This post is dedicated to a very dear friend of mine, Bronwen Knoetze, how sadly lost her battle with cancer at the very young age of 32.
Where to start. This must probably the hardest blog post to write. I am filled with so many mixed emotions. One the one hand I am overcome with sadness about loosing such a dear friend, and on the other hand I am relieved that she is finally not suffering anymore.
Bron was diagnosed just over a year ago with stage 4 cancer. The day we found out we were all shocked. How could this happen? Why? How did the Dr miss it before? We were convinced that we could beat this. After her first few chemo treatments, things seemed very dark. She suffered from severe nausea and had no energy. It was hard to see my friend suffer like that. I kept on asking myself, why did she deserve this. She finally found happiness in the most amazing husband, Steven, so why now?
I guess we were asking all the wrong questions. We will probably never find an answer to these questions, or at least one that we can accept. It is real hard to say goodbye to somebody your age, knowing that I still have my life ahead of me and hers was sadly cut short.
Enough about the gloom and doom. I want to share and celebrate her life. I would never forget the day we met. First year BSc, 2003, Port Elizabeth. Believe it or not I was an extremely shy student. Being from out of town and Afrikaans, it was really hard for me to make friends. Bron was the most bubbly and friendly person probably in class. she just walked up to me and asked if we can walk home together as she saw me talking to University in the morning. That was the start of our friendship.
All through varsity we shared tears and happiness. Failed chemistry tests and skipped math’s. We took up stress smoking – just before chemistry test, and celebrated distinctions. We spend hours on the beach, working on our tans, eating ice cream and enjoying ice cold ciders. We even tried to loose some weight together and get healthy.
One of my fondest memories will always be our early morning talks on the beach. We promised ourselves to become healthy and we will get up early, take a 5 km walk along the beach and end up one our little bench eating marshmallows and watching the sun rise. I know, it completely defeated the purpose, but we loved every moment.
In May last year (2016), Bron suggested we go camping. She had to start a new round of chemo therapy and wanted to do something fun to cheer herself up. To be honest, I was not looking forward to camping (we love camping), as I was a bit nervous about how it would be with her. By that time she was getting weaker and I wasn’t sure if we would enjoy the weekend. Hubby convinced me we should go and make the best of it, and evenif we just sit and do nothing it would still be nice to get out of town for the weekend.
Qodesh (Qodesh campsite) was the perfect setting for our weekend camping trip. Between the mountains next to the Wilge river and with an added bonus – the cheesery. We love cheese especially gourmet craft cheese. We spend the weekend just relaxing next to the river, in the outside heated Jacuzzi, over looking the goat pens and of course some marshmallows and pear cider. Before we headed home on the Sunday we enjoyed a cheese platter, and promised ourselves we would go back soon. Sadly we didn’t go back until this weekend.
On Sunday we returned to Qodesh for a very special naming ceremony. Steve (Bron’s husband), her parents and some other friends and family joined in as we named a kid goat – Bronwen – in memory of our special friend, wife and daughter. We could truly feel her presence there. New Bronnie just gave us all so much love and even nibbled on Steve’s finger. It was a very special way to say my final goodbye to my dear friend.
Treasure every moment with your loved ones. Make time for old and new friends, do silly things and if you have to eat a marshmallow or two, enjoy every bite. This made me realize how valuable our health is and why we should make it our number one priority. So today, with new enthusiasms I will work harder at improving our health and embracing our LCHF lifestyle.