I was a very young mother of two, when my husband of nearly ten years died very suddenly. Bob, who had just turned 34, had, had a fatal arrhythmia in his sleep. I was 31, with a thirteen month old baby and four year old—both girls. My family did not live close by, but everyone was there to support me through this very difficult time. Needless to say, it was a shock to everyone. Some people avoided me, because they didn't know what to say; others were very kind and spoke from their hearts. Through it all, I guess you could say I was a pillar of strength. I felt with two small ones, I didn't have the luxury (if you want to call it that) of falling apart. I was probably in shock, as well. I would describe my feelings about Bob's death like a book closing without ever learning the ending. In a way, I was lucky. Everyday we had always said "I love you"- so even though we never had the chance to say goodbye, there really wasn't anything I needed to say, because we had said it everyday.
About a month after my husband died, coincidentally, a father of one of the children in my daughter's nursery school also died. I inquired at the nursery school of the child's mother and wondered if there was anything I could do. I didn't want to impose, because everyone deals with these situations differently. As it turned out, I decided to write a note to the mother. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I told her that my husband had also just died and asked if I there was anything I could do. Shortly after, she called me. Unlike me, she had no family to help her and was alone. She had a baby, as well as a four year old and an older child from a previous marriage. I went over to this woman's home, watched the children for her so she could get some rest and helped her straighten up her home. We talked. She confided in me about her husband's death. Over a period of time we talked, eventually moving on with our lives. From time to time, I would run into her and she would always tell me how grateful she was that I had been there for her when she had no one else.
Shortly after, I actually received a call from another young woman (a friend of a friend) who also went through a similar situation. I always tried to make time to talk and be a source of support. Every time I gave something of myself to these people, I realized it helped me to feel better and heal myself. Giving of myself was a way I could help others, but was probably a greater gift to myself.
Submitted by Anonymous