Thursday, February 5, 2009

#143 Candy Tothill Lives in Hope

Candy Tothill was born in 1973 in Parktown, South Africa, the last of four children, her siblings older by a decade and more. She grew up in a house with her 2 parents, 3 of her grandparents, her nanny, a housekeeper, a gardener, 15 cats, 3 dogs, and 1 guinea pig. Despite all the people and animals, Candy was a lonely child and shadowed people so that she was never in a room by herself (most often her Gran, a dressmaker and the homemaker for the family). She was more of an observer than a participant, though, and, as a result, she remembers much of her childhood as if it were a long movie that she watched. Reading books became a way to escape from her own thoughts. In 1986, Candy represented her school in gymnastics in the South African Games. Gran’s death, when Candy was 15, was quite difficult, and Candy’s life changed after that. It became clear that Gran had been holding the family together. Candy lost her sense of structure and began to rebel. She became anorexic and lost interest in school too. Candy married her first husband just before her 18th birthday, separated from him when she was 19, and divorced just before she turned 22. During this time period, they produced 2 extraordinary children. A few years later, Candy hurtled herself into another marriage, which resulted in the birth of her third child, her baby girl, who entered the world a mere 12 days after the suicide death of her oldest brother, which was another setback. Her brother had always been such a shining example for her and his suicide left her with nothing to believe in anymore. Life became unreal. And then Candy’s second marriage was more complicated than she ever could have anticipated. It became torturously drawn-out, in and out of court for nearly 2 years, and Candy wasn't sure that she would live long enough to see the end of it. In 2004, Candy’s dad had a brain aneurysm and died. Her father was the smile that never failed to greet her, the touch of reassurance that made everything seem okay. Candy regrets that she didn’t speak at his funeral. She wanted to, but couldn’t. She wrote an un-given eulogy for him instead. In 2007, Candy married an American who she thought was perfect for her, but he couldn’t relocate to South Africa. He lasted 175 days in the country. The marriage itself lasted 55 days. Candy still lives in hope. She still believes in fairy tales. She is so proud of raising her three children on her own. Each of them brings so much happiness and meaning to her life. Through all of this, Candy has been writing—poetry, articles, annual reports, social reports. She runs a consulting business that specializes in triple bottom line accounting, social accountability management, and black economic empowerment verification audits. Her book, Losing People, will be published as soon as she finishes writing it. Candy’s life, when she is done with it, will remind the world that she was here.

Inside Candy

7 comments:

lizzie said...

Candy's story is so full of hope...lovely.

SUSAN SONNEN said...

Candy is one of my favorite people. She is an incredible writer and I encourage everyone to check out her blog, Inside Candy.

candy said...

Thank you Michael. I'm so grateful that you did this for me. I'm also really happy to be part of your project. x

edited by Jeffrey Spahr-Summers said...

Candy is my favorite person ... she is exceptionally talented!

Lydia said...

Candy's blog, Inside Candy, has to be one of the best blogs of all the blogs out there, causing me to speculate that she must be one of the most remarkable people....something your postcard has validated.

Michelle said...

I'm so glad you still believe in fairy tales and magic. This is great! x

Jim said...

Having been blessed to actually know her, inside and out, I can say that Candy is a force of nature. A remarkable creature, a presence, and a delightful pain in the ass when she wants to be. She touches all who know her, and the winds will whisper her name when she is gone.

-Jim
Husband #3