Life Lately – March 2016

So the last time I shared my heart I had such positive feedback I figured it was something I should do more often.

The only thing is that somehow this year’s life has been pretty rough and once again my life lately is a bit of a mess emotionally! Please excuse me as I pour out my broken heart…

Since January life has been improving steadily week on week and I was just finding my blogging/ working/ mommying groove until last week…

 

And then the horrific and brutal murder of Franziska Blochliger happened in the Tokai Forest, literally down the road from where I live.

The forest has been a big part of my family’s lives. We played beneath it’s trees as children, cycled the path with my own kids regularly and walked among the beautiful fynbos reserve admiring the views in all directions.

We drive past it every week to and from church and just last Sunday I was looking out over it’s loveliness in the early morning light and thinking to myself “I should go for a run around the loop soon, now that I’m managing to run 4km”…

But as the news spread like wildfire across social media last Monday night, my heart broke

For the nameless teenager, her terrified parents and sister, the search party who came across the scene, her school friends, neighbours, extended family, the wider community of the Southern Suburbs and of Cape Town who wept with the family, the country of South Africa.

When I allowed myself to go there my heart even broke for the perpetrators – how desperate, unloved and heartless must they be? Yes, this act was pure evil and they don’t deserve any sympathy at all, but my heart breaks that there are people out there who can do this type of thing with no feelings of remorse at all. How depraved are we as a species that this happens ALL THE TIME across our country?

 

And, of course, my heart broke for my own family too.

The next morning an sms from a friend… “Are you going to tell your kids before they find out at school

My decision was to keep quiet until I was asked. I felt there was no need to upset them unnecessarily… But it was only a few hours until the questions started coming. After school we drove right past the scene of the crime on our way to granny’s house and my daughter spotted the masses of floral tributes pinned to the fence… She wanted to know why, and what happened? I couldn’t face doing it with her in the back seat of my car, so waited until granny’s house so I could see her face to face… hoping all the while she would forget and move on. She didn’t. She was insistent I told her as soon as we arrived. The perils of a good memory!

So I sat her down with tears in my eyes, grateful (and guilty) to have her with me, safe and sound, and distraught that I even had to have this type of conversation with her. At only 5 years old she shouldn’t have to know about murder…

Her little eyes widen as she spoke the truth that all of us have been feeling “I don’t want that to happen to me Mommy” Oh my baby… How on earth do I protect you??? How do I protect myself?

 

The fear. The anxiety. The rage. The despair. The heartbreak.

I know I am not alone in these emotions this past week. I can’t stop reading the updates on social media or new articles on the trial… it’s become an addiction that is not helping my mind at all! I struggled to fall asleep that first night (and many since) as thoughts and images swirled in my head. I battled them in my removed grief, ever mindful that those closer to Franziska were struggling far more than myself.

Now, one week on, I’m still struggling. I feel like a heaviness is hanging over me. Over my friends and family and my extended community. Conversations – at the school gate, over a “fun” weekend away, at church small group, on my neighbourhood watch what’s app group – have all been around this topic. With most of us living within a few km’s of the crime scene the topic it’s never far from our thoughts.

 

So where am I now? I’m grieving.

And I feel it’s important to acknowledge that that is where I am.

I can’t just move on with everyday life. I feel stuck at present. An eternal sadness pervades my life at the moment and I’m finding it hard to be myself, to laugh, to smile. The joy I usually experience life with on a daily basis is hidden and hard to find at the moment. Even my husband has mentioned that I’m really quite and it’s unnerving him.

The truth is that I’ve been affected by a trauma that runs deep. Yes, I may not have know Franziska personally but the impact of this event is far reaching. I live in the area where the crime happened. My babysitter lives in Westlake where the perpetrators were arrested. This is my community and we are all struggling with a form of grief or even PTSD.

 

I feel violated. I feel invaded. I feel “raped” of my freedom. I feel saddened. I feel afraid. I feel heartbroken.

Last week I had an evening event in town and usually I drive home without a care, this time was different… I was anxious about walking to my car in the underground parking. I was nervous stopping at red traffic lights. I was worried about arriving home and waiting for my gate to open. The thought went through my mind of never leaving home again after dark… but that’s not realistic and, in this tormented country, neither is it even safe! Unfortunately even our own homes are not the refuge that they should be!

This is not me. I don’t usually let fear get the better of me…. BUT it is. And I know I’m not alone!

 

So where am I now?

I am trying to turn to God in prayer to remove my fear and replace it with faith as often as possible. It’s not always my first point of call, many times I succumb to the fear, but I know that this is the only thing I can do… and it does help. After my small group meeting last week where we focussed on handing over our fears to Him I definitely felt lighter and more able to face the day the next morning… but I haven’t been doing this daily. And I really need to more often.

 

My daily life at the moment feels numb. I’m not fully engaged with it. My mind wanders. My emotions boil over and I’m so very tired! But that is my life lately, it’s not pretty and beautiful and inspiring, it’s real and raw and rough around the edges and I keep tackling it one day at a time…

How are you?

 

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

10 Comments
  1. Have you seen anyone about depression? This sounds like it could’ve been written by me before I went on medication a few years back. I was getting emotional about everything happening in my life but when news stories became to much and I couldn’t get over it my doc started me on medication. I now recognise the signs when it becomes too much.

