WIDOWS ARE NOT BEGGARS
I have been studying my mother's life after the death of my father in 2003. She has been strong woman, brave and a fighter. She doesn't give up easily when it comes to her goals. She doesn't complain no matter what's at stake. Sometimes, I wonder how she manages to put on a smiling face every day, how she manages to put on a bold face everyday no matter the circumstances that come on her way; how she has been able to train us to this moment. I wonder how she reacts whenever she misses my father. She must have missed her husband of many years many times but who would she complain to? Her children? God? I don't really know how she overcomes all these things but I believe that widows are strong people and in whatever way we think we can help them, we should. We should try to sustain those smiles on their faces and give them hope of tomorrow. They say, a husband is a cover for her wife and when a woman loses her husband, she loses part of herself and that is true. Mother has been my number one fans and a role model.
Some years back, I stormed into her room to see mother watching the photographs of father in between smile and tears — her fears increased the tempo of her heart beats and the atmosphere was tensed. She was not aware that someone was inside the room. I stood there in tears, too. I tried not to break into her thought as I made for the door and left. I’d once been told that if a woman wanted something she did not have, no matter how elusive that thing was, if her feet do not restrain her from chasing it, she would eventually grab it but not when the love of their life is gone to return no more.
Some of these women maybe in their thirties or late forties but refused to remarry after the death of their husbands. Some of them did this not because they were strong enough to be alone but because they were afraid that the new husband might not accept their children. He might not like or love them just like her or see them as his own children. Even if he does, his family members may not want them and so, they decide to remain single for their children's interest and some, may decide not to remarry because of the love they have for their children. They have to stay and train up their children. Give them a better life and future as they desire. Some may not because of the love for their dead husbands. Widows are strong people so as widowers who never remarried.
However, these women should not been seen as beggars when they come to you for help. Help them in the little way you can. Put a smile on their faces. They are not beggars but victims of circumstances. Who fate seized their entities in way to deny them of love and affection. Show them some love if you come across them. Give them gifts no matter how little it is, they will appreciate it. I'm always happy to see churches set aside one Sunday to celebrate widows and widowers. They present gifts to them and pray for them. This, in some ways, lifts their spirits and help them realise that some people still care about them and their well being.
If your mother is a widow or your father is a widower, please, don't provoke him or her. Don't make her think about your father and dont make him think about your mother. Help them in a little way you can. It does not matter how small it may look but just help. There is this woman in my street, her husband was a soldier. She was living happily with him and their three children; one boy, two girls, until Boko Haram came. Until bombing started. Until Nigeria started taking much interest in Boko Haram than her Army. Her husband was among the people sent to Sambisa. He went and never returned. Nobody knows anything about him again till now. We don't know if he was killed or wounded. Nobody knows if he's alive or not but we have all concluded that he's dead because he has been missing for long.
Now, the woman is a widow catering for three wonderful children, a job she once shared with her husband. Some weeks ago before she packed out of our street, some people came and offered her presents. They prayed for her and promised to come back again. Later, a friend of her told me how happy she was when those people presented those gifts to her. According to her, she had nothing to cook for her children in the past Christmas before those people came. She had planned that she would take them to their father's sister place for the Christmas since nothing was at home. But miracle happened and those people brought those items for her. Imagine how happy she would have been after they left.
On 23 of December, 2019, we planned on visiting few of them I know around my house to give them some gifts but we failed because the money we were expecting didn't arrive. And some of our plans failed us, too. They failed us in many ways which I may not likely go into details for now. But my take here is that, always try as much as possible to leave on the faces of these widows and widowers because they need it from you. Help them in any way you can.
