Suzanne Duncan

of

All by Myself, 
& Rocking It!
Suzanne's Story:

In 2011, my husband died just before his forty-fourth birthday. Our children were five (5), seven (7) and nine (9) years old. For three years, we have watched him fade away and lose his life to cancer. I remember holding him the day before he died. He told me to keep on smiling and everything would be okay. And then, he was irrevocably gone. Here one day, gone the next. 

I knew it was going to happen. But, when it did, it opened up a void. Sitting, chatting, eating, sleeping – the usual rituals that we all do every day went from being shared to being lonely. Always expecting him to walk through the door or reach out for a hug. His presence in our house now gone, just like that! When close friends visited they expected him to walk into the room. 

Our children were also trying to process the loss of their father, trying to accept that he was gone. Their well-being and needs at that time kept me going. We went to a private crematorium to say our goodbyes and we organised his memorial and gathered with friends and family to celebrate his life. It was all a blur. We learned to love him in his absence, to remember him, and to cherish our memories of the times we shared together.

When you found your life partner to whom you created a life together, losing them is not something that you ever dreamt of happening. Yet we were on a new path, beginning a new journey. A journey I would never have undertaken, if not for the events that shaped our last years together as a family. 
Dealing with the loss of a loved one and transitioning into single parenthood was something I had to face. I did not want to face it at times because it was too overwhelming, scary, heart breaking and confusing. What was I going to do? What’s the future going to hold for us? How are we going to survive as a family? Should I go back to a job I was doing before my children eleven (11) years ago? What about school holidays? So many questions and there were no clear answers. Those initial years were all about survival, and putting one foot in front of the other day by day.

Now, I look back and felt gratitude that my husband was in our lives. I remember my late husband with love and affection, for being such an important part of our lives. I remember the happy times, the holidays, and the joy we shared when our children were born and as we immersed ourselves in our family life. These memories lives on and the legacy of his life is chronicled in a journal he wrote during his months of chemo. My two older children have read his journal. But, the youngest have still not. However, it is just there for them to look through (cont'd at right)
when they are ready.

When you lose someone close to you, your perspective in life changes. At least it did for me. Even when we know life is a gift; it is brought home more clearly, when tragedy strikes. It made me realise that life is so valuable, so precious, and so worth living to the fullest.

I have journeyed far from that time. I have a new path that involves discovery and growth. It has led to feeling empowered and accountable for my life. It has involved understanding of who I am as a person and living in line with my values. It is the one that has led me into being a successful single mother; as a woman who drives her own life, and not merely as a passenger. I am taking the steps today to create a bright and compelling future, not only for myself but also for my children. 

Facing the challenges that losing a loved one presented and taking action to move on and thrive has given me the gift of being able to help others transition into being the best version of themselves despite the setbacks that life throws at us. We have the resources within us to reshape our lives in resourceful and empowering ways.
Find out more About Suzanne Duncan by visiting her website, or following her on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter


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