Welcome to another edition of the widowhood chronicles. It is a story many people can relate to; that of the man or woman who works himself or herself to death. A wise sage once said that so many people spend their lives trying to make their life’s better and when they get there, they find that they don’t have the health to enjoy this good life they have come into. This is true for both the rich and the poor. I once had a brother who wouldn’t come to church nor have time to spend with his family. He was always busy Sunday to Saturday, making money. One day I gave him a reality check. I said to him “you are accelerating your wife’s journey into widowhood because you are too busy to slow down and take care of yourself. If you continue like this, you would die and from heaven, you will see another man enjoying the fruit of your labours. He will live in your house, drive your cars, your kids would call him daddy and he will be sleeping with your wife on your bed in your house. All you can do from heaven is bite your finger and wish you had more wisdom.” The next Sunday, the brother was in church and from that day, things changed.
The idea behind the widowhood chronicles is to pass some life lessons. For example, we have dealt with why it is essential that wives should have some amount of independence by being wilfully engaged. Have a job or a business; don’t be fully dependent on your husband. We have dealt with how the man should have a will for the sake of the security of his family when he is gone. The problem with the African thinking is that they assume such to be an ill omen and when the rare occurrence happens, the family is left in limbo. As you read this story and the widowhood journey of several, take time and think of your family and where they would be if anything happens to you and make amends.
The Widowhood chronicles 12, Niniola: Pay attention to your health, don’t neglect small signs
I never dreamt I would be a widow. I witnessed the pain of widows from family and one or two colleagues. I never knew I would be joining the train.
My husband Leke was a very hardworking man and this was one of the features that made me fall for him. I had previously dated a lazy and uninspiring fellow who was constantly after my paycheck. After that relationship ended, a close friend of mine introduced me to Leke who worked in the same office as she did. He was an IT guru. He designed software for the company and took care of all their IT issues.
We met for the first time after work. My friend Tolu had insisted he took me out after closing. So he drove to my office and waited for me. When I came out, I saw this tall and lanky guy wearing glasses. My summary was….geek! He was good looking though he didn’t seem to be my type. He looked too serious.
We had a lovely dinner that night. He was very much into the whole computer thing but he also had a great sense of humour which I liked. Initially, it was hard to tell if he liked me or not but my friend told me that he wouldn’t shut up about me in the office. So our relationship started in full swing.
He was always on his computer working. Even when I spent the night at his apartment, he would spend the night working and fall asleep by 4 am. He wasn’t very romantic but he cared and showed it. We became close friends and lovers.
After a year of dating, he proposed. I was overjoyed and said yes. He wasn’t the one for pageantry so we opted for a quiet ceremony with close friends and family. Leke and I were only married for seven years before he passed. God blessed us with two children, a boy and a girl. He grew in his career as I did in mine. Ours was a strong family.
Leke was a workaholic and it began to affect our intimacy at some point. I sought counselling and we decided to have a family day. So after church every Sunday, we went off to a fun place with the children to bond. Also, we began to sneak off to hotels to get really romantic with no interruptions. We would drop off the children with my friend or his sister who had four children of her own. We became like a team.
His death came like a nightmare. One Saturday we prepared to go on one of our romantic trips. He complained about severe chest pains. I asked to drive him to the hospital he said he’d be fine that we should go on with our trip. After dropping off the children at my friend’s place we proceeded to a resort on the outskirts of town. We didn’t go far before his face contorted again in pain. I made him pull over and I took over the driving. I drove straight to our family hospital. He was admitted immediately. The doctors said it was a bad case of pneumonia. He was put on a ventilator immediately. I had to call my friend and explain what happened. I also called my sister in law.
My husband laboured for three weeks before he gave up. I rolled all over the hospital floor as the news was broken to me. I was shattered. My children cried with me. I woke up each morning hoping that the doctors would call and say it was all a mistake, that my Leke had survived after all. Family and friends were constant in my home even after the burial. Everyone had something nice to say about him.
It’s been three years. The children have moved on. We still have our family bonding time but there’s a huge vacuum to be filled at each outing. Pay attention to your health, don’t neglect small signs. My husband ignored the little pains here and there because of work now we are suffering for it emotionally.