One of the secrets in life, sounds a lot like a cliché. “That it is important in life to marry your best friend”. Well I am lucky, I am not married to my best friend, but me and she decided to spend the rest of our lives together without the trappings of legal and society rules.My best friend turns 50 today, and we have been together the last 10 years. The best 10 years of my life.

10 Years ago I was tethering on a knife point, I was a divorcee without much of a future, still thinking I know it all, with shaky relationships with my children because of my selfishness and low self-esteem. Purely by accident Jacky, came into my life. I did not make it easy for her, at first she was just another potential prey, and to put it mildly, she was just part of a herd of prey. That changed very quickly.Early in our relationship, I got seriously sick. Belief it or not , I still tried to have more than 1 “nurse” , that was a turning point , I was told to make a decision , and that decision turned out not only to be the right one for me , but it also saved my life .

I was in high care for 3 weeks, and in hospital for more than a month in total. Jacky came to hospital twice a day, she came early before work, and then again in the afternoon when she was finished .As I had “Guillain- Barre syndromet “, I was paralyzed about 90 percent at its worse. She bathed me, cleaned my arse, fed me, she did everything for me for more than a month, without complaining once. I was 140 kilograms on a good day, with a filthy temperament and very scared, in short I was not nice to be around for. As people will know who goes through something like this, friends disappear like mist before the sun, but Jacky stayed.

When I went home, I learned another lesson quickly. I stumbled to the shower, and in the shower my legs gave away. I could not stand up, I screamed for help, just to be told, I am out of hospital, I should help myself. It took an hour to cover the 6 meters to my bed. But the point was made, she would not be my maid, and probably saved my life the second time in 3 months.

Our first couple of years together was tough. You put 2 pieces of rock together, neither willing to give an inch, and you will get a lot of conflict. In this time Jacky was retrenched from a very senior position and I absolutely hated my work. We went through a very tough time economically, and our personal lives concerning our children did not make it much easier. But we did not quit, we fought the battles together.

Children can make or break any relationship. However your demeanor and how you grow up as a parent can decide the relationship you have with your children. I am stating it categorically, that if it was not for Jacky, I would not have the brilliant relationship, I have with my children today. Before it was so bad, that my daughter had her first boyfriend for 3 months, being too scared to introduce him to me. Today they have been together for 6 years, and I am still trying not to like him. Jacky and Jampie are best mates, and Erik still phones Jacky firs when he “f…. up”. The best thing was, that Jacky taught me to was to except my kids, and that all perfect children are in heaven. Jacky’s children was a huge culture shock to me, but today can honestly say, I love them just as much as I love my own. Jacky taught me to love all my children unconditionally! Even if they make you so angry you want to kill them.

One thing of getting older, is the ability to be introspective. I find it extremely healthy, I have learned that I am an acquired taste, and that not all people like me. I have learned to be more tolerant, or as they say in Afrikaans “Rustig”. I have learned to let things go, and that I do not have all the answers in the world. Most of these lessons Jacky taught me!

I think the biggest thing Jacky taught me was to love. Not the physical love of a youngster, nor the all over the top love that makes it difficult to breath. Not the all-encompassing love that force people to change who they are. But a love that start with respect, a love that is not jealous, a love that your spouse’s needs are more important than yours. A love that is un-conditional.

No relationship is plain sailing, and if it was, that would have been boring. Jacky and me have eaten our bags of salt, and we will keep eating them in future .We have serious challenges in our own lives and the lives of our children. We are not perfect human beings, especially not me. Jacky is ambitious to a fault, she is not the most empathetic person in the world. She calls a spade a spade, and she does not have time for fools. But she is an unbelievable human being.

Jacky, thank you for making me a better human being these last 10 years. Thank you for tolerating my irritating habits. Thanks you for spoiling me not on a daily basis, but second to second. But being with your best friend is like being home, you feel loved, safe and secure. Thank you for unconditionally loving me, but most of all, thank you for being my best friend.
Happy Birthday!

Hein

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