An Incredible Singaporean Mum-Of-Two Who Found Life After Losing Her Husband (2)
Sherlin Giri, mum-of-two, aspires to arm others with courage to overcome life’s unexpected turns.

Sherlin Giri will never forget the night she was awakened by a dreadful phone call. “It was 3.14 am and the caller said my husband was killed in a car crash,” Sherlin says, “I thought it was a hoax.”

When she went to the mortuary to identify his body, she was shocked beyond words: “I had never seen a human being, so strong and powerful just a few hours earlier, so lifeless and broken up in a body bag.” Sherlin tried her best to hold herself together for her kids’ – Samara and Shiraz, then only seven and four – sake.

“I had to do many things to prevent myself from dying of a broken heart. The pain of losing my husband had become a deadweight in my chest that threatened to burst right through at any moment.”

So, she went back to work. Pulling herself together, she took over her husband’s oil and gas company just a week after the funeral and wrapped it up as it was no longer viable. Three months later, she went back to adjunct lecturing at a local polytechnic while caring for her kids and cleared the remaining debts left from her husband’s estate. “It wasn’t easy and I sprouted a lot of grey hair in the process. I looked like The Bride Of Frankenstein,” Sherlin jokes.

“I tried to get over the grief in the usual ways – busied myself with the responsibilities of a single mum, not putting up photos of my husband around the house, and gave away all his clothes except his favourite pieces,” she says.

An Incredible Singaporean Mum-Of-Two Who Found Life After Losing Her Husband
Sherlin’s strength and courage to not only live after losing a loved one, but to inspire others, is itself incredibly inspiring.

It took Sherlin two years to cope with the pain, bit by bit, and become more accepting of her new circumstances.

She shares, “Don’t listen to people who tell you to ‘stay strong’. What does it mean? Hold back your tears and don’t cry?” It was sometimes difficult for others to understand her loss as well. “I still get the ‘You’re young, you can still get married’ types of comments and I find that rather disrespectful. A broken heart is a broken heart and you can’t patch it up with a replacement husband-daddy. At least not for me and my kids.”

Eventually, Sherlin learned out of necessity how to take care of herself and her kids.

“At first I wasn’t sure how I would cope as mother and father but I realised that these roles can be shared by a handful of people who are as committed and loving, and that for me are my mother, sisters, brother-in-law and a cousin,” she says.

“I don’t want people to treat us like we’re a charity case. We may not look like the picture-perfect family and that’s okay,” says Sherlin.

“Don’t call me a ‘widow’ – I’m a ‘window’ for others to see that there is life after loss.”

“I’m not perpetually sad and mourning and hey, my kids think I rock. I love public speaking and I hope to share my life experiences to inspire others who might be going through similar circumstances. I also want to share their stories, with all the grit and glory that comes with mourning the loss of the person we love the most,” she says.

Text: Sylvia Ong 
Photos provided by Sherlin Giri