9. Hi Honey, I’m Home !

Wednesday 26th May

I stare into space a lot. I don’t really know what I want to do, I don’t have a goal, I’m just a ghost pretending to be a good mum. Shop for Ari, do my work. All pretence. I couldn’t care less about anything. Ari doesn’t even return my kisses anymore. He just stares into space – he’s not even sedated. He works hard physically, so maybe that’s why he isn’t responding anymore. No communication, nothing. He looks at people, tracks them, but doesn’t appear to register. His love is my strength – how can I live without it ??? I can’t, apparently. All I want is for him to show me I mean something to him. I know he loves me, he wouldn’t stop, but seeing it is my strength. He is my pillar. If he was dead, I could move on. I’m stuck in limbo. Plus I miss Neil, unfortunately, but I do. So that doesn’t help. If I could talk about this with Ari… but it could be half the problem. No, it would all be fine, because that could mean that Ari would be able to tell me he loves me too.

“Just as the path of birds or fish is invisible, so is the path of the possessors of wisdom”. Dhammapa (c. 3rd century BCE). I have no path right now, no goal, where am I, who am I?

I want to cry all the time, I want to start smoking, I don’t know why. I don’t want to go to Dullstroom this weekend, it will be the first time I’m away from Ari. The only thing I can think of to make me feel better (besides Ari) is going out with people I don’t know, who don’t know me. I’m tired of talking about Ari, that’s all we ever do with Leonard and Sheryl, and it’s too much. Maybe fall in love temporarily, anything happy to occupy my mind. Or I’ll become a nutcase alcoholic. Not that I drink at the moment, I don’t have time to go to the store!

Ari where are you hiding!!?

Please come back!!!!


Wednesday 2nd June 2004
Ari is about to come home – we have decided that his recovery will be more comfortable in his own familiar environment. He is still not talking or walking, but emerging steadily every day, eating well, and regaining strength and weight. So, the Lazy-boy and the TV await him in his own sunshiny room ! As do his favourite little fisher-people, Zoë and Luca.

Your e-mails are always an inspiration to him, I read them every day.
Keep them fishies on the run !
Gaëlle Bert


Saturday 5th June 2004

Spencer says we must move you from that place. He says you are dying there! He doesn’t have a good feeling about it. He’s a good friend, you’re lucky to have him, he obviously cares about you. I’m touched actually! (always with Mario of course).

As it turns out, the medical aid have told us they would not pay for your stay at Kensington Clinic any longer, because you are not making any progress. It was a hard blow to me, confirming what I could see and would never believe. I couldn’t face having you at home like this – I’d imagined you coming home walking and talking (not well, sure, but on your way). The thought of having to look after you like a baby, with all those stairs, that house I’ve come to hate, no space away from your parents any longer…

I was just being a coward. I was afraid. But now, nothing seems better, I can’t wait for you to come home. I’m going to buy you a lazy-boy massager chair (with all my savings) and your folks have organized a hospital bed, physios, a private OT, nurses, a wheelchair etc. We’ll be moving down from our flat above the garage to your parent’s big house, Zoë and Luca and I (our beds and things), and they’ll move up there instead. And you’ll stay in the big bright sunny lounge, all yours. You’ll have your own TV too, plus the futon will be your physio mat, as well as our sofa and my bed if I sleep with you. I want to, but I’m told I should keep some time for myself. At least I can be with you all day. Today at Kensington, I found you sitting all by yourself in a wheel chair, unattended, sweaty, tired, and nothing to rest your head on. I don’t like that, you should have been sleeping in bed after your exercises of course. You’re tired. How long would you have stayed there? I’m glad you’re coming home – besides, you’ll enjoy your home food better and there won’t be all those depressing old toppies and disabled zombies. Please get better at home! I also want to have a silly argument with you about toothpicks. (like Mr. Segal and his wife, your roommate here). I want to grow old and senile together with you and have everyone laugh at us and we are the only ones who know what we are talking about. I love you so much. I’m the one who is going to die if you don’t come back to me!!!!

Monday 14th June 2004

To all the Fans and Friends of African Angling Safaris who have written to us in the last two months, to whom I have not replied:
My greatest apologies for such laziness !!!

I hope you have all been able to access the internet in the mean-time, as Beni Angel, our Magical Webmaster, has been looking after AfricanFishing.Com with the highest dedication: you should have seen some snippets of news of Ari’s recovery.
Today, as I write this, he lazes in his most comfortable armchair-massager : Home At Last ! That is not to say that he is doing his own cooking or even shopping, but at least Ari is surrounded by all things familiar to him. Coming home from the hospitals was the best thing that could have happened, as we worried that the sterile environment was getting quite depressing, for such an Outdoors Man. Indeed, in the three days since his return, Ari has relaxed tremendously, which will aid in his recovery. When he is ready to type, you will receive the first Newsletter. But I do think we are months away from seeing that.
There is no doubt in my mind that we will find our Good Old Ari fishing on some bank in the future, but the exact date of this happy event still eludes me. Not to worry ! While we wait, he healthily receives intensive physio exercises, and secretly learns French when no-one is looking 😉
So, to all those Fish out there enjoy your holiday while you can ! (But beware of all the other Fishermen)
Keep on writing, and visit AfricanFishing.Com regularly!
Gaëlle Bert


30th June 2004

As you have been home for two and a half weeks already, it feels like this is the way it has always been. At first I thought I would sleep next to you at night, but Anna your nurse says it will be too much. She’s right, I was petrified that I would have to change you at night. Not that it’s any trouble, I did it at Kensington one day when no nurse came. But because you are my husband I wish to keep your privacy sacred. So we got a night nurse, Pauline. Thank you for being constipated! What difference your coming home has made to you and us all. We are all more relaxed – you have cracked your shell. We have dropped our depressions. Almost from day one you have started communicating again, nodding yes or no, helping with exercises. Now you are part of the family again. Luca wakes you up at 5am when he jumps in bed with you. Or falls asleep at night curled around your shoulder. You were so worried when he dropped that ceramic pot down the stairs by accident and howled for dear life from the sight of it. I spoke to you on the phone and asked if you wanted takeaways and you gave out such a loud burp in answer that I couldn’t stop laughing for 5mins.

“The same undivided and indivisible space is outside and inside of a thousand pots. Likewise the Self pervades all beings.” Maharamayana (c. 11th century). Your Self has found us again !

You don’t talk but your face shows us what you feel. Then I fear you want answers to things still left unsaid. I tell you all you have to do is ask, and I’ll tell you everything. I would. But you won’t really talk yet. We do get a uh-uh (no) when you’re up to it. Your yes usually involves a nod of your whole body. Michelle is trying to teach you to use localized muscles only. You now eat so well using your left hand – can’t leave some food in it and expect it to go uneaten. You’re are no longer skin and bone, you look like Ari again. Still very tight but now you’re learning to relax. You hate sitting so the wheelchairs are gone and you keep slipping out of the lazy boy unless it’s lying down. You even practice exercising all by yourself! I love you! You are so courageous and determined!!!

“To be compassionate, we do not have to “fix” others’ lives, or change the world. We merely have to open our hearts.”

“To do all I can to relieve suffering in the world, I remember to take care of myself so I can care for others.”


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