Hi Ross T, my name is Richard, I’m in my late 40s, I recently lost my wife which is the reason I wanted to reach out to find widows and widowers who are walking this same path because I must say, it hasn’t been easy for me since my wife passed on. Here’s my story.
I met my wife during my internship programme in an organization, we were both interns there and later on became close friends before we began dating. Chioma was effortlessly the most beautiful girl in that organization, her physique was to die for and thus there was a scramble as to who would be lucky enough to date her among the guys.
It was with a great sense of triumph that I finally became her man and the envy of other guys. I was so happy the day she agreed to be my girl. I knew for sure that we would get married but I never had the slightest inkling that this was the first step into widowhood.
Chioma was the perfect girlfriend and wife material except for one thing that dented our otherwise perfect relationship. And that was the fact that my girl was constantly battling depression and low self-esteem. This was at first challenging for me to accept because one could hardly tell except you were close to her.
I also found it absurd because I couldn’t imagine someone with her kind of intelligence and beauty having low self-esteem. It wasn’t until when she opened up to me about her past and background that I realized how deep her issues were.
As a child, Chioma was severely molested by her guardian who happened to be her aunt’s husband and she was also constantly blamed for her parents’ death. Chioma’s mum died while giving birth to her and her dad passed on in an auto accident when she was ten, leaving her to the mercy of relatives.
Childhood pains: Molestation and abuse
As a teenager, she had no one to properly look after her and thus was the victim of several vices. At some point, her uncle got her pregnant from constantly abusing her and when the wife (Chioma’s aunt) found out, she was secretly taken for abortion and the matter died a natural death without her rapist being punished.
The aunt told Chioma not to ruin her home the way she ruined her parents’ lives. She was branded an ogbanje (evil child) who had come to tear the family apart and bring bad luck to those taking care of her.
All these made her who she became in later years. She was always second-guessing herself, blaming herself for misfortunes around her and constantly nursing suicidal thoughts which I didn’t realise on time. Whenever we got into a fight, however small it may be, Chioma would blow it out of proportion, insinuate things I never meant and would sometimes hurt herself just to get at me.
Marriage ups and downs
Anyways, I didn’t know she had the tendencies to hurt herself until we eventually got married and I began to see the deeper side of her. My concern about my wife grew when she would hurt herself whenever we had a fight or misunderstanding. Even though our 10 years of marriage had more ups than downs, I grew weary of her extreme ways of venting her emotions and anger and tried to help her deal with it to no avail.
In hindsight though, I’d say I didn’t do my best and could have handled things better so we didn’t have to fight that much. However, I kept hoping she’d see the light someday and change but I wasn’t expecting things to get any worse until the day she did the unthinkable.
We had gotten into a fight in which I angrily told her I was tired of the marriage, her irrational way of behaving and thinking. She had compared me to the men who hurt her in the past and said I was no different from them and that she hates me. So I fired back that since she was so full of hate for my kind, she could do without me and the marriage and she took me seriously.
Suicide and journey to widowhood
On that evil day, I had left for work in an angry and bitter mood not seeing any way things were going to get better for us. I was to pick up our daughters later that day from school which I did. That day was a beautiful and lovely day. I had no inkling that it was the last day I would be seeing my wife. Neither did I realise that at the end of that day, my journey into widowhood would have been completed.
On getting home with the girls, the doors were unlocked which was unusual since my wife usually doesn’t get home before us. I called out her name to let her know we were back but got no response. After settling the girls in, I then went to change my clothes and wash my face in the bathroom and that was when I found her in our bathtub which had turned into a pool of blood.
Chioma had cut herself deep and bled out in the hot tub. I quickly rushed her to a nearby hospital with the help of a female neighbor who was the only one around at the time. I left the girls crying as they saw their mum being carried out, lifeless. My wife was pronounced dead on arrival and that was how she plunged I and the girls into grief and emptiness.
The widowhood experience
Now, all I’m left with is constant worries. I’m worried about our daughters’ future and mine as well. Apart from the fact that I’ve had to deal with both vocal and silent criticisms as to the part I played in my wife’s death, I’ve also not been able to forgive myself for letting things get out of hand, thereby denying my children of their mum.
It’s not been easy acting as father and mother to them, I’ve had so many clueless first experience as a solo parent. I’m also trying to fill the void she left and to find a new normal. Some family and friends have been helpful but it’s never the same, as they don’t fully understand.
Still, every single moment, my mind continues to run a film of my married life, in the foreground and background. That emptiness and the void never goes away. Life becomes a burden, a weight on the heart that increases every day. I’m also worried for my girls who are 7 and 5-years-old, what if something happens to me tomorrow, will they now be left orphaned? I’ve always thought if I died, at least they would have their mum to fall back on, I never thought she’d leave before me.
It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions that no one can understand, leaving you feeling exasperated.
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Mental health issues are often ignored until it is too late. Even the sufferers of this condition don’t often realise something is wrong with them. Careful observance of behavioral patterns of the sufferer shows up the signs. These are some of the signs of mental health in women and in both men and women. What is required is extreme understanding.
First of all, try and get the sufferer to see a mental health specialist. Because of the stigma associated with mental health, there usually is great reluctance from the patient to go for counseling. Try all means to get the patient into some form of therapy. The spouse should also be a part of the therapy. Therapy helps to alleviate the matter.
Before marrying someone with mental health issues, you must realise that it is a life long commitment. You would need to be much more patient and understanding than usual. You would also need to attend some form of therapy to help you deal with the issues that would come up.
In many cases, things do get better but you must understand that you are dealing with an individual that suffered some damage during their most formative years. They see life differently from everyone else because they have been dealt a life different from everyone else.
Always remember what the objective is and you would have the pleasure of seeing your spouse blossom and bloom. It is however not an easy task and you would experience several shades of frustration and relapse. It is, however, worth it because these individuals are really sweet and great personalities. They just need a bit more understanding than everyone else.