True Story: How I Survived My Husband’s Death

Dealing with death is a personal journey.
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In August 2011, Nancy Thio lost her husband to cancer. She recalls her first years of navigating widow-hood, an identity that was thrust upon her. Here is her story of survival and strength as told to Xin Hui Helder-Eng.

I felt unbearable pain after I lost Thomas

We met in University; I’ve known him for half my life. We forged our careers together, started a family together, raised our kids together, and had a roadmap, an itinerary, and a plan. When he passed on, this roadmap went to fire.

I was sad, so sad. I just wanted to whole world to stop, to not move on. If everyone would just leave me be, not talk to me, let me sleep, let me not brush my teeth, let me not wake up… I felt very, very sad, an unbearable pain I have never ever experienced in my life.

I was physically there for my children, but not entirely there. I had told my kids (who were three, six, and nine years of age then), ‘don’t worry, I’ll make sure daddy gets well; daddy will come home from the hospital.’

At the wake I still remember my six-year-old screaming at me, ‘You promised to bring daddy back!’ and she kicked a chair and stormed off. I felt so guilty.

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