Death of a child: Three mothers share their experiences of dealing with the grief
Posted Saturday, February 2 2013 at 00:00
For one, her little girl was her only child, the other, the 24-year-old, though a Member of Parliament, was, to her, just a child with whom she was very close. And for another mother, her son, at just 17, left unfulfilled dreams for her to ponder. They all share their stories and how they have coped with their losses.
Alice Namulwa, 48. Mother to the late Hon. Cerinah Nebanda. Assistant cashier at Kasangati Court: My children strengthen me
My late daughter Cerinah Nebanda and I were inseparable. She was my best friend. From the time Cerinah was born up to the time she died, she was staying at my house. She would clean up the house, cook food, and even play with her younger siblings. Even when she became a Member of Parliament, she did not stop doing these things. Every morning before she went to work at Parliament, she would pass by my room just to say “Good morning”, and wish me a good day. Even when she returned from work in the evening, she would do the same this time round, to ask about my day and wish me a good night.
Ever since she passed on, I have never been myself. There are times I think she has travelled and will be coming back to the house. Nowadays, when I wake up in the morning, I ask myself why she has not been to my room to greet me. Then I will think she probably left during early morning hours and did not want to bother me. I really cannot believe she is gone. At times I wish it was me instead of her because no parent ever wishes to bury their own child. It is supposed to be the other way round.
Most of her personal possessions such as clothes, shoes and pictures are still in her bedroom. I will think of what to do with them when my health has stabilized. Right now, I am stressed a lot with the so many negative things people are saying about her. Why can’t they just let my Cerinah rest in peace? People just do not know the pain I am going through as a mother, when they keep saying all these undesirable things about her. They just cause m e more pain.
Even with what is happening right now, I am so grateful to my family members, friends and colleagues, who have been continuously supportive, especially my other three children, Florence, Jovia and Innocent. They have really strengthened me during this difficult time. Prayers have also kept me going. It is from these prayers that I am finding inner strength and healing. But the honest truth is I do not think I will ever get over the pain of losing my daughter.
Enid Nambuya, 48, lawyer. I pray and talk about it
My daughter, Kirabo Mirembe, succumbed to Leukemia last year in August at six years and two months. I discovered that Kirabo had the cancer when she was about two and half years old. Since then, Kirabo was undergoing all sorts of treatment including chemotherapy to have the cancer eliminated. I even took her to India for a bone marrow transplant. Sadly, my Kirabo did not make it.
She often told me that she wanted to bear four children unlike me who had had only one. There are times she would say that she wanted to become a pilot and then other times a doctor.
I remember how during her last moments at the hospital in India she would tell me “Mummy, mummy, I am tired. I want to go.” I always feared asking her where she wanted to go. I instead comforted her saying everything was going to be fine. At times, I feel that because she was saying that she wanted to go, God must have heard her prayers and taken her.
Life after Kirabo
My life completely changed. The days that followed immediately after her burial were really tough for me. I cried a lot and isolate myself because I hated seeing happy people. I also avoided going to social gatherings especially children’s birthday parties. It was just very hard for me seeing another child happy and yet mine had passed on. I had many hopes in Kirabo since she was my only child. In fact, I worked extremely hard because of her.
Kirabo was a very friendly, inquisitive and active child. She talked to everybody regardless of their age and asked many questions too. She loved watching Disney Channel and one of her favourite television programmes was Hannah Montana.
After she died, I gave most of her property such as clothes and shoes to other children. However, I still have her journal where she often drew pictures and the two pairs of shoes she loved very much. I just could not give those away because she had treasured them a lot.
Learning to deal with the pain
The pain of losing Kirabo is something that will never go away. However, I’m learning to deal with her loss mainly through prayer. There is no single day that passes by without me praying for my little girl.
I also read the Bible a lot for inspiration and encouragement. My favourite book in the Bible is James because it mainly talks about life. Talking to people has also helped me overcome the pain. It is even more comforting whenever I talk to mothers who have gone through the same experience, it helps me realise I’m not alone. I have also gotten a lot of encouragement from certain female counsellors from Ndeeba. My mother has been very helpful. In fact, she has been with me every step of the way from the time Kirabo fell sick until she passed on. I really want to thank her for that. To Kirabo, just know that I miss you, I love you and you will forever be in my heart.
Florence Ntezi, 42, housewife: I draw the strength to move on from my other children and a neighbour
I lost my son, Daniel Turyahabwa, during the July 2010 bomb blasts at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds. He died with a best friend with whom he had gone to watch the Worldcup football match that night. Turyahabwa died when he was just 17. At that time, he was studying at Green Light High School, Zana, Kampala.
Daniel was generally a very active and adventurous child. His favourite hobbies were playing football and dancing. I remember times he heard certain songs on radio and either sang along or danced to them. One of his favourite songs was Vitamin by Lillian and Weasel. Daniel had always wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. Unfortunately, his dream will never come to pass because he is no longer with us.
He was buried in Kanungu District. I visit his grave occasionally. Sometimes I go there to talk to him, pray for him and remove the weeds that have frequently grown around his grave. I gave most of Daniel’s clothes and shoes to his friends. I still have his photographs. In fact, we have one of his picture frames lying in the sitting room.