You know, tradition is very important; modernity makes us think we can trample on the traditions of our people and get away with it; but tradition must be observed so long as we live in this land. Although, I am a Christian but when it comes to traditional things, I give to Caesar his due.
This is what happened; you see that lovely house over there? It was built by one woman, single handedly; she was my friend. While she was building it, she had separated from her husband, the man was busy chasing skirts all over Lagos. And it wasn’t as if he couldn’t afford to give her any kind of financial support because he was doing quite well at that time, too but he didn’t. So this woman built it and at the same time sent all her children to good schools. Guess what happened after she finished building? The man then moved in with her. Yes o.
That’s what happened and people said to her, “Leave him alone, after all, you have children for him,” and that’s what she did. It was shortly after that, that he began to fall sick. His ways caught up with him, I guess.
He was always just falling sick; diabetes today, heart condition tomorrow, high blood pressure the next day…you know, he lived rough, drank a lot and womanized plenty; you know, he was was generally reckless, so all of these were expected and it was my friend who was there to nurse him, pack his shit and keep him alive for more than 23 years.
Very few people knew the man lived in that house because at some point, he was bedridden, you know, he wasn’t able to do many things for himself, it was this same woman who was his nurse, day in and out. So it also meant she was with him 24/7, though she got a nanny, still, she mostly took care of him.
I think that is when she should have notified his family, telling them, “Hey, come o, una broda don sick o, I want to take him home so that una too can take care of him o.” She should have sent him home. He was a bini man, a titled chief but no, she kept taking care of him here and over the years, he grew progressively worse. Then he died.
That was when she made her second mistake; when she decided not to take him home for burial! Ha!
Who does that?
You have lived with this man long enough to know his culture and customs.
Why would you not take his corpse home for burial? He died at almost 70years, he should have been taken home. Doesn’t she know the traditions and customs of the people she married?
Didn’t she have people to advise her?
I was abroad when the man died and so had no idea she was planning to bury him in Lagos. I would have strongly advised against it.
Anyway, she decided to bury the man here and you know what, none of her husband’s relatives showed up for the burial! Why would they? She should have taken the corpse home!
You are burying a man you had been married to for more than 30 something years and none of his relatives showed up? It means two things; first, they are accusing you of having a hand in the death of their brother and when you have that kind of guilt hanging on your neck, no soap can wash you clean; secondly, even if you get the soap to wash off the guilt they have pinned on you, they’re telling you, they have no hand in anything that comes to you afterwards.
My sister, there are plenty of things that even tradition will demand of you especially in the matters of life and death. This woman should have known that when the man was sick, she ought to have notified his people…yes, I know his was a prolonged illness, over the years, and so many of his people knew about it but you have to formally inform them. Or even take him home so that they can take care of him themselves. She didn’t do that.
Anyway, I think she darned the consequences, held a lavish party for the burial and afterwards her problem started.
She began to see the man everywhere. She would see him not just in her dreams but live, like you in front of me!
Serious matter, o!
She would be in the car and be telling her driver, see my husband, see my husband on the road….see my husband in the car with us…see my husband standing by the window…”
Tradition, tradition…the man’s spirit became restless…and who knows, the people at home may also have a hand in this matter, too. They claimed the man is angry that she didn’t take him home; but I think home people too have a hand, they may have conjured his spirit to go for her to punish her or how else would you explain this?
This went on for a few months, she was losing her mind. I mean, she was the only one seeing what she was seeing, no one else did. And to make matters worse, her children were all abroad at that time, though they came for their father’s burial, but had returned to base before their mother began to display; so there was no one to go stay with her or help her that period except her driver and nanny; she was basically without family around her.
Who knows, if she had taken the man home for burial, you know there would have been certain rites, rituals that would have been done, or performed to send the departed away, none of these were done…she did wrong here, even I know she did wrong.
A few weeks later, she was dead! Just like that!
Ha, that kind of thing, you also know it’s not exactly, just like that. Those who are into these kinds of traditional things will tell you it’s expected. She died and you know what? Her corpse wasn’t even given a proper burial because it’s is cursed. You know, even her children didn’t come home for her burial. She was practically discarded, they buried in one carton and tossed to the ground, like a chicken.
I fear tradition!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)