routine is totally messed up… you suddenly have hours in your day you never had before, and although it sounds heavenly to be able to sleep a few hours longer, that is what catches you the most.
Your mind was always working on what should happen next and you were always busy. Now it’s just you and your thoughts… and that can sometimes be very dangerous.
One thinks about everything… what if… if only… if I had just done… You make yourself crazy. But then all those good memories of the good times and the bad come back. I know sometimes I virtually levelled myself; I did everything I could, and not even that could save her.
Xuané was an unconventional child. She did not like attention… to be the centre of attention was not an option, she was shy and reserved… but with one smile she crept into thousands of people’s hearts.
People kept on telling me she is in a better place and she would not want to change places with us, but God knows it does not leave a mommy and daddy’s heart feeling better. A better place? The best place was here… with me… in my arms… safe.
I could see her, I could hold her and comfort her, I could bathe her, and I could dress her. I could give her food and laugh and cry with her. I want to see if my child is actually in Heaven… although I have no doubt she is. She is definitely the most beautiful angel. But still, I wanted to see it; my heart would not rest otherwise.
Everyone dreamed of her except me. I wanted to see my child again. What makes other people so special to see her again? I am the mother! I have every right to see her. I begged and pleaded… “Please… I just want to know that she is safe and happy.”
I went to lay my head down after a very long day and I dreamed of her. I dreamed she was lying next to me like the morning I found her. I remember that I turned around and when I saw her, I grabbed her and just held on. She turned her head towards me. She had no swelling, no sign of a tumour; she was just her beautiful self. She did not say a word, she just smiled at me. Wow, that was the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. And then she just disappeared…
I woke up and realised my child is safe and happy. My heart was at peace for the first time in the five months since her death.
Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to extend a huge thank you to the Niewenhuis family for allowing us to share Xuané’s story and photos, and hope that it will bring Awareness regarding Childhood Cancer to the public in general so that they can get a bit of an idea what battling Childhood Cancer is like – why the Little Fighters Cancer Trust does what it does, why creating Awareness around Childhood Cancer is so important, and enlightenment to other parents.
We will continue with Part 25 of Xuané… a Reason to Smile tomorrow…