I am Shivani Kumar, a resident of Gurugram. I am a single parent raising my three children – Aryan (14), and twins Arnav (8) Anjini (8) – and this is my story.
I have been blessed to have a supportive family, who saw me through thick and thin. I was a fun-loving person, who enjoyed living life to the fullest until four years ago. But then things changed in an instant.
Due to a sudden heart attack, I lost my husband, Anuj Kumar. He was only 39 years old, physically fit, healthy and a teetotaler too. His death was a shock to the entire family.
My in-laws lost a devoted son; my brother-in-law lost his business partner; at a tender age, my children lost their loving father.
And I had lost everything. Not only was he my husband and life partner, but also my best pal.
Through the 11 years that we had been together, we had grown attached to one other, almost as though we were inseparable. We loved travelling and would take time from our schedules to see new places.
Without him, my life came to a standstill.
My in-laws suggested that I join the family business, but I wasn’t ready for it then. They arranged spiritual classes and positive talk sessions at home to help me grieve.
Gradually, I returned to my children and started going to the office.
I chose to not follow society’s restrictions associated with widowhood (avoiding coloured clothing, for instance). My in-laws supported me and encouraged me to remain the way I was before this tragedy.
I saw that this was a particularly difficult time for my kids as well. My elder son, who was merely nine years old at the time, would cry in the bathroom, so as not to weaken me by doing so in my presence. The twins would bring Anuj’s phone and ask me to call him: too young and innocent, to fully grasp what had happened and what they had lost.
My brother-in-law, Sidharth Kumar, became the father figure that my children had lost. He took charge of the family and connected with the kids.
I was fortunate to receive support from Lotus Valley International School and particularly the kind principal, Mrs Anita Malhotra.
Aryan, Arnav and Anjini were able to resume their education and participate in extracurricular activities.
With time, we learnt to live with the loss. I was also learning about the finer aspects of our business. It gave me the opportunity to meet and learn from experts. I am proud to state that in 2019, our company, Trilok Chand and Sons will complete 100 years.
There were also some downs in this journey. A year after my husband’s demise, I lost my mother, who was a paralytic and suffered from depression. Barely two years after that, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Although his diagnosis showed the last stage, we left no stone unturned in treating him and keeping him happy.
Just when I was learning to pull myself up, I fell again.
Through all this, I attempted to balance work and family. I realised that loss tests your strength and patience. The continuous support from my in-laws and brother-in-law has been a blessing to me. We have no choice but to accept our the ups and downs meted out to us gracefully and to make the best use of them every day.
(Written by Shivani Kumar and Edited by Shruti Singhal)