  2. Hi Kathryn
    Tried sending a message earlier but got an error……
    I feel really awful for you as it does have an effect on us, so senseless….. um regarding I know depression, I think that most of us do suffer from depression in this day and age with the stressful lives we lead be it work family traffic too much one ones plate and often either dont want to either admit it, or dont face that they are. My niece was deeply affected by what happened, she just burst into tears, I myself also had tears welling up in my eyes….. depression affects many of us, me included and yes i take meds for it but it does not make me any worse of a person that the next one. I really feel for you as its very close to home in a variety of ways as mentiontioned. Its difficult to escape the reality of a really bad world we live in. Thinking of you

  3. Ah, my friend – sending you so much love. Such a cruel and senseless act; I can’t even begin to imagine what her family is going through. These events have affected me deeply, but I can’t fathom what it must feel like when you’re mom to a little girl and you live in the area. I am so sorry, friend – and I am so sorry that you even had to have that conversation with Abi! I hear you, though – Sean, Noah and I often take our dog for a walk at a nearby dam, in amongst the vineyards, etc, and I considered taking Noah and our pooch last night, but I just didn’t feel safe – especially without Sean.

    And I’m most disturbed at reports of the suspects’ requests in court – to be taken to Pollsmoor because they don’t get toothpaste at Wynberg. F@*!!!?! You don’t deserve to LIVE, let alone brush your teeth! It angers me so much, but you are so right – the only way to get through this is to hand our fears and insecurities over to God. Praying for you, friend xxx

  4. Ah Kathryn…I can definitely relate. as a community we are grieving. Grieving the loss of a young life, a daughter, a sister…a young life ripped away from her loved ones. We feel their pain, because Franzisca is our ‘daughter’ our ‘sister’..she is ‘me /you’. I say this only because this happened to her In a place that all of us walked in, ran in, many times, by ourselves. Never giving it a second thought. A place where our children rode their bikes, and yes , many times, way ahead of us….never again! And just like that, we have lost a sense of freedom, a happy place of many, have now become a place of horror ! A communal place, and that is why we are all so affected by it. I’m grieving , I’m crying, I’m angry, I’m afraid. A precious life, like all others , meant nothing to the perpetrators.
    So, your feelings are shared…you are not alone.

  5. Sorry to hear – I know this feeling too. Have you seen a Facebook page called Sinaxolo We Have Peace – it is an inspiring collaboration between two communities in mourning and it has certainly helped me come to a place where I can start to feel a little less numb.

  6. I feel that we need to feel. We need to talk, we need to pray, we need to engage, these issues of injustice are too common in our world, we need to allow ourselves to grieve, this stuff should not be happening to anyone and we need to feel that injustice deeply so that it affects our everyday positively when we are able to come out the other side of grief. Many, many people are searching for answers, searching for peace and searching for a way to move on. My only solace is that this world is temporary the unseen eternal.

  7. The untold stress that incidents like this bring upon us all is simply not able to be tallied up and no mention has been made of those raped around UCT, just horrendous, not to even think of those little children in the townships raped murdered and brutaly killed.

    I am affraid to say at the moment there is no deterent to put off these drug addicted scum and the prisons are overflowing – so bring back the death penalty NOW.

    Give a thought for the poor lady who shot that smash n’ grab thief she now faces culpable homicide charges, bull ….. he had a previous conviction for a knifing plus other charges, he deserved what he got.My friend “uncle” Mike patrols the streets as a reservist at 75 hunting down the crowbar gang in order to keep us safe, I salute him. The new ganbuster unit is doing a tremendous job on the Cape Flats, lets praise them as well. Now for my sleeping tablet.

  8. Hi there Kathryn – thank you for being so brave to take your vulnerability and put it out there for us your readers to be able to support you through this time, as much as we too need your support- which has come via this article.
    Reading your account of your current state of being or mind, kinda took me back to a FB article I read by my Online Financial Tutor. She too expressed how she has been in a state of feeling she was caught in a fog. Although her circumstances were different to yours, there are many similarities emotionally, mentally and spiritually to that of yours. She told the story that in this state of fog, she felt stuck, Unable to move forward. Yet, at the same time she was able to begin to empathize on a much deeper level with people who live in that place most of the time ( 90% was her figure). Reading your account reminded me of something which so often comes to my mind…. a very, very large percentage of our CT population who live in townships , economic and sub-economic suburbs – live under the very circumstances every single day of their lives. I recall a conversation I once had with a young adult man who lives in Elsie River. He told of how gunshots each day and each night are the norm. These folk that live in crime ridden areas where their personal space is violated to such an extent that I am sure they have no awareness that there is such a thing as personal space. It is that fog. Not having been there I could only imagine that it has one becoming emotionally ‘dead’ and stuck.
    Does that take away from your pain, your anger, your vulnerability right now. NO- but my question is, are you going through a time when you are understanding and able to empathize on a deeper level what the greater populace lives with each day. Which impact on your prayers?
    Our communities are angry at the invasion of our space – and yes we have that right to be angry at those who have been commissioned with our safety. Maybe I can offer you some support while you linger in this foggy space. Advise I was once given that always works like a charm for me – don’t resist your space right now. Don’t resist your anger, or whatever you are feeling. My friend told me to invite it in, offer it the opportunity to visit and then wait until it passes over. My experience of doing it this way – is that it does pass over and much quicker than before. Just allow yourself to be in this space – you will move through it. Mist and fog is often there to offer us protection of sorts, until it lifts. Be well and thanks again for sharing from a heart space. May your empathy spill over to the rest of us.

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