I never saw her eyes
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62 pages

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If you ever had to say an earthly goodbye to a loved one or had to support anyone going through loss and fertility challenges, this book is for you. Anyone who has suffered loss can gain from the insights about grief and healing. It also gives a fresh perspective on how discovering one’s true identity and purposeful living can enhance one’s quality of life.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 mai 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780620931458
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Gaining from the pain of loss
Keletso Yende
Foreword: Overseer Sam Masigo

Copyright© 2021 by Keletso Yende All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright owners.
ISBN 978-0-620-93145-8
Cape Town, South Africa
Email: sisterkyende@gmail.com
Facebook: Sister K Foundation
Twitter: @SisterKYende
Cell: +27 (0) 83 454 5196
Design, illustrations and layout: www.thesouthafricanist.com
Editing: Elijah Moholola
Proofreading: Khosi Nkanyezi Buthelezi Dedication

Chapter 1:
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Chapter 4:
Chapter 5:
Chapter 6:

This book is dedicated to the memory of my late daughter, baby Nombuso Bokang “Bubu” Yende, who was stillborn. The 39 weeks I spent with her in my belly brought so much joy into our lives. I would have loved to nurture and raise her but I am blessed that I can still love her forever. Though I never saw her eyes, I never heard her voice, and I never saw her smile, she gave me new sight, a voice, and a smiley heart. Her unexpected departure, though devastating, gave me new life. Her conception, my pregnancy and her death were not in vain. This book is not only a story of hope, healing and purpose but a cele- bration of her life.
I also dedicate this book to my loving husband, Jesse Yende. Love, you are a great husband and father. When you first told me to start writing books, I didn’t think I could. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for seeing my potential and supporting me in my ministry. I love you, and I thank God for you. You are my precious gift for which I am eternally grateful.

My greatest thank you is to my Father, God Almighty. I am so grateful for all He has done for me. If it were not for Him, I would not have come to this stage of my journey. Ebenezer, He has brought me this far. He is indeed my Jehovah Rapha and Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my healer and provider.
I want to thank the following people:
My loving husband Jesse Yende, for the amazing book cover, the illustrations and layout, and for always encouraging and supporting me in living purposefully.
My parents, my in-laws and family at large for their love, guidance, and continued support and prayers.
My editor Elijah Moholola, it’s a privilege to have worked with him on this project. His spirit of excellence is exemplary.
My proofreader Khosi Nkanyezi Buthelezi, I appreciate her enthusiasm in being involved in this project. Her eye for detail is unparalleled.
My writing coach Dr Nthabeleng Rammile, her guidance has helped me become a better writer. Her passion for writing is infectious.
My Pastor and Overseer Sam Masigo for writing the foreword and staying faithful to God’s call. His leadership and that of Presiding Bishop Mosa and Overseer Gege Sono has helped shape me into the leader I am today. I am grateful to belong to the Grace Bible Church family.

Keletso “Sister K” Yende was born in QwaQwa, in the Free State Province of South Africa. Her family later moved to Bethlehem, which is where she matriculated. She is the second born among five children who are privileged to call Mr and Mrs Lebeko their loving parents. She is married to Jesse Yende with two children.

She had a successful career in Corporate SA for 13 years in the financial services industry. She is now a partner and account manager at Jesse Creations, a strategic and creative agency. She serves on the board and is an ambassador for the non-profit company, The South Africanist, a movement campaigning for positive community impact.
She is the founder and director of Sister K Foundation, a sisterhood that aims to inspire and equip women to embrace their true identity and live purposefully. She is passionate about unifying sisters and helping them create sister- hoods. She mentors’ women and encourages them to invest in empowering the girls in their communities. She is also a pastor at Grace Bible Church and believes every believer should know and embrace their identity in Christ to live a victorious life.
She is an avid student and believes education is an essential transforma- tive tool. Her qualifications include a BCom Economics, BCom Economics Honours, Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, Master of Business Leadership, Bachelor of Theology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. She’s currently a Master of Theology student at Stellenbosch University.
When relaxing, you can find her on a beautiful mountain hiking, on her couch or somewhere outdoors reading, writing or spending time with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.

