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LifeStyle of Wednesday, 7 July 2021


My husband is the reason I wake up at dawn and look around

Photo used to illustrate the story via Silent Beads Photo used to illustrate the story via Silent Beads

It was the dawn of 6th March 2021. I was asleep when I heard someone whimpering. At first, it was very feeble so I ignored it. I mistook it as a snore. I continued sleeping. Then it got louder and louder. I lifted my head to see my husband buried in his own sweat. He was sweating and shaking at the same time. I asked, “Hey what is wrong with you?” He tried saying something but the words didn’t come out.” I rushed to the bathroom and grabbed a towel. I rushed to his side and started wiping the sweat away. Minutes later, the sweat would come up again. I would clean it, sit and wait for the next batch of sweat.

At some point, I felt he needed something cold on his skin. I soaked the towel in a bowl of cold water, squeezed it, and put it on his forehead. Anytime the towel touched his skin, he squirmed. He signaled me to stop. But he kept sweating so I continued cleaning the sweat with a dry towel instead. I checked the time, it was 4:15am. I said, “The morning will come soon so we go to the hospital. He nodded. He kept sweating and shivering until 5:45am when I stepped out to go for a taxi. He got admitted that day. They prescribed a lot of drugs that I didn’t have enough to cover. I called his uncle and told him about it. He said, “It’s not daybreak here yet. Immediately it’s morning, I will send you money.”

God Bless that man wherever he is. Any time I go on my knees and pray, I mention his name. I tell God, “I see you through him. When you said you’ll send help my way, I didn’t know how that help was going to come but I look at uncle Jacob and realize the channel through which you send us your help. Bless him abundantly and keep his grass evergreen.” Ever since Uncle Jacob agreed to help us, he never defaulted. He will send money every month and even send money for the children’s school fees. He’ll call us every Sunday and ask how we are doing. He’ll then say, “Don’t hesitate to call on me whenever you need something.”

Later that day, I got the money. I bought all the drugs they needed to keep him stable. But his condition didn’t get well. Two days later, I was overwhelmed. Taking care of the kids and running to the hospital every now and then got me tired. Plus, I wanted to be with him constantly, without leaving his side. Leaving the kids behind meant I had to rush back and cater for them. I needed to go to school too. I called his mom and told her what the issue was. She came the next day to help take care of his son. Two days later, she also fell sick. Her joints—she couldn’t move easily so she had to stay behind and take care of the kids while I go to the hospital every day.

School gave me a week off. After a week, my husband’s sickness got worse so I couldn’t go back. The headmaster was kind enough to cover up for me but after two weeks when I hadn’t returned to school, he got worried. There was not so much he could do to help again so he said, “Just come in the morning and leave early. That would be enough.” I did. I left the hospital at dawn, came home, and got ready for school while my in-law took care of the kids. We called people from his family for help, but none came to our aide. When my mother-in-law’s joint problem got severe, I had to send my kids to my parents so I can have the free time to take care of my husband.

April 3rd 2021, a day before Easter Sunday, I left his bedside around 11pm while he was sleeping. He had been stable for two days. Doctors assured me if he continued like that, they’ll discharge him before that very week ends. I left his bedside with calm in my heart knowing the week was going to be a better week. I was at the hospital around 5:30am on Easter Sunday. When I got to his ward, he wasn’t there. A nurse met me and asked me to follow her. I thought she was taking me to the new ward where they’ve taken my husband to. We got to her office and she asked me to sit down. She looked into my face and gave me the news; “We lost your husband.” I asked, “What do you mean you lost my husband? He was getting better. I left here only last night and he was breathing just fine. How did you lose him?” She said, “I know how you feel. Losing a husband isn’t something any woman will take lightly. Accept my condolence. We did all we could but when death comes around, there’s little we mortals can do.”

I started wailing. “What do I do and where do I go from here?” I asked myself. “How did I become a widow at 33? Who do I turn to in this hour of misery? I cried my lungs out. When I thought of calling someone, it was uncle Jacob who came to mind. It was late dawn where he was but he picked my call. Immediately he heard my voice and heard the sobs in my voice he said, “No…no…don’t tell me what I suspect.” I said, “Yeah, we lost him.” He shouted, “Oh my God!” and then hang up the call. When he called two hours later, I felt the sadness in his voice. He had cried. He said, “It’s sad for us because we know what we had missed but I believe he’s relieved. All this suffering just to live? I believe he’s fine wherever he is.”

The news got to his family in the morning. By evening my house was flooded with people. They all came to offer their condolence. I was grateful for their words. They sought to put calm and motivation in my life and it worked. The family set the date for the funeral without telling me anything. They decided on where he would be buried without telling anything. They made arrangements for his burial without taking a word from me. All they did was tell me what to do at any given time. I wasn’t angry. I had used all my anger on death so I had no anger left in me.

I wanted uncle Jacob to be around for the funeral but he couldn’t. The date didn’t favor him. If They pushed the date a week backward or a week forward, he could have made it but the family said what they said and no one could change that. Jacob told me, “He’s dead and gone, what else could they take from you?”

He was buried on the 8th of May. Surprisingly, I couldn’t cry. Throughout the funeral, I was calm and reflective. It was when he was being lowered into his grave that tears got trapped within my throat. I couldn’t stand but push it out. Cried like a baby but all through the tears, what uncle Jacob told me kept echoing in my head; “It’s sad for us because we know what we had missed but I believe he’s relieved. All this suffering just to live? I believe he’s fine wherever he is.”

The dust had settled on his funeral but it’s hard for me to believe that he’s gone. Sometimes, I wake up at dawn and look around for him. I still wear black because I’m the widow he left behind but through it all, I’m comforted, knowing that he fought to stay alive until the end.

Let me also use this opportunity to thank all those who wanted to help me when my story was published. I received tones of screenshots from silent beads from people who expressed interest in helping me. What I needed at that moment were prayers and I knew you’ll give me that. I shared my story to motivate those who were having partners who didn’t work for genuine reasons. Sometimes, joblessness finds us. It’s part of the ‘worse’ couples promised to go through with each other. I needed to share my story to give motivation to myself and in turn motivate others. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words that day I’m a better person now.