Survival

You cannot teach a lesson that you have not learned. You have to be brave enough to embrace the past and use the experience to make a better tomorrow for everyone around you.

The word survival simply means, “the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”  In my situation, it mean’t difficult circumstances. Sometimes I lay awake at night just replaying the times that came after the loss of my Father, I remember everything in detail and praise God for his goodness because he has fulfilled his promise. The bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Circumstances dictated that I grow up and I did. I began to watch the life that I lived and living it at the same time. My life became a lesson for me. My greatest lesson through all this was the importance or should I call it the necessity to love no matter what. I learn’t this by watching my Mother who loved and showed love not only to her children but to everyone who crossed her path and this she did despite all the things that life had thrown her way. Every time I think of our home, I see so much love in the midst of soooo many struggles. We survived all that because of love. The bible in I Corinthians 13: 7 – 8 says ” Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things”

I lived a double life on Sunday. It is on Sunday that I got the taste of the life that maybe I would have lived. My Ssenga (Paternal Auntie) gave us a Sunday treat after church so life was good on Sunday. God bless her soul, I got to know Christ and was baptised at the then Kampala Pentecostal Church. Those who know me, might have noted my special interest in Sunday. The meals in my home are special, dressing for me and the girls is special; because I know and understand how special Sunday is.

We are always told to let go and leave the past behind and instead learn to embrace the present and plan for a better future. My past has given me the wisdom to appreciate my present and the strength to open my arms wide and welcome my future.

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Sorry for your Loss!

Clare Sempebwa Seruwagi

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” 
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

I was orphaned at the age of 14 years old, barely a teenager. That was not the greatest loss, the greater loss is that this happened suddenly and I never had the time to grieve and the greatest loss was that I never came to terms with the loss of my Father.

When you were picked up from Class in the middle of the day, that spelt bad news. I saw that happen to my classmates but I was never prepared for my turn. So on the 21 May 1989, it was my turn. The last I heard was my name and then I went out of body. So much happened after that but I was absent. Till this day, I do not quite remember the finer details of the day. All I remember is that life came crushing down on me and I had so many “Sorry for your loss”. My Numbness was mistaken for strength and I have since earned the value of being strong. I was not strong, I was a lost child.

This was the beginning of the nightmare that followed me through my adult life. In my dream, my Father always came home every fortnight but never at one time did he allow any of us to talk to him or even get closer to him. I always woke up feeling like he abandoned us and that he would one day come home and apologise for his very irresponsible behaviour.I am not sure whether my dream which by the way was the same dream over and over meant that he was out there looking out for my siblings and I or it was my mind playing games with me. This dream for me, meant that I still had a Father and even though he had abandoned us, I could clearly see him in my dream. I don’t remember when exactly I stopped having the dream but I know that so much happened after the loss of my Father, maybe the dream just faded…..

The loss of my Father, opened the door of fear for me. I was afraid that my Mother would one day go away just like my Father had. So I started praying for my Mother every night that the Lord would give her a longer life. I later learnt that God’s ways are not our ways and that his timing is perfect but that took me over 30 years to understand.

I have very fond memories of my Father and sometimes I wonder what is would be like sending him a whatsApp text. At the age of 40, he left this world but he left a legacy, 5 children and a great reputation of being the computer expert of his time. He loved his children unapologetically and he lived his life! He loved country music, nice clothes, he loved to smell good and taking care of himself. That I remember and i sometimes try to get his Brothers (my Uncles) to talk about him just so that i get to know him better.

So much of me was decided on the day that my Father left this world. The schools I went to, the quality of life that I lived, my character and my career direction. As I take you through me journey you will discover this to be true…….

Whenever I walk the journey from when I lost my Father to this day, the following scripture comes to mind;

John 14:18
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”








The beginning

I started my life as a tiny baby who came into the world earlier than expected. I knew from the beginning that my parents loved me (I choose not to speak for my siblings). I sometimes wonder what my parents would be like today. Their love and care was tangible. 

I told you in my previous blog that I will begin my story with my life sentence. However I cannot get to that before I tell you about my journey to self discovery. How I got to know that I have not fulfilled even half of my purpose.

I am not very clever but at some point in life I was referred to as CCC (Clare Clever girl Clean girl) by my classmates. I guess that was because I topped my class that year in primary school but that was really it. I was not so popular either because I was quite reserved as a girl. Maybe I still am. People have misinterpreted my quiet reserved nature to mean that I am proud or sometimes very unfriendly. This as people discover when they get to know me better is so far away from the truth. Did I mention that I sang “No woman no cry” by Bob Marley as soon as I learnt to sing? This was while babies my age were singing “baa baa Black sheep”. Does that say something about me? This could mean that I was a musician in my mother’s womb or that I really needed to grow up before my time as you will later discover.

