By RAJ SINGH RAINU |
Some of you will know that my wife died of cancer age 34 three weeks ago. She left behind three beautiful children; two daughters age 9 and 5 and a son who is 3. It came as a massive shock to a lot of people but me, I knew this was going to happen. I prepared for her death over the last 9 months so you could say I have been grieving since then.
In January she was told she had stomach cancer and her life would be cut short. She wasn’t told how long but I went back into the room after we left and asked what time are we looking at. 18 months to 2 years.
Her health deteriorated because of a liver infection she contracted after a simple procedure that went wrong in hospital. But in May the consultant told her she only had 12 months left. In July it was 6 weeks left (which she outlived) and on 9th September she was told she had days left. I guess the higher up you are in the NHS, the less you give a shit about how you say things to patients. The consultant turned around and said to her
“You do know you are going home to die don’t you?”
Not once did she cry or get fazed by what was said to her. Her response? “I’ll fight this no matter what.”
Over her final days her health became progressively worse and at 11.30pm on Wednesday 19th September, she took her final 3 breaths and died peacefully with her family around her.
The morning after was the hardest for me since she was diagnosed. My kids woke up expecting their mummy to still be in the hospital bed in the corner of our front room. Before we all walked in, I explained to them that God in the sky has now taken mummy but she gave them all a kiss good night before she left. My eldest ran upstairs and locked herself in her room and cried hysterically. My 5 year old was silent, looked around and casually walked into the other room and sat on the sofa. She asked me how God took her. I told her God held her hand and said “Come on mummy, it’s time to go in the sky now”. She paused and asked
“Daddy can we face time her?”
That was it for me. It was that was at that exact moment you could hear my heart shatter into a million pieces. I held her as tight as I could hoping she couldn’t see the tears rolling down my face. She pushed me away and went back to watching the tv.
The following Thursday we carried out her funeral with around 1400 people attending the service. I gave a speech at the crematorium which was recorded and will be uploaded on YouTube soon along with a tribute video.
Two days later we celebrated her 35th birthday. This we did exactly how she would have wanted it. Lots of food and close family getting together at home. Some of the older members of the family felt a bit uncomfortable as the way they deal with a death in the family is to mourn and mope around for days and weeks. My outlook is the opposite. I wanted to celebrate what she had achieved in her short life and to show the kids they have so much support and love around them even though their mummy is no longer with us. And honestly after what I’ve been through these last 20 months or so, I couldn’t give a hoot about what anyone thought! My kids come first and it’s up to me to carry on my wife’s legacy.
Every single day since after my wife died, my three year old son asks me “When’s mummy coming back? Has the doctor fixed her yet? I want to see mummy!” My response? “She’s not coming back. She’s gone forever.” You have to tell children the truth, never lie to them about death. It’s so hard and every day is a challenge but I’m ready.
I have practised mental toughness training for years and it has definitely helped me through this year and it will help me for years to come. All my family and friends can see how strong I am and I really hope it inspires them to be tough when shit hits the fan. I literally feel fearless. If ISIS stood in front of me, I would actually run towards them! For us we have lost one person but for her, she has lost thousands. I can’t even image how hard that could have been. If she was tough throughout her whole illness then what right do I have to breakdown? Her strength and courage has definitely been passed to me.
My life has been turned upside down and I have to start from the bottom again but my motto in life is THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WORSE OFF THAN YOU! I strongly believe that. And the death of my wife has affected thousands and I’m overwhelmed by the support we have. I will lean on you guys as I know I won’t be able to do this myself.
Let’s see what we have in store as my next chapter begins as Mummy & Daddy…
Raj is owner of UK’s first wills & estate planning company for the Sikh community. This personal story was first shared at his LinkedIn page
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