Being Widow in Pakistan

Sister Zeph
Posted June 8, 2019 from Pakistan


My 26 years old cousin Sunny who was working in paramedical staff in District hospital of Gujranwala Punjab Pakistan, His two months old son got sick therefor Sunny called his elder brother over phone and requested him to bring his son and wife to hospital for the treatment of the baby boy.

His elder brother brought them to hospital, proper treatment was given to the baby and then sunny asked his brother to bring his family back to home and told his 21 years old wife to not to cook anything but to look after the sick baby only and that he will bring the dinner by himself from the restaurant.

His wife Sana who is so pretty and is completely in love with her husband, loved her home too, they were not living in a joint family, she was owner of her home, she would decorate the home with own choice, she would wear what she wanted to, her husband would love her and would admire her a lot, they were more lover than husband and wife, she was so proud of her life, their son completed the family and they would make so big plans for the future of the son.

They had been married for two years, but Sana would feel like she has always been with Sunny and that she would always remain with him until she is alive.

But, on the same night when his wife was waiting for him to bring dinner and that they will eat together, she had a call on her cell phone, it was Sunny’s number therefor she picked the phone immediately with an anger, she wanted to fight with him to show her anger, because it was too late and he was not coming home, how could he be so careless, it has been hours and he did not call to ask how was she and their son, he did not take her call even, how could he do this, but at the moment when she opened her mouth to speak she heard an unknown voice.

‘’ Do you know Sunny’’ She said Yes. On the other side ‘’I am speaking from the hospital he has died in a road accident’’

All in a sudden she felt like her voice was stuck, her feet so heavy like a big rock has hugged her so tight that she could not move, her breath unable to move a head from her thought, But she gathered the energy, she did her best, opened the door and ran towards the road, she was running, she lost her senses, she reached to the nearby hospital, she was she shouting, she was beating the doors, she became violent, she did not know what to do, she was feeling like her brain was tearing apart, she got faint and fell down on the floor.

When she came into conscious she saw the dead body of her loving husband Sunny and then she could not move again, it has been three days she does not know where is her son and where is her husband Sunny, he was buried today because we live in a very hot weather and we do not have arrangements to keep the dead body safe for many days.

Now she is a Widow Sana.

Her home which she made for her family she cannot live their anymore because she is too young and in our society a young woman cannot be safe alone, She cannot fulfill the needs of her son and of own needs because she has no education or skills, she was just taught to be married, to be a good wife and a mother, She will go back to her parents’ home. After she got married a burden from the family was removed (Because in our culture girls are considered burden)

Now they have two people to feed, thank God her parents are alive or she would have nowhere to go.

Because she is young that’s why she wants it or not, but she will have to get married in few months or a year, her son who would called my prince just few days before by his father will be left alone in his grand-parents’ care and there will be no one left to love him the way his father and mother had been loving him.

The story of her life could have been different, if she would have education and skills and self-confidence, she would have stayed at her home, she would not have to depend on anyone, she would be able to face this big challenge by herself, she would be able to take a stand for her son, she would not be forced to marry to another man against her will.

Being widow in Pakistan is so tough, especially if the widow is young because right after death of her husband, the wives in the neighborhood start thinking that may be now she will have an affair with their husbands. She cannot go out because no matter if she would go to buy medicine for her dying child; they will blame her of having an affair outside the home.

If she goes out to work to feed her children, it will be against honor of the family so second option is to get married to a man who she does not like and leave the children in his hands and to see the new husband treating bad her children, if she has daughters, she has to be more careful from him, another option is to wok like a slave for the relatives so that they can support her to feed her children.

We keep giving groceries, cloths and medicines to the widows and orphans at our center, But we cannot shape their future until our society learn to plan the future and to realize that the best gift for their daughters is not the materialistic things which will be destroyed with the time, But education because education and skills will never leave their daughters alone never ever.







This story was submitted in response to International Widows' Day.

Comments 7

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Jun 08
Jun 08

I relate to your story very much. They think because she has sex with another man that has cause her kid sicknesses. Here its actually horrible, she will be accuse of having a hand in the husband's death. Eventually, she will be cast as a witch. God have mercy on us humans, we are wicked and heartless some humans. Thanks for sharing dear. Hope you are very good? Take care.

Tamarack Verrall
Jun 08
Jun 08

Dear Sister Zeph,
This is heartbreaking, and so important that you send out the message of what happens to women who become widows. Globally we must get beyond this idea that all women must be married to be acceptable. You are so right that had Sana been able to get an education and be self sufficient, her life would be totally different. This is the importance of your work dear sister, and your voice.
Much love,

Jill Langhus
Jun 09
Jun 09

Hello Dear Sister Zeph,

Poor Sana:-( That poor thing. Her world was literally turned upside down. I wish she had time to get an education now and turn her fortune around. So many harmful stigmas and practices for her to handle, and others, too. I'm so glad for the work that you're doing there. I hope Sana's fate won't be as bad as what we're thinking, or her son's, for that matter. Please keep us posted and thanks for sharing, dear.

Hello, Sister Zeph,

You are a great storyteller. I like how you showed Sana’a life before she became a widow, and wrote a contrast on how she is now. It gave us a glimpse of the state of widows in Pakistans. Truly, heartbreaking. I hope she can still get an education.

I was out-of-school from 19-25. I went back to school when I was about to turn 26. I finished a degree when I will be turning 29. I hope Sana will consider studying. It will really give her more opportunities.

Thank you for sharing her story!

Lavina Cardoza
Jun 13
Jun 13

You have narrated the plight of Sana very well and it is very complex being a widow in many cultures. Society's division of labor for men and women and hoping that all will be well once you are married is a myopic thinking. Hope we as a society learn to prioritize education and self development as the foundation for growth for all humans before marriage

Beth Lacey
Jun 21
Jun 21

Such a sad story. But you are right, education and skills are critical for women and girls

Jun 23
Jun 23

I was also made a widow very young due to my husband being killed in a road accident.

The day we become a widow us the day who we were also dies, society, even family no longer see us the same way.

8 years on I now run widows groups to provide vital social connection over a warm nutritious meal every month. This is the foundations for economic empowerment initiatives that I am looking to establish in the coming months in Pakistan.

Thank you for sharing your story, my ladies have not yet shared their stories in depth but I imagine thry will not be too disimilar to Sana's.

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