While International Women’s Day is the world’s opportunity to look to a future defined by equality, it is also a fitting way to honour the women who are no longer with us. Women are the primary caretakers of children, which is why there is nobody who can fill the void left when a woman is taken away.

A year ago, Didie Nasir, mother, wife, friend, and CEO of Dynamics Inc, lost her long battle with Stage IV colon cancer. A well-known figure in the local fashion and beauty industries, Didie became an advocate for mental health awareness after going through depression as a result of her battle against colon cancer. When Didie passed away at the age of 35, her death sent shockwaves through the industries, and was even more devastating to her surviving husband and two kids. 

Although the death of Didie left him with unthinkable grief, Yassif found comfort where he could, including in his wife’s legacy. “It was her selflessness that I truly admired. Her compassion and wanting others to be a better version of themselves“. 

A father to two sons, Yassif ensures that certain values are present and instilled in his children. Having been raised in a matriarchal family home, Yassif understands the vital role that women bring to society. “I’ve always admired the strength in women, their leadership, as well as their ability to be sensitive,” says Yassif. 

What was the most difficult challenge that you had to overcome during the grieving process? 

There were many challenges. Because Didie and I were so close, grieving a loss of a spouse is the equivalent of losing half of yourself. Going through life on a day-to-day basis became very hard, from simple things, to life altering decisions for the kids and the business we started together. You rely on your other half to discuss matters, and you often experience them together. The fear I felt was that if I moved on, it might be an act of forgetting her.

However, I realised that by moving forward, I always had her in my mind. What she would say, think, do or choose, would be present in my thoughts and actions. The realisation dawned on me that she was a part of me, her laughter, her compassion, and her resolve, traits that I didn’t have before. So, death was a new beginning for me, a transformation that I had to go through having lost the centre of the world for my kids and I.

 

What is the one thing about Didie that you are most proud of?

It’s hard to choose one thing that I am most proud of. I was just so proud of her, in awe of her being her. She was passionate and cared deeply for those she loved. That level of dedication, translated to almost every part of her life, her work, her cooking, her side projects.

But it was her selflessness that I truly admired. Her compassion and wanting others to be a better version of themselves. This really bloomed after closing down DIDA, her cosmetics brand she co-founded. She wanted to spread her thoughts and lessons she learned on life’s journey. How one should not give up, because no one is truly alone, as we all struggle with life. She documented her struggles with cancer and how she struggled and fought it, in the hopes of inspiring others on how you can still fight for your life, even when given the greatest challenge.

 

Women play an important role in building families and shaping societies. What are some of the most important values that Didie instilled in your children? 

The best we can do as parents is to try and prepare them for what is to come in life. Didie and I often talked about and tried to teach our kids the fundamental principles of life. For her, it was important that her kids know that they needed to be good decent men. To treat others, especially women, with care and respect.

But what comes to mind and is most relevant to what the kids are going through now, is that life is hard. She didn’t believe sheltering our kids from the harshness of reality, so we tried to instill in them that they have to work hard, in work and in life, so that they can achieve what they want to achieve.

 

In your opinion, what are some of the ways men can be more supportive of women in the workforce?

Didie and I were complete opposites in almost every way that I can currently think of. It was because we had that natural balance and mutual respect, it made sense for us to work together to take our relationship to a level that can make a business operate successfully. There are things women are in the know and have a sense of, that men are completely clueless about. Because I was raised in a family of matriarchs, I never did see women as being subservient or lesser, or whatever cliched notions men cling to. Men should always see and think of women as equals.

Remember that life experiences count for a lot in the workplace, it influences your decisions, your take and angle on subjects and situations. So, taking in women’s perspectives would elevate any business or organisation.

 

We’re approaching one year since Didie has passed on. Is there a particular memory that resonates with you?

Throughout this grieving journey, I often think about our happiest moments, travelling with the kids or just the two of us, the food that we loved to eat. But as we near the anniversary of her passing, I think about the conversation we had, about what to do after she would pass away. How I should live my life, raise my kids, to lead others and become the best version of me without her guidance. And how to find love again.

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