I have been studying for my mother’s life after the death of my father in 2003. She has been a strong woman, brave and a fighter. She doesn’t give up easily when it comes to her goals. She doesn’t complain no matter what’s at stake. Sometimes, I wonder how she manages to put on a smiling face every day, how she manages to put on a bold face every day no matter the circumstances that come on her way; how she has been able to train us to this moment. I wonder how she reacts whenever she misses my father. She must have missed her husband of many years many times but who would she complain to? Her children? God? I don’t know how she overcomes all these things but I believe that widows are strong people and in whatever way we think we can help them, we should. We should try to sustain those smiles on their faces and give them hope of tomorrow. They say, a husband is a cover for her wife and when a woman loses her husband, she loses part of herself and that is true. Mother has been my number one fan and a role model.
Some years back, I stormed into her room to see mother watching the photographs of the father in between smile and tears — her fears increased the tempo of her heartbeats and the atmosphere was tensed. She was not aware that someone was inside the room. I stood there in tears, too. I tried not to break into her thought as I made for the door and left. I’d once been told that if a woman wanted something she did not have, no matter how elusive that thing was, if her feet do not restrain her from chasing it, she would eventually grab it but not when the love of their life is gone to return no more.
Some of these women may be in their thirties or late forties but refused to remarry after the death of their husbands. Some of them did this not because they were strong enough to be alone but because they were afraid that the new husband might not accept their children. He might not like or love them just like her or see them as his children. Even if he does, his family members may not want them and so, they decide to remain single for their children’s interest and some may decide not to remarry because of the love they have for their children. They have to stay and train up their children. Give them a better life and future as they desire. Some may not because of the love for their dead husbands. Widows are strong people so as widowers who never remarried.
However, these women should not be seen as beggars when they come to you for help. Help them in the little way you can. Put a smile on their faces. They are not beggars but victims of circumstances. Who fate seized their entities in a way to deny them of love and affection. Show them some love if you come across them. Give them gifts no matter how little it is, they will appreciate it. I’m always happy to see churches set aside one Sunday to celebrate widows and widowers. They present gifts to them and pray for them. This, in some ways, lifts their spirits and help them realize that some people still care about them and well being.
If your mother is a widow or your father is a widower, please, don’t provoke him or her. Don’t make her think about your father and don’t make him think about your mother. Help them in a little way you can. It does not matter how small it may look but just help. There is this woman in my street, her husband was a soldier. She was living happily with him and their three children; one boy, two girls, until Boko Haram came. Until bombing started. Until Nigeria started taking much interest in Boko Haram than her Army. Her husband was among the people sent to Sambisa. He went and never returned. Nobody knows anything about him again till now. We don’t know if he was killed or wounded. Nobody knows if he’s alive or not but we have all concluded that he’s dead because he has been missing for long.
Now, the woman is a widow catering for three wonderful children, a job she once shared with her husband. Some weeks ago before she packed out of our street, some people came and offered her presents. They prayed for her and promised to come back again. Later, a friend of hers told me how happy she was when those people presented those gifts to her. According to her, she had nothing to cook for her children in the past Christmas before those people came. She had planned that she would take them to their father’s sister’s place for Christmas since nothing was at home. But a miracle happened and those people brought those items for her. Imagine how happy she would have been after they left. On 23 December 2019, we planned on visiting a few of them I know around my house to give them some gifts but we failed because the money we were expecting didn’t arrive. And some of our plans failed us, too. They failed us in many ways which I may not likely go into details for now. But my take here is that always try as much as possible to leave on the faces of these widows and widowers because they need it from you. Help them in any way you can.