If you just lost your partner, or if you know someone in that circumstance, this message is for you.
Let me tell you my story. I was eleven years old when my father died of cancer. We are four brothers, I was the oldest, and my younger brother was only a year and a half old. From the moment he was diagnosed with the disease until he died, no two months passed: it was a fulminant cancer. And many times in those two months I saw my brother, a baby, lying next to my father, dying. Many, many times I knelt between them and silently prayed: “Father, you cannot take him. You cannot orphan such a small child. But nothing: my father died, and as a result, really complicated years came. It was like swimming across a muddy river, full of rapids. Not only complicated with extreme poverty, but complicated by the absence of a father image, so necessary in the development of an adolescent. I had, in a way, to be the father of my younger brothers and together my mother and I made them become good people. And here I am: like so many others, I survived those years and now, from the other side of that dangerous river, I dare to give some advice if you have lost your husband, and now you and your children have to cross those difficult waters. My words to you would be the following:
1. Above all, keep the faith
I wish my words had the strength with which I feel them inside me: I know that God lives, and that he is a loving father. He knows you. I know from the bottom of my heart that He knows who you are and what your needs are, your limits, your circumstances, and your most just desires. You are not alone. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you. If you bring your children closer to Him, it will be easier for your children not to lose themselves in adolescence.
2. Have confidence in the future
Many times you just don’t see any possibility, no open door and everything, everything, absolutely everything in the future looks black. Don’t worry: please believe me when I tell you that bad things are temporary. Nothing bad comes to stay forever; your future will always be as bright as your faith.
3. Find a father image for your children
It can be a grandfather, an uncle, even your church leader. There is always someone who can serve as a role model, and believe me, your kids are hungry for it.
4. Seek to dedicate a little time to yourself
Since you must now support your little ones, you will have much less time for yourself: being a father and mother is a tiring job, but it is also true that life pays off. Whenever life takes something from us, it gives us something else in return. You can see it in those with a disability. Life always pays off. You will have less time and perhaps fewer resources, but try to give yourself time for yourself and, above all, look for happiness in the small details: those in which life is usually very generous.
5. Learn to manage your time
My mother would get up at four in the morning to do the laundry, and sometimes at eleven at night she was making food for the next day. Sure, each case is different, but one thing is certain: if you make a list of your tasks, establish priorities, set long, medium and short-term goals, and are firm in your determinations, little by little you will achieve economic stability for yourself and your children.
6. Make sure your family stays together
This is as easy as adding vectors: if everyone in the family is striving for the same goal, it is clear that they will achieve the goal. The family that prays together stays together, because everyone is praying for one another, seeking to support one another.
7. Avoid shortcuts
There are no short or fast routes. If you put aside honesty, hard work, perseverance, responsibility, in the long run life will take its toll on you… and with interest.
One could say that every mother who brings her children up, alone, deserves a monument on the main avenue of her city, except that saying that may very well sound like mere empty, anodyne words. But it is true and it is true: experience has taught me that the family is the center of life, the key to eternal happiness. Children will always be the greatest source of happiness in this life, or the cause of the bitterest tears. The lives of each of your children, when they grow up, will be the living monument to your sacrifices and your example of righteousness. So again, above all else, always keep the faith.
I invite you to read: Hoping for a sweet reunion. How to face widowhood You may also be interested in reading: What my grandmother’s widowhood taught me about love