podcast / Young & windowed / Dating And Remarriage After Loss Of Spouse

February 28, 2022

Dating And Remarriage After Loss Of Spouse

with Damilola Emmanuel

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ON THIS EPISODE OF IN EVERY SEASON

In this episode of ‘In Every Season’ podcast, we’re speaking with Damilola Emmanuel. He has a very interesting story and perspective on how he dealt with the passing of his late wife, which I can say will be different but extremely intriguing for our readers.

I can really say I learnt a lot from everything he said which has challenged me in different ways, and I was really blessed by it. I’ve reviewed his words a couple of times and it has really encouraged me and I hope it is going to be encouraging to you too. Enjoy!

LISTEN TO THE "Dating And Remarriage After Loss Of Spouse"

ABOUT THE GUEST

Damilola Emmanuel

Oluwadamilola Emmanuel was born on the 23rd of January in the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos State.. 

Work life started for ‘Damilola with Astro Soccer Nig. Limited, the owners of the first Five-A- Side Football Arena in Lagos. His work experience has spanned from Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Executive roles in various sectors such as Media, Marine, Sports, Hospitality and Education.

A top Corporate Communications and Business Analyst, reviewing corporate policies and enhancing Organizations’ sustainability, Damilola carried out Impact Assessment on diverse Organizations’ CSR activities and programs for several years. His impeccable success led to His recall and promotion to the position of a Director in Curoten Nigeria Limited in September 2013 where He was until He was appointed as a Secretary in Lagos State Waterways Authority.

A City Development enthusiast, Damilola initiated and executed special projects for the Authority as the secretary. He implemented different public awareness strategies, monitored the operations of the agency and maintained relationships with MDAs of the Government. His performance, zeal and passion for the State Waterways could not be concealed. He is currently the General Manager of Lagos State Waterways Authority having served as Secretary from October 2015- September 2017.

As part of His Community Development interests, He has pioneered several CSR initiatives like the Flags Project. He believes that teamwork, creativity, service, and determination are the keys to achieving sustainable success at the public sector. He has won awards to show His dedication to Service of the Lagos State, Nigeria, and indeed mankind.

A man with a strong heart for God and Humanity, Damilola Emmanuel is happily married with two children. IG linkseven_emmanuel

Follow Damilola Emmanuel

------ Episode 4 -----------

"Dating & Remarriage After Loss of Spouse" TRANSCRIPT

Abi:

Hi Dami…

Damilola:

Hi Abi.

Abi:    

How are you?

Damilola:

Very well… I’m doing very well.

Abi:    

How is life, how is everything going?

Damilola:

Everything is going well, I can’t complain.

Abi:

Wonderful! Thank you for joining us on, ‘In Every season Podcast’, I’m really looking forward to you sharing your story with our readers.

Before we get into it, could you please introduce yourself to us for our readers so they can get to know you a little bit please?

Damilola:

My name is Oluwadamilola Emmanuel. My last name actually used to be Famakinwa, but I changed it and now I have a new surname now.

I was a widow, but now I’m remarried, and I have a child. I work with the state government and I am also a Pastor. So that pretty much sums me up.

Abi:

So much content, the conversation could go in so many different directions…

Damilola:

Absolutely…

Abi:

But let’s start with the first few questions. As you know, this season is about being young and widowed, so can you tell us a little bit about your late wife? How did you meet her? Then we will go into your story of how you became a widower, and we will go from there…

Damilola:

I was in Hull. I moved to the U.K. to do my masters and my flatmate’s sister came for a visit. As they say, it was love at meeting, in the kitchen of my flat. We started to talk, and I realised there was a connection… we dated for a bit, and then we got married in December 2014.

It was good. Everything was going well, and not too long after we got married, she became pregnant in January. Initially, the pregnancy was going well but at about the fifth or sixth month, she started to develop complications.

We went to the hospital and they found out that the baby had no heartbeat, which meant that the baby had died inside her womb. With this, she was still trying to have faith and believe the baby would come back to life.

We realised she was being put in danger, so we decided to go for an evacuation of the pregnancy. This process took about two days, but the evacuation was completed, and she got better. We were discharged, went home and we realised that she was relapsing.

We lived in Lagos at the time, so her dad asked us to bring her to Ibadan where he could keep a close eye on her as he was a medical doctor. He watched her closely trying to make sure she got better but sadly she lost the fight… even though she went peacefully, she lost the fight.

