It was a bittersweet moment when Tania Februarie found out she’d passed matric. Tania, from Delft in Cape Town, was meant to finish her final year of high school along with her son but the teen died before they could fulfil their dream together.
“I feel super proud but also sad at the same time, knowing my son and I would’ve been celebrating our results together,” Tania tells YOU.
The 36-year-old mom fell pregnant with Jaden when she was in matric and put her studies on hold to take care of him. When Jaden started Grade 12 at Belhar High School last year, Tania went back to school to finish her studies alongside Jaden to motivate him. But everything came crashing down when he developed a severe respiratory infection and passed away at the age of 17 last year.
Losing her child was devastating, but Tania wanted to honour him by finishing what they started.
“The anniversary of his death was on 6 February, yet the pain is still so real and hurts as much as it did the day Jaden passed on,” she says.
“What kept me going was prayer and knowing I was doing this for my son.”
It wasn’t easy coping with her enormous loss while working, raising her six-year-old daughter, Tayla, and battling to understand the curriculum. But the single mom pulled through with the support of her family.
“I’d get home, feed my daughter, then study into the early hours of the next morning before heading to the exam room,” recalls Tania, who works as an admin clerk.
Now all her hard work and sacrifice has paid off.
Tania passed matric with eligibility to be considered by universities for possible entrance into a bachelor’s degree programme – proving it’s never too old to achieve your dreams.
“My family was extremely proud and emotional knowing it would’ve been Jaden's moment too. I was in tears the whole day.”
Things are looking up for the Februarie family though as Tayla has also started a new chapter in her life: she started Grade 1 this year and her proud mom says she’s loving school.
“It’s emotional because we’re such a close family, I know how proud her boeta (as she fondly calls Jared) would’ve been of her,” Tania says.
“Even though I miss him infinitely, I find comfort knowing that one day we'll be together again.”