I had to dig DEEP this week

I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. For patience. For strength. For resources. …and it was my little people who held me with their warm apple pie, fresh out of the oven, as I put my feet up after having held a sacred space for friends who lost their mother and had to bury her within 24 hours, in keeping with Islamic protocol. Apple pie, warm apple pie and my people saved me on Monday.  

I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. For restraint  For compassion. For calm.
As I witnessed one human being abuse their power over another …and again, it was my people that brought me back, reminding me that my dear Aunt who passed on (a few months back) had her birthday this week and how she made the world’s meanest chicken pie. So, I made a chicken pie, said the rosary and we celebrated her life, with cake and all!

I had to dig deep this week. So bloody deep this week. To accept the many many wonderful doors of opportunity flying open in my face; To find the words to acknowledge the phenomenal teacher my son got as a gift for his Grade 1 year on World Teachers Day; To salute my daughter for standing up for a friend who was in trouble at school; To contain the love in my heart for the beautiful bottle of red wine my husband came bearing. 

The best gift we can give to those we have passed on is to LIVE!

…But here I am this Friday, having just heard of the passing of one of my best friend’s dads.

And, so I dig deep again, to find that well of love inside me.   It’s hard at first… But sure enough it springs up!  Springs up! Springs up! Offering glimpses of light. 

Don’t you love that!? That we are able to receive the gift of LIGHT when we need it most? Do you have a name for that which is always available, which is infinite, which is always accessible?

I’m just so grateful and I wish you that and so much more, my friends!

Grateful always,


A sad & very personal story about Loss + Love (Pour yourself a glass of wine. It’s a long one)

I lost a family member a few months ago.

My mom’s sister who died quite suddenly. It was the first week of lockdown in South Africa when she passed.  

We got news of her death around 9am and all we wanted to do was rush to the family home to be with her children and her 80 something year old husband, from who she really was inseperable. They were married for 60 years or so.  

I was so sad but I could park that. All I really wanted was to see my loved ones and offer support. I remember when my own mom passed, those people who just turned up on the day and DID were a Godsend. I felt I could be that kind of person in this instance.  

Being the absolute nerd that I am, I managed to convince my husband that we should pop into our local police station to ask them what we needed in terms of permission in order to make our way to the family home on the otherrrrrrr side of the world. We had seen visuals on TV and social media of the army, of cyclists being arrested and I must be honest, the general air of fear and tension was palpable.

“Good Morning” I said through my mask to the two policemen at the door. They were tense too,  but they listened to my story and immediately decided that yes, I should definitely jump on the highway and make my way to the bereaved.  “Family” the one guy said “Family”.

“So, I dont need a permit or anything to go there for a prayer service or for the funeral?…” I tried to add, knowing that my Catholic family would want to get started on the prayer asap, particularly for a woman like my aunty who loved her faith.

Screeeeeching from the other side of a room I did not even see someone flying towards us.   

“Back home!” she spat. “What do you think this is? A party? Do you know what lockdown means? There is no travelling! No partying. No walking around and shopping….” 

Everyone was stunned by the absurdity of the statements.

The two policemen looked down.  I thought I was dreaming.

“Umm, no mam, I have just lost my aunt…literally a few hours ago and I am her next of kin, so I was asking about what I needed to…”

“I don’t care!” she said “No means no”

“L O C K D O W NNNNNNNN she said mockingly. “It means you go noooooooowhere, my dear”.  

Now my tears were beginning to come.  The floodgates really opened when I made eye contact with the two policeman.  They were looking down and shaking their heads.  I only realised then that they reported to her. She was their boss and they were not going to be able to do anything for me.   

I was sobbing.  I could not believe that another human being was speaking to me like that.  In a room full of other people.  When I had just been shot in the heart with grief.

My husband, who had said nothing up to this point had the look.  I know it well. Gentle Giant was giving her the who the fck do you think you are talking to look, narrowing his eyes and tilting his head slightly. That look only comes out once every like 12 years.  

“Umm, tell me something…” he said, towering at least 100m above her head.  “Did you hear the part where my wife said she had just lost her mother?”  (In his culture, my aunt WAS my mother. No lies there). 

“I don’t care what story she has” the woman said. 

“Ummm sorry, mam? We are just here to …” 

“Wait, love” he said.  It was a firm and gentle, but gosh it was full of conviction.  

My husband looked at the two men.  Heads bowed in shame. He looked at me. Put his hands on his hips. 

There was a long silence.