So, six months into the marriage she died. It was a bit challenging, such as you see in life, but sometimes we go through things and we never know how prepared we’re going to be to handle such things.

It was truly amazing how God kept me, because I would say this story always that God really kept me, and the family as well. I am still in touch with her family ‘til date, but that’s pretty much what happened. It seemed like a dark situation in my life, but God brought a lot of light out of it as well.

Abi:

First you lose your baby, and then you lose your wife and so early into your marriage, can you remember how you felt initially? What were your feelings about everything? Where was your mind?

Damilola:

My feelings were… wow why did all of this happen! There, was a bit of contention from family; it’s one of those things where you’re going to struggle through it, but you just make it happen and continue to strive.

At times, I wondered if it was because of all the challenges, we had faced when we were about to get married, however I didn’t dwell on this and overtime I was just strengthened by the love from family and friends and how God just really kept me.

I felt a bit bad sometimes, but there was just this inner strength that came, and I believed it just had to be from God. I was so strong that I even surprised myself. Even at the burial grounds, I remember almost preaching a sermon to all those who came. They were probably looking at me thinking I was crazy!

Abi:

Were you already a pastor when you got married?

Damilola:

No, I wasn’t. I hadn’t been ordained then as a pastor, even though I was already acting like a minister in the church, but I wasn’t an ordained pastor.

Abi:

At that point you would have had a relationship with God?

Damilola:

Absolutely…

Abi:

Did the passing of your late wife shake that relationship?

Damilola:

Funny enough, amazingly it didn’t. You would think I would be asking God why, but one of the things I made up my mind not to do was to ask God why.

This is because from there, you’ll be tempted to start questioning God and you know you can’t question him, he sees what you don’t see, he knows what you don’t know, so I learned from that as well.

Abi:

It’s amazing you say that you made up your mind not to ask why, because why is usually the first question. Why, is the first thing that comes to mind. Like you said, you start thinking and looking for reasoning behind what has occurred, and you start to generally question God.

I was doing some reading about different things and I saw that the original meaning of the word why comes from chaos or something like that and so when you’re questioning God and you’re asking why, it all come back to chaos when you don’t get answers.

So, I find it so amazing that you actually purposed that you were would not ask God why. I think that’s amazing.

You mentioned the love that was showered on you from family and friends, could you elaborate more into that because I think it’s helpful for people to understand that when someone’s lost a loved one, the community that they have around them is very important at that time.

This is because you’ve lost someone who shows you love on a daily basis and all of a sudden there’s a void there, so, when you get shown love from different places, for me anyway, it fills my heart, and it lets me know that I’m loved.

Could you elaborate on that? And just tell us about some of your experiences and what people did for you and how they cared for you and showed you love in that season.

Damilola:

When it happened and the word started to get around to people; as they say, bad news spreads faster than good news; so, everyone started reaching out. Generally, I believe I am sort of a sociable person, I’m someone who’s had a lot of people around me, though this doesn’t mean that I’m exposed to everyone, but I have quite a number of people around me.

People started to reach out, especially my church family, they were the real people who were close, as well as my own immediate family. They were very, very close to me, constantly keeping in touch, making sure I was eating, in fact they didn’t want me to stay alone. I had to stay with my little brother, just so that they could make sure I wasn’t alone at every point in time.

They were constantly encouraging me with words, with prayers, but every time they would come to me, they would leave even more encouraged, because I was then the one with the words of encouragement. My church family was there, and my immediate family as well were there, as much as personal friends as well who just came and were looking after me.

Abi:

I just find it so amazing that you say that people left encouraged; they came to encourage you and they themselves left encouraged. It brought another question to my mind, what was your prayer life like, immediately after?

I’ve spoken to a number of widows and even from my own experience, sometimes it takes a little while to utter those words of prayers, or sometimes, it’s one or two words. So, what did that look like in the beginning for you? How did prayer come into it?

Damilola:

I’m not trying to sound overly spiritual, but I think for me, it was really a unique experience… because of the kind of comfort I enjoyed, I was able to also comfort others. For me, it was like life just went on, I was still where I was, yes, I had moments where I was down, I got to a point where I said to God, maybe you should allow me to feel this thing a bit, so that I can feel like something happened.

