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Moving On | Mopane Grove

Moving On

A new path in life

Like a page is smeared with ink by the writer’s pen, leaving a clear white border, this update may be a little dark and dreary in content, but it’s lined with something that blurs that dark and lightens the outlying message.

Not much has changed since anyone last heard from me and I apologize for not having been very creative during this time. Also, some may have wondered why I have been so quiet, and part of that has been that it is not easy to do what I have needed to do with limited technology, thick clumsy thumbs, and a three-inch keyboard.

The fact I can even post this is a gilded gift in its own right and there are so many people to thank for that, that it is going to take a long time to produce the list. All those wishes and prayers that have honed in from across the globe over the last six months have not been in vain and for those of you that have helped me by providing financial assistance too, I can only hope that either the universe reward you exponentially or somehow I can one day return the gift.

I do remember promising to send photos of some of the wild characters that some of you have come to know and I know it has been some time since that promise was made but I have been a bit preoccupied and, with so much on my plastic hospital plate that has had to be cleared first, I have not been able to go home to retrieve the data to do so. I will, in time, make a plan.

However, this is an update on where and what is going on in my life and I hope that I can produce such a list once my life, a new life, becomes settled. I will never stop being grateful for all the help and support.

The last 6 and a half months have not only been traumatic and somewhat hard to endure but have also brought me to the edge of an enormous divide bridged only by a one-way rainbow that, although I will cross in time, it seems, will just not be right now.

Since my last update, I have neither been better nor worse though at times I have been gasping for breath and as weak as a newborn. Recently I have had to be readmitted to the hospital for the umpteenth time and have not only had to deal with a physical and debilitating issue but have had to run a gauntlet of psychological, emotional and human-related issues.

(I must add that I write on a hospital bed, it is after two in the morning and quite remarcably, the ward is quiet. Ironically, with all the madness out there at this time of the year, the ward has emptied somewhat and despite the apparent peacefulness of the atmosphere, I have insomnia sitting on the bed with me like an old friend).

I walked into this hospital a few months ago merely to obtain meds for my transplanted kidney and I leave soon, a couple of severe medical incidences behind me, the kidney having now failed and a books’ worth of medical jargon jammed into my head, scrambling my brain.

The pneumonia and embolism in the lungs, on top of all else, has now left me with a permanent inability to get enough oxygen into my blood and this, coupled with the unattended hypertension from the renal failure has compounded my need for The Machine 3 times a week, putting me a little closer to the edge of my time on this side of that proverbial rainbow and ensuring that, at least for the foreseeable future, I am not going to be able to go home, I am not going to talk to Ellie’s for a while and my good friend, Nelson Khosa, better disconnect the battery of The Landie and maybe put it on blocks so the tyres don’t get ruined.

To add to my physical dilemma, the public hospital will no longer be able to offer me affordable dialysis and renal care and so I was due to be released and left to find my own medical care. The hospital had no choice but to extend my treatment whilst I was an in-patient and into November and was gracious enough to give me a bit more time, but when that ran out and after pleading my case, they relented and agreed to dialyze me into the new year with a finality that there would be no more extensions.

What this meant was that my only option was to find affordable private treatment and in more plain speak, this meant that I don’t really have any options at all, despite the funding I have received, as private care for the kind of treatment that is needed is long-term and only for the likes of those who park their yachts at the marina in Monte Carlo.

As such, I turned to my heritage and to a light that at first was so dim it barely registered but grew bright enough for me to see that I would have to close some of the doors to my past in order for it to show me a way of creating a new track toward an unthought of future.

Being Jewish and hopefully well enough to travel, I am eligible to move to Israel, a decision that was only finalized today, hence this little newsflash only hitting the screen now after so long a silence.

I think it doesn’t need much to convince those who know me how deep my roots to Africa and its wildlife are embedded in my soul and heart and that to live without elephants on my doorstep would have ordinarily been as far from my mind as the most distant star but it has become a matter of survival and a strong desire to see more of this life than that which was possibly intended.

The silver that lines this little dark cloud of my life is that I have family there, in particular, my sister who has been there for 20 years. To add to the joy of being with my sister and my two nephews, who will be taking me in, my parents will be moving there too, also seeking the warmth and embrace of a close family that has not been together for quite some time.

Unfortunately though, and with a sad heart, I leave a sister and her family behind. We may not be as close as siblings ought to be despite our age difference being negligible and our age in years telling us how silly it is, but that has never dented the strength of a blood bond that can never break. My nieces, both of whom are exceptionally strong and determined young ladies and who are at university, have not had the opportunity to get to know me very well and I take a lot of responsibility for that, but being as young and adventurous as they are, will no doubt travel at some point and I hope will one day find their inner compasses pointed in the direction of family too. But it is my sister that I will be thinking of and perhaps the time that will pass before we see each other again.

I also have a niece and a nephew on another continent that are young enough that I live in hope that they too will travel one day to also visit with. Family. My condition would never allow me to travel to see them and I am only sorry that when I do see them, it won’t be to take them to find an ele or the newest litter of Cubs at Mansimvula but perhaps to see the old city of Jerusalem. As for my brother, who is a jet-setter anyway, perhaps he will stop by one day as he hops about continents between his love of the bush and his devotion and love of his two children in San Fransisco.

All in all, I have a family to be part of, a new and adventurous life to think of; to explore one of the most important areas of this side of the planet, with the Mediterranean at my feet and Europe not far, deserts and dead seas, human history, culture and conflict and a new language to learn.

Despite all that, I think what will thrill me the most will be the bottleneck of bird migration as they fly from Europe and Asia for their summers in Africa. Finding new flowers and looking for lizards. I am seeing it as a time to explore something new and maybe, perhaps, if I am really really good, I may find another kidney and be able to return to Mopane Grove, my Landie and the elephants and their world.

Particular thanks go to FliC; my favorite lady from Canada – Fabienne. Without you I don’t know where I would be, you did so much for me, not only when I was in the hospital; bringing food and keeping me company, sitting with me for hours when I could barely lift my head and talk, finding Ubers and doing my shopping, but also the care and support and not to mention endless patience when I was back at the house.

We will have a giraffe and ele sunset at the sunset tree and a moonrise on the quartz ridge one day, after a leopard at Sibon dam on the way. 

To mike and Gill, our 30-year friendship has only been strengthened by your kindness and generosity and my tears flow freer thinking of how you too have taken care of me over that last 6 months in the city. Despite your hectic schedules and overworked timetables, you have always been there for me, getting me to the hospital and keeping me nourished with more than just food. I also want to thank Mike and Gill’s young ladies; Robin in particular who has had to deal with a grumpy, sick old fart who suddenly invaded her space at such a critical time of the year-end exams. Mike and Gill are no longer just long-time dedicated friends. We are family.

And now this page is smeared with tears shed at the thought of what tomorrow brings. A seesaw of sadness and joy, neither outweighing the other.