On parenting, how has life been like raising his sons on his own? Haroun is now four, while Henry is two.
“It is a demanding responsibility, because being the only parent, I have to play a role ideally meant for two,” he says.
He points out that his routine revolves around his sons, his job, and church. He spends most of his Saturdays doing fun activities with his children, such as bike riding, swimming and playing other outdoor games.
Every evening, just before the boys go to bed, they read the Bible and pray together – they always mention Claris in their prayers, which sometimes makes George get emotional.
“When this happens, Haroun comforts me by telling me that his mum is in heaven and watching over us. He assures me that we will all see her again someday.”
Each time, George has taken his leave days and stayed in hospital with the sick child. The latest such episode was just a week ago when Haroun was admitted for three days, suffering from mumps. George says that since it is women who are often admitted with their children, he is always the odd one out, but this does not bother him, and no, he has never considered asking a female relative to help out.
“Why should I, yet it is my responsibility? I am their father, and therefore the best person to look after them.”
Two weekends ago, George marked two years since his wife’s death. He says he is still on the journey to healing.
What advice would he offer someone who finds himself in a situation similar to his?
- If you are married, treasure your spouse. Respect them, show them love, be faithful, commit to your marriage vows, and stand by them in sickness and in health. That way, even when the person is gone, you will have a clear conscience, knowing that you gave them your best.
- If you have lost a spouse, take time to understand and listen to yourself. Everyone will offer you all manner of advice, some based on their own experiences. But you must filter what you take in because everyone’s situation is unique.
- If you choose to remarry, don’t be in a hurry. Take your time, especially when there are children involved: remember they lost a parent.
- Keep in touch with your parents-in-law because they are still your parents. Continue showing them love and respect just like you do your own parents. If you have children, allow them to spend time with their grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. Do not deny them this. -END
I first published George’s story in the Daily Nation.
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