My 14-year-old son battled bronchitis for a whole month — it was tough! The sleepless nights, steaming, tests and all things involved. Not to mention his own anxiety and fear of all sorts that didn’t make the situation any better. How could you blame him, he is young and his very breath is threatened! Reminds me of our shared Covid-19 experiences as those of us who suffered from it.
The many days of doctors’ visits with my son, the nebulisation, medications and even panic as we thought nothing was getting better.
All this was just a lot. It was exhausting, draining, frightening and plain right challenging even to the kindest of humans.
I absolutely loved the family support though. How the siblings would wake up and check on him when he had a coughing fit, the hugs from a lover when I got too emotional as the mother, the dogs wagging tails whenever they saw him emerge from the house and the abundant love from friends. It was relieving.
Now, do we all not need that in our lives when we face challenges, dearest reader? When we face our very own form of bronchitis, don’t we just appreciate those who show up for us? May we be led to be kind as we begin this new month.
A new month
It is a new month — many new things can manifest once we decide that for ourselves. October is known as the month when we remember those affected by cancer at different levels. This being a new month and the mark of the beginning of the last quarter of the year, we ought to reflect and explore for ourselves what difference we can make for the remainder of 2022.
It is a time to reminisce and do some forward planning so we make a difference not just in our lives but for others as well. As we visited different medical centres in search of medical support for my son, we met many different people. Others had their own struggles and illnesses and they too sought medical attention. It is pretty amazing how human suffering brings people together.
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As we exchanged stories and shared experiences, it was such a beautiful moment to remember that as a people from Zimbabwe, there is so much we can share with each other and make the burden lighter as we journey on in this kindred country, Zimbabwe. By taking a moment to listen, encourage and chide in some instances – strong connections were formed and made. It made the burden lighter for each one of us as we sought to heal and recuperate.
A quick scan around the country will show you dear reader that life is pretty hectic for many Zimbabweans. I double as a psychotherapist and have noticed that people are just not okay. We are sick people and the symptoms are pretty telling from what people say, how they behave, the high rates of suicide, the anger, use of substances such as alcohol to numb feelings, promiscuity and the list goes on.
Our behaviours are a scream for help and yet no one seems to hear or notice us. We are too busy using humour as a coping mechanism to notice that we are in dire need of help. It is almost like the steaming remedies we gave my son before we were jolted into the reality that we actually needed to seek medical attention as the days went by.
We, as a people in Zimbabwe, are struggling to barely live near-normal lives. The context is hard for many of us. What is it that we can do? Be that lover who offered a hug during the motherly emotional crisis, be the siblings who woke up to show support, be the dogs wagging their tails – be kinder, be gentler, be more understanding. Spare a dollar, share an encouraging word, drive carefully — oh my, yes! Please do drive carefully and stop encroaching the lane of oncoming traffic — like Dr Amai Grace Mugabe would say — STOP IT! Every person we meet is fighting an unseen battle — Zimbabwe needs us to show up as better humans. Remember, it is a new month and we can surely decide to be different as we begin the last quarter of the year so that we finish strong and kick this our own bronchitis to healing just like that brave son of mine did.
Decide to be kind
A friend of mine always shares that we need to make the dash (-) count — when we die, there is that dash between our date of birth and the day we die that is placed on our headstand. With each day, we are fighting some form of bronchitis as I mentioned, some days are easy and some days are hard. Whatever we get on that day, let us make the dash count by deciding to make a difference for fellow Zimbabweans. It can even be a random act of kindness — define for yourself what that action looks like but please do be encouraged to do something. Recently someone reminded me about the definition of love being kind, not keeping a record of wrongs, being thoughtful and all sorts of things we get from 1 Corinthians 12. This is not a sermon but that portion of scripture is pretty dope in encouraging humanity what it means to co-exist peacefully with other humans.Finally, as we remember that we suffer from our own form of bronchitis that we need to cure as we begin this new month of October, decide to do something grand to enhance the narrative of Zimbabwe. Many times we complain and analyse but now is the time to step up and show so we become the solution, one human life at a time.
We can do this as we end the year. Yes, you do have everything it takes to make a difference. Until then, we live, laugh and love in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!
- Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo