When a partner dies, one’s whole world changes. You are in mourning, experiencing sadness and grief at the loss. Feelings of numbness, shock and grief may also surface. You can feel guilty about being the only survivor or you may get upset at your spouse for leaving you at some time. All of these emotions are typical. There are no regulations on how one should feel. There is no correct or incorrect way to grieve when you lose a partner, husband or wife.
The following is the heartbreaking story of Nosie Dyantyi-Mwanda, who lost her spouse. Her husband’s death has left her with unfathomable emotional scars.
‘The last time I saw him alive’
On the afternoon of April 1, 2018, my husband Yibanathi Mwanda notified me that he would be attending a soccer match in Khayelitsha. It was an ordinary Easter Sunday; he went immediately after I returned from church, and it was the last time I saw him walking on his own.
We spoke on the phone at around 18:00, and he was informing me that he was leaving the stadium and heading home. After that, his phone rang unanswered, which worried me.
I went to bed pretty late that night after several failed attempts to contact him.
Around 2am, a girl who lived in our street yelled “Mama ka Lizalise [Lizalise’s mother]” from the front gate, which caused me to jump up since it was out of the ordinary.
While attempting to pull through the closed gate, one of the persons she was accompanying said, “uTa Yiba udutyuliwe” [Yibanathi has been shot]. I let them in and they said that her brother had found him lying in a pool of blood a few houses down the street and had taken him to the hospital.
‘It was an absolute nightmare’
I will never forget what I witnessed there. I believed he was dead due to the amount of blood, yet he was still alive, hanging by a thread but still breathing. The doctor informed me that he had been shot six times at close range, and his survival was a miracle.
At that time, they were waiting for the Khayelitsha Day Hospital ambulance to transport him to Tygerberg Hospital.
The ambulance was taking too long to arrive, and we learned that it had been hijacked in Khayelitsha en route to us, and no driver was ready to do that route until dawn.
We waited and waited until a friend, accompanied by my father, went to KDH to ensure that an ambulance was called to transport my husband to the hospital since the physicians at Site B Clinic could no longer treat him.
It was 11am when the ambulance finally arrived to transport him. Then, we travelled to Tygerberg and waited while physicians attempted to save his life.
At around 22:00, they informed us that he was in a very severe condition and that his survival was in jeopardy. Even if he survives, he may never be able to walk again, they added, since a bullet had struck his spine.
He was in the hospital for two weeks until he passed away on April 15, 2018, and life has never been the same since then.
‘Death robbed us of him’
I refused to accept that he was gone because he was improving. After being unable to speak due to the gunshot wound to his chin, he was finally able to utter a few words.
On one Saturday evening, during our talk, he assured me that he would be alright.
He requested me to sing for him and apologised for the pain I was experiencing as a result of his hospitalisation.
He missed his little sons since they were unable to see him in the hospital in such a condition.
Then, at around 1am, I got a phone call informing me that he has passed away.
That was impossible for me to accept!
What was I planning to say?
How was I going to make it through mna [me] without him?
It had to be a mistake!
However, I was wrong; he was gone, and I had to find a way to move on.
‘The journey to healing was painful’
The nightmare began when charges were made, and his family was determined to make my life miserable. I was suspected of having a role in his death, which resulted in a series of terrible and unnecessary events that further emotionally damaged me and my sons.
On the day we had planned to celebrate our anniversary, we instead buried him, and I was an unwanted guest at his burial. I didn’t even have a chair to sit on and I had no fight left in me; all I wanted was for him to return and tell me this was a mistake so we could continue living our lives, but he was gone.
Losing my husband to death has been the most painful, difficult, and distressing experience I’ve ever had to endure.
My sorrow stems not only from the loss of my husband, the man I loved with all my heart but also from the loss of my children’s father. This is one of the most excruciating experiences a person can endure. Seeing them in pain and missing him rips my heart in indescribable ways.
I have anxiety, and panic attacks, and I’ve even become a chronic insomniac.
I’m struggling to move on; it’s been tough, quite difficult.
I mean, my husband died away in 2018, so this is our fifth year without him, but there are days when I still hope he would just come through the door.
After a lengthy period of reluctance to allow myself to be with someone else, I am finally at a place where I believe I can date and see what happens. In the back of my mind, though, is the dread of allowing myself to love and be loved, only to have that person die and leave me to pick up the pieces once again… we will see what life has to give me in this regard.
Am I at peace?
I have more peaceful moments than before, but I have not yet attained a level of full serenity. There are still so many difficulties in my life, which drives me to ponder what would have happened if my husband had not passed away.
- Please call 0800 567 567 or check out the SADAG website if you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety or depression and needs support.
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