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!

Tonight, Will You Be My Baby?

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It’s been a long wait!

I got my golden circle tickets before they went on sale to the public.

I’ve been a fan since the beginning of time.

And finally, tonight’s the night.

Bon Jovi are in Cape Town and tonight they are going to rock The Cape Town Stadium.

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When I bought my tickets I assured everyone I would without a doubt be such a girl when the time came.

I did it in 1995.

And I am going to do it again.

I am going to scream.

I am going to sing out of tune.

At the top of my voice.

And I am going to cry.

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I hope by the end of tonight I still have friends.

You have all been warned, so forgive me dear ones.

I smile as I recall yet again a memory from way back when in the 80’s when I was 12 years old ~ “Livin’ on a Prayer” had just been released and Jon Bon Jovi was a super-rock-god in skin-tight ripped jeans strutting his stuff on stage.

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He was my idol. I adored him. (Can you tell I still do?!) One day I attempted to leave the house in my skin-tight, newly ripped jeans, Bon Jovi style. My poor father nearly had a heart attack and screamed at me “and where the hell do you think you are going dressed like that young lady?!” Needless to say I had to go back and change.

Just as we left the 90’s and headed into the new millennium, Bon Jovi came through for me again. My life as I knew it was turned upside down and everything changed. I was lost, unsure of who I was anymore and had to start from scratch all over again. It was as if they had written this song just for me. I drove my friends crazy with it. I sang it out loud. I danced to it. In fact, when it came on I sang out aloud and danced like my life depended on it, no matter what I was doing. Still now, years later my friends hear this song and instantly think of me (after a fair amount of groaning they do smile at the memory!) The song was “It’s My Life.” It became my life’s anthem. I was the one who controlled my life, not others. Probably my biggest and best lesson I ever learnt. The words were so apt to what was happening in my life and in those moments of hearing that song, I knew I was doing life for me and not for anyone else anymore. In those moments I rediscovered who I was. It was now or never. I stood firm on my own two feet and so my best life began. I started living for the first time ever and I haven’t looked back since and Bon Jovi was there for it all!

I have been their biggest fan for so long I actually can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a fan.

I am shaking as I write this post.

I am so ridiculously excited.

Somebody give me a tranquilizer.

I’m just hours away from seeing the love of my life again ~ up close and personal.

I can’t concentrate.

I can’t speak properly.

I feel deliriously dizzy.

This is the only time I will ever use this word

But it is practically IMPOSSIBLE to get more excited than this!

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Tonight in a crowd of 60 000 plus

It’s just you and me baby!

~ A special note to my Mom: As requested, if they sing Bed of Roses, your all time favourite,crank it up super loud Bon Jovi song, as promised I will sing even louder, I will wave my arms higher and better yet, this will be the moment Jon Bon Jovi will pulls me up on stage. Yes, a girl can dream! ~

~ Tonight at 9pm South African time I will be in the Golden Circle waiting for Bon Jovi to begin their Because We Can Tour in Cape Town. Just thinking about it makes me delirious! ~

~ I Am Officially Down To Counting Hours ~

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