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Losing hubby makes you appreciate the man you had

 Surviving the loss of a partner (Photo: iStock)

Life is a dynamic journey. People undergo changes and adapt to new circumstances. Situations have the power to shape personalities and even alter deeply rooted moral values. We have witnessed individuals who were born and raised in devout Christian households embracing the Islamic faith as they grow older.

There are Hindu men who fall in love with Christian women and choose to change their religious affiliation. I recall a man who was once prayerful but became vulgar and abusive in his old age when senility took hold. I wonder where God placed him when his reckless words no longer consumed the years of devotion he had offered. In short, we cannot definitively map out our life's trajectory from our present vantage point.

Widowhood may appear trivial at first when a man takes his last breath and is laid to rest. Mourners offer their condolences to the family, particularly the widow, in the midst of the emotional upheaval. However, once the final procession concludes and the ashes return to ashes, the reality hits the woman. Suddenly, the terms of her existence have permanently shifted, and she no longer has a partner to rely on going forward.

There is no man to eliminate the serpents slithering in the compound or engage in heated arguments when hormones flare. As a woman, she must now assume the role of a leader, facing failures head-on without having a male scapegoat to blame. There is no father figure to report the children to when they cross boundaries or exhibit challenging behaviour. Many widows confess that this journey is a rollercoaster that brings a sobering realization of the value a man brought to their lives, which may have been otherwise underappreciated.

While broader challenges related to estate management, life insurance claims, and workplace benefits can be openly discussed in public forums where ideas can be shared, there are more sensitive matters that will never reach the public gallery.

The biblical notion that "two is better than one" suddenly becomes evident when one is forced to make difficult decisions alone and venture into areas she was previously shielded from. You see, it's natural for men to prevent their women from getting involved in conflicts over land boundaries or tiresome trips to clear items from the port in Mombasa.

It's an instinctive protective tendency embedded in all husbands. Some of these responsibilities become so ingrained in a marriage that we take them for granted. Some married women can't even distinguish between spark plugs and a radiator. Many have never learned that wiper blades need to be changed to ensure effective functioning during rain because, somehow, the garage is the man's domain while the salon is where the Memsahib spruces up.

The most significant challenge that each widow privately faces is the absence of pair bonding after the death of her husband. Apart from the "widow" label, a woman whose husband has passed away has all her bodily functions working perfectly. Mentally, she longs to engage in conversations with a man after work, and socially, she craves a sense of connection with a male to experience the completeness of a masculine presence in her life.

In essence, this life lacks a predefined template. It can swiftly shift in an unexpected direction, compelling individuals to adjust their course and navigate through challenging circumstances.

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