Death of a spouse is not the end
By Susan YapChoon Kee and I have been married for 55 years when he went home to be with the Lord a year ago. Like all married couples, we had our differences and as I look back, some of the problems we had were due to my own shortcomings. He has been a good husband and a responsible father. He was a gentle, kind, humble and sweet- tempered man. He never raised his hand on the children as I was the one who disciplined them.
During the funeral wake I saw how he was respected because many pastors, church members, relatives, friends and his ex- pupils came to pay respects. As a school principal, he was in charge of the building repairs of the school. He was often offered financial gratification for the contract works but he turned them down. He was a man of integrity.
As age catches on his health deteriorated. I had to accompany him to several hospitals for treatment and he would reward me with a good lunch afterwards. A couple of weeks before his demise, he looked pale and lethargic but he never complained. On the 24th of September 2016 he had a fall, resulting in head injuries. He passed away at 11:20 p.m that night. I felt a great loss. On the second day after he left, I opened my Bible and the Lord spoke to me in Nehemiah 8-10, “Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength” Neh 8:10. It gave me great comfort to hear God’s assurance.
Grief takes time to heal. I was feeling lonely, losing interest in my daily activities like cooking, doing household chores and even watching T.V. The days dragged by. After two months, I attended Pastor Goh Lee Neo’s talk where she shared that her sisters are good cooks because they once had a good cookery teacher. I was commended for being their teacher. I suddenly felt that God was telling me that He has given me a gift in cooking and I ought to make full use of it. I must not give up. The following day, I dug into my refrigerator and emptied it by cooking again my various favorite dishes.
Sometimes after church service my son Roy would take me to visit friends in the hospitals. We find great joy to bring comfort and cheer to them. Reconnecting recently with my classmates and friends whom I’ve not met for the past 20 years brought back happy memories of our younger days together. We shared and encouraged each other and thanked God for His blessings upon us during our twilight years. Recently I visited a friend who is blind. Seeing her being independent and being able to prepare delicious meals for us, I felt very encouraged. I have good eye sight and am stronger too. I should be capable of doing more. I am so occupied and busy now that I feel time is passing too quickly.
As I look back, I know God still has great plans for me. Only God knows how much time I have here so life must go on and I want to value each day, being assured as the Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. I thank God that I can draw strength, joy and peace from Him daily. I thank God for giving me three filial children and a good husband. I pray I will continue to live a life pleasing to Him until the day I go home.
Susan is retired from teaching. She has three children and six grandchildren. She attends Wesley Methodist church in Melaka, serving in the Seniors Fellowship