by Bathini Dambuza
Losing a mother has never been an easy thing for someone to go through. You feel the pain and the heartache almost everyday; especially when things aren’t going the way you want them to. I sometimes wish I could sit with her and have those daughter-mother conversations because I wonder how things would have been, had she lived.
I, however, never question God because I know that everything happens for a reason and that yonke into iyenzeka ngokuthanda kwakhe (everything happens according to His Will) since He is the Alpha and the Omega.
When she told me she was sick I was no longer staying at home but I moved back to be with her. I was so heartbroken by the fact that she was going to die soon if not later. I know at some point in our lives we will depart this world. However, I felt that my mom being told that she was HIV positive seemed like a death sentence. At least that’s what I thought and that’s what kept ringing in my head that “my mom just told me that she’s going to die”.
As a 20 year old then and the only girl with one brother, I took it upon myself to be the one to take care of her. Of course we have extended family that could have taken care of her, like her sisters, nonetheless I wanted to do it myself. I took care of her until her last day, but I feel like she robbed me of the opportunity to say my last goodbyes. On the day of her passing, she insisted that I go to an Human Rights workshop that I was invited to.
The workshop was held at the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) offices at Constitution Hill. The day did not seem to be going well at all. One of the facilitators and I ended up getting into an argument because she was registering dissatisfaction at the outcome of the day as it progressed. I was furious because all I could think of was that I had left my sick mom in bed at home for this. In hindsight, it was probably that she did not want me to see her passing on. I still cannot shake that feeling of being cheated out of a goodbye.
The facilitator asked us to take a break, we were outside when I got a call from my brother saying ‘uyafuneka ekhaya’ (you are needed back home). I asked him what happened?
All he could say was that uyafuneka ekhaya!
Instinctively I knew that it was time. My phone went up in the air as I screamed and started crying. One of my friends caught my phone. I had to get back home as soon as I humanly could, accompanied by a friend, Pumla Masuku.
As we turned the corner to approach home, the gate was wide open and I felt my heart pounding so fast with knowing. It is very seldom that you find our gate that wide opened.
As we walked inside, the house was already full of elderly women from my neighbourhood. That’s what usually happens when there is a death in the community. The elderly women come to assist with rites and mourning. In keeping with tradition, when someone passes while on their bed, the said bed is laid on its side against the wall.
While the women were expressing their condolences, I quickly rushed to the bedroom only to find that the bed had already been placed on its side. I put it back the way I had left it looking for my mother in vain, hoping I would find her the way I had left her. Unfortunately that was not to be.
I have lost women in my life but nothing beats the pain of losing a mother!
May your soul rest in peace Lindiwe Virginia Dambuza.
I will never forget You.