The story I read last week about the Catholic man and his sick wife has given me courage to talk about my own situation. Please read and help.
I am not a catholic, far from it. I am a Muslim. I buried my wife a seven months ago, she died of breast cancer and I now want to remarry: her best friend.
Yes, that is my own dilemma.
I met my wife Aminat through her best friend, Toyibat. Toyi, as we call her is a childhood friend of sorts because, we grew up on the same street but there was no relationship between us until we met at the Polytechnic. She was studying Mass Comm while I was studying Business Admin. You know how you meet and you bond with people you are familiar with from home in a foreign place?
We just began to talk once we found ourselves among strangers and soon became like brother and sister.
It was on one of my visits to Toyi’s place of accommodation, (we lived off campus) one of those half completed buildings rented out to students in town, that I met Amina, her friend. Amina and I became an item almost immediately.
We courted throughout school and I made a promise to marry her. We did our Nikkai immediately I got a job after NYSC and our marriage was blessed with two lovely children – Samira and Nadiya; 6 and 3 years.
Sometime last year, my wife began to complain of pain in her breast, after several tests, several theories, it was found to be breast cancer, stage three!
Chemo, drugs, radiotherapy…my wife was hospitalized for a while that was when she called for Toyi to come to our rescue, especially with the kids since I was mostly with her in the hospital.
It was at LASUTH and you know a relative has to be with the patient so they can run errands for them; buy injections or drip or medicine the doctor needs, food, help them get up to take a bath…you know the arrangement at General hospitals, now?
But after sometime, Toyi and I would swap, she would stay at the hospital while I took care of the children and once they go to school, I will quickly rush to my shop at Shomolu where I run a printing press.
I always went by because if I did not show face, my boys would rip me off and steal me blind and you also know, this kind of sickness my wife has requires constant money, serious money. I was juggling office and hospital.
And again, let me say this, calling Toyi was my wife’s idea. She didn’t want people to know the kind of disease worrying her. Amina believed someone in our family was behind it. She told me she had a dream that one of them gave her food in her dream and after that was when they found out she had cancer.
Don’t ask me that question of whether I believe it or not, it is what my wife told me and if she believed it, I would not doubt her. She didn’t want too many people knowing she was sick like that. She was always in pains, severe pains that no amount of injections helped her…Amina suffered o! So I think she didn’t want people seeing her so weak.
Anyway, as I was saying, Toyi came to our rescue. You know, she had some disappointment in life. When we all finished, there was this guy she met. He finished from UI. I think they met at one of those weddings in the family. I don’t know much about him. I just know the guy had promised to marry Toyi but he wanted to go and do a Master’s program in one of these European countries. No not UK, I think Sweden or Poland or…was it even Canada? See, I don’t know. He went abroad, he finished his programme and married an oyibo woman.
So of course, Toyi was in a very bad shape for some time, and it was my wife who helped her stabilize. But Toyi is a smart woman, she began to do small, small trade, she began to take care of herself and her parents. Small time, she had a small boutique and business was going well. So when Amina called, Toyi left everything to come to us.
At this time, I had to tell a few of our family members because I swear, as a man, I had to prepare myself for the worst. I told myself, though she says I shouldn’t tell anyone but God forbid she suddenly dies, what soap will I use to wash myself clean of her death?
I told her parents, her siblings and mine.
Thank God I did.
Three months later my wife died after surgery which they said was successful. She was in massive pain…sorry I am getting emotional…
Everyone saw how Toyi was such a help to my wife, everyone thanked and prayed for her because my wife was always telling them to thank her for us.
After Amina passed on. I was devastated. I took my children to my wife’s people for some time because I just couldn’t cope.
Toyi was bringing food once in a while. She would help tidy the house,l. I am usually not an untidy person but I just didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to get up from bed or eat or live…I was just not in the mood for anything. Plus, I reaslise it has been such an exhausting job caring for my wife during her period of sickness.
One day, the devil got up to drink water. What do I mean?
Toyi had come to the house to help me clean up yet again. I just realized my life would be completely different from what I had planned with Amina. That was when I finally burst into tears. All these while, almost four months after my wife died, I hadn’t shed a tear. I was too exhausted. That day, it was as if, my heart would break, I was crying like a small boy. Toyi came to the parlor and tried to comfort me.
Why I was crying? I mean, I had seen Amina’s death from afar, even long before she died but I wasn’t even prepared for it.
I don’t know what happened after that. I think we men interpret these things differently. All I wanted most in my life that period was to have sex with a woman. I held this woman and began to undress her. She was surprised and was fighting me. But I held her, I begged her, I was still crying o.
This is madness abi?
I made love to Toyi. I didn’t plan it, I didn’t see her as Toyi at that time, I just had a need, an urge that I wanted to satisfy. That is what happened. After we made love, we both slept. Woke up and did it again.
You want true confession? That is what happened.
See, I don’t know about love or not. I know I like this woman, a lot! I know my children are safe with her. I know she sacrificed for me and my late wife, I know I want to make her happy. That’s what I know.
Yes, we’ve also ‘met’ a few times since then.
So when she came to me that she is pregnant for me; just two months ago. I had to man up and take responsibility. Toyi is 36years. Will I ask her to go an abort it? My own child?
She is afraid of what people will say, she thinks they will say we conspired to kill my wife…
I will not stop people from talking but I will not send her packing either. She has refused to move in with me, no problem for now. I will make arrangements for our Nikkai. Islam doesn’t say I can’t remarry, it’s just the circumstances now but I will take responsibility and I will marry her.
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)