Monya Joubert

My Healing Journey

This story is a part of my healing journey and I need to get this out of my system.

I’m also writing it to give hope to anyone going through a tough time right now. 

Tough times don’t last but through the power of Jesus Christ, Tough people do!

Joy, Death, Depression, Challenges, Healing, Victory, LIFE…

Comrades 2023, 

A tribute to Ashly,

A tribute to Me.

By Monya Joubert

2007-06-11

Today, 16 years ago I awoke at 5am with the thought of holding you in my arms in a few hours’ time

“Hansie, wake up….I think it’s time!”

As the labour pains approached, I tried to make myself look as ‘sexy’ as I possibly could so we could meet our beautiful baby girl. Hair done, make up done, the works….all while each moment was being captured on our new camcorder specially bought to freeze this amazing moment in time. The birth of our miracle baby girl, Ashly.

We arrive at the hospital and she is ready to make her appearance. The labour pains are excruciating but the immense euphoria we were feeling knowing she would be there soon, far outweighed any pain, any fear or any thought that anything could go wrong.

As we reach the theatre,  our midwife takes over. There’s no time to wait for the doctor. Ashly wants out NOW. 

Push, Push, Push…… I’ve done this before, 7 years back, but I don’t recall it being this painful.

Finally, one last push……

She’s out……

Silence.

The umbilical cord is cut.

She’s wrapped in a blanket and rushed out the room.

Hansie and I wait, a little concerned but still extremely excited. What felt like hours later, we receive the news that would linger in our minds for years to come.

She is dead.

Nine months of anticipation came to an abrupt end. Our lives changed forever. Work then became my scapegoat. After 2 years of my silent depression, I was either working or running. 

nicole-comrades

2009

2009 would be my year to beat the hurt that had been smothering me as I hoped to cross the finish line of the Comrades Marathon. 

6 kms before the end of the 89km ultimate human race, became the new reason for me to feel like a complete failure. Instead of a medal around my neck, I woke up with a drip in my arm, badly dehydrated, early-stage kidney failure and a fractured hip. How useless could I be? I couldn’t bring a LIVE human being into this world and I couldn’t even finish a race I have dreamt of finishing since I was a young girl. And to top it all, I totally ruined my body to the extent that I couldn’t even walk.

2010

By the grace of God and with my amazing supportive husband who is by no means a runner at all, we both managed to cross the finish line of the 2010 Comrades Marathon.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Finally, I accomplished something. Finally, I don’t have to continue feeling like a failure, Finally the depression would be over…or so I thought. The silent depression still continued for years to come. My drug, still…work and running.

2013

Another year for the Comrades Marathon. A brutal Comrades race year in which 25% of the field did not finish the race. The hottest temperatures at 30°C and warm winds blowing up in the faces of thousands of hopeful finishers from the half way mark. The race was so brutal that each finisher actually deserved two medals just for finishing the race. 

Towards the end of April 2013, my dear husband had to give me a reason to totally stress out but also to put my trust in God whole heartedly, once again. In a freak accident Dylan’s head of beautiful white hair, set alight. Fortunately, I never saw him in flames and only learned of him burning, later. The damage was superficial but the same could not be said about Hansie.  What I saw, was Hansie engulfed in flames.

Flames, everywhere! 

From the top of his head and down his body, fire gripped him in its clutches. Like in the movie, “Face Off” with John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, Hansie’s face, really WAS off…. Most painful but effective chemical peel ever #don’ttrythisathome. Third degree burns, Little Company of Mary, and many debridgement sessions later.

“He is not going to make it.” The doctors words haunted my ears.

While my fellow Comrades runners were at peak training, and preparing for their final long runs before the pre race taper, I was  begging and pleading with God to not let my husband die while I spent each day next to his hospital bed. 

Call me a witch of a wife but when Hansie was a little more stable, I said he better recover now because I am running Comrades and he WILL be next to the road supporting me. There is no time for dying now. Places to go, people to see, things to do!

Maybe it was my threats, maybe it was the willpower of an amazing husband pushing through to support his wife at any costs but on Comrades day, bandaged up like a mummy, he was there to support and second me all the way!

Comrades medal nr 2 in the bag.

Hansie went on to make a full recovery without any skin grafts needed. His skin as smooth as a baby and he remains as handsome as ever. Our God is an AWESOME GOD!!!! 

nicole-comrades-2

2023-06-11

This morning, as I am writing this, it’s been 10 years after my last medal and 16 years after my original reason to challenge the Ultimate Human Race. I am almost on my way to the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg.

Training for the 2023 Comrades marathon has been gruelling and painful. My last proper run was 4 weeks ago. A possible calf tear, niggling Achilles and a possible stress fracture in my tibia has kept me off the road.

Am I physically ready? I have no idea.

The injuries have been intense, my body feels close to breaking point but my soul, my heart and my mind is at peace.

Today we would have celebrated your 16th birthday, Ashly. No more heartsore tears, no more depression, just pure joy and gratitude. The 9 months of training, leading up to THIS day, is my birthday present to you. 

Lining up at the Comrades start line, is a tribute to the 9 months I carried YOU, my baby girl!! It’s ‘Raising a HALLELUJAH!’ to our Lord Jesus Christ for taking me full circle through this journey of heartache and depression.

Whether I cross that finish line today or not, I WILL rejoice and I WILL be glad in HIM, because finally I can celebrate and be grateful for being blessed with a beautiful angel up in heaven. Finally, I can celebrate life, even in death! By the grace of God, I am free, I am healed.

Happy 16th Birthday Ashly!!

Happy 16th year of surviving and conquering a silent depression I’ve kept hidden from even those closest to me.

Today I am not running for a PB, I’m not running to impress anyone or prove a point….I am not even running for a medal. Today I will enjoy and cherish each step of this 87.701km journey and be grateful for my daughter that took me on this 16 year journey of self-discovery. 

I never got to freeze the precious moment of giving birth to our baby girl on our new camcorder, but thanks to the support of everyone who stuck by me on this journey, I get to freeze this special day in my mind as I take on this beautiful race that has been my safety net for many years. 

This is it!

It’s time!

Let’s do this! 

See you on the other side!

BCMJ4718-cert20x30

In Loving Memory

Ashly Joubert 11.06.2007

Luca Harper Fouche 17.04.2023 (Luca is the baby of a friend that was still born in April this year)