Coping with the Death of a Spouse


Smita did not know, why fate had been so cruel to her. Normally a very positive person, she had broken down completely. Her husband died last week in a plane crash. Suddenly this housewife did not know what to do, in this strange city of Nairobi, with two small children. Her friends were all over the house, trying to do their bit. Her children Raju and Mini had missed school for 4 days. And did not know what had happened to Papa.


One evening, Smita heard her friend, Neha whisper to another friend, “ What wonderful children. How sad they lost their father to a tragic accident and mother is too depressed to care.” This statement set her on fire. She knew if she did not take the reins of her life in her hands now, all the struggles of her husband would go waste. That evening, her father also came from India. And together they chalked out a plan for the future.


The very next morning, she went to a child counselor, who advised her on how to break the news to her children. She told the kids, in all honesty what had happened to their father and that he would never come back. He had gone to God’s house, heaven and would stay there for some time. The kids howled. But it was a bitter poison that she had to give her kids.


She decided to return home to India, where her parents were located. Mohan, her husband had shifted to Nairobi for better job opportunity seven years back, and had done very well.


Smita applied to Mohan’s office for all accounts to be settled down. All records were in order; PPF, Gratuity etc were immediately sanctioned. A huge amount of insurance was to be received as compensation for the plane mishap. She filled in papers for that. Going to Mohan’s office, seeing his cabin, his staff upset her a lot. She came home every night and cried. She missed him a lot. But seeing her innocent children and their confused faces made her forget her woes and she wanted to do everything right for them. After all, their future depended on her.


Mohan’s relatives who had come down started pressurizing her for his money. She decided to hold her cool and never get angry with them. However she was very firm with them and did her work secretly. After all, a wife and children have a right on their father’s money. She made arrangements to empty the company flat and pack all luggages and ship it out to India.


Despite being very depressed, she would play cricket with the kids and take them out for dinner. Hence trying to play the role of a father. In two months time, the children finished school and the family shifted to Mumbai.


Once in Mumbai, she raced around to organise everything with the help of her family and friends. She never hesitated to ask anyone for help .She bought a house close to her parents so her mother could help them out. And put rest of the money in Bank Deposits. Children’s school was organized with the help of an old school friend. And she found a temporary job too. She missed Mohan a lot. She would cry at night, but through the day, she was a strong woman who would not show her scars to anyone except her near and dear ones.


Slowly life returned to normality, and she and the kids made an attempt to be happy. They would go out for movies, plays and picnics. At all occasions they would miss Mohan. But instead of changing topics, when the kids mentioned papa, Smita would discuss him openly. And slowly papa became a fond memory.


Over a period of time Smita realized that her kids were not like other children. They lacked confidence, were shy. Being a single parent, she also tried to indulge them a little too much. Her sister told her one-day, “ I think you should get married, after all you are only 45 ”. After great thought, she realized that her sister was right. She did need a man and the kids needed a father. The kids were only delighted with the idea.


Seven years after she had lost her husband, Smita placed a matrimonial advertisement in the newspaper. Wanted alliance for…

That night Smita dreamt of Mohan, who was waving out and saying bye to her. She woke with a startle, and cried. She wanted to tell Mohan, I never wanted to belong to anyone else, never wanted any other man to touch me. But now that you are not there, I miss you, I want a man, who will love me and be there in my old age. Someone, who will protect me and be my best friend.


She was waiting anxiously for the advertisement to come in the newspaper. When a spouse dies, you do not die with him /her. You have to live, you have to be happy for your own sake and for the sake of those whom we love and who love us. It’s just a close of a chapter, not the book!