Dreams and futures that were shattered this year

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So excited was he that he even went and bought two gomesis for his wife for the function. A month to the big day, all Mayor could talk about was the wedding.

Sasha had planned that 2013 would be the year she would leave that house. She had had enough. The beating by her husband had taken a toll on her. The day she realised she had to walk away was when he left them hungry for two weeks.

She looked at her three children faint from hunger and swore they would not go through this again. She found a job and within two years was able to get enough to feed, clothe and take her children to school.

She now had hope. She had planned to leave in January but decided to wait till their firstborn’s birthday had passed. Her husband had a soft spot for the girl and although she feared him terribly, she was in her own way fond of him. So Sasha decided to wait till the birthday, and then they would leave in February. She could not wait to walk into her small home that promised a new life. She was more than ready, but… it did not happen.

‘Mayor’, as people liked to call Tom was a much loved man in his community. He was the one who had rallied people to contribute and grade the roads. He attended each wedding with thoughtful gifts, gave mothers with new born babies money for “milk” and gave lifts to as many children to school in his big van. When in March, his son announced he was going to get married, Mayor was over the moon. He was proud to see him take this important step. Everyone in the area planned to contribute and Mayor was overwhelmed with the support.

So excited was he that he even went and bought two gomesis for his wife for the function. A month to the big day, all Mayor could talk about was the wedding. He envisioned himself in church, giving a speech at the reception and teasing his humble wife to dance with him. He could not wait to show off his newly married son, but… it did not happen.

Bridget and Jon felt 2013 was their year. And so when, after 10 years of waiting, praying and crying, of enduring mean talk by relatives, Bridget fell pregnant, they knew that 2013 was indeed their year. By the time she was six months pregnant, the suitcase for hospital was packed, a good maid had been found, and the baby room was ready. When Bridget felt the baby kick, she would laugh and have conversations with it.

When Jon would find her asleep on the sofa in the sitting room, he would carry all 80kgs of her and the precious baby to bed and tuck her in. When the contractions started, Bridget was strong. Apart from a little groaning, she held up well. At the hospital, Jon insisted on going with her into the labour room even though some midwives were against it. As the nurse started to ask Bridget to push, she gave Jon a weary smile and he squeezed her hand warmly. They could not wait to start life with their new born child, but… it did not happen.

It did not happen because after Bridget gave a final push, there was a dark and eerie silence for two seconds, then five, then 10. It was a stillborn. The doctor sent all the nurses away and sat by the door of the room, allowing no one in and letting the parents grieve for their baby with no tears or wailing, just the cold hard grief of silence.
It did not happen because two weeks to the wedding of his son, Mayor got a heart attack and died in the arms of his wife, who held him for so long and so tight, they literally had to pull his body away from her.

It did not happen because on the very birthday of their daughter, Sasha’s drunk husband came home to find a smiling family, a small cake and anxious faces, hoping he would for once be happy with them. Instead he got a piece of metal and beat the life out of them all. Although they died at about midnight, it was only when the neighbour came to check on them a day later, after noticing that there was no activity, that their dead bodies were found.

Those people, their dreams and futures died this year. And they were many more who left us, who we loved, who we cared for, who we had made such big plans with. They said goodbye. And we thank them for having given us what they did in 2013…


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