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Too Late to Love

After a woman dies, she re-evaluates the life she had lived when she hears the tributes from her loved ones.

After a woman dies, she re-evaluates the life she had lived when she hears the tributes from her loved ones.

Martha was dead. She knew she was dead not only because she was watching her funeral service from the back of the church, or because no one among the living could see her, but also because of the divine being that was seated next to her as she viewed the proceedings of her funeral. The atmosphere was somber; thick with grief and despair. As she watched her weeping family and friends, knowing that her life was indeed over, Martha felt a wave of loss. Not the loss of leaving them behind, but the loss of the many dreams and plans she had pushed back over the years when she had been alive. She suddenly felt mournful for the fourteen-year-old Martha who had dreamed of a life on the sea, travelling the world and experiencing new things.

She watched as her husband walked to the front to give his tribute to her. “Martha was a selfless woman. She put everyone before herself, finding joy in making other people happy. She was a good wife and an excellent mother to our kids. I would never have attained the amount of success I have as one of the most renowned Physicists in the country if I didn’t have her holding the home together and taking remote jobs while I studied for my Master's and PhD. There is no other woman like Martha in this world, and I find myself blessed to have been married to her for thirty years. Thirty years of marriage to a good wife who never complained and never said No. She was always eager to help and happy to support my dreams. I already miss her so much, and my only comfort is in knowing that a soul as pure as hers is resting in the bosom of the Lord.”

One by one her loved ones came forth to give their own tributes to Martha, and it was much the same as every tribute painted a picture of a selfless woman who put everything aside to help her family and friends. Her daughter spoke of a mother who always cancelled her plans to babysit her grandchildren at a moment’s notice, and her son spoke of a mother who gave up a lucrative job she enjoyed to nurse him back to health when he got badly injured in an accident in his early twenties. Her friends spoke about a woman who was tolerant and forgiving, showing up for everyone even when they didn’t show up for her. Everybody loved Martha, and they were all going to miss having her around.

“How do you feel about the life you lived?” the Divine Being asked Martha. ​“I was a good wife, mother and friend. I made people happy,” Martha whispered, unsure why she was feeling hollow. “And you, Martha? Were you happy? Did you make yourself happy?” Martha was confused. While she had been alive she dedicated her life to making others happy, certain that her greatest achievement would be leaving a legacy of good deeds and memories to be remembered fondly. Now that she was dead and those good deeds were being mentioned she felt hollow. The words about herself she had wanted to hear in her death didn’t sound so good anymore. The picture of the woman they were painting was of one who never stood up for herself and never did anything she enjoyed just for herself. It showed a woman who didn’t know how to say no.

There were many times Martha had wanted to say No. Like when her first best friend Akua asked her to be her maid of honour after getting pregnant by Martha’s then-boyfriend. She had not only shown a brave supportive face during the planning of the wedding and the wedding itself but forgiven them both and even helped fund the wedding when he had asked for a loan. Martha had wanted to scream and say no each time they had asked for a favour after the betrayal, but she had swallowed it and agreed. ​Martha had wanted to say no when her husband Greg had asked her to quit her air Project Manager job which she had loved so much so that she could be a stay-at-home mom and care for their kids while he studied for his Master’s. He told her that the money they would use to hire help could go into providing a better life for their kids. Besides, it wouldn’t be forever, just for two years while he studied and they lived on her inheritance, then she could resume her work. But after two years Greg had an opportunity to continue his Doctorate that he simply couldn’t pass up, Martha didn’t say no even though she wanted to. She didn’t say no either when Greg landed a job after that which required a lot of travel. Greg had been so happy and proud, so Martha had swallowed her nos and been happy for him too. There were so many times Martha had wanted to say no but smiled and agreed or endured, and now she wished she had cultivated the habit of saying no. ​ ​

“I thought making everyone happy was more important,” she whispered. “Why doesn’t it feel so good now? Why do I just feel empty?” The Divine being next to Martha gave her a sad smile. “Martha, you were not on earth only to make other people happy. Nobody is born to be a slave to the choices and dreams of other people. It was noble that you made other people happy, but you were supposed to make you happy too. Your first responsibility is to yourself, before any other person. You burned out much earlier than you would have if you had taken time to care for yourself as you did for others. If should have had the same energy to love yourself as you loved others. You were as important as everyone else, and your dreams and happiness mattered just as much."

Martha watched as her casket was carried out, her weeping family trailing behind. She stared after them for a long time, only looking away when she felt the light tap on her shoulder. “It is time to go, Martha.” Before they turned away toward the open void she saw a figure standing where her casket had been. It was an image of her fourteen-year-old self looking sadly at her, and before she went into the void she thought she heard, “Why didn’t you love me too?” But it was too late- too late to love herself.


As a woman you may be tempted to put everyone first before yourself; your partner, your children, and your happiness. While you're taking care of everyone, make sure you don't lose yourself, and you don't end up with regrets when it is too late. You matter too. Love yourself, you deserve it. ❤❤

Comments (2)

Jan 21, 2023

Great story! Women need to realise that their happiness also matters.

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