It was almost like he covered me immediately it happened and said, you know what, I’m going to make sure you don’t feel this situation, the way you would. I want to make sure it doesn’t shake your very foundations. Like the bible says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, then your strength is small”, then another version says, “maybe there isn’t much to you”, which is a very harsh version. {Proverbs 24:10}

I think that we will always face challenges in life, some will be much bigger than others, but we will always come through on the other side. The bible also says that, “he will never give you much more than you can bare…”, {1 Corinthians 10:13}

So, for me to have gone through that, he knew I could bare it, because he was the one who was strengthening me through the process. Even in those times, I was able to keep engaging. One of the things that really helped, especially with her family was setting some rules such as, no one must come weeping whenever they came around.

On the day of the funeral, we said nobody must wear black. One thing, which is important for me to mention, was that when her parents and I left the hospital, we got home and the very first thing we did was to praise and worship God and pray.

I think that set the foundation for the days which would come, because if we had come home weeping and wailing, it would have set a different foundation, the type we didn’t want. What we did, I believe laid the foundation.

It doesn’t mean that we didn’t go through hard times, it doesn’t mean that her parents didn’t feel really bad and think about a lot of things, but that day, when we got home and we praised God and prayed, I think it was actually very profound.

Abi:

Wow! it’s an amazing thing to do when you’re in pain, or when you don’t understand why things happen, just to praise, instead of wallowing on the inside weeping or crying.

What advice then would you give to somebody who is newly widowed? How would you encourage them?

Damilola:

One of the things I would say is, don’t get into the whole, why me, what did I do wrong cycle. Yes, truthfully, you may have done one or two things wrong, but you can’t change it by thinking like that, so don’t go down that lane as difficult as it may be.

Find the right people to be around you, those who will encourage you in the right way.

Like Job, who had some terrible friends who were telling him some things and God had to question who these people were just talking nonsense!

One of the things God made me understand was that people will come around and have different inputs, but you must know those who you should have around you.

You must identify those who you should have around you who will help speak life and encourage you and will help you stand on your feet. That’s the advice I would give, even when people ask, ‘Pastor, I need to find out why did this happen to me…’

You can even say to God that even if I made a mistake, you’re the God who makes all things work together for good, and I believe you will make all things work together for good. It’s to just have the right people around you, those are the things I would say.

Abi:

That’s so encouraging. I think it’s really important because the people that you keep around you need encouragement as well. From my perspective, I noticed that if certain people come around and you’re doing okay, but sometimes the situation may be that they’re still dealing with their grief in a way and they bring that grief with them and, it then sets you off.

I know with my close circle of friends and family they will understand because I will express what I want. I had to set parameters, which is similar to what you said when you asked people not to wear black to the funeral, and not to come to the house weeping.

You have to set those parameters in order to protect yourself, otherwise you will be emotionally drained, because people will just come in, and come out, and you will be left trying to pick up the pieces.

You spoke a lot about encouraging others, are there any examples you can give to attest to how your experience encouraged somebody else, who wasn’t particularly going through the same thing but maybe came to spend time with you or visited you or maybe an example of another person who was dealing with their own grief.

Do you have any experience of that? Of encouraging someone by the way you handled yourself and the way God kept you.

Damilola:

I had a few friends who were going through issues, but their issues were nothing compared to what I was going through, and they would tell me, ‘Wow, for you to be like this, I have no excuse any longer to be angry or upset with God’.

Abi:

I think it is really helpful as well when other people look at you, from what you said, you go through something, and even though others are not going through the same thing, it causes you to sit back and reflect upon you own life and say, actually, are these things really important…

For me, I noticed that after my husband died, there was a shift in my mentally and certain things that were maybe important to me before, were not so important anymore…

Damilola:

That happened to me as well, I felt like I had seen death so even when death came I would not be moved. I felt like that at some point.

Abi:

Yes, everything just shifted, and it was a sort of a prioritisation level of me wondering if my decisions were going to hurt anybody and if not, then it’s not important. It allowed me to not bother myself about the little stuff and not to be threatened or worried about the things that are really not important.

It was about getting myself focused in a way that would make me look at life and wonder what my purpose was in life because when you start to ask those questions, then you begin to weed out the things that are distracting you or not taking your time.

If you believe that you have purpose in something, you can better tune out the things that are not really important, but I’m still navigating through that, but we’ll see how that goes…

Damilola:

Absolutely…

Abi:

You mentioned that you’re now remarried, congratulations, and that you have a baby. Do you mind giving us a little insight on how you met your new wife? How that relationship came about, was it a surprise to you? Could you give us just a little insight into that if you don’t mind?

