Shocking Endings and New Beginnings

The initial purpose of this blog was to keep our family informed and involved in our travels. It’s the easiest, fastest way to reach everyone. The most frequent comment we get from friends and family is: “We can never keep track of you two!”.

And it’s the truth. Rufus and I have an unpredictable life together, we enjoy the excitement of not always knowing what is around the corner and not always being able to plan things.  In all honesty, who can successfully and accurately plan every detail of their future?! No one, ever. We have just actively chosen to embrace that uncertainty rather than fight it. We do still dream (a lot, about many things) and enjoy planning how to execute those dreams but we are happy to accept the changes, and adapt accordingly, when life throws them at us.

But this month, for the first time in years, we are finding it exceptionally difficult to accept the “curve ball” that has shattered our lives. Rufus’ mom was diagnosed with Leukemia, not even 2 months ago and, in the early hours of March 7th, she suddenly passed away. She had just completed her first round of chemo and was technically in remission but her white blood cell count was too low and, after contracting a nasty infection in the hospital, she died in Constantiaberg MediClinic ICU of septicaemia.

After the initial shock, confusion, anger and devastation we are reminded every day, through each member of our family, what Rynette taught us about how she wanted us to live our lives: LOVE and LIFE in everything we do, think and say.

Just over 7 years ago, when Rufus and I got engaged, Rynette promised to accept me and love me unconditionally, as her own biological daughter, not just her daughter-in-law or Rufus’ wife. That is by no means and easy promise to make, never mind actually carrying through with it (especially since we didn’t know each other very well at the time) but she made good on her promise. We became extremely close, both on a mother-daughter level and as great friends. She carried me (and Rufus) through terribly tough times in my life and lived every word she preached to me, and every one else in her life. She lived love, she lived grace, she lived humility, she lived forgiveness, she lived joy, she lived generosity. She lived LIFE.

She adored reading our blog and pestered me every time we SKYPEd or Whats App’d about updating it with our most recent activities . She never got to see all the blog posts I haven’t yet done because I thought I had all the time in the world to do them “later”, when I had “more time”. We obviously don’t always have limitless time to put things off. Ma was 55 when she passed away. She was supposed to live at least another 50 years to see her dream home, that Rufus is building for her, to be “Oumie” to our children and to be a mother to Cherie on her wedding day… One thing we did always make time for was to let Ma know that we loved her and we appreciated her and we valued her, and the time we shared with her. We are truly truly grateful for that.

Ma dreamed of us eventually turning this blog into a book of our world travels. We can’t do that if I don’t stop being lazy and putting the posts off. So this is a promise not to procrastinate anymore. This is a promise to make another one of Rynette’s dreams for us a reality. Even if we don’t publish the book we will start regularly posting again so that the rest of our family and friends can “keep up” with us 😉

From today we promise not to put things off anymore, Mamma. Ons is vreeslik lief vir jou. Die Skirries x

Rynette at our family farewell in Saldanha, September 2012, before we set sail across the Atlantic with Melody.
Rynette at our family farewell in Saldanha, September 2012, before we set sail across the Atlantic with Melody.
Rufus' dad, Boris, Rynette, Rufus and I.  Photo Credit: Cherie Brand
Rufus’ dad, Boris, Rynette, Rufus and I.  Photo Credit: Cherie Brand
Rufus, Ma and Cherie (Rufus' sister).  Photo credit: Vivian Botha
Rufus, Ma and Cherie (Rufus’ sister).  Photo credit: Vivian Botha
Pa, Ma, Rufus & Cherie. Photo Credit: Vivian Botha
Pa, Ma, Rufus & Cherie. Photo Credit: Vivian Botha


  1. Elizabeth beukes
    March 21, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    What a privilege to read this! I most certainly would love to read all about your new adventures. We stand right behind you and your beautiful family at all times.

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 11:03 pm

      Thank you, Liz. Your support does not go unnoticed and we are so grateful for everything, especially with Cherie. Much love x

  2. Trish
    March 22, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    So sorry for your loss.

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 11:02 pm

      Thank you, Trish x

  3. Michelle Coetzee
    March 22, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    It is really a privalege to read this. Keep on blogging. And so so sorry for your precious mamma’s loss!

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 11:01 pm

      Bake dankie Michelle x

  4. Janet Olivier
    March 25, 2015 / 5:41 am

    Thanks Kate for reminding me and others about procrastinating. Yes Rynette certainly" walked her talk. May you and Rufus achieve what you dream.

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 11:00 pm

      Thank you, Janet. Your words are an encouragement to us both x

  5. Erla
    March 26, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    Baie Dankie vir jou mooi woorde! What a talented and beautiful writer, and photographer you are. Blessed to know you. Keep posting 🙂

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 10:59 pm

      Dankie Erla. Bake liefde for julle x

  6. Cecile Langenegger
    April 3, 2015 / 3:19 pm

    Thank you – so glad I could read this.Very well written blog, keep it up! Very lovely and special what you said about Rynette. I am sure Rynette loved you all very much. Thinking of Boris and you all!

    • kate brand
      July 12, 2015 / 10:58 pm

      Thank you, Cecile. Your words mean a lot to me and Rufus x

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