Turn Up the Volume and Start the Party, Heaven has Gained A Musical Angel

I didn’t get to do any training this weekend as I had no one to hike with and I won’t hike alone and although I could have gone to the gym to train, life just took another path and as it turns out it was perfect in every way.

I spent a large part of this past weekend with a family that over the years have become like my “other family.” To say things have been difficult for this family over the last few months, is plainly, understated.  Their mother has been in hospital for the past two months, mostly in ICU and has had to endure no less than 3 operations. She is a strong woman! At the same time, their father, who was elderly but healthy and able-bodied, suddenly took a turn and everything this family knew before changed in an instant.

I met the family when I was in Standard 8 (Grade 10) way back in 1990. I fast become friends with their youngest daughter, Margi, with whom I attended school, and she has been one of my best friends since then.  A year into our friendship, as a young 17-year-old, we began enjoying many all-nighters with her older brother, Graeme, who played in a band (much to my parents horror), well that was until they got to meet the family and the older brother who would keep me out all night on weekends when his band played!

Two years later, my friend and I got ready for our matric dance at her parent’s house and her older sister, Lynne, did our make up for our matric dance and helped us get ready ~ everything was always ‘all in the family’, just like it should be.

Eventually, I got to meet Bev, the other older sister, who lived with her family in Port Elizabeth.  But as things happen in life, Bev became a single mom and moved back to Cape Town with her two young children to be closer to her family and so too our friendship began to blossom.

Life happened in-between, I went to live overseas for a number of years and then as I returned that very same year my best friend moved overseas but my connection with her family remained.

Our friendship continued across the waters thanks to things like modern technology, we saw each other on holidays, each time like we had never been separated. My friendship with Bev, the other sister, continued to grow. Just like I had with her younger sister, we would go and support Graeme and his band, we’d party and dance and do all the things that friends do. We’d sit chatting for hours on end talking about everything under the sun.  Braai’s, wine, breakfasts, dancing, sharing and caring.  21st birthday’s, weddings, men, anniversaries, 40th & 50th birthday’s too…. We have shared and celebrated so much over the years.

All through these years, their parents were always there. Offering advice, sitting talking for hours on end over a cups of tea, laughter, and music. There was always music!  I loved most listening to the stories of way back when, stories of music and movies in the old back room in the house they grew up in.

Over the last two months the family home has been filled with sadness. Their father, bed ridden and their mom in ICU, there wasn’t much room for happiness. Suddenly the role of parent and child reversed. I watched as my dear friends cared for their dad. Bev, taking the main role while living with her dad, I watched, as with such compassion, she would take care of his every need, she’d hold his hand, she’d tell him she loved him, no task was too much. Even in such a sad time, it was a beautiful gift of human love and compassion to see and witness.

Some nights we would sit in the house and we would sit in the lounge with a glass of wine, talking, supporting, just being there. On the good night’s laughter filled the house again, other nights plain exhaustion filled the air, rolled up in the element of sadness.

After spending Saturday with two of the siblings, sleeping over and spending Sunday morning with them too, we headed out to visit their dad, who had to be moved into frail care just two days earlier as it was no longer possible to look after him alone. Two siblings, a granddaughter and I stood around his bed. Nothing physically telling us he knew we were there, except for an outreached arm occasionally reaching out for their hand but I firmly believe that his soul knows we were standing around him. Souls just know even when the body can’t show it. After a (nice) visit (as nice as a visit like that can be) we headed home where we sat around outside chatting and two hours later the call came. Their dad, Uncle Des to many, had passed.

Desmond ‘Des’ Abbott ~ A Son, Brother, Husband, Father and Grandfather.  Pic compliments of the Abbott family.

Desmond ‘Des’ Abbott ~ A Son, Brother, Husband, Father and Grandfather. Thanks Graeme for letting me use the pic!

Life really does go full circle and today hearts are broken as family and friends remember.

Uncle Des, my ‘other dad’ because I was just always there and at times you practically watched me grow up. You watched out for me and Margi as young woman as we headed out into the world and in later years you watched out for me and Bev as we hit the dance floors and no doubt gave you and Mrs A grey hairs with all our late night shenanigans!

Your bright shining smile (I think I’m going to miss that the most) when I walked in the door and your excited hello’s when you saw me will never be forgotten. You raised an amazing, beautiful family that I am proud to be a part of and I am blessed to have your children as such dear friends in my life. Your legacy will live on, we will always remember.

To Margi, Bev, Lynne, Graeme and Mamma Abbott, my heartfelt condolences. May you find the strength to get through your days and may the sweet memories of all the good times helps ease the pain of the days to come. Mrs A, wishing you so much strength and healing so that you may come home soon from hospital to be with your family again ~ if you have shown us anything over the last two months, it is your strength to get through all that life throws at you!  May you all find comfort in knowing that in time all the flowers turn to face the sun.

Uncle Des, smash away at those drums up in heaven, turn up the volume and start the party and we’ll raise a drink down here for you. You will be dearly missed by all those who knew and loved you. Breathe easy and rest in peace. Remembered and loved by us all, thanks for the memories and the smiles!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. margii73
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 13:37:12

    OMG Lara, this is a wonderful message of us as a family and our beloved Dad, beautifully put, you have been a strength second to none, I know I am not there, and it hearts me not being there all the time, especially at a time like this, if i was able to get on the next plane over I would, but I have been over recently and saw my dad while he was alive which is what I would like to remember him as, life does take unexpected turns, I know our family will heal this pain and now we concentrate on mamma A to get better and strong, she has a wedding to attend next year, we will never ever forget dad and this now gives the strength to Bev and Graeme to reflect and take life easy. Thank you my special friend for being there through this trying time and helping my sister and brother through this and my mom – its a blessing having you as our friend :0) – Love you lots forever – this has me sobbing!!!! lots of love xxxxx


    • Walking 4 Air
      Dec 23, 2013 @ 13:51:05

      My friend, my heart breaks for you all and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for you and Lynne been so far away when all you want is to be close to your family. You both made the right decision to see him when you did. Remember him like that! I wouldn’t be anywhere else right now, and it is I who is blessed with so many wonderful Abbott friends who bless my life! So much love and strength to you all. xoxox


  2. margii73
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 14:09:05

    I know, its very hard indeed – and again Thank you for being there, really appreciate everything that has been done – now we concentrate on mom to get her strength up and get well… Missing you all greatly -lots of love xxxxxxx


  3. Natalie
    Dec 24, 2013 @ 09:02:34

    What an absolutly lovely tribute to uncle Des and the family La. Beautifully and sincerely written
    Margi. my thoughts are very much with you and your family. Remember what I told you – he is in even closer now than before, where there are no miles to separate you. He is watching over you my friend, in a forever kind of way. Sending loads of love your way, to you and your family. xxx <3 xxx


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