“Life is uncertain — there are so many things we can’t control. With the right person by your side all those uncertainties, risks and struggles seem less scary. That’s exactly how I used to feel about my husband — nothing in the world could shake us, because when the rest of the world slips away you have something that matters and that gives you courage to face anything.
At just 25, he passed away because of a heart attack and believe nothing in life can prepare you for that kind of pain. I had my daughters to look after, but I couldn’t function for weeks.
But love is such a funny thing, it lasts longer than a lifetime even. I began to hear his voice in my head telling me to be strong; to think about our children…to think of him. I don’t know how it happened, but I picked myself up and got this new burst of energy.
I took up two full time jobs — as domestic help in the day and at a construction site at night, to make sure my daughters continue to go to school and we have enough to eat. Even in my free time, I would do odd jobs like sweeping that made us an extra buck. My daughters grew up taking care of each other and studying really hard. Every day they would go to school and after school, I would ask my neighbour to look after them. It’s not that I didn’t love them, I would love to be at home and take care of them…but it was for them that I was working so hard.
I still remember this one day, when my neighbor came running to my workplace because my daughter had fallen down. I asked my boss to let me take half day leave but he thought I was making excuses so he said if I left, he would fire me. I left anyway, but those were the times where I felt so alone and scared, but somehow I found the courage within me to keep pushing.
Years later, my daughters are all educated, working and married. They ask me to stop working because they want to look after me, but I can’t sit at home anymore. I work as a sweeper full time— at first I thought my daughters and their husbands would be embarrassed, but they speak so highly of me. They tell everyone my story and how proud they are. Truth is, it looks like I did it by myself but he was there with me throughout…he still is, so I’m proud of us both of us for making it through this.”