A letter from a man who lost his wife
“She was a woman with a sharp mind, a gifted heart that everyone could find a place in, and a selfless soul that knew nothing more than to give and comfort others”. By those words, Mike started his letter describing the only woman that owned his heart, to his brother, Eric living miles away in Australia.
If you turn your eyes from the letter up to the narrator, you will see a young man in his mid-thirties, covered with a thick coat with a heavy scarf warming his neck in a cold morning day in Canada. Mike, a man who had just went through the toughest test in his life, decided after a month of going through this test on his own in complete isolation, to share his experience with the only person he knew will immediately read his emotions through his words. With a broken heart, Mike takes us back to his story, “Eric, it all happened in a couple of months, but the real loss was a month ago. A month ago, I lost the soul that lightened my path, the heart that captured my downs, and the eyes that delivered warmth and comfort to my mind and heart. I lost her, Eric. I lost Louisa!” And with this, the pen failed to write one more word shaking in the weak hands of Mike. Totally losing control on his nerves, Mike gave up, let down his pen and broke into tears. He couldn’t imagine he lost his one and only woman. Louisa died a month ago from cancer. It all went so smooth, part of it was the peaceful soul his wife and love of his life possessed. It might be a story that happens every day, but it’s about the lesson Mike learned that marked his experience with his wife fighting this disease.
As part of trying to be merciful with his heart and finding somewhere that will soothe the pain in his heart a bit , Mike took the letter and moved to the favorite place that used to host him and his wife in the early years of their marriage whenever they wanted an inspiring spot to share their thoughts and hearts in. Reaching this place, in a warm cave that looked at the ocean, Mike laid down allowing his heart to get it all out struggling with a flood of memories fully taking control of his mind and heart. Re gathering himself, he managed to gain back control and resume crafting his experience to his twin brother, Eric. “You know, Eric, this is not a mourning moment that I’m sharing with you but rather a reflective one. A moment that holds a lot of what the loss of a loving wife can teach you”.
Just thinking of her painted a peaceful smile on Mike’s face. Imagining his wife beside him in their favorite spot on the ocean, Mike went on passing on all the wisdom this lady and her loss has taught him; how this tamed his selfish soul, how it beautified his character, and how it altered the way he perceived life.
“Eric! I don’t think words will save me in this phase but I will try my best because I want you to learn from my mistakes and value what you have now before it’s too late. So below are some of the learnings I deeply understood from losing a loving wife.
1. Realize the value of your wife, of the love she gives you unconditionally every day. This love doesn’t need to be framed in words but real love tends to be more in the actions, in the daily tasks she does for you, which you take for granted. The hours she spends making sure your belongings are neat and available anytime for your use. The days she takes out of her health to take care of your kids, drive them to school, study for them, and simply make them happy. The warm breakfast she prepares every morning for you not wanting anything but a look of appreciation or a simple smile or a thank you while grabbing the cup of coffee she’s handing to you. Value the time she gives you to listen to your problems and to support you no matter how drained she is. Just realize how much she loves you!
2. Make her happy. This cannot happen except after you realize her value. Once you do, you will find yourself doing all the things that will make her happy spontaneously. Love her parents, share some of her hobbies with her, not necessarily all of them, but at least one of them. Watch her favorite movie with her. Simply show her that she is something, that her interests have a meaning even if it’s different than yours. Just value her thinking and show her that you do.
Try to practice buying her a gift every now and then just to reflect your appreciation to her. Remember her birthday, your anniversary..etc. Take her to a nice dinner away from the kids and the daily hurdles of life to enjoy some quality time together and refresh your memories of your old romantic moments. When she looks tired, offer her help. Allow her sometime alone or with her friends by offering to take care of the kids even if it’s once a month. Women are really not waiting for a lot, it’s all in the little things that you offer her that will rejuvenate her soul and help her get back to the lively beautiful woman you loved before getting crunched in life’s responsibilities and challenges. Just, please, do the things that will tell her that you simply don’t take her for granted. That she’s valued, loved, and appreciated.
And remember the saying we used to hear in our old days, “The real power of a man is in the smile of the woman sitting next to him”.
3. Share responsibilities with her. I can never explain to you how I’m grateful to GOD for waking me up before it was too late. I used to believe it’s her duty to handle all the house chorus, all the Kids’ stuff, even handling the logistics of our vacations and home facilities fixation! Yet after she collapsed and started struggling with Cancer, I started looking at things differently. I realized how much she was doing but never saw this because I was blind and immersed in my selfish self and its needs. Simply because she never complained, I thought she wasn’t doing much. You know the saying. “You don’t realize how many things someone is doing until they stop doing it”? This is exactly what happened to me. I was suddenly faced with a myriad of daily tasks and responsibilities towards home and my kids after she was attacked by Cancer and couldn’t function as she used to. At least I was lucky to see things and fix them before it was too late. You won’t imagine the happiness she felt in the midst of her pain just seeing me help around in home, drive kids to school and their daily activities, just helping around made her feel her life was shared with someone. You need to show her that this is OUR Life” and not HERS’ alone. I’ll always be grateful I was able to show her this in her last days.
4. Life is too short. I can tell you from how quick this whole cancer thing started and ended taking away the light of my life and my kids’ as well. Grab every opportunity to show the ones you love how you love them and appreciate their presence in your life. Give them as much as you can from your time. Buy them gifts, no matter how small they are, it’s all in remembering what they like and taking the time to bring it to them. Show your emotions more, hug them, kiss them, touch them….simply love them and allow more space for them in your life.
5. Life goes on. And remember, at the end, life must go one. So as harsh as loss is, yet GOD is merciful he granted us the ability to resume our lives and cope with loss, but only by allowing ourselves to grieve fully, to grieve it till we leave it in order to be healed to be able to love again and continue with this temporary journey on earth knowing it’s preparing us for an everlasting beautiful life where we will meet our Creator and all our lost loved ones.
So stay strong, love and give unconditionally, and let go of all the grudges and agendas our selfish selves tend to falsely beautify for us. This is the advice I can leave you with quoted from Lousia during her last moments.
And by then, Mike couldn’t struggle anymore with his emotions. So he decided to end his letter, “I don’t want to go longer as really this brings a lot of emotions that aches my heart. Believe me, regret is such a tough and killing feeling, so try to value what you have before it’s too late ”.
Wish you all the best