Coping with the loss of my husband and soulmate-Dr.Sheila Mohandoss
“My world turned upside down in a moment” is a familiar saying. That was exactly what happened to me that dark fateful night on a beautiful mountain where I expected to have a wonderful holiday with my husband.
Let me share with you the pain of my loss and how I learnt to cope with the loss .
If through this, I have soothed the pain of just one person then I would know I’ve spent my time well.
It is 3yrs since my husband of 41yrs went to his eternal abode. Nov16th 2015 is still so fresh in my mind as though it was just yesterday.
When you lose your husband it attacks all areas of life leaving you listless, disorganized and unable to do your daily chores.
Nothing makes sense.
You desire for a return of “What was” which results in the “Could have” and “Should haves” overpowering the beauty of “What we did” and “What we had”.
Now I have come to the realization that, I should remember our 41 beautiful years together and thank God for what we had and did and celebrate what we shared together.
One can never be prepared for the loss of one’s husband and soul mate. It is difficult for anyone to understand that loss, till we have been through it ourselves.
My parents were like 2 peas in a pod. When my mother passed away in 1999 after 51 yrs of marriage my father was shattered.
It was only when my husband passed away I truly realized how lost he must have felt and the depth of his suffering though I had empathized with him earlier.
January 1st 2015 dawned with the promise “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to give you a hope and a future”.
Thrilled I anticipated 2015 will be a trouble free year. I retired in June 2015 to spend more time with my husband and travel. We had 4 ½ months of real bliss of togetherness.
Little did I know what was in store for me.
We had travelled to India for Christian Medical College, Vellore class get together at Kaziranga National Park and after that some of us went to the remote enticing hills of Darjeeling.
It was there on 16th November 2015 my husband suddenly collapsed late at night . We rushed him to a clinic next door which was unfortunately unequipped .Helplessly we saw my husband passing away in minutes, leaving me with a couple of my classmates in a strange place and not being able to converse in Hindi.
It was then I felt my world fell apart It suddenly stopped, while all around me everything was normal and moving on as usual!
I was angry with God and cried out to Him saying “why have you forsaken me? Why? Why?”.
Only 2days earlier my husband and I were at the same airport together and now I was going to Chennai taking him in a coffin.
After a strenuous ordeal of getting police clearance, embalmment and coffin made all within 3hours and not knowing the next step of how I will be taking him I was heading to Auckland.
My sons were shocked when they got the news and were waiting for me to bring him there.
The first essential principle in this coping mechanism, I would like to leave with you is :
It is Ok to be angry with God. God understands your anger because we being humans look at life through earthly eyes and cannot see the bigger picture. So we get bitter and fret. But God loves us and He made me realize His plans are higher than my plans. It was when I accepted, it was God’s will that God knew, my husband’s work on earth was done and so He took him home that I felt peace. Only when you accept God’s will you receive this peace that passeth all understanding.
I realized that the meaning of this phrase cannot be understood until it is experienced.
Secondly it is ok to cry, weep and grieve when we lose a loved one. Jesus wept when He saw the emotional pain caused by death. While the wisest of us do not have any answer to the question “Why” and such answers really wouldn’t remove the pain anyway even if we knew them.
One should not hold back your tears, if someone says you should not weep. I remember when I lost my husband my classmate remarked lovingly ”Sheila you are the one in the class with much faith in God and so why do you cry when Mohan went so peacefully ”. So I thought crying showed weakness and I just held back my tears. It was only when I reached Chennai I broke down cried and wept on my cousin’s shoulder .
When you lose your loved one, release your grief by crying.
Tears are the way to healing.
All my sisters had emigrated overseas and I had no one in Chennai. With the help of my relatives and NZ High commission, I managed to book the flight with him in a coffin. This was the worst flight of my life.
It is said that time heals all wounds. That may be just physical wounds.
But the pain of the loss of a loved one never goes away .
With time slowly you only learn to cope with the loss.
Finally, I learned to cope through love showered on me by my grieving sons and genuine friends. My sons and a host of my church family were there at Auckland Airport to hug me and cover me with their love. My sons were a source of great comfort to me. Pain knits us together and keeps us very close.
My son remarked “Mom what wonderful friends you have that they have even made a roster for someone to stay with you and provide food for you as long as you need them”
God provided me with wonderful friends. I drew closer to God to look at the pain and need of others around me.”
Not to be ministered unto but to minister” is our college motto.
I now look for ways to serve the emotional needs of others.
I do not say that I do not miss my husband. I still miss him every minute.
As I get up in the morning wish he was with me.
But then I realize God has work for me. I realize my work on earth is not finished yet. God gives every person, specific tasks to fulfil. I have no excuse and I need to fulfil His purpose for my life.
I encourage myself with God’s promise “Even to your old age and grey hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah46:5.
So I learnt to face a personal loss by sharing my grief( eg.crying), love of my family, friends and finding a purpose to continue life and God’s work.
Dr.Sheila Mohandoss MBBS, DGO, Dip in O&G(NZ)
Dip in Sexual and Reproductive Health.(NZ)
Consultant in Family Planning(Retired)
The following is an excellent book on coping with grief.