In loving memory of Valerie Gahongerwa, a remarkable woman who touched the lives of many.
Valerie, or Aunty Valerie as I affectionately called her, entered my life at a time when I was both excited and nervous about meeting my partner's mother. I was unsure if my appearance and style would be accepted by someone so important in her daughter's life. However, from the moment I met Valerie in late 2019, I was overwhelmed by the love and affection she showed towards both her daughter and me.
Rather than judging me based on my looks, Valerie embraced me as if I were one of her own children. It was clear that she saw beyond the surface and recognized the person I truly was. This acceptance and warmth surprised me, as I had experienced judgment and rejection from African mothers in the past. But Valerie was different; she made me feel welcome and loved.
I opened up to Valerie about my life, sharing my experiences and the pain of losing my own mother. In that vulnerable moment, she provided comfort and reassured me that I wasn't alone anymore. She became a mother figure to me, offering guidance, encouragement, and unwavering support.
Valerie's love extended to our daughter, Hoza Tesire, who was fortunate to experience the immeasurable love and care she showered upon her. Valerie embraced her role as a grandmother with open arms, and the bond they formed will forever be cherished.
I am forever grateful to Valerie for the profound impact she had on my life. She taught me the importance of acceptance, love, and family beyond blood relations. Her kindness and generosity transcended cultural barriers, proving that love knows no boundaries.
Valerie, your presence in our lives was a blessing, and your memory will always hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you for being the mother I needed, the grandmother Hoza deserved, and the guiding light in our lives. May your soul rest in eternal peace.
Shema Desmond Christie- 19/09/2023