17 August 2006 – 24 October 2014
a Reason to Smile
Theresa Botha Nieuwenhuis
Although I still cry many days… and I believe it will always be so, I go to bed every night with a clear conscience and know she is in safe hands. She is where she wants to be, although I just want her to be with me.
For now I focus on Mia. She needs me and I her. She is bubbly and a busy bee but a ray of sunshine in my day when the days begin dark. From now on she will get the attention she deserves and I will show her she means just as much to us as her sister did.
We have a group of moms in a Whatsapp group. We have all lost children. We share each other’s grief, our good and bad days, our beautiful memories… and we laugh at each other too. But there is one mother who stands out for me; she gave up two daughters to death in a period of nine months. I did not know what to say to her because if I hurt so much, how does her heart feel? To bury one child is bitterly difficult, but two…
This mom is still standing; she is a rock for us all and an example for many. She still helps us through our darkest days and yes, she is definitely a great role-model for me, and if I have a dark day, I just think of her. So much to say, but actually so few words…
My love for my child will never disappear and the questions will always be there. I will always wonder why her, and why she had to go through so much hurt, but my questions will indeed be answered one day. I will always wonder what she would have looked like now; which party we would have held this year; what kind of dress she would have worn to her matric farewell… and how she would have looked on her wedding day.
We will wonder… and we are allowed to. We are going to have bad days; do not even ask what is wrong, because there is only one thing wrong… reality has just found another way to slap us against the head, and sometimes it is so difficult that one does not even feel like getting up, but you must unfortunately… and that is the sad part of all; life goes on. Yes, our lives do continue without Xuané, but she is always in our hearts. Her photographs will always be displayed everywhere in my house whether you like it or not; she is mine, and I will continue to keep her alive in my home for as long as possible.
Xuané was just a strange little one. She had a way of looking at you and smiling and then just saying: “Love you Mommy” … it was like an angel who sang for me every time. And throughout the 5 years of pain and suffering and all she had to endure in her little life… she did not complain once.
I’m actually very fortunate, because I had the honour to be her mother; she was lent to me and I know I did everything I could to help her. It feels to me as if this was not enough, but I know she is my angel, and she looks at me every day … sometimes laughing at her crazy mother, I am sure. But that is how she is … my reason to smile.
What people do not realise is that her life has come to an end… but actually her life has only just started… the life she longed for… to be able to run around and to be free from doctors and hospitals and to be healthy.
Her legend lives on in each of our hearts and we have a lifetime of memories of her. Some are not as nice as the others, but the most beautiful of all is that smile. And what I can say with a smile today is… no-one can ever take that away from me.
Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to extend a huge thank you to the Niewenhuis family for allowing us to share Xuané’s story and photos, and hope that it will bring Awareness regarding Childhood Cancer to the public in general so that they can get a bit of an idea what battling Childhood Cancer is like – why the Little Fighters Cancer Trust does what it does, why creating Awareness around Childhood Cancer is so important, and enlightenment to other parents.