another angel in heaven

yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of my beloved friend, ineke’s death, after a protracted and devastating battle with cancer.


she was diagnosed in 2003 after discovering that what she thought was a plantar’s wart on her heel, was actually cancerous. she never had the money she deserved so it took a year after it first appeared before she went to the doctor and could get diagnosed and treated and by then it was too late. the cancer started spreading up through her body and finally into her brain and voraciously devoured her.

she was a hedonist who drank and smoked too much and she was a saint. she was an artist and musician and we had a friendship which endured space and time. i could be in the states for 5 years, show up at her door and we would pick up right where we’d left off. our connection was such that i went to visit her once after years away. i decided not to knock on her door, but take my flags and see if i could call her out to her balcony from across the road. next moment i saw her appear at her window with a smoke. she was with a friend and apparently she turned to her and said, “where’s that sandi schultz? i really want to see her.” then my flags caught her eye and she screamed in disbelief.

she was one of my spiritual guides and my sounding board. the person with endless wisdom, an earth-angel, who really really no longer needed to be in physical form. she had an angel’s voice and the most incredible ear for harmony and we loved singing together. she stayed just long enough to see her 50th birthday and her passing was one of the saddest events in my life. it was so hard to let her go. she so relentlessly, and yet, lovingly, called me on my shit. she was the one who would say, “relationships aren’t here to make us happy, they’re here to make us grow.” “oh fuck that!”, i’d think, but it’s true.

in 2002 i followed someone i thought was my true love, back to south africa and got soundly rejected. i wound up spending 3 months instead with ineke in her beach front apartment, crying and smoking and looking at the whales making their way around the tip of africa and making all kinds of crafts and music and singing. and i am so happy to that person for being the catalyst for creating that time i would otherwise not have had with ini. i am so grateful and i write this post in celebration of one of the best friends i ever had. and i’m so happy that i got to fly down to cape town and see her at least once a month in the year before she died. she’s better off now, being free of the body which no longer served her, but i for one, wish she could have stayed a little longer and i will miss her forever.

i wrote the following post on the day of her passing, a year ago.

just last night i emailed myself the following poem i had written when i first heard of ini’s cancer. i wanted to read it to her when i flew down to see her this coming sunday. when i saw her 10 days ago when this pic was taken, she was not happy, but we got to spend some good, one on one time and i got to tell her just how much i love her.
this morning i got the news that she’s no longer an earth angel.
she’s gone to join the celestial ones.

you will live forever in my heart, my angel friend.

don’t go 5a.m. 7.30.03

i was thinking of the ones i love
the ones i’m scared will leave
so i asked it of the ones above
please give us a reprieve

and i said don’t go yet
darling it’s too soon
if you go now all will be gloomy
so don’t go yet
there’s so much to do
if you go now i will miss you truly

and a voice it came from in my head
it answered me this way
i’m not quite sure from where it came
this is what it had to say

the person who was sitting here
was here before
and though they’re gone they linger on
for evermore
if i keep them in my memory
if i feel them in my reverie
i can taste them on the air i breathe
though they’re free to be
they’ll be always here with me

my hoop eulogy for ineke (the music is a combination of ineke singing her mantras and a song of mine which i wrote for her). at least her music lives on.

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