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Pietie visits his friends

So explains 95-year old hospice patient, Noela Roberts, who was admitted to the In-Patient Unit in New Market Park on Tuesday 26 November. “I’ve always had budgies, since the age of 20,” she says. “Some of them got as old as 10 years, Pietie is now 5 years old,” Noela says.

Since being admitted to the IPU, Noela was on her cell phone to Pietie at last 20 times a day, singing to him “so that he doesn’t feel lost without me.” Sister Sheryl Newman, head of the clinical services, overheard these “singing” conversations and immediately asked Noela’s friend to bring Pietie to visit. “As long as Pietie stays in his cage, he can stay as long as he wants,” Sister Sheryl explains.

Noela was born in 1934, got married at the age of 35, “to a wonderful man who absolutely adored me. We were happy, though we never had children, I couldn’t have children.”

She stayed in the south of Johannesburg for most of her life and in 2010 sold her apartment in Rewlatch and moved into Mothwa Haven cottages in the same suburb.

“I made peace with the fact that I am to die soon, I got my affairs in order and Pietie will go and stay with a dear friend of mine. I made that very clear in my will.” But for now, the two will spend as much time as possible together and share many more songs and conversations before it is time to say goodbye.

Noela and Pietie in deep conversation in Stepping Stone Hospice’s In-Patient Unit.