Moving on after your spouse dies isn’t betrayal

Thursday April 18 2019


By Christine Nakalungi

How long should a widow/widower take before dating again? This is a question that a number of people who have lost a spouse ask. How long is someone supposed to mourn the spouse? Sarah’s spouse died six years ago in a head on collision that not only ended his life but also shattered Sarah’s life. She had hopes of a perfect happily ever after but it was cut short. She was helplessly left to raise two daughters on her own.

Young and beautiful, she started getting suitors even before her husband was laid to rest. She angrily chased away every man and she was right. She needed to mourn her husband and hope that no in-law showed up claiming their stuff. That aside, she now had to plan a life without him.

As years went by, her husband’s friends withdrew their support. They did not call her as often as they did after burial. That’s life; people might not stick around for so long. But there is one friend whose support has been constant that Sarah started to doubt his ‘generosity’. When she frankly told him to stop visiting them every weekend, he respected her request but always sent weekly grocery shopping to her house.

The daughters had declined in their academics and when he found out about it, he hired private tutors to help the girls with their homework at least every weekend. When Sarah turned down the offer, he told her that it was about the children and not her. “It takes a village to raise a child. You cannot do it alone and you should not turn away help. Not all of us are monsters,” he told her.

Sarah’s sister-in-law who had moved in with her to help with the children noticed this man and asked Sarah about it. Sarah wept, the wound was still fresh and she did not want to betray her husband. She swore never to love again and she meant it, then. Years went by and she stood faithful to her promise but she recently might have been tempted to even consider this friend. But she feels guilty for even having feelings for him. Should she go ahead and court this man? A friend jokingly told her, “Do you think there is marriage in heaven?” She took this in deeply because she was holding onto the hope that one day, she will be together with her dead husband again.

It is okay to mourn your spouse but it is also okay to move on. The vow, “Till death do you apart” is what it means. After death, you are not joined with anyone other than just the memory. Keep your spouse’s memory alive but move on when the waves of love bring another person your way.