“Are you feeling okay?” My husband said, looking the woman directly in the eye.   

Two more officers arrived. The air changed from an emotional one to something that my intuition told me could easily escalate into something ugly, where we were perhaps thrown in a holding cell and handcuffed, or worse.

That’s when one of the two officers became human again and said to my husband “I think it’s better if you guys go, my brother…”

He didn’t mean that we should GO to the highway and GO to the funeral home and GO be with our loved ones (which is just what we did, masks and all).  He was firing a warning shot to us, to say that if we did not get out of there, there would be trouble.
I took my husband by the hand and pulled hard. 

Heartbroken, disgusted and defeated we arrived at the funeral home. That’s when something magical happened. As I entered, I felt this incredible Light. I walked into the funeral home filled with a Spirit of compassion, love, strength, empathy and support.

That strength did not come from ME, and that’s really what this long story is about.  

Friends tell me that strength is The Peace that Passes All Understanding.  In my culture, the Holy Spirit.  In yours, your Higher Self/God, perhaps?  

Trust me it will come when you need it leaving you, the spiritual being here on earth to have a human experience, in awe.  And, in my case filled with so much GRATITUDE.

These are the moments, friends.  These are the moments!


Do you have a heart-wound after a LOSS? If so, come listen to my story….

All this talk about Mother’s Day has me feeling anxious, I must admit. My heart-wound has only just begun to form a scab and I have been taking good care of it.


My approach to its healing has been quite simple, actually. Like a good mother, I have looked primarily at INFECTION PREVENTION.


For starters, I took a conscious decision that I needed to keep the environment sterile and germ free.  And while I am under no illusiions that one cannot engineer every social environment or interpersonal encounter completely (particularly with family), I knew that it was indeed possible to focus on “access control”. So, I did.  Quite intuitively, I have been terribly circumspect about who I engage with, what I share, and how I could avoid people with energies that felt harsh to my sensitive film. The daily “disinfectant” through meditation and “fresh dressing” through prayer have helped tremendously.


Secondly, I focused my attention on creating a HEALING ENVIRONMENT for the heart-wound. Once more, led purely by my instinct, I began to draw on my good memories of my mother and to allow that positive energy to flow into my home, into my work and into my relationship with my own children. I have also played, laugh, rationed screen time and increased my reading time.  I began to seek out real experiences, people, food and music that made me smile.  And sure enough, the smiles came.


I am, of course, always mindful that with this sort of wound, research tells us that there is no prescribed time frame for healing completely. In fact, research tells us that there isn’t really a “cure” at all.  Like diabetes perhaps, one simply learns to “manage” the beast and one learns to adapt one’s lifestyle in order to lead a productive life.


So, adapting I am.

And it would seem that the wound is indeed closing up.

And the scab will fall off.

And all that will remain is the scar. 


How I will relate to the scar, is of course another story entirely, but I will tell you this honestly:  there IS always light at the end of the proverbial tunnel after a loss. Yes, even when you think your entire world has gone black forever.


You will one day be able to reflect on your scar and know for sure that every single day is a GIFT. (After all, no scar is able to form on that which is not alive). And like me, you will also be able to CELEBRATE not only on Mothers Day, but every single day that you are alive.


Aluta continua, as they say.  May you never take a day for granted.



© A Heart Full of Stories, 2017


The Call to Rip off the Band-Aid

Hardly 24 hours after my mother died, someone walked up to me with the soul (yes soul) purpose of telling me that they were “angry” with me.


They felt further entitled to pour out the details, as though I had any capacity whosoever to indulge such a “sharing” at that particular moment in my life.


The more I reflected on that emotional ambush in the days after the funeral, the more I tried to empathise, the more I tried to see it from their perspective, the more I rationalised that death brings “complex emotions”, I realised that I was asking the impossible of myself.


I had to STOP! stop


My job was to grieve.

To honour my own tears.

To sit with my own pain.

To validate my own loss.


Instead, I was diverted to a lower spectrum of emotions that sought to distract me. 


And, I indulged them. Sadly. 


Now that all that is in the past, my heart wants to go back there again. To that very point in my life.


The voice is gently asking me to lift off the Band-Aid I smacked on the emotional wound and to face what’s been festering there. 


And, again I will indulge. Gladly this time. 


You see, for me there is real therapy in dissecting the pieces, relooking the complexities with a view to disinfecting the wound in order to clear the inflammation.


I know, right? Whooooo volunteers to reopen their own wounds?


