Father’s Day: Death in a time of mothering

Father’s Day: Death in a time of mothering

Date: June 13, 2018
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By Shaudzirai Mudekunye

Recently Mambo, Tatenda and I lost a most beloved family member, my dad, Sekuru vaMambo. She was, at the time his first and only grand child and though it means a lot to me that he loved her so, I am still torn to pieces at the thought of it all. I am haunted by images of him and her in better times- I say haunted because they do not make me smile, instead they remind me of robbed future memories. To say that I have been a wreck would be correct as I have let things- like our blog- go for a while, and I am trying to get back one step at a time. So here is my first piece since we buried dad, it is not easy to write, but it is step one.

Mambo and Sekuru vaMambo

Tatenda and I made the decision to take Mambo with us to the hospital as often as we could when dad was admitted in April, to ensure that she had ample time with her grandfather- even though we thought he was going to get better. We saw dad’s mood lighten every single time he saw his little grand daughter being carried into his room– and every day he enquired as to what time she would be arriving. I am not a fan of taking little children to the hospital and Mambo my darling, thank you for making it possible for us to take you with us- so that we could also spend as much time with him as we did– we did not know then that it would be our last days, and I thank you for that.

One of the very many visits with Sekuru at the hospital.

The day he died, Mambo was in the room with us and him, she cried as we cried- likely for different reasons, but I would like to think she could feel sorrow in the air.

I am sure she saw him leave, a privilege that we long lost with the end of childhood.

Though I do not believe in taking children to funerals, Mambo stayed firmly attached to my back during this funeral, because we wanted her to have the chance to pay homage to her number one ancestor. She handled this with real strength, and again, I must say thank you not only to her, but to all the ladies- my aunts and cousins who stepped in when my knees buckled as I was walking to go to the road to watch the car that was carrying my fathers body arrive at our homestead in Zimbabwe. I thank these women for not only carrying me when I had collapsed and could not breathe, but for stepping in and taking Mambo to safety- away from me who was much too weak to be her mom, underpowered and entirely overwhelmed by being daddy’s girl, to my dad who was coming to his final resting place in a form I never planned for.

To say that mourning my dad has been a struggle is an

Visiting day at the hospital.

 understatement. I am the mom of a one year old (now), and the amount of energy it takes to just run after her is crazy at the moment. From time to time I find a little bit of a quiet space in time, where I can take in the fact that my dad is no longer with us and it really hurts, and in the middle of my tears, my sadness and my agonizing pain, Mambo shows up on all fours and I am no longer allowed (by myself) to cry. For her, I have to smile through tears. I know one day she will understand what I am going through- whether by going through it herself, or just through growth in general, though for right now- I know where I have to smile and where I can cry.

Grandpa and Mambo talk on the phone.

As a parent in general I have realized that I now have to keep myself composed enough to have time for my child, even though my world seems to be crumbling around me. The alternative to this, is risk her having types of regression and perhaps losing her confidence as children are known to do, and I am increasingly aware that I cannot let that happen to her- simply because of the personality of the mom I am. All this being said, when do I get to just feel? The answer to that is simply when I am finally alone, in my car, on my way to work. And it is then that the emotions can really come out as they wish.

Dear Mambo, I will dedicate another post to your grandpa- the most amazing father to this daddy’ girl- I am not sure how I will tell you how I feel for my dad, and my hope is that I will not need to, because you will feel the same for your dad.

Dear Tatenda, thank you for soldiering on through your own loss and mourning so you could be a fantastic partner to me, and the stronger parent for our queen.

Dear Dad, my heart is broken. I love you and I miss you terribly and there are no comforting words for me right now- the space in my heart for you will always be yours, there is no hole because you are still there.



This blog has been published with permission from Shaudzirai Mudekunye. Follow her blog on https://mommyandmambo.wordpress.com/home/

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