This is an obituary for Stephanie Gwen. She was born in America but grew up in South Africa. She loved nature and dogs. She wanted to have a dog farm when she grew up to give a home to all the abandoned and unwanted dogs in the world. Her favorite food was chocolate. She believed in God and felt guilty because pleasing him seemed impossible. She loved the theatre more than anything else. Her favorite plays were Phantom of the Opera and Oliver! Andrew Lloyd Webber was her hero. Her greatest dream was to act in his musicals. Unfortunately although she held the heart and talent for acting she couldn’t sing or dance very well so being in a Lloyd Webber musical was out of the question. Stephanie grew up in a beautiful small town right underneath a magnificent mountain range. She dreamed of seeing the world, seeing all wonders that were in books and on TV. Stephanie was in awe of the splendor of the world she lived in, of the sky at dawn and at dusk, of the ocean and trees and the stars. She was so happy and grateful to be alive in such a world and would find pleasure in the smallest thing. She had a gift of inner peace that helped her to hope for a better future no matter what heartache and chaos surrounded her. When she was 21 years old one of her greatest desires came true when she moved to London. There she had to work very hard to survive but she had never been so happy in her life. She made many friends and had even more adventures. After and year and a half she left England to get to know America…the land she was born in.
5 years ago I was born….Stephi. It was 5 years ago this week that I had my break down in America. 5 years ago I was put onto antidepressants and have been on them ever since. At 02:50 am on the 14 March 2007 I woke up and found that the girl that I had been all my life had died and there was a new person in her place. Everything that I believed in was gone. There was no God. The world no longer held any splendor for me, I forgot all my dreams. The dreamy, loving girl, always full of hope was replaced with an angry, cynical cold hearted woman. It was like something had sucked the life out of me and left me hollow. Ever since then the world has became devoid of colour and totally joyless. Happiness became and impossible distant memory. The antidepressants saved my life but they have dulled my heart to the point that I am unfeeling of any kind of emotion.
But despite my cold, unfeeling heart I miss Stephi, the girl I once was. So every year during this week in March I celebrate her life. I light a candle next to the last picture that was taken of me before my breakdown. The difference between that picture and pictures taken of me after my breakdown is visible. This year I am living in temporary accommodation and all my stuff, including that photograph is in storage. So I have used a silver ring that I bought in England and some earrings that my friend gave as a memento of my former self.
As I always believe in looking for hidden blessings even in the most awful circumstances, I also use this time to remember the blessings that came out of that period of my life. I met one of the best friends I ever had, a girl who had known me for two months before I had my breakdown. She should have been really freaked out by what she was seeing and run for the hills. But she stayed and helped me get well. She saved my life, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t had her there.
And of course the other blessing would be that I am alive, I made it through. I thought that week in 2007 would be my last. I was sure I would never see my family in South Africa again. I was losing myself, dancing along the edge of insanity and I wandered when the moment would come when I would cross the point of no return. But yet five years later here I am. I can’t say my life has gotten any better it has been so hard. I have had to mourn and get to know myself again. But at least I have dreams. Whether or not they come true is irrelevant. I want a better life.
So this is in memory of Stephanie Gwen and acknowledging Stephi and the road that I am still travelling.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all – 2 Corinthians 4:17