I do. And, I wish you the courage to do the same.


Rip off the Band-Aid! Sure it will hurt for one sick second, but once that initial rip is over, you’re on your way! Then, look at the wound, see it in all its gory complexity and then plot an enlightened way forward.


Hey, real healing is a great prospect and it may be just on the other side of your fear.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016


Aluta continua, as they say. This road is indeed still long…. (for me) but gosh am I ready!





Do YOU Over Promise and Under Deliver?

I believe in under-promising and over-delivering.

But, if truth be told, I never really feel like I am on top of my game as a parent.

There is always a sock with a hole, a teacher’s birthday I forget or a tooth fairy duty that nearly slips my mind.

As I stood at my kitchen counter, I stared at the half-eaten chicken pie that no one said thank you for. I looked around at the yoghurt smears on my curtains. I read the note in my daughter’s diary, reminding me of an outstanding indemnity form and I thought: Gosh girl!….are you sure you are qualified for this gig?

I couldn’t dwell on the thought because I needed to give my kids a bath. They had jumped into the mud, right after I told them to stay clean.  We were on our way to a dentist appointment.

I snuck in a quick photo (who doesn’t love a muddy face?) before I turned on the bath tap.  There was no water. Our cleaner reminded me that if I had read the letter on the fridge, I would have, and damn right should have, known. Boom!

It was a rough day at Mom HQ.

As I walked into the dentist with the two kids from Mudville, the nurse and I got talking straight away. She was a lovely old woman with a round back — an observation pointed out to me by Miss Mudville herself.

The old lady had lost her daughter 50 years ago. She had been standing on a pavement, minding her own business, when she was knocked by a car. She died instantly. She was just a young girl.

I asked her how she ever found the strength to live and she said “The memories! The memories are all we have in the end!”  She pulled out a small album and shared her most prized possession with me. Her pictures of special family milestones.  I saw muddy faces, spilled drinks, and grazed knees. The other thing I noticed was smiles. Smiles and kisses, hugs and laughter.

I drove home, observing the fighting and moaning coming from the back, and thought: “Of course I am qualified for this gig. The giver of life chose ME by name! Remember?”

We stopped off at the ice cream store and my daughter said, “I thought you said NO ice-cream because we are muddy?”

Now, how do you explain the under-promise and over-deliver concept to a child?…

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and http://www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let your “feelings” guide you home (Sister Stephanie)

I really started to trust my “feelings” when I was about 14.

I was tucked away in a catholic convent school far away from everything I knew and loved. I learnt fast to develop a “feeling” about people.  I also learnt to trust that feeling.  It was part of my survival kit. 

The “feeling” I had about my angry room-mate was spot on.  She had undiagnosed dyslexia and her anger was really just frustration.  When they discovered her wrists covered in blood, my “feeling” was that more trouble was headed her way.

I also had a “feeling” about the nuns.  One nun in particular. Her name was Sister Stephanie.  In stark contrast to her colleagues, she was full of life!  Whilst the other nuns were obsessed with discipline, routine, suspicion and punishment, Sister Stephanie was more relaxed.  She was an avid photographer and delighted in her art.  She told me that she was not a trained photographer and that she used her intuition extensively.  I knew exactly what she meant when she said “you just learn to trust your feelings, to let them guide you”. 

I got to know her when I contracted mumps.  She nursed me and I helped her sort out her printed photos.  I could not shake the feeling that sorting the photos would change my life, and once more, it took me two days to know that my “feeling” was right.  The boy I was in love with had been spending lots of time with one of my “friends”. The photos told me everything I had not known before.

The same girl offered me some new shampoo. Thank goodness that my “feelings” warned me against using it.   It was laced with hair remover.  When I turned up at the sports day with my lovely, shiny locks in-tact, she proceeded to dream up another plan.  And, it worked.  I woke up with no eye brows!  I must admit, I did not see that coming.

You can imagine my “feelings” when more than 20 years later, I read about Sister Stephanie on the front page of the newspaper last week.  To read about murder was horrible enough. To hear that she was raped too turned my stomach!  There are no “feelings” that could adequately correspond with the words I was reading.  There are indeed no words that I could use to describe my feelings either. 

I had to dig deep.  I had to find the words to write this story.  I had to learn to let my “feelings” guide me back to the words.  And I had to let the words guide me back to my “feelings”. 

Aluta continua, friends.  That road is long (for me).

I wish you well as you listen to your feelings this week, and allow them to guide you home.

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.