A year after marrying his second wife, my husband passed away, leaving me with the added responsibility of caring for his widow. Along with raising my four children, I was now responsible for covering all of my household expenses as well as that of my husband’s second wife.
During the early years of my marriage, my husband’s behavior towards me was far from ideal. He had a quick temper and a low level of patience, and he would often mistreat me. He had strict demands of me and expected me to blindly follow his every order. We frequently argued, and his anger would escalate to the point where he would storm out of the house for days at a time. I found his behavior to be deeply troubling, and I was unsure of the root cause of his constant misbehavior and excuses. Even the slightest issues could quickly snowball into major conflicts between us.
I often found myself questioning why my husband treated me in such a way. Despite my deep love for him, it seemed that his feelings toward me were not reciprocated. As time went on, his temper only seemed to worsen, and his mistreatment of me left me feeling increasingly depressed and despondent. I grew more and more depressed and withdrawn, no longer enjoying conversation or laughter. Instead, I found myself retreating to the privacy of my own thoughts, where I would often cry in isolation. These feelings persisted over a period of ten years, which were marked by disputes and worriment. During this time, I gave birth to four children.
After the birth of my youngest child, a daughter, my physical and mental state began to rapidly deteriorate. I experienced abnormal bleeding, prompting us to visit a doctor. The doctor attributed the issue to the excessive stress that I had been under. He advised me to prioritize my own happiness and to find ways to alleviate the stress in my life. However, this was easier said than done, as my husband continued to mistreat me and the weight of caring for my children and managing my household was solely on my shoulders. It felt impossible to prioritize my own well-being when there were so many pressing responsibilities to attend to.
The doctor also advised my husband to take note of my poor mental state and urged him to treat me with kindness and care in order to improve my condition. While my husband did make an effort to improve his behavior towards me following the doctor’s advice, my bleeding continued for a month and a half. As time passed, my legs began to feel increasingly numb, and I experienced intense back pain that made it difficult for me to stand or walk. Eventually, my legs stopped responding altogether, leaving me paralyzed from the waist down.
Despite seeking medical attention from various doctors, my condition failed to improve. Many doctors either refused to treat me or claimed that my condition would naturally improve with time. I too clung to this hope, but a year passed with no sign of improvement. My paralysis made me incapable of walking, working, or taking care of my family. I knew this put a significant burden on my husband, who had to juggle work and household duties alone. I longed to regain my mobility so that I could ease his burden and not be a burden to him myself.
Throughout my illness, I tried to maintain a friendly and positive relationship with my husband, encouraging him not to lose hope and to support me until I regained my health. However, despite my efforts, my husband did not wait for me to recover. Instead, he made the decision to marry another woman.
When I confronted my husband about his decision to marry another woman, he responded callously, saying, “What should I do until you get well? I can’t live like this. I can’t handle all the housework and constantly worry about household chores. I need someone to be at home to take care of these things. What if a guest comes over while I’m away? Who will receive them? You need to understand my situation. I have to get married again, you know what I mean? I have to….”
In a deeply emotional moment, I found myself unable to speak up and defend myself against his wishes. I had no choice but to acquiesce to my husband’s desire to remarry. I felt powerless and inferior, forced to endure a situation that was out of my control. When my husband brought his new wife home, I was left feeling utterly helpless.
His second wife assumed complete authority over the household, leaving me with nothing to do but try to endure and adapt to the new conditions. I struggled to cope with this new reality for an entire year until tragedy struck and my husband passed away from Covid-19. His death sent my life into turmoil. I found myself overcome with grief, constantly asking myself how I would manage his widow and his four children, my sickness, as well as the financial burden of running the household on my own.
While I had been slowly recovering prior to my husband’s passing, after his death, I find myself struggling once again, consumed with worry over the future of my children. At times, I cannot help but wonder if things would have been different had my husband not remarried. Perhaps I could have found peace and regained my health, and even stood on my own two feet.