Monday, 20 February 2012


On my way to work this morning I wanted to call my friend Hazel. It was raining and the traffic typical for a Monday was crazy and I was feeling a little out of sorts. I was not sure why Hazel was constantly on my mind but I found myself thinking about her all the time on my drive. Then I saw a funny bumper sticker and I had to share it with Hazzie.  I picked up my phone, found her number and dialled.  Only it was not Hazzie who answered by her son Ryan……..

All at once I realised that the reason  she was on my mind, the reason I was longing to talk to her was because today four years ago Hazel Anne Lin lost her (9 week) battle with leukaemia and passed away.

Losing a friend is a very strange thing…..the lose hits me out of nowhere.  Sometimes it will be a movie trailer that brings the lump to my throat because we did so enjoy our movie dates, sometimes it will be a song on the radio that brings tears to my eyes because we loved to sing along to our favorites, I’ll be walking in a mall and I will smell Joop or Dune and my heart will ache or I will read one of her kids FB statuses and I will weep because she is missing them become adults.

These memories bring me to my knees…..I am so humbled by the fact that Hazel was my friend.  She was a wonderful example of what it means to be a women, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend.  If (when) I grow up and I am half the women she was then I will be blessed.  She had the sweetest smile and laughed so easily.  She loved her children fiercely and thought her husband was the hottest thing on the planet.  Hazel was a caring and loving daughter and sister.  And well if Hazel loved you, you were simply touched by an angel. 

A lady who taught me so many things including much about her faith….she was Jewish.

Hazel passed away 9 weeks after she was diagnosed.  She did not want me to go visit her the last while because her hair had fallen out and she was not looking good.  She would be very mad if she knew but three weeks before she passed I flew down to Cape Town.  She was still in hospital but doing so much better that they were talking about sending her home.  At the hospital I stood behind her room's door and watched my beautiful friend talking on the phone and reading and spending time with her kids.  Knowing what I know now I wish I had just walked in and told her how much she meant to me but after a while of watching I turned and walked away wanting to honour her request for me not to visit but knowing that I needed to just see her.

I don’t remember her in that hospital bed, no for me she will always be the fun loving women sitting on the dolphins tail looking out at the ocean in Plet.  I will always see her sitting at the pool with iced tea in her hands watching the kids swim or us sitting at dinner just chatting about all kinds of crazy things.

I know that Hazzie is in a better place, she is free from pain, free from needles and treatment and illness but sometimes (at least once a day) I wish she was still here. Selfishly I want us to talk about a magazine article, I want us to watch a movie, I want us to get lost looking for a little art gallery in Harties, I want to hear her voice, I want to see her smile and I want to feel her love……

But if there was a way to spend time with Hazel once more I know that I would give that time with love to her precious children Ryan and Nicole.  They have grown up into the most incredible young adults and I can see the beauty of their mother in them.  They are her greatest achievement, they are her legacy and because they love her they carry her with them in everything they do.

A couple of months after Hazel passed I saw her favourite book “Tuesdays with Morrie” in a bookstore.  I did not really want to read the book because I did not feel I was in the right frame of mind but it was a link to my previous friend so I did.  In the book Morrie says  that death ends a life and not a relationship and that’s how I feel about Hazzie she may be gone but our friendship lingers.

A couple of weeks ago I was packing all my novels into my new bookcases and I dropped one of the books in my haste……Corrie Ten Boom’s book The Hiding place. This was a book which was very special to both Hazel and I.  I had bought us each a copy when I visited the Holocaust museum in Washington DC.  I am not sure how or even when but at some point Hazel slipped a photo of her and I in between the pages where I had written a prayer of thanksgiving for our friendship. Finding it years later made me laugh through the tears because that was just the way she was!!!

Every year on the anniversary of her passing I release a lantern with a message to her.  I don’t normally share the messages I write not even with her kids but today I will share the message I have written for this year….

My Dearest friend Hazel,

What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, we may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. I love you!!!

I am a far better person, daughter, sister and friend because of you Haz. Your example ensures that I will leave this world a better place than I found it. I love you!!

So Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life, which grows higher than a soul can hope or mind can hide, and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart, I CARRY YOUR HEART, I CARRY IT IN MY HEART!!!

I miss you more with each passing day……
So my dear friend thank you for all that you meant to me and continue to mean, for the influence you have had over my life and the standard you set which forces me to strive for better and not settle for second best!!! Thank you for being an inspiration, for sharing your life and family with me but most of all thank you for loving me………just as I am!! There will always be a Hazel shaped place in my heart….I love you!!

Hazel and I on the dolphins tail in Plet!!!

The pink ladies on the beach....Hazzie, Nicole and I
Hazel, Frank, Ryan and Nicole at the Heads in Knysna

If tears could build a stairway & memories a lane. I'd walk right up to heaven & bring U back again.No farewell words were spoken,no time to say goodbye.U were gone before I knew it & only God knows why.My heart still aches with sadness &secret tears still flow.What it meant to love U,the world will never know.Since you’ll never be forgotten,I pledge to U today a hollowed place within my heart is where you’ll stay!!!
Ryan and Nicole when I visited them in Cape Town last year....all grown up. Both are at University. Ry is
studding Actuarial Science and Nic has just started her B Com Law

The photo Hazel had hidden in "The hidding place" to love that sense of

At Hazel's funeral they read Proverbs 31and to this day she epitomises this scripture to me:
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family 
   and portions for her female servants. 
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 
26 She speaks with wisdom,  and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 
27 She watches over the affairs of her household  and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;  but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, 
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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