Holding Hands – Lara Williams
My husband died on 3rd March 1993 from an electric shock from an air conditioner – or so I was told? In the confusion following the aftermath of his death I was given sketchy information I was never able to piece together fully. After 17 years I can truthfully say what I find to be most wicked act meted to me was the inability to give me the correct details and information of his demise. Why do I feel this way? Because I have spent over a decade and a half of my life piecing together what could possibly have happened on that day to be able to find a way out and achieve closure so my children and I could find an end to grieving for his loss. The culture we have in Nigeria is that we are taught to keep quiet on matters that may bring a volatile reaction. What if the reaction acts as a cleansing catharsis in the problem at hand? That doesn’t matter: the culture says manage the event by not talking, no matter how positive talking things over may be. Counselling does not work in the long term in Nigeria. It becomes a management technique rather than a solution process which prolongs the actual problem rather than bring the healing it is supposed to achieve. In the long term, cultural counselling may add to problems and open up new dimensions to the problem that weren’t there before. I talk about cultural legacies and how they predominantly affect the widowhood and development and how these two are closely inter-twined in the Nigerian social community at every level. Widowhood is a cultural stigma in Nigeria. Doesn’t matter how a woman becomes a widow, through sickness, accidents, unexpected means, whatever, as long as you are a widow you become stigma, a social pariah even if you earn a salary in millions.
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