By Adenike Ladipo Lagos, Nigeria.
I got up today and I remembered a lot of my yesterdays, and I just looked up and began to wonder how far I have come. When I consider many women in a similar conditions who are still struggling with life. Each new day had its special package and I started healing from the inside, many considered me brave, but I always say to them, it’s not about being brave; rather it is more of harnessing the strength from within with the one without.
The period before my husband’s burial was the most uncertain time of my life, though just a week interval, yet it seemed like forever, lots of things were going on in mind, questions on what would become of me and my children, I was so eaten up by fear, yet I appear calm on the outside, I kept on asking how I was to conduct myself, I lost appetite completely., My thought,was how can I eat food when my husband laid lifeless somewhere, that scared me so much, words failed me to express what my feeling was. As the day progressed, I became more apprehensive of the event that was about to unfold, how do you prepare for a burial? I was nervous, then I flashed back, I remembered when we were preparing for our wedding. I was so nervous then too, only this time around it was preparation to bid him final goodbye, at this point I paused and tears stated rolling down again, you mean I will never see him again, I will not have someone to call me “woman” as he used to. I can still remember then, he will call me, “woman am on my way, make vegetable with cold eba down for me” those were his words and I will scold him “Mr Ladipo, your English get as e be”.He was a good friend, I miss him every day, though we had our own moments of disagreement, every marriage does, yet it remain fresh in my memory, he does not go to sleep with anger, he solved every issue before bedtime.
The day of the burial came with so much apprehension, I was shaking from the inside,. How do I go on from this point, I saw faces, some gloomy, some smiling with words of hope and assurance, so many promises I got, yet I was careful not to cling to them. I looked down at the grave side, stared at my husband’s coffin amid tears all I could mutter was “why did you leave us…” I raised my head and reached out for my children, it dawned on me at that point; the journey to loneliness had just just begun., A new chapter of life just opened for me.
As the tradition required, I was to stay in confinement for a period of 41days I was called by my in-laws that I just have to follow and keep the tradition, but in all honesty, I was more than willing to go through with it, how do I show my husband respect even in his death, and it turned out to be a spiritual journey.
The period of 41 days of confinement, mourning as a widow was a process, a learning process, learning to take charge, a period of self-rediscovery, I learnt courage, I learnt to push stress down inside and chew it up, I learnt to control my temperament –anger, grow spiritually, became independent, my emotion was tamed and put in check.
In all honesty, I still made my blunders, I stumbled here and there, this many a times made me remember that I am still human and the role of perfection could only be left to the Amighty!
(To be continued next week )