By Yetunde Arebi
The word widow often wrought in us a feeling of pity. It paints a picture of a once happy woman, along with her children, who was much loved; cared and provided for, no matter how little, but who had now lost everything. The word widow conjures a vision of someone in need of help to find a balance and sustenance for herself and her children.
The Biblical story of the widow often jumps to our consciousness and we are moved to lend a helping hand, at least to help ease their pain and burden. But don’t be deceived, not all widows are in search of our pity, paltry stipends and breadcrumbs from the master’s tables. Some of them are black widows, in search of safe havens and conducive environments to spin their next webs. If you don’t have enough on your plate as a man, you might just be the next target. Or is it victim? For, I really can’t comprehend how these things happen.
The first incident happened about 12 years ago. I did not initially believe the story when it first started making the round. This was because Dr. and Mrs Hassan had always seemed to me like a perfect couple, if there was one. Mr. Hassan, a medical doctor had recently started his own little clinic shortly before we met them. Mrs. Hassan, is a teacher and devoted mother of two, a boy and a girl who were doing beautifully well also at the time.
I remember that the girl even came tops in one of the national competitions sponsored by a multi-national company. They were kids any parent would be proud to have. We belonged to the same religious group and met for worship almost every Sunday. Like me, Mrs. Hassan had crossed over to Islam after marriage and had become very devoted. So, I was surprised when she started missing worships and eventually stopped completely.
Same for her husband. On enquiry, I was initially informed that she was seriously ill but a mutual friend eventually let me into the story. Dr. Hassan had deserted his family! How is that possible, I asked? She explained that Dr Hassan suddenly began sleeping out unnecessarily under the pretense of working late at the clinic and such other excuses used by medical practitioners. Eventually, they discovered that he was dating a female Nurse, his employee at the clinic.
To make matters worse, the woman is a Christian, contrary to all the things Hassan loved to profess. On confrontation, his explanation was that the lady is a widow with five children to care for and he felt sorry for her and wished to help her. Well, there is no problem with helping a widow but must one have a sexual relationship with her before one can render assistance? When his wife’s questions and attitude became too challenging, Dr. Hassan stood up to her tantrums by reminding her that he is an African man and more importantly, a Muslim.
He therefore has the permission of man and God to frolic with as many women as he desires. Poor Mrs. Hassan was backed to the wall when she discovered that many members of the family seemed to share similar views, a Muslim is entitled to four wives if he so desires. She has a good job and can take care of herself and two children, so, she should stop whining over such a little thing.
However, it turned out to be a big deal as Dr. Hassan soon stopped coming home, abandoning his wife and two children for a widow with five children. Dr. Hassan reportedly told who bothered to ask, that the widow and her five children needed him more than his wife and two children as his wife was more than capable of taking care of their children. I ran into Mrs. Hassan about three years after the whole drama went public and did she have a story to tell?
She was convinced that her husband had fallen under a spell cast by the woman! Or why would he abandon his family to shack up with another man’s family? She said she’d been informed that the woman is a sucker who dries up men then spits them out. She feared that the woman will kill her husband too as she killed her first husband and was sure her grand plan is to take over Hassan’s clinic and then kill him. Rather than accept her fate, Mrs.
Hassan has been expending time, energy, money and probably some other resources on looking for solution to her supposed problems. “Operation Save Her Husband From The Black Widow”. The woman I saw had become a shadow of the one I once knew. A tall, lanky, fair complexioned and very full of life and laughter. The black widow had not only taken an unsuspecting husband and father into custody, gradually milking him, she had also sucked out life from everything that surrounded him, his wife, children and the clinic which Hassan now runs with her as a family business.
Much as I do not want to bother myself too much over the remote controversies, one recurring question I have not been able to find answers for is why a man would leave his own two biological children and a faithful, devoted and submissive wife, to take up responsibility over another man’s “left over” and children in the name of caring for the needy? What exactly is this need that is more important than that of his own God given family? Perhaps there is more to Dr. Hassan than we are aware of. Who can tell? I have not seen them in several years now.
I first read news about the second story in a soft sell magazine about three years ago. I’d known the couple for several years and the wife and I had also been members of some religious groups, when I was still interested in religion. My focus has since changed to God and not religion. Though the man had never been one to pretend that he is faithful to his marital vows, I had always believed that the bonds between his family and his wife’s were very strong and he will be wary to jeopardise it by throwing caution to the wind.
They both come from affluent families and we’re also quite comfortable and successful in their individual businesses. Their union is blessed with two children, both boys were already undergraduates, schooling in England when their father decided to take another wife to everyone’s surprise. The lady turned out to be a widow with four children from two fathers.
The first child was born out of wedlock. Well over 50, and having stayed out of trouble all these years, I’d assumed he would have been slowing down by now. Why succumb now that his sex life span was most likely drawing to an end? I could not resist the temptation to hear the dirty details, so I picked the phone to confirm from my friend if all I’d read was true.
Yes, everything was true, she said, except for the part that said that the boys were in support of their father’s actions and that the woman’s children had become close pals with them. The truth was that the boys had vehemently condemned their father and stood up for and with their mother. Their father had practically moved out of the family house in GRA and was shacking up with the widow in a house he’d bought for her in one of the corporate estates along Lekki-Epe Express Road. Still, I fail to understand the reasoning behind such a decision.
Can you replace the love, respect, admiration, support and happiness of your biological children with those of another man’s children? If he wanted female children, surely, that is not the only way to go about getting one, is it? No matter what might have gone down between a man and his wife, does it have to include the happiness and welfare of the children? But, again, perhaps there is truth in the Yoruba saying that a man pays better attention to the children of a woman he loves.
But thank God it is not all the time that the black widow strikes that she gets to kill. If you are lucky like my friend Hunsun, then you can escape her killer sucking powers with some pints of blood still left in you. Hunsun and I have been friends for over 30 years and though we hardly ever get to see each other, when we do, we often play catch up on almost everything under the sun. He is a jolly good fellow and this often gets him into trouble with women.
And so he got entangled with a female co-worker, his junior, who recently lost her husband. He said he felt drawn to her because he was aware of the enormous burden and struggle that her life might become with the loss of her husband. The lady has seven children! In fact, he had always come to her rescue in the past, even while her husband was alive. He said she practically threw herself at him, instead of the other way around, and he felt compelled to assist her.
So, he helped her completed a housing project she had abandoned for several years and she moved in. No sooner than that, he noticed that he would stay over at her house for several days abandoning his own family. Hunsun has three children but his first is long graduated and married. The children had started calling him daddy and she too was also carrying on like a wife in the office. “Yetunde, I may be everything, but an irresponsible father. God has not given me any problems, why should I walk into one with my eyes open”, he declared. My dear friend was quick and lucky to retrace his steps.
I will really appreciate it, if we can discuss this issue together. Kindly drop your comments/views/ or related experience via SMS or e-mail. God bless you as you respond. Do have a wonderful weekend!