Grief delayed

Delaying Grief by Khanyi Mthimunye


Build walls, to keep the pain out.

It seeps through the cracks of a rushed job.

So I build trenches in my brain,

Fill them with water to drown memories.


I can hear the clock ticking away,

As blood rushes across to send signals.

Prepare!  An explosion is imminent.

The muscles and organs are on standby.


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Personal statistics

Personal  Statistics by Vera Marbach


Every number

has a face

is a person

in a family

tells a story.


Every number

stays a number




know that face

miss that person

love that family.


Then, every number

tells your story.


During the third wave of this pandemic, those impersonal statistics out there have become personal for many of us. As one loss is layered on top of another, with limited opportunity to express the grief, we are experiencing a different kind of stress – compound grief…

This is one of the sources of stress we plan to address in our Stress Management course for busy women in Magaliesburg on 11 September.


Regulating your autonomic nervous system

In our recent video series #relaxinseconds, we focused on exercises that calm an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. Regulation of our autonomic nervous systems is a little more complicated than that.

The sympathetic nervous system is often in the limelight because of its well known fight, flight or freeze response. The other part, the parasympathetic, which is responsible for rest and digestion, can also unhealthily dominate our nervous system. This can become evident in lethargy, a lack of motivation, a general blahness about life, or wanting to sleep excessively. The pandemic style of stressful experiences like isolation, grief and uncertainty has meant that the parasympathetic extreme has become familiar territory to many of us.

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Invisible bonds of death

by Khanyi


Tell me how to grieve someone I have never met

The virtual world has created invisible bonds created through kind words

We woke up to your insomnia tweets

We lived life vicariously through you as you navigated this thing called life


Your tweets, full of life would bring some of us hope to get out of bed and live

To know a selfless person existed was enough without having to meet you

Your interaction with your family made it realistic yet effortless while we were stuck in our family drama


Your passing has been something I am unable to accept

It has made me aware that sudden death is hard hitting on those left behind

I can’t even think about you without my brain shutting down

Such heartbreak that I can’t explain to others,

So I  will grieve in hiding


In memory of Dr Sindi Van Zyl, also known as the duchess of healing, who passed away on Saturday morning, the 10th April 2021.


Anniversaries and the inbetweens

Anniversaries prompt us to look back at the journey to this point in history, to see where we have come from, to recall the many commemorative markers that are strung together on one long winding path. Looking back can be inspiring, nostalgic or even painful.

So many anniversaries have happened in March: our own wedding anniversary of 25 years, the one year anniversary of the begin of South African lockdown, my sister’s return from her volunteering on a Mercy Ship. And now, another Easter under lockdown. We look back and marvel at how our world has changed, and how we have changed.

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The sting of death

The sting of death

by Khanyi Mthimunye


It is random and illogical

Even when you crave it

It can elude you

make you its accomplice

Leave you feeling guilty for the thought


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Integrating all aspects of YOU

While I was doing my coaching course, we were advised to focus on finding and developing our own niche as coaches. My thought process kept bringing me back to the term “integration” – a concept that has often featured in my life, in a number of ways.

I was first introduced to “integration” when, as an Occupational Therapy student in the nineties, we learnt about how better results are achieved when the two sides of our bodies and brains work together. Much more so, than when we rely on only one side. Integration can be defined as the process of combining two or more things in an effective way so that they form a unified whole that is more than merely the sum of its parts. Disintegration then is the loss of effectiveness, cohesion, strength – a process of fragmenting or falling apart. We experience disintegration when we feel overwhelmed by external and internal stressors and challenges, when our parts are not working together smoothly.

When we experience stressful circumstances, we often struggle with strong emotions like anger, pain, anxiety and fear. It feels like they are taking over our lives, and often we try to avoid dealing with them for as long as possible. However, suppressing them often results in an uncontrolled pressure-cooker effect: the pot boils over or even explodes, often when it is most inconvenient.

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Usizi ngesikhathi sokuvaleleka (IsiZulu translation of Grieving during lockdown)

Kulelisonto umngani wami wezwa ngokudlula emhlabeni kuka nina wakhe. Kunzima ukuba ahlanganyele nomndeni wakhe kulesikhathi sokuzila. Ibanga lokufinyelela khona likude kakhulu. Lokhu kubonakala sengathi kuzoba yinkinga kubantu abaningi kulamaviki ambalwa alandelayo. Abantu abangaphezu noma ngaphansi kuka 1500 bayashona malanga wonke eNingizimu Afrika kulesisikhathi sokuvaleleka. Singazila kanjani ngokufanele ngesikhathi salokuvaleleka na? Kulabo abalahlekelwe izihlobo eziseduze ukuthi bathole usizo lokulibala okubavelele uma singeke sikhone ukuba siduduzane, sibambane, sisekelane? Kunzima ukukhuluma ngaloludaba. Isimo esinzima futhi esingakhulumeki esingafuni nokucabanga ngaso. Kodwa uma singazinikela sibhekisise lesihloko, ukuze singayeki ukuthola izindlela zokusisiza kanye nalabo esibathandayo.