Overeer Sam Masigo
It was a Sunday afternoon while I was out of town when I received a call from Keletso’s husband, Jesse. Immediately I had an unsettling feeling yet hoped for good news. When answering the call, the first thing I said to him was “how is Malentswe?” This was the nickname they planned to give to their child, Nombuso, because during sermon time the child would leap actively. Jesse said they were in hospital. There was an issue with the heartbeat of the child.
The loss of a child, from expectation to the pain of loss. How do you encapsulate in a book the countless thoughts and indescribable feelings from this life-changing moment?
Keletso manages to offer a consoling account by taking us into their private life. The book takes us through a journey of several disappointments, to conceiving a child who is named in great expectation. How this sadly turns into loss of their daughter is captured in the title I Never Saw Her Eyes. Keletso provides a candid journey that unfolds different phases of dealing with loss of a child. The book uncovers the impacts this journey had on each of them, individually and as a couple; and how they managed to cope and rise above their loss. Their story brings you and I to a place where we encounter our own grief, while also revitalising us by demonstrating the faithfulness of God – that through all the challenges of life our Redeemer lives.
I Never Saw Her Eyes practically shows us how Keletso and Jesse managed to gain from the pain of loss. We are not left in a helpless state, as we see how they dealt with self-doubt, stigmatisation, loss, and grief, to a point of regaining solid ground. The book is pragmatic by also showing how support structures cover and anchor us during times of pain. It provides hope by showing God’s plan in the family of the local church. For Keletso and Jesse, remaining under the leadership of our Pastors, His Grace Presiding Bishop Mosa Sono and Overseer Gege Sono, was sustaining because they model and teach the word of God that has a proven track record for all circumstances in life. Altogether, this book is empowering and practical. It is a necessary read – if not for you, then for someone else who might one day need you to have read it. I believe you and I will be empowered to be a blessing and helpfully minister to those who have gone through the loss of a loved one.

Losing a baby at 39 weeks and having suffered multiple pregnancy losses, I realised how complicated grief and mourning is for people who have gone through the same experiences. The secrecy around issues of fertility amplifies the difficulty. In most cases, these issues are almost tagged as abnormalities and absurdities of life, yet these are unspoken realities for many people. Writing this book is my attempt to normalise talking about fertility challenges in safe spaces – rather than only in hushed or even muted tones – and giving hope to those struggling with such issues.
One of the prayers I prayed after I lost my daughter was that God would help me bind my wounds to respond to others‘ needs and never use my battle scars for boasting but only for serving people.
It is my prayer that through this process of innermost reflection and laying bare my situation from personal experiences, encounters and episodes as I share my story, I inspire hope in you.
As you read this book, may you find comfort and strength through knowing that God is with you and He will heal your broken heart and restore your joy, peace and happiness. As a believer, the first thing that suffering challenges is your faith. Such hardship not only leaves you downcast, but it also tends to cast you into the role of one who asks a multiplicity of questions amidst the complexity of whatever situation you are in: where is God, and why does He allow this to happen to me? Is God truly who He says He is?
These are some of the questions you might grapple with. I also asked myself these and many more questions at some point. However, I realised that there was never any doubt that God was with me, He never left, and He is still God no matter what I go through. Realise, too, that you cannot afford to lose your faith and hope, as this is what will give you strength to face each day.
I have purposed not to waste my pain but use it to serve people and glorify God. This is one of the reasons I wrote this book, as Paul said to the church in Thessalonica, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NLT). Because he loved the church, he was happy to share not only the gospel but also his life. I am also sharing not only God’s word but also my life and my experience as an act of love to remind you that there is hope for living a fulfilled life no matter your struggle.
God comforted me through the roughs and rigours of my life, and I hope reading my story will bring you the same measure of comfort. When I experienced God’s healing and comfort, I finally understood what Paul meant when he said, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”- 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT) . I am convinced that the God who comforted and healed me will do the same for you. He is not a respecter of persons.
Above all, I pray that God will be pleased with how I am using my experience and gift to minister to you or anyone who has suffered loss. With every word I write, my prayer is that I will hear from God the words He said to the servants who had multiplied what He had given them. “The master was full of praise. Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together.” - Matthew 25:21 (NLT).
As you flip through and read each page, may you not only hear me but hear God.
May you also find your voice and see how you can use your pain to intensify your quest to discover your true identity and self-worth and fulfil your purpose. Yes, pain is real. Pain is, well, painful. It hurts, but not all is lost. You can gain something from your pain.
If you are a mother or a father who has lost a child or a pregnancy, may you realise that healing is possible and that you are enough, despite fertility challenges. If you are a woman, may you realise that your worth is not confined to or confirmed by any number of children who came from your womb into this world. If you have lost a parent, if you have lost a partner or have lost a sibling, no matter who you are and who you have lost, be encouraged. Know that God will heal you if you allow Him to. It might not seem that way, but trust me, it is so. Be encouraged not to give up on life, no matter the state of your struggle. May you experience Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals).
If you haven’t suffered loss but know of people who have, may you also find comfort and be empowered to support those going through the pain of loss. And in the inevitable time when you do go through loss, remember this book and be reminded that you will heal from that pain.