FOR COURAGE, STEADFASTNESS AND EVERYTHING BEING A WIDOW BRINGS
While growing up in Aba, there were many single mothers and fathers I knew in my street. And these single mothers and fathers have children. Some have six children and some seven and others, eight before the death of their spouse. You'll believe that no matter how good a mother is, it is not good for only her to train a child. And no matter how lovely a father is, it is not also good for only him to train his children. Some fathers are usually strict and hot while dealing with their children while some mothers are some how soft while training their children. However, if the two comes together to train up a child, the child will end up becoming normal to some extent. When a father becomes too hot or strict with his dealings, the softness of a mother turns his anger cold or some how soft to the children. Perhaps, that is how nature has made it to be; two hands in training and upbringing of a child. But in a situation where we have only a father or a mother, it becomes too hard for a single hand to train and care for a child.
In my church then, we have a special service every month for the widows and widowers in the church. This service usually take place every last Sunday of the month and my Pastor who was then working with one oil company in Port Harcourt had an account he set aside for these widows and widowers and he gave willing members who God had touched in their heart to donate as well for this course. In fact, the gate was widely opened in my church that some widows and widowers that were not the church members are allowed to come to that service. They were treated equally like the church members. And respected, too. So, a day before the service usually on Saturday, the pastor appoints some members of the church who go to the market to buy food stuffs ranging from bags of rice, Tin tomatoes, Maggi, fresh Fish, Vegetables and lots of other things. During this service, all the widows and widowers are called out on the church altar and prayed for. They are prayed for by the pastor and the church members along side their children. Later, the gifts are presented to them all. I was always fascinated by the smiles on their faces. By the expression on their faces and how they would walk majestically back to their seats. The pastor would always tell them to walk majestically to their seats and never allow anybody intimidate them because they were widows and widowers. They should not be ashamed of who they are and never get tired of disturbing God who would take care of them.
I grew up loving these people. I grew up having a soft spot for them because of the courage and strength they exhibit. Because these people, are still happy after their misfortunes, they found reasons to moved on with their lives after the death of their spouses. They were not after how the storm of life is throwing them here and there, the tribulations of life may come in different forms but they were not moved by it. That has always been my happiness. No matter how ugly your mother is ( if there is anything like that), she is still your mother and there's nothing to equal her in anyway, same as your father. Aside from being strong people, these widows and widowers have something in common too, they are courageous and brave. You hardly see their tears in public. They have these characteristics of holding on for a very long time. They live a prayerful life. A life full of hope and faith. A grieving widow’s pain is unique and volatile. What encourages and uplifts one woman may be painfully unhelpful to another. Grief is like a virus that waxes and wanes with intensity.
The Quest for survival has made many of us forget the smallest of all things which is very relevant to our neighbors. We have forgotten the significance abound in longing to help those who are in need. Perhaps the toiling and sweat of our daily activities have made us lose concentration of those who seek for our attention in our communities. I have come to understand that everything is not all about money. Sometimes when we don't have money, we should encourage and care for some people, it helps. The magnitude of what we have forgotten are those things hurting us some times and more and more are going right into the drain because some of us no longer cares. Maybe, you should in your spare time, think about these people logically. These people that some well fed neighbors have categorized as baggers because they seek for water to quench their taste. They are widows not baggers. They are not dogs you stone food at. Bedbug once told it children that they should endure that everybody would have a large lips. Nobody asks for death, it comes and takes when he needs a soul.
Meanwhile, don't neglects these people. Don't allow them tear up when they remember their lost ones. Help them in whichever way you can. A grieving widow who lives alone may go several days without hearing another human voice, especially months after the initial funeral of her husband. Emails, text messages and letters are good; however, phone calls and visits may be better if you can create that time. While this may not seem like the most efficient use of your time, efficiency and effectiveness are sometimes mutually exclusive. Emotional mine fields such as these may require intimate knowledge of the bereaved and how they are taking the Lost of their lives ones. A close friend, relatives or neighbors might be better suited to visit a widow than some Pastors. Don’t confuse compassion for a church acquaintance with a call to take personal action. If you don’t know the widow well, allow one of her close friends to direct your efforts. It will ease out so many things when someone very close visits her.