Nayi imibono evumelekile engenziwa futhi engeke ivimbe ukuthi sihlanganyele ndawonye, kodwa sikwazi ukusekela noma ukududuza abashonelwe:

  • Asivumelekanga ukuhamba nomndeni ukuyohlola isidumbu kodwa singabazisa sibatshele ukuthi sinabo siyabacabanga futhi siyabathandazela.
  • Asikwazi ukukhombisa uzwelano namalunga womndeni aseduze ekhaya ngokuba kanye nabo kodwa singathumela imiyalezo.
  • Kungenziwa imikhuleko malanga wonke andulela umngcwabo kulomndeni oshonelwe (Lokhu kungaba isibophezelo ukuthi kwenziwe ngesikhathi esibekiwe ngaphandle kokusebezisa noma sisebenzise i-app or social media.
  • Asikwazi ukuthi sibekhona ukusiza umndeni ngokulungiselela ukudla, kodwa njengasemadolobheni singa kwazi ukuthenga ukudla bese kuhanjiswa khona. Imindeni ekude bangafakelwa imali emabhange.
  • Umzimba womufi awukwazi ukulethwa ekhaya ngaphambi kwelanga lomngcwabo ukuzovaleliswa kodwa omakhelwane bangakhombisa ukuzwelana nabo ngokucula basemakhaya wabo.
  • Asikwazi futhi nokubakhona ngomlindelo kodwa singakwazi ukusebenzisa i on-line app engakwazi ukwenza lomsebenzi womlindelo. Abomndeni banganikezelwa nge data ne airtime ukuze bakwazi ukuxhumana nawo wonke umphakathi.

  • Angeke sikwazi ukuba yingxenye yalabo abangu 50 abakhethiwe ukuba khona emngcwabeni kodwa singakwazi ukwenza inkonzo yesikhumbuzo ngaphambi komngcwabo ngokusebenzisa i-app ekwazi ukuthi abantu bahlanganyele, kungabuye kwenziwe ne video yomngcwabo engakhonjiswa abanye emwa komngcwabo.
  • Kungaqalwa neqembu lokududuzana le whatsapp lapho kungaboniswana noma kukhonjiswane izinto ezimbalwa njenge zithombe, ukukhumbulana, izindaba ezihlekisayo, imkhuba exakile, uhlu lwamaculo athandwayo. Kungabuye kukhunjulwe nama akhawunti we Facebook.
  • Abantu ngokuhlukahlukana bangenza indawo yesikhumbuzo ezindlini zabo ngesithombe salowo ongasekho, kanye nezinye izinto ezingasikhumbuza yena zikhonjiswe nabanye abantu.
  • Angeke sikwazi ukuhlanganyela nomndeni emathuneni ukuze sisize ukugqiba umgodi. Kungaba kuhle ukunikeza umndeni oshonelwe imbali kube yisikhumbuzo sothandiweyo wabo. Imbali ingathathwa engadini uma unayo, singaqala loluhlelo ukuze sikwazi ukunikezela ngalembali uma uvaleleko seluphelile/seludlulile.

Singakwazi ukuxhumana nalomndeni ngezingcingo, nangemilayezo kuze kuphele isikhathi sokuzila nangasemuva kwalokho.

Ngokuhamba kwesikhathi singeza nezindlela eziningi zamasiko amasha angasisiza okwamanje, kuze kufike isikhathi sokuthi sibuye sikwazi ukuhlanganyela ndawonye. Yini ongayifaka/ongayiphonsa esivivaneni?


Thanks to Happy Mthimunye and Dudu Mkhize for their work on the translation!

Grieving during lockdown

This week a friend of mine heard that her mother had died. There is no way that she can be physically present to mourn with her family. The physical distance is too far. This is going to be a problem for numerous people over the next few weeks. (Approximately 1500 people died every average day in SA pre lockdown) How can one grieve well under lockdown circumstances? How can we, who have lost a close companion, experience some closure when we cannot reach out to comfort each other, to hold, to hug, to weep on each other’s shoulders? It is a difficult conversation to have. An unspeakable reality we do not want to even imagine. But let us dare to explore this topic now, so that we are not immobilised when some of us need to find a way for our own sake, and for the sake of those we love.

Here are some ideas, that admittedly cannot replace physical presence, but are a way in which we can still support the grieving:

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Let’s take a moment…

After the frenzy of activity of the last few days, trying to keep up to date with rules and regulations as they were published, getting ready for lockdown and cleaning the house yesterday to start lockdown with a germ-free state, I am taking a moment (or this weekend ) to assess where we find ourselves at this moment.

During this week we have done many things for the last time for the foreseeable future – shopping at places we know will be closed, visits to family members and friends, walks/jogs around the neighbourhood. These were intentional experiences that were appreciated, greeted and gently left behind.

Then there were those things where we did not know we were doing them for the last time – because the market was cancelled the evening before, the library was closed to the public with staff still working inside, the next weekly face-to-face Sepedi conversation falls in the lock-down. There is a sense of irritation and unfairness around losing these experiences, it does not suit us that we had to unexpectedly leave these behind.

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