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The Plight of Grieving Parents – Dealing With Some Weird Schools of Thoughts

The 6th and 10th of May 2019 remains the two defining days of our lives. With the former being the date that the Almighty God blessed us ...

The 6th and 10th of May 2019 remains the two defining days of our lives. With the former being the date that the Almighty God blessed us with our second angel; “The Ambassador” Camilla Vimbanashe Zuze.

The latter being the date on which our same angel went to be with the Lord; having been with us for four days in this earthly life as she battled for life at Baines Maternity Clinic’s Neo-Natal Unit (NNU); Harare, Zimbabwe. She fought a battle 1000 times her body frame of 3120 grams; playing in that in that incubator at the right corner of the NNU section; with many life-sustaining cables pressed on different parts of her tiny body.

That sight; as our sweetheart battled for four days on 100% oxygen support; with us watching helplessly, will forever be etched in our memories and visions.

Tapiwa Zuze

Camilla was born suffering from Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH); a very rare condition that saw her diaphragm not closing-off completely on her left side, leaving a small hole that allowed the digestive system to protrude slightly to the top and disturbing the respiratory system in the process. She needed corrective surgery; which we were running up and down to have it done on her.

But alas, that never came to pass. It’s a deep story to be fully revealed in her book to be published sometime in the near future; dedicated wholly to tell the full story of Camilla Vimbanashe Zuze.
But for now, our focus is on demystifying some of the schools of thoughts that have been thrown at us since the day we lost our daughter. Those schools of thoughts are not only dangerous; but they have seriously offended us to the core.

We have been wondering how some people; in their perceived knowledge, seem to be ignorant to the fact that death can never be classified as common! No one can get used to death, no matter their circumstances and age. Just because the one who passed on was a four days old girl does not make her any “less important”.

For a fact; as parents we actually wished if we could swap places with her and have one of us die, particularly me as the father, and have her live with her mother and elder sister! If it were possible to suggest the same to God; we would have done that without any slight hesitation! That’s how we loved and will always love her. So people need to be wary of their perceived theories which tends to cause more harm than good!

Tapiwa Zuze

1. Have Another Child Quickly:
This has possibly been the most disturbing school of thought to us. It’s a theory bent on perceived thinking that when a grieving couple has another child quickly, they heal quickly because they would have “replaced” the one who passed on. Really? Is that simple? Forgetting a child you laboured for nine months and beyond?

Forgetting about a child whom we flew all the way from Harare to Pretoria to buy her preparation, accompanied by her older sister?

Forgetting about a child whom we spent thousands of dollars on as she underwent various medical treatments at Baines Maternity Clinic?

Forgetting about a daughter who had five medical doctors; specialists in different fields; attending to her dire situation? Forgetting about a child whom we played with nearly every day as she kicked in her mother’s womb?

Forgetting about a child whom we have her photos fighting in the incubator?

Forgetting about a child whom we have a birth record, medical receipts, baby card; medical aid cover certificate, burial order and death confirmation papers all at home?

Forgetting about a child whom we saw, felt, touched and partly breastfed in those four days?

In short, we are saying the theory of “replacing a child” is not practically possible; at least on our part. Camilla’s physical presence will always be with us; and she remains our second born child even in death. If God is to give us another one, he or she will come in as the third born, not to replace Camilla. That is the way God decided it to be; and we will always respect and honour our creator for that. He knows why it had to be like this for us; and we don’t doubt his infinite wisdom behind all this dilemma.

Tapiwa Zuze

2. You Are Not Unique In This Situation:
This is another devoid school of thought which seeks to equate and judge the pains of a losing a loved one based on their (or another person’s) experience. They begin to explain how “serious” their situations were, in the process trying to make you view your situation as “better” than what they went through or saw. It’s really devoid of logic to see how some people can seek to generalise things like that.

Ladies and gentlemen, every situation and pain is different. It all depends on what the whole issue means to the affected people and their unique circumstances. With us, we had a couple of miscarriages in the first four years of our marriage. We eventually got our first born daughter; “The Flying Captain” Paris Matipanyasha Zuze, on 25 October 2014.

We had to wait for 4 years 6 months and 12 days to get our second born daughter, Camilla! Essentially, it is a return of two children in nine years, and losing one in the process! If you are not in our shoes, you cannot understand the heartaches and emotions associated with all this.

The best if for you to support the grieving people rather than try to “explain” their situations using previous experiences. It will not work; instead it will cause more emotional harm than good.

Tapiwa Zuze

3. She Is Now In A “Better Place”:
This is one of the easiest statements to say whenever you meet grieving people. It sounds so much holy and spirit-filled, but it has some dangerous undertones to it.

By saying that she is now in a “better place”; are you insinuating that we were not going to be good parents to her?

Are you insinuating that our house, on which God had initially sent her to be parented, is not good enough?

Therefore, God ended up having an “after-thought” and took her to a “better place”? There are many passive undertones in this school of thought that do not sound good to grieving parents.

The statement can be received better by a Bible-believing couple like us, but it might not be the same to non-believers. They might take it to mean something else totally different.

In conclusion, we just want to bring you to the attention that whatever statements we may say to any grieving person we meet, they must be well-thought of. Otherwise we might end up worsening the pains and emotional wounds which we intend to manage. The most dangerous part of all this is that the affected people may remain silent in the face of these statements, but within their hearts feel offended big time.

We are very much confident of the God whom we worship. Philippians 1:6“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”. He has a reason for it all; and we remain glued to him and his promises over our lives.

We feel very much content with Him taking care of our beautiful angel, for he knows best above all and sundry.

Let him remain God; we remain his people.

Written by:

Tapiwa Zuze (Father)
Regina Zuze (Mother)

Tapiwa Zuze