Chapter 1: Pain of parting with Baby Nombuso “Bubu”
In this chapter, I introduce you to Baby Nombuso Bokang “Bubu” Yende. From her conception, my pregnancy journey, the day we were told the life changing words that no parent wants to hear: “there is no heartbeat”, and the day we said goodbye till we meet again in heaven.
Chapter 2: Healing process for mom
Death is inevitable, but nobody ever prepares for it, especially the death of a baby. In this chapter, I share some insights about grief and mourning, how I experienced the grieving process and how God healed me from both the pain of losing a baby and the heartache of multiple pregnancy losses.
Chapter 3: Healing process for dad
My baby was as much a part of me as she was her dad’s. I didn’t lose a baby and pregnancies; my husband and I both lost our babies. A book about our babies without my husband’s experiences would be incomplete. In this chapter, I give insights into dealing with grief and loss from a father’s perspective. I remind us that men hurt too, and they should be given the space to grieve and be allowed to let it all out through tears in moments like these.
Chapter 4: Support during the healing process
Losing a baby and pregnancies doesn’t only affect the couple. It also impacts their family, friends, church community and anyone in their inner circle or network. How can you best support people going through the pain of loss? As a bereaved, how do you navigate receiving support from those who don’t always say or do the right things? I glean from my experience to help answer these questions in this chapter.
Chapter 5: How to gain from the pain of loss
In this chapter, I reflect on how I overcame the temptation to devalue myself because of fertility challenges. I show how rediscovering my true identity and purpose in Christ helped me conclude that fertility does not determine your worth. I also share briefly about the Sister K Foundation and show how my pain from loss propelled me to help others live their best lives.
Chapter 6: Let your light shine
Not all is lost when you lose a loved one. We can gain something precious from the pain of loss. To paraphrase Churchill, “never waste the pain of loss”. In this chapter, I give you a summary of the things I hope that you will gain from reading this book.
Rewrite your story of loss to be one of gaining from the pain of loss.

