Forty years ago my waters broke at about 6am.
I was alone.
My then-husband had gone on an army camp.
I had no telephone and no car.
I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do.
I’d read that when the waters break it means there’s no going back.
I lived in Harare and we had a young man named Isaac who cleaned our apartment.
He was a kind, strong young man and I relied on him.
He usually arrived at about 7:30am
so I waited, still terrified.
I was just a naïve young girl.
When he got to our apartment, I asked him to call a taxi for me.
I think he ran faster than he had ever run in his life,
because in no time the Taxi was at my door.
The Taxi driver seemed really nervous
and drove up a one-way street to get me to the hospital entrance.
I think he was afraid I would have my baby in his Taxi.
When I got to the hospital, they said I must go home,
I looked too small to be having a baby that day.
I told them my waters had broken and they quickly ushered me
into the Labor ward.
They took me to a bed and left me there.
I was terrified and alone. No one had explained the stages of labor
or even how painful it might be.
I was still in the early stages, so the doctor didn’t come right away.
I needed reassurance that everything would be alright
but I can’t remember getting it from anyone.
They said that they had tried to call my husband,
but he didn’t come for a long time
I was terrified and alone.
When he eventually arrived, I was in heavy labor but it was too late to have an epidural.
I spent the whole day and night in labor.
I had never experienced such incredible pain, I thought I might die.
By this time, I’d gone into shock and I had no idea what to do next.
I didn’t know anything about pushing, but I did what the hospital staff asked.
At 2.30am the next morning my baby was removed by forceps delivery.
It was excruciating.
I was terrified.
I went to sleep after this long ordeal and they took my baby away.
The next morning, I awoke to find the most exquisite creature
I have ever seen lying beside me.
He was not very big and a little jaundiced.
Though he was born early, he was perfectly formed.
I was just a young girl trying to do the best I could in a difficult situation.
Although I had the permission of my parents to get married at six months pregnant
I was still an embarrassment to friends and family.
I remember those sideways glances and whispered expressions.
I felt dirty and disgusting, a pariah in my family.
On the other hand, in my arms was this beautiful angel,
who from the very beginning of his existence
has saved my life more times than I care to say.
Given to me by God as a friend, a protector
and a comforter.
He has been with me through the very worst times of my life.
I don’t think I would have made it this far without him.
He is my life, my soul, my joy, my raison dêtre.
A bright star in my Universe.
He is one of the most loving, caring, generous, humble
and kind humans I know on this earth.
We have faced terrible odds together and survived.
I want to honor him today and always…
I used to wish that all my dreams would come true,
and we would live happily ever after,
but I have come to understand
that the Universe sometimes has different plans.
I’ve learned that the most fearless humans
are those who have faced the outer darkness
It doesn’t matter what wealth or possessions
you amass on this earth or how qualified you become,
it’s the size of your heart that counts.
In fact, temporal things may deviate us from the more important things in life,
like love, kindness, compassion, and true humanity.
He has the most beautiful heart I know.
Like his brother, he is human the way we are meant to be…
It won’t be easy for us to celebrate without his brother, but nevertheless, we will…