“I’m finding my way and learning new ways to live.” – Simphiwe Ngema

image: Nick Boulton
image: Nick Boulton

Speaking about the pain of losing her husband, and learning to move on, here’s what she has to say:

"There are days when I wake up and I’m still in disbelief that this has happened to me. But, I’ve accepted that this is my reality so I need to pick myself up. My husband isn’t here anymore to go work for us. I don’t have the luxury of just sitting around and not doing anything. When he was around I had the surety that at least he could pay for this and that. Now it’s just me. No one’s going to save me,” she says. 

“Losing your husband at such a young age is like losing your entire life and your future. All my dreams were around Dumi – having kids, the work we wanted to do together. Everything! I feel like I’m being reborn and I have to learn how to walk again.” 

On accepting reality

“Dumi’s death is still not real. I don’t think it’ll get to a place where it really is. There are days when I get up and shake my head in disbelief. Two months before then I had been planning a wedding and now I was planning a funeral. Life! I went back to the hospital to identify his body but I was hoping they’d say ‘no, it was a mistake, he wasn’t really dead and he’d miraculously woken up.’ But they didn’t. I didn’t get to see him that day because his body was taken away for a postmortem. I went home still in disbelief.

When his coffin went down at his funeral, I was thinking it’s suffocating him. When the soil covered him, it would suffocate him even more. To this day I hate every type of weather: when it’s hot I feel like he’s suffocating, when it’s cold I feel like he’s freezing, when it’s raining I feel like he’s drowning. I also hate wearing a doek. I hate it with all of me because every time I’d walk past a mirror, the doek would be a reminder that I was wearing it because Dumi had passed away.

The hardest part about grief is the isolation that comes with it. People don’t know how to treat or act around you. That’s the bit they don’t tell you about grieving –it’s traumatic. They tell you about the five stages of grieving. They don’t tell you how morbid it is. You can’t comprehend how the very person you shared everything with is now laying six feet underground. I struggle with Dumi’s death. At first, before I slept, I’d go into the Internet to confirm he really was dead. I’d read all the articles written about him just so I wouldn’t wake up thinking he’s still alive.” 

Read the full story in our Feb 2018 issue out on shelf now. 

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