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Death of a child devastating


When we raise our children, we never imagine losing them so soon because we all expect them to grow into adults, who will marry and also bring forth their offspring.

Saturday Dialogue with Ropafadzo Mapimhidze

However, life does not always function in that orderly manner because a parent can lose her child or even all children, in just one disaster.

This week I attended the funeral and burial of Simbarashe David Kuziva Mushauri, a teenager who was killed when the car he was driving overturned, crashing his head and died instantly.

Simba, as he was popularly known by all who knew him, was scheduled to start university education at a college overseas to study law.
As mourners streamed to his home in Zimre Park at the weekend, it was so difficult to comprehend how this charming, attractive life that was so full of vigour and strength with such a bright future could end so tragically.

Hundreds and hundreds of St John’s College students, relatives and friends came to pay their last respects. I had never seen such a huge gathering paying homage to such a young person. It was such a humbling experience.

Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, whose son was one of Simba’s best friends, also came to burial and spoke so glowingly about the lad.

“He was handsome, had a soothing smile that could melt you. He had even registered a company and that was so impressive,” said Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, at Glen Forest Memorial Trust where he was laid to rest.

Most parents would give their lives for their children. So when a mother, particularly in this incident, experiences the death of her child, she is powerless to change the outcome.

This is because there are additional burdens of despair and grief over death of a child.

The death of Simba reminds me yet of the late Sam Mtukudzi who also died tragically in a car crash a few years ago along the Harare-Bulawayo Road.

His father, a famous legendary musician, coined a song in his memory titled Ndakaronga Dondo which brings great sadness to his family and friends.

As a parent to an only son, Mtukudzi had built the Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton which he obviously did with plans for his son to take over. But what we plan as parents, sometimes does not work out as desired.

The child you plan for can suddenly be plucked off this earth without much warning.

Death is indeed something we will never understand especially when it involves young people.

Decades ago, it was unheard of for a child to die at such a young and tender age.

But the rural to urban migration has no doubt created so many obstacles where people easily trip, and fall for good.

Many years ago, I was also told of a Bulawayo woman who lost three sons within a month and they were all buried side by side at a graveyard in that city.

It was so distressful for this woman, who was a single mother, to bury her children she singularly raised. I also remember of three children that were burnt in a car as they were travelling to Mt Pleasant from Chitungwiza with their parents.

Their parents managed to escape the burning car, but their children were trapped in the mangled vehicle which had been involved in an accident.

This couple stood by helplessly as their children wailed for help until they breathed their last.

All these examples are sad incidents involving children, who we look up to in our years of aging as pillars to lean on that die under very tragic and sometimes unexplainable circumstances.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I was also told about death of yet another young person, Tendai Chivhere, who lived two houses away from my home.

It was such a painful development for his parents who also had stipulated plans for him.

Tendai was once kidnapped by ritual killers in the early 2000, but was set free when the person who examined him said that was not the kind of person he was looking for.

This happened over a decade ago when he was still in primary school. No one believed his story but description of the car that ferried these kidnappers, was actually seen speeding out of Tynwald North by a vegetable vendor in the area.

The kidnappers returned him safely right where they had picked him up late at night and sped off in their black car that had tinted windows.

Yahoo Voices says one of the most traumatic things that a parent can go through is losing a child to death.

“Whether that child is very young, or an adult, the pain is still the same. It is especially hard on the mother.

“Not that the father does not feel anything for the loss of a child, but the grief that a mother feels is very bitter grief.

The father will most likely hold back from openly expressing their emotions. Sometimes a bereaved parent comes to have a sense of guilt.

“It is very natural for both parents to feel this way when they lose their child. But it would be wrong for a parent to feel like they have failed to do something that could have prevented the death. During a time when most people need as much support as they can get from family and friends, this is the time when a lot of friends tend to stay away. This is because they are not sure what to say during this difficult time.

“And even though they may tell you that they want to be left alone, don’t leave them alone. If they isolate themselves, they will only add to the pain that they are feeling,” Yahoo Voices says.

There is, however, no real textbook solution on how to cope with the loss of a child, and unfortunately it is something that we have to deal with. But in my opinion, there is one thing that will help and that is the bible.

It is the only source that has proven to help those that are grieving.

Rest in peace Simbarashe, Tendai and all those that died prematurely.

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