Picking Up the Pieces
When Viviani Husin and her husband decided to spend the rest of their lives together, she never imagined that less than a decade later, they would be forced to say goodbye. As told to Jacqui Menard.
Back home in Indonesia, I led a full life. As a single woman, I began my career with a major food producing company before I ventured into the hotel industry. It was an exciting time in my life, traveling to different countries, meeting new people, doing what I loved and promoting the place I called home, Medan.
I met my husband in July of 1997, through a travel agent who I was in contact with during the course of my hotel work. Originally from Perak in Malaysia, he had a genuine kindness that attracted me to him. And in September that year, we sealed our love officially.
His family flew over to Medan for the ceremony. Done in traditional Indonesian style, we were married in my hometown’s oldest mosque before heading to the hotel where I worked for our formal wedding dinner celebration.
Two months later I stopped working and moved to Malaysia. My life turned 180 degrees away from what it used to be. Suddenly, I found myself at home a lot, with nothing to do. Luckily though, I am good at sewing and I also have a green thumb. So while my husband was busy at work, I kept myself occupied working on my sewing machine or tending to the garden.
I never wanted to have a lot of children and luckily for us, we were blessed with only two: our daughter, Yasmine, and our son, Aniq.
Even though my husband worked hard to provide for us, deep down I harboured an urge to make my own money in order to fulfil my dream of owning a business. Besides, I was used to earning my own keep because, in many ways, I am a fighter who will do what it takes to survive.
In August of 2005 my life took a dramatic turn: my husband was diagnosed with muscle cancer. Who would have seen that coming? Like a house built on faulty ground, everything I had ever come to know came tumbling down around me the day we found out that the man I loved was dying of this disease.
I tried my best to stay strong for Yasmine, who was seven at the time, and Aniq, who was two. And even though depression got the best of me, I had to stay strong, too, for the one person who had been by my side for eight wonderful years: my husband.
We tried everything from Western medicine to various traditional ones to make him better, but time ran out very quickly on us. By January the following year, we were forced to say our goodbyes as he took his last and final breath.
Although he did watch his father disappear into the ground, Aniq was far too young to understand the circumstances and events that led up to that day. He kept asking me, ‘Where’s dad?’ Yasmine, who was going into standard two at the time, saw her grades suffer and, as a result, she endured the wrath of her deeply depressed mother.