Chapter 1:
Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to have a family that had children. Having been raised in a family of seven comprising my dad and mom (Ntate and Mme as we fondly call them), my two sisters and my two brothers, a big family was my norm, and I wanted it for myself. Finally, at the age of 31, the dream came true when my best friend married me in November 2015. I finally had my family. Not only did I become a wife, but I also became a mother to two precious children, Simphiwe and Boikgantsho, who were 18 and 11 at that time.
After two years of marriage, my husband and I started talking about having more children. Initially, I wasn’t sold because I thought we needed to be more financially stable. My idea of financial stability was to move into my dream house at the time. The idea of embarking on the family expansion project eventually grew on me. We were doing okay, after all. I was in a comfortable corporate position, and our business was growing. We then both agreed that itwas a great idea and it was what we wanted to do.
For some reason, however, we only spoke about it, and I didn’t come off contraceptives. This was until one Sunday when, during a sermon, my pastor asked what we wanted God to do for us. My answer was “twins”. Oh, how I wanted to have twins, a boy and a girl. Later, once I was back at home, I thought to myself: “How can I still be taking contraceptives when I am asking God for twins? Surely this is not faith in action.” My husband and I had a chat, we agreed it was time to get off the pill, and that was it, I went off contraceptives from that day. Hardly a month later, to my shock, I found out I was pregnant. The shock soon turned into inexpressible joy. As we started trickling the news to our family and friends, they were also very excited, and we were all filled with the expectation of the arrival of baby Yende. We were elated. This would be our child of promise, the one who would show that indeed God was with us.
Our baby became a symbol of restoration, a new leaf of life and confirmation that the future we dreamt of was possible.
We would finally build our family, God’s way. Our past mistakes were forgiven, and this was the dawn of a new era, not just for us but for generations to come. I had a “normal” pregnancy with all the usual signs and symptoms that women experience. The garments that started leaving me in a struggle whenever I tried to put them on were testament to my weight gain. The battle to fit my feet into my favourite shoes pointed to the swollen feet. The regular yearning for ginger tea was indicative of the frequent heartburn and nausea.
I did everything I thought new mothers typically do. I prayed for my baby, and I even followed a daily pregnancy devotional prayer. I ate healthy food most of the time, drank enough water, walked regularly, rested when necessary, took my vitamins, went for regular check-ups with my gynae and attended antenatal classes. As the pregnancy progressed, my baby and I were developing healthily. I started journaling my pregnancy because I didn’t want to lose any memories of the entire experience. I could fill this whole book with reflections from my journal, but I have only chosen a few to help someone understand that when one loses a baby – whether stillborn or a pregnancy loss, a human life is lost.
I wrote about how the first time my husband and I bought diapers made the fact that we were having a baby so real. It cemented that we were going to be parents. We were going to get a new housemate, an addition to our family. Life as we knew it would change. It was a dawn of a new chapter, new challenges, new joys and new yonk’into (everything). I wrote about conversations I had with God about my baby. A conversation that stands out is when I was 16 weeks, three days pregnant. My prayer was for ‘him’ to live (yes, before the gender reveal scan, my husband somehow managed to convince me Bubu was a boy). On that day, I sensed God assuring me that my baby would live. The scriptures that my spirit brought to my mind were: “I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” - Psalm 118:17 (NLT) and “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” - John 10:10 (NLT). I was happy, praised God, and thanked Him that my baby would live and have a rich and satisfying life.
I wrote about my frustrations over things around the house not being ready on time for the baby’s arrival. According to my calendar, the bedrooms should have already embraced a new coat of paint at that point. Carpets needed to have given way to wooden floors. The literal curtains needed to have fallen with the blinds replacing them. The small bedroom needed clearing, and instead of stalling, we needed to have installed a cupboard for baby and nanny clothes. We should have bought a cot, yet we had been caught in a delay. We should be buying baby essentials and baby clothes, but nope, none of that had happened yet. I am sure many mothers can relate to this: the need to have everything in place before the baby arrives.
While I was throwing my toys out of the cot through journaling my frustrations, my husband was surprisingly relaxed. Through lots of help from the Holy Spirit, I decided to be patient. I remembered the scripture, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.” - Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT). I remembered that patience is a part of the Holy Spirit fruit. I decided to be forbearing – literally bearing the fruit of the Spirit – and believe my husband and I would complete project “get the house ready for baby” in time for the baby’s arrival. When talking myself into patience wasn’t working, I would blame my impatience on pregnancy hormones and remind myself how loving, supportive, reliable and amazing my husband was. I even wrote, “God had me in mind when he created him”.
