My husband’s untimely death has shattered many of my beliefs

By Nina Steele 

Robert SteeleMy husband passed away suddenly on January 11, aged 54. He was my entire universe. We lived for each other. By that time, we had been together for over 20 years. We were lucky in that we loved each other deeply. I expected our life to be this way for many more years, but of course, fate had other ideas.

Up until his death, I prayed every morning. My prayers always started with gratitude. I thanked God for the life we had, followed by a list of things I wished for, for the two of us. Everything I asked for myself, I asked for my husband as well.

One of those requests was for the two of us to live long enough to see our 100th birthday. I am of the view that you should always ask big, and then, hopefully, you either get exactly what you asked for, or at least something not far off.

Well, my husband dying at such a young age has made me question all my beliefs. Of course people die young all the time. But until it actually happens to you, none of us expects to lose a loved one in the prime of their life. We all hope to end up being the lucky ones. The ones where longevity is the norm in the family. When that doesn’t happen, we inevitably start asking ourselves questions.

I have never taken anything in my life for granted. During our time together, every time my husband came back home from a cycle run, I thanked God for returning him to me safe and sound. I did the same thing whenever he would return home from work. Of course that changed with the pandemic as he then switched to working from home.

Being grateful, I thought, would protect me against much of the trials and tribulations of life. Then this happened. If years of prayers couldn’t save my husband, then, I realised, maybe I am better off just living one day at a time.

Looking back, I can see how heavily I had been relying on those prayers. And because everything in my life was ticking along nicely, I came to believe in their power. As far as I was concerned, prayers worked. In addition to prayers, I of course made choices that made the realisation of my wishes possible. So on one hand I had the power of prayer and on the other hand, my own choices. I thought I had our life figured out. And then my whole life abruptly changed.

Since my husband’s death, I stopped my daily ritual of sitting down to pray. I have deleted many of the entries in my prayer list. I still say words of gratitude every morning, and always will, but in a less formal manner.

My views on life have changed. I realise that I can no longer be too rigid about the things that I want for my future. Our life will unfold the way that it was intended, no matter how much we pray. It is a reality that I am now too painfully aware of.

In memory of Robert Steele: May 1966 – January 2021


  1. Dear Nina, I am so very sorry for your loss. Had to compose myself before writing because it was a big and unexpected shock to read your article. God bless you and give you strength to continue knowing that Robert will always be in your heart.

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