'I just want to take her home': Why this Cape Town mom wants her baby's body exhumed


Their baby Rut died almost two years ago of leukaemia.

Ingrid and Willem Theron have since been given permission by municipal authorities in Cape Town to exhume their baby’s body from a neglected cemetery in Kuils River.

baba opgrawe1 PHOTO: Supplied

“I can’t stand it that we have to pull out weeds every time we visit her grave,” Ingrid says.

As part of her healing process, Ingrid wants to open the coffin and hold her baby in her arms one last time before she’s cremated and can “go home” with them.

They only had Rut for seven months and three weeks before leukaemia claimed their baby.

“It went by so fast,” Ingrid (35) says. “I don’t care what people think. I’m struggling to focus. I’m still on autopilot – to protect myself. If I can only see her, I think her death will finally be real to me.”

“I don’t think I’d want to see my daughter before she’s cremated but I’ll be there for Ingrid, to support her. If that’s what it would take to bring the old, spontaneous Ingrid back,” Willem (39) says.

Willem, a carpenter, is a strong, calming presence and has been supporting Ingrid since the morning of 14 November 2014 when Rut breathed her last breath.

For Ingrid the pain is still has raw as it was that day. Their little boy Joshua is “an anchor, a blessing”. “He’s saving our lives,” Ingrid says. “I’m so proud of our son. He’s in Gr. R and has been chosen to take part in a maths olympiad. He always has words of comfort for me.”

But Joshua won’t see the exhumation. “He’ll only see the ashes at home,” Ingrid adds. He’s already decided there’ll be a rainbow above the box of ashes at home, as well as fresh flowers every day. “The rainbow was God’s promise to Noah that the world would never be flooded in tears again. It will never rain that much again.”

But it’s going to cost about R25 000 to exhume and cremate Rut. To this end, a jazz concert will be held in the Grassy Park Civic Centre on 21 October. Email Ingrid at for more information.

More local news: 

Down syndrome, then leukaemia: A mom’s brave journey with the ‘love of her life’ Michael

A mom’s story: I regret keeping my baby

It took me just 90 minutes to save someone’s life

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