It’s over one year now since I buried my husband. He was a good man. He was tall, some six-foot plus, a very handsome man, good father and wonderful husband. They said I killed him. What sort of woman will kill a man who is the epitome of manhood?
My husband, Jacob always treated me like a queen though; I am not from the same part of the country with him. While I am Yoruba he came from Nwebiama in Rivers State. His people never really liked me, same way my own people treated my husband with suspicion but we didn’t worry about our people’s bigotry, we were content with each other.
We met at the University and we have been together since then. We got married, despite misgivings from both our sides and had three children, two boys and a girl.
A few years ago, when we moved to our own house in Arepo area of Lagos State, we were happy, although we were mostly surrounded by bushes, it was a new area, there weren’t too many houses around at that time.
Now, this may also have been the reason why we had plenty of mosquitoes. There were so many uncompleted buildings around us, which, I think may also account for why our place was also swarming with assorted insects and mosquitoes. So when my husband began to fall sick, the first thing we thought of was malaria. You know the usual symptoms, headache, general body ache and feverishness especially in the evenings.
We Nigerians are doctors, we know when malaria strikes or so we think. So my husband stopped on his way from work one day with antimalarial drugs. Unfortunately for us, my husband lost weight drastically while he was taking medications for malaria and instead of getting better, he became worse.
At this time, I was seriously worried, so we went to the Ikeja General Hospital where he was diagnosed with acute malaria and typhoid and was admitted.
He never responded to treatment even after medication was changed. So the doctors asked us to do more tests. Then they discovered he had developed kidney problem from the drugs he had been using. With kidney problems came the need for daily dialysis to keep him alive.
We began dialysis, but at this time, things were really bad. One, we didn’t even have much money, two, we had two children at the University and one is in secondary school. So money was a bit stiff. We had little savings and though my husband’s boss was generous by giving us N1. 500,000.00 at the beginning, it eventually became like a severance pay because after being away for six months, we didn’t get anything from the office again. I don’t blame them really.
When I couldn’t meet up with dialysis on a regular basis, my husband developed breathing problems. He was placed on oxygen but we had no money to continue with dialysis.
He died a few days later.
My in-laws were angry, saying I should have told them immediately my husband got sick. I agree I didn’t tell them that on time and that’s because I didn’t think I should report a case of malaria to my in laws after more than 23 years of marriage. We were treating malaria, until we discovered it wasn’t malaria, that he had a kidney problem. I was told the drugs he took contributed to his breakdown.
It was when he was admitted at the General Hospital, that I told them he was on admission. That was when I realised he might be in danger.
My sister-in-law is the eldest female in my husband’s house. She was the one who first attacked me when we carried his corpse to the village.
“You have finally succeeded at killing my brother! God will judge you. You have used your Yoruba juju to kill him after separating him from his family, you will see yourself! ” She bellowed at me.
“Mama Chichi, I did not kill Jay. I loved Jay with all my heart, he was the father of my children, how would I kill someone I loved?” I replied.
I was called all sorts of names but the wound in me is deeper than their words can reach. I just stared on, wondering what life without my Jay would be.
Though I have mourned my husband for the required one year, I will remain in mourning for the rest of my life. A good man is gone, not because I killed him but because we trusted the chemist shop where we bought the malaria drugs from.