No One Can Plan Life, Only Live It

Feb 12 , 2022
By Eden Sahle

I have not dated until a little over two years ago. I was raised to focus on education and building a career first. I did exactly that and became comfortable being a single woman. I used to tell my father I would be single for life and be happy about it. Although my father never pressured me, he wished to see me get married and start a family whenever the topic came up.

Over the years, some decent men asked me for marriage, but I felt we would not be a good fit. Those who knew me closely at times joked that a woman who cast off too many suitors would end up with the worst ones later. Indeed, my criteria were strict. I was looking for a kind, spiritual, committed, honest, and family-oriented man.

Finally, I felt like I had found that man. He did not only fulfil what I was looking for in a man but also pleasantly resembled my father's spirit and character. We were engaged. My father could not be happier. Back in September, he threw us a party for the day of Shemgelena (the traditional giving of my hand to marriage). Both our families celebrated. The fact that we both did not have previous relationships greatly benefited us as we did not bring past hurt or subject one another to a contest with past partners.

Life was just good. I thought I had figured out life, including relationships. After all, I have read so many books about romance and family, I convinced myself the tricky part was behind us. There seemed to be only happy times. We planned our lifetime together, including everything in between, such as raising children.

Then my beloved father’s sudden passing came out of nowhere last month. I was unprepared and oblivious to how to deal with the grief. Just like that, plans with my fiancé shuttered. Unfortunately for me, it took the tragic passing of my father to learn that life cannot be planned. A season meant for my wedding celebration turned into a time of grief. Happy times changed into deeply wounding despair. Both our extended families expected to meet one another at our wedding but met at my father’s mourning visitation. Unlike the plan, our families bonded, organising my father’s funeral. Both our families, who were supposed to be happy sharing the joy of our martial unity, now shared our pain and grief.

Life is not as we think we know it. It has ugly twists and turns that break and make us simultaneously. Lack of control is cruel. Planning is pointless, while living in a moment is rewarding. Optimism is ephemeral, but being brave pays off.

In grieving the loss of my father, I learned new things about love and relationship. My fiancée remained anchored to me, comforting me as stubbornly as I needed to be during my difficult time. It was yet a lesson from life that proved there is much that remains unspoken and unwritten in books about love and relationships.

People can show us love and encourage us to hope again. They do as such by listening to us, holding our hands during our difficult times and empathising with our fluctuating emotions no matter how frustrating it could get. There is no more outstanding care for a person than continuing to believe in them, however hopeless and broken they can get. It is believing in them even when they have lost faith in themselves and do not see themselves ever healing emotionally. It is patience without the display of judgment.

The incredibly painful loss of my father and my subsequent grief, in a strange twist of fate, is also the evidence that people closest to me will be by my side through thick and thin. It is a realisation no personal advice or book has brought to my attention.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 12,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1137]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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