Damilola:

I think what happened was, God saw me, and my situation and he looked to restore my life really quickly and to ensure I didn’t fall into a vacuum after my late wife passed. My current wife and I had been friends before.

She had been there for me after the passing of my late wife. People will assume that was she always in the picture and that sort of thing but took some time. It took another two years after I lost my wife from the talking stages and then eventually getting married… quietly this time, confidentially, and being a bit wiser with a few things as well.

I got married to my friend. We have a son now, he’s 1 year and 8 months now. It was interesting, there had to be the dynamics, even for her as well. There was also the fear from her family’s side as well, which was the same thing that happened with my late wife.

We had those fears for her, but I couldn’t compare her to my former wife, so we had to use a lot of wisdom, a lot of patience, we had to both be understanding. She always made sure I reached out to the family of my late wife, and not to abandon them, which I never planned to do anyway, I planned to keep in touch, but she always made sure I kept in touch constantly.

So that’s the summary of how it was and thank God we’re still at it.

Abi:

Wonderful, praise God for that.

You mentioned something key in your wife coming in and marrying a widower. As somebody who’s been through this loss and trauma, I’m sure there were some huddles you had to go through or even adjusting.

Like you mentioned about comparison, maybe when your brain wants to compare but you think, no I can’t, so would you have any interesting stories you can share about those instances?

Damilola:

I guess it had to do with personaliy as well. They are both very intelligent ladies, but my current wife is actually very driven, and she is strong willed as well. She’s used to leading the pack and stepping in front.

However, my former wife would still want to listen even if she does anything and she’d allow me lead, but my current wife, because she’s used to getting things done, she would have done it and then remember that she’s actually married.

All that adjusting for me I had to understand that these are two different people and I had to come to peace of making her understand that I’m actually here for you, so that took a bit of adjusting, so that’s one clear example I can remember.

Abi:

What do you think most that you had to exercise? Was it that you had to have patience? Or was it that you had to get that you mostly had to develop that understanding that this is a new thing, I have to treat it differently… what was your thought pattern in navigating through those types of feelings?

Damilola:

I think it’s patience. Patience that it’s a new thing, new day, new person, new experience, new opportunity, so you just have to start things right and not base or compare things on the old as much as you’re tempted to. Thinking that way started to wipe away all the thoughts of comparison between my current wife and my late wife, so that’s really how it was…

Abi:

Okay, well I’ve run out of questions for you because you’ve attacked these questions with fire.

Damilola:

Thank God for that.

Abi:

But I am so encouraged to hear your story and also how God has restored you, because it’s never the same… people cannot be replaced, it’s different, but there’s a new thing happening for you, you have a new family and a son, we thank God for that.

I know that your story will definitely encourage others. Even just the strength you’ve shown through the process and that faith, that unshaken faith that you mentioned from both you and your late wife’s parents as well is so admirable.

I know it’s going to be a blessing to so many people. I want to thank you again for joining us on ‘In Every Season’ podcast and I hope the listeners enjoy your story, thank you.

Damilola:

Absolutely, you’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me on here…

Notes from Abi:

Thank you so much for listening to this interview with Damilola Emmanuel. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

As I said in the beginning I found this interview quite challenging for me, especially when Dami mentioned that he decided in his heart not to question God.

I thought this was such a strong statement in regard to the trust he had for God and that could only because of the relationship that he had with God, so I really found that encouraging and challenging in a good way.

Another thing that really stood out to me in this interview was the worship session that they had when they came home from the hospital, it really reminded me of myself. I think it was a day or two after news of my husband’s passing and we had a lot of people in my house.

I was probably still in my bed, but I remember my friends and family sort of gathered around my bed and we sang, and we worshipped for a time. It’s not the first thing you think to do during in a time of sorrow and a time of mourning, to worship, but I think sometimes that’s all you can do.

Damilola’s story will be the final of season one of In Every Season podcast: Young and Widowed series and I’m really appreciative of Damilola Emmanuel for rounding up the first season.

Season two is just around the corner and we’ll be talking about some other topics, such as healing, and moving forward. We’ll also talk about different topics such as stories of restoration, life, and different phases in life.

I hope you look forward to it and we’ll be back soon.

God Bless.

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