In June 2014, my parents, my sons, my sister and I headed to the Northern Cape, to a forgotten little town called Petrusville, to go and visit my mom’s brother, Uncle Tim (he and my medium friend have the same name). The trip was for healing, as with family politics we had not seen my uncle in 5 years. My dad was adamant that my mom could not leave things they had been, and he insisted that the visit happen.
From the moment we had arrived the atmosphere was filled with love and acceptance. My mom and my uncle buried the issues in their past and they spent a 4 day weekend reminiscing and catching up on each other’s lives. My mom had always told my sister and I that though her older sister had taken care of her for a large part of her life, she and Uncle Tim had a bond that made them soul mates. And not in the romantic sense. Everything they went through, good or bad, they found their strength to go on from each other.
Uncle Tim was a truck driver, and he was in a huge accident when I was 8 years old (1992). He had been driving on a long distance haul. They were travelling along a mountain pass and his co-driver was asleep with his head against the door. As they rounded a very sharp bend the load on the truck shifted, and threw the truck off course, heading for the barrier. My uncle did his best to keep the truck from going over, and when he realized that he could not stop it, he leaned over and grabbed his sleeping passenger. As that happened, the truck cab was jolted back, and the seatbelt constricted high against my uncle’s neck. The pressure was enough to break his neck in two places and he became a quadriplegic.
Going from being a strong, muscle built man to being unable to do anything for himself was immensely difficult for my uncle to deal with. He had his moods where he felt like he did not want to go on. But mostly he had a will to keep living. When the accident happened initially, doctors told my mom that they could conservatively not see my uncle living 7 years in the state he was in. He surprised everyone.
Going back to June 2014, the Monday (16th) as we were packing to head home, Uncle Tim was still in bed. So we took turns going in to the room to go and say goodbye. And as I knelt next to him, he took the left side of the bed, and kissed his cheek I had a thought dawn on me that had me very upset. I swallowed hard and fought back tears as I left the room and headed to the car. As we drove out of Petrusville I told my mom I had the sinking feeling that this was the last time we would see him again.
Saturday, 21 June 2015. I had been asleep and woke up at 11:55PM to go to the bathroom. As I sat there I heard the sound of a woman crying, hysterically. The crying was coming from outside, and it was heartbreaking. Then my phone rang, and as I answered my mom cried and said “My child, Uncle Tim just passed away.”
The shock nearly floored me. I grabbed my keys and ran out of the house to the flat, letting myself in with my spare keys for the flat. My mom was lying on her bed, shaking as the waves of despair came over her. I got on to the bed with her and she buried her face in my neck, weeping uncontrollably. I gave her the time she needed, and when she felt she could talk, she told me that he had had a bleeding ulcer that ruptured; he literally drowned in his own blood. His wife and his best friend had tried their best to keep him alive, but they were 45 minutes from the closest hospital, and there just was not enough time. Sitting there with my heartbroken mother, crying myself, I reminded my mom of what I had known a year ago. We had been in Petrusville to say goodbye.
The next day family was coming and going and my friends Tim and Elaine were also there for support. Tim sat in my mom’s room, on the edge of the bed and told my mom he had a message for us. At the time that my uncle passed away, Tim got a mental projection of chains breaking. He told my mom my uncle wanted us to know that he is free, the chains that bound him to a broken earthly body had been broken and he was happily walking again. As we sat there, music was playing on my mom’s tablet, and the song that was playing suddenly stopped. Who’ll stop the rain by Credence Clearwater Revival suddenly started playing. It was a special song for my mom and her brother, though she has never told us why.
My mom was holding on to my hand, she squeezed my hand and then she said, “My soulmate is free”.
She still breaks down when she hears songs they loved listening to, or when he comes up in general conversation. We all do. He was a wonderful man and we all loved him. I know my mom regrets the years they did not speak, but she also had the chance to say goodbye to him. That, to me, is what really matters.