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?