You can call it a scandal but from where we come from, this sort of thing is common.
My brother died after the so called brief illness. He fell sick and according to his wife, she took him to the hospital after he had taken malarial drugs that didn’t work. Hospital admitted him and they gave him drips. He didn’t finish taking the drips before he died. Hospital claimed he was almost dead when he was brought in, my brother’s wife said there was something in the drip that killed him.
The bottom line is my brother died, all the accusations and counter accusations couldn’t bring him back. With the benefit of hindsight, I think he was diabetic, they didn’t know, they didn’t ask, the drip they gave him contained glucose and so exacerbated his condition and so his organs collapsed and he died. And no, we didn’t do an autopsy.
My family was of course angry with his wife. She didn’t notify us when he was sick. Again, let’s be fair, we reacted like that because we have never liked the woman. She had been married to my brother for almost 15 years with three children but she just never truly integrated into the family. She is a snob, looks down on everyone and never allowed anyone to come stay in their house. She is that kind of woman.
So when her husband got sick, would she come telling anyone?
No, now. She would take care of him the best way she could that’s the way I see it.
So, brother was buried but my family insisted the wife had to do some cultural cleansing that widows did when their husbands died and that’s where the wahala began.
This woman refused!
She refused to do anything, shave her hair, wear black cloth, sit on the ground for one week until after the mourning period. She said she had three children to take care of and mourning for 6 months was too much!
She said, her husband was dead and buried and she wasn’t going to perform any ritual because it won’t bring him back!
True. But this is tradition! She carried on like she was too big to mourn or whatever, I don’t understand the woman!
My family dragged it with her; they went to remove brother’s things from the house, his personal effects…stuff, sha. I didn’t partake, I was angry the woman wouldn’t even honour our dead brother with a few customary mourning rituals…you know, she may not sit on the ground or shave her hair but biko wear black now! To show the man you loved is no more, wear black…
She said since he was dead, what would black do, bring him back?
I tire for the woman’s wahala. I just packed her to one side.
Then the rumours began, the woman was having an affair after just six months after our brother’s death!
See, I try to be as liberal as possible. I am also a woman so when this talk entered my ears, I said, “Come, if it was brother who lived and she died, won’t we by now be arranging girls for him to sample?”
But my people where angry, they said this and that, they said it means she had a hand in brother’s death, she must have poisoned him…
I said, “she poisoned him and gained what? I don’t like the woman but let’s be rational here.”
Anyway, after like a few more months, not sure but brother hadn’t been gone for 8 months then, guess what happened? Our uncle, same father and mother with our dad, said he was going to marry brother’s wife!
This uncle is as useless as they come. Yes he has money but he is as stingy as…he told us that since my two other brothers have said they wouldn’t marry our brother’s widow, he would “Cover her shame!”
Wetin person no go see for this life!
Yeah granted, one of the male could have married her according to our custom, that is, if a man dies, his brothers could take his widow for wife but an uncle…I hear it is done but you know, it’s just kind of dirty, sha.
So we found out uncle had been the one encouraging her not to mourn the traditional way, had been the one who replaced all items my brothers had taken from her home that time…they took his car, clothes and a few items…like I said before, I never supported their moves but they were grieving for their late brother and didn’t think a widow who won’t even mourn him deserves to use his belongings. You understand me?
What the issue now is, when did this their love start? Before or after brother’s death?
That’s where we are now o. True we can’t stop them from seeing each other but was this what led to my brother’s death? Were they carrying on behind his back? This sudden love is bizarre.
Uncle and my brother’s wife are shamelessly parading themselves as husband and wife. I feel really sad for my dead brother. It is not right, abi?
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande)