I have seen the ugly the face of death and how it can make mockery of a lively soul. One never prays to get slapped in the face with the acute reality of the death of a loved one, especially a spouse. It is never an easy pill to swallow, yet some humans make it a point of duty to ensure that one not only goes through such a dark hour painfully but come out of it worse off. I am talking about the plight of widows- the ones faced with the repugnant stench of some African cultural practices.
The ones who suddenly become bald because some others thought it respectful to uproot every strand of their hair because their Knights rode away into eternity. The ones who must have a cocktail of the bath water of their husband’s remains. The ones who must marry their husband’s sibling because tradition requires them to. The ones who get stripped of every little dream they worked hard to materialize because “it’s our brother’s property”. The ones that are left with the dreamy eyes of their children looking up to them pregnant with many hows and whys and whens.
My neighbor lost her husband last November to a strange illness. Her husband left her with a little cubicle to live in with her two young daughters. Three months down the lane, she has completed the 40 days of compulsory mourning and gnashing of teeth, she’s back on her feet. There are little black curls on her hair blossoming into a shy Afro. She is back to her business of hair dressing. Her daughters (who think their dad traveled) are back in school. She is taking each day as it comes. On this fateful Saturday, she takes her daughters out to a birthday party dressed very nicely and all hell seems to let loose! “She moved on too fast, maybe she killed him” “she even wore make up and dressed so nice, shouldn’t she bury her head somewhere and grieve?” “Whore! She was probably having an affair before her husband’s demise. Now she is free to hop from bed to bed” “This woman better face her children and stop making yanga everywhere”
People, how long must a woman mourn the loss of her husband? Why are men allowed to move on quickly but women expected to be miserable for the rest of their lives? We quickly tell widowers to remarry so someone can take care of their needs, especially if they are clerics so that they are “less distracted”. However, when a widow remarries, she is a whore! Widows are human beings NOT victims. Since when did overcoming challenges and moving on become a crime? My neighbor is now the evil whore who killed her husband because she moved on. Even though I have tried to educate her accusers, they say it is “that particular tradition”. I wonder who Mrs “that particular tradition” thinks she is walking into the corridors our lives on her high horse from no where and dictating how we live, even if it means being miserable for the rest of our lives? I would love for her to take several seats of unfairness or better still, walk out of our lives like the uninvited guest that she is.
My neighbor deserves a new chance at life, so does every widow. The loss of one’s spouse shouldn’t be the end of the world. There are too many widows in the world (remarried or not) who dusted themselves from the tribulation of losing their spouses and are better off. Don’t step all over that widow, help her get up instead.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Curaphotography