Keya is how I pronounced my name as a baby. I should have been Ekiriya, a Luganda version of Clare. Ekiriya was my great grandmother. My Dad however decided against Ekiriya and insisted on Clare. That is why I am very strict about the pronunciation of my name; my Father spelt it that way! Interesting though is that at the age of 5 before I got baptized, my Grandfather who also loved me very much decided that I should have his Mother’s maiden name since I had been named Ekiriya after her. My maiden name then, was given to my younger sister and I was given two new names. I had five names as a child and I have since acquired a sixth name. A concerned bank teller once asked me whether I was operating a joint account because my names make a full sentence. I could have told him the story, but at the time I thought he was trying to be funny! 

I have written about the love that I knew as a child from the people that were closest to my heart. I have not exhausted the names of the people whose love I received because this story is not about them. My message here is that children will always do as you do but not as you say. I love because I was loved.

The Bible in proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” My Mother followed this to the dot. My very fond memories of my childhood were my Sunday School and later Bible Class at St Andrew’s Church Bukoto. My parents though not religious then, knew that we needed God for guidance and proper upbringing. 

My childhood story was written by my parents who were gone too soon as we often say. I will take you on a Journey and you will discover that most of what I am now has been written by circumstances.

That is why, I have chosen to re-write my story. I have taken my pen back! 

Let’s meet here next month…

Taking my pen back: My journey begins.

Yes, today I have decided to take back my pen. I once wrote interesting poems that even got published, love poems that my husband can tell you about and my literature teachers could go on and on about my talent. Did I mention that my talent was inherited? I come from a family that has mastered the art of writing. This is a story that I will save for another day. But if you had any doubts, now you know that I was born with a pen in my right hand which I lost along the way! I want to disappoint you though, my reason for taking my pen back, is not to write stories and poems. I am taking back my pen back to rewrite my story, the story of my life. 

God has a purpose for our lives. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Do you have a personal statement?
Today I begin to re-write the first chapter of my life. I will begin with my life statement, my personal statement, my statement of purpose.

Sorry for your Loss!

Clare Sempebwa Seruwagi

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” 
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

I was orphaned at the age of 14 years old, barely a teenager. That was not the greatest loss, the greater loss is that this happened suddenly and I never had the time to grieve and the greatest loss was that I never came to terms with the loss of my Father.

When you were picked up from Class in the middle of the day, that spelt bad news. I saw that happen to my classmates but I was never prepared for my turn. So on the 21 May 1989, it was my turn. The last I heard was my name and then I went out of body. So much happened after that but I was absent. Till this day, I do not quite remember the finer details of the day. All I remember is that life came crushing down on me and I had so many “Sorry for your loss”. My Numbness was mistaken for strength and I have since earned the value of being strong. I was not strong, I was a lost child.

This was the beginning of the nightmare that followed me through my adult life. In my dream, my Father always came home every fortnight but never at one time did he allow any of us to talk to him or even get closer to him. I always woke up feeling like he abandoned us and that he would one day come home and apologise for his very irresponsible behaviour.I am not sure whether my dream which by the way was the same dream over and over meant that he was out there looking out for my siblings and I or it was my mind playing games with me. This dream for me, meant that I still had a Father and even though he had abandoned us, I could clearly see him in my dream. I don’t remember when exactly I stopped having the dream but I know that so much happened after the loss of my Father, maybe the dream just faded…..

The loss of my Father, opened the door of fear for me. I was afraid that my Mother would one day go away just like my Father had. So I started praying for my Mother every night that the Lord would give her a longer life. I later learnt that God’s ways are not our ways and that his timing is perfect but that took me over 30 years to understand.

I have very fond memories of my Father and sometimes I wonder what is would be like sending him a whatsApp text. At the age of 40, he left this world but he left a legacy, 5 children and a great reputation of being the computer expert of his time. He loved his children unapologetically and he lived his life! He loved country music, nice clothes, he loved to smell good and taking care of himself. That I remember and i sometimes try to get his Brothers (my Uncles) to talk about him just so that i get to know him better.

So much of me was decided on the day that my Father left this world. The schools I went to, the quality of life that I lived, my character and my career direction. As I take you through me journey you will discover this to be true…….

Whenever I walk the journey from when I lost my Father to this day, the following scripture comes to mind;

John 14:18
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”