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HARARE – Death delivers painful, eternal blows. But since we are mere mortals, we can’t just wish it to die. Words by Derick Matsengarw...

HARARE – Death delivers painful, eternal blows. But since we are mere mortals, we can’t just wish it to die.

Words by Derick Matsengarwodzi: media consultant, author of forthcoming books (The Winners’ Workshop and Death Is Not Dearth) and founder of Aloe Media Group. Let us interact on: Facebook; Email:; Twitter handle: @TinzweiDerick

Below is an extract from my forthcoming book: Death Is Not Dearth

Sleeping, Unhealthy For Business
My mother was never persuaded to sleep after the first daylight. One of the rare days she did was the date she died.

This untoward day was the second day of an early December morning in 2008. Then, sparsely grey clouds were gathering gradually in the hills just across our hometown. The atypical weather pattern is what we had hoped for.

Regardless of the impending famine, the hype of festive season was roaring into full swing inside many homes. We all looked forward to Christmas day with merriment of hope.

The bulk of my childhood acquaintances had migrated far away from my ghetto. They rarely visited. On this day I sat alone. The heat of that 1st December 2008 morning never barged into my memories.

Blood Is Thicker
I regurgitated the battles that I fought in those earlier days. And of the day we encountered adversaries to protect our terrain. Mom arrived home later that night from her trip.

“The trip was very long and it was very hot on the bus. Good night. I will see you all tomorrow morning.”

Her discomfort was apparent; she could not cover it for now. It was a time to act. The makeshift referral health hub’s corridor was complete chaos. It was no less than we predicted. Petulant expressions from staff bestowed us a nerve-jangling welcome.

One had to coerce them to perform. Hordes of ailing patients clung for life besides their relatives. I trust on this particular day I died a couple of times. But hours later our bundles of prospects had been restored.

Death Is Not Dearth
Without any signal another onset of attack suddenly erupted. She was getting weaker faster than we could assist. She was gasping for evasive breath.

Uncertainty had colonised my conscience, if I still had any left. She promptly lifted her fragile arms and firmly held my hand. She squeezed it harder with all the force still present in her body. I could feel her waning strength.

Gradually I isolated the bed cover to convince myself. Her inert chalk-white eyes addressed mine. With a downward stroke of my right palm, I gently wiped her eyelids shut restoring her irremediable rank.

This was the end of my mother, my relentless combatant who scarified much more in her life for me.

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