I wrote about my fears of not being ready to be a mother. At 29 weeks and five days, I couldn’t believe the 10-week countdown would soon begin. “Am I ready to be a mother though?” I asked myself as I was about to step into the unknown and the unchartered. I was also not yet sure who would be helping us once the baby arrived. This was not helping settle my insecurities. I couldn’t handle the thought of possibly not having someone who knew about newborn babies around. My husband kept telling me we would be ok. On some days, I believed him; on others, I had doubts. Still, I kept reminding myself that I should not fear, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) . “You’ve got this, Keletso. God is with you!” I would keep telling myself.
I wrote about my experiences of being a pregnant student. While I was grappling with whether I would do well in the exam room of motherhood, I had question papers to deal with at university. On 6 June 2018, I wrote my last exam for the first semester. I was doing the final year of my Bachelor of Theology degree at the time. I was so grateful that I could study and write while a whole human being was developing in my belly. I felt like a superwoman though it was not easy. The fatigue and discomfort were on another level. I was not going to allow any weapon of pregnancy brains formed against me to prosper. I saw this as confirmation of how strong my baby was and how she would accomplish anything she put her mind to. I imagined she would become a great strong woman and do great exploits.
I wrote about spending time alone with Bubu when my husband was away for work. In that week, my husband was in Johannesburg painting a mural for a big fast foods brand. It was for the first time where it was just Bubu and I together at home. I missed my husband terribly, but I also enjoyed the girl time alone with Bubu. My hands were swollen, and I could barely write, and typing was becoming a problem. I still managed to put pen to paper, vividly painting in words my experiences with Bubu that week. I would tell her how I couldn’t wait for her arrival. I would pray that God would guide my husband and I so that we would raise her in a way that will set her up to succeed in fulfilling her God-given purpose. That week passed, and I was so excited that my husband would finally be back. I had missed him every morning when I struggled to put on my socks, and when I made food – even when I didn’t feel like it – and when driving myself to work. Oh, how I appreciated my husband that week. I was so proud of him as well, it was his first mural, and he had done such a fantastic job. Being able to give him the space to do what he’s passionate about and supporting him far superseded the cost or inconvenience of not having him home for a while.
I wrote about our experiences when we went for scans. It was on Tuesday, 25 June 2018, when we went for the 32nd week scan. We were so excited. Bubu slept throughout the scan, with her tiny hand on her face. The love we felt for her that day, and the joy of seeing her was indescribable. She was quite a character when it came to scans. The other time, she looked in the opposite direction when the ultrasound technician tried to see her face, and it seemed she was intentionally looking away. When she eventually turned the right way, she put both hands on her face. The ultrasound technician uttered, “she has a strong personality”. Her dad obviously agreed and said she takes after me. I remember I said to her: “ Ekare o tlo nkenya mathateng wena” (It seems like you are going to get me into trouble). I could already imagine how she would react when being disciplined or given instructions. It was amazing how I felt I already knew her even though I hadn’t met her.
I would have chats with Bubu about a lot of things. I would thank her for behaving well. I would tell her how she was now growing rapidly and how I was experiencing some side effects as a result – not sleeping well, heartburn, difficulty walking and getting in and out of bed, fatigue, back pain, and others. I would tell her how it was all worth it, though. I would tell her how privileged I was that God chose me to be her mother, incubate and nurture her until her time, to come into the world. I would tell her how much I loved her even though I had not seen her, except from the scans.
I would tell her that I loved her from the time I knew she was in me and when I decided I wanted to have her. I would tell her how she was a wonderful girl and would achieve great things in life.
With mommy’s brains and daddy’s creativity, she couldn’t go wrong, I would tell her. I wrote about my experiences of being a pregnant employee at 34 weeks. It was six weeks to go, and I was really uncomfortable at this point. Bedtime was the worst – it meant heartburn and constant discomfort no matter which side I slept. I would think, “wow, being a woman is not child’s play”. The nighttime discomfort showed just how motherhood was not a bed of roses at all. I wished I didn’t have to go to work, though. Getting out of bed in the morning was hard. Maintaining a good mood and attitude with little quality sleep was a challenge. I didn’t know how I’d survive without God’s help. The Holy Spirit kept me going. Calling upon God made all the difference, and imagining seeing my baby soon made it worth it. Hearing her heartbeat for the first time, seeing her through a scan – these are moments I will always cherish. I’d then celebrate and continue the count down.
I wrote about the baby showers that friends and family threw for us. I had one at work, another with the team I was leading at church at the time, and anot- her with the elders I served with at church. When I wrote about it, I told Bubu what a sweet surprise it was and what a delightful team to serve with they were. I wrote about how I would miss them while on leave and how I was at peace because I knew that they would do a great job in my absence. I told her who everybody was and how she would love all the aunties and uncles at church when she got to meet them. The baby shower at work was also memorable. I wrote about all the special people and the great gifts they gave.

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