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Opinions of Sunday, 25 February 2018

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

The miserable death of a Ghanaian woman in the USA

Out of respect for the dead and the entire bereaved family, although I have the moral obligation to sound a clarion call for warning to Ghanaian women facing similar situations, I shall withhold the names of the persons concerned. My vivid knowledge of the circumstances preceding, and culminating in, her death, makes me wet my pillow with streams of tears at night when I go to bed.

I am currently being afflicted by mental and psychological injuries as well as guilt. If I had mustered courage to defy the obvious damaging resistances, whenever I decided to intervene, the woman might be alive today but not lying in an American morgue as I write. I shall dedicate a full chapter of several pages of my memoire to her life story, starting from her primary school days through to her bitterest death in America, a land of plenty food but dying of starvation because of the behaviour of a wicked husband.

For several years, her husband treated her with scorn, total neglect and wished her dead. Now that she is, the same ignominious husband is cladded in mourning clothes wailing uncontrollably. He had better stop shedding any crocodile tears. In public, he is crying to seek the condolences of those not aware of his evil-mindedness towards the wife while she was alive, but deep down his heart, he is exuding jubilation.

What does it mean by to shed crocodile tears? It means “to put on an insincere act of being sad; tears that you cry when you are not really sad or sorry. The allusion is to the ancient notion that crocodiles weep while devouring their prey. Crocodiles do indeed have lachrymal glands and produce tears to lubricate the eyes as humans do. They don't cry with emotion though. Whatever experience they have when devouring prey we can be certain it isn't remorse”.

For decades he maltreated the wife and her two children. He refused to talk to them; collected their passports with intent to send them back to Ghana. He slept alone in his room while the woman was in hers for years. He did not eat from the meals prepared by the woman. He prepared and ate his own meal. All these are not a problem to me but his most wicked attitudes towards the wife when she fell sick and could no longer work.

She underwent five major surgical operations having to do with her spine and hips. Most often, she was immobilised and stayed in bed. She could not get out of bed for days to go and prepare food to eat. Her husband would not pop into her room to assist her despite her screams in agony for help. She would phone to London to say, I am very hungry. I have not eaten for three days. I cannot get out of bed. My head is spinning and I feel dizzy.

Is your husband not there? Are your children not there? Yes, my husband is there but he can’t be bothered. My daughter is away to school. She lives far away from us. She works to pay her own school fees so she does not come here very often. My son is at home but at times he falls into coma for about three days without emerging from his room.

The son suffers from a sickness that throws him into coma almost every four days to a week and must be hospitalised. I will not reveal that medical condition today but in my future publication when the dust has settled.

From the repeated hospitalisations of both the mum and the son, the man would not visit them either in hospital or in their rooms at home. He would not talk to them. How many times had we not heard from her complaining of getting stuck in bed and feeling hunger pangs, yet the man would neither visit her to know about her condition nor cook for her?

While she would be in her room suffering, the husband would often come home with his friends among who were nurses, and those with all sorts of education background to throw wild parties while the wife and son would be lingering in pains of hunger and with death drawing closer and closer to them but he could not give two hoots.

Lately, or as recently as two months ago, he ordered both the wife and the son to leave his house to find a place to rent for themselves. He said, “I am now old, about 70+, if I die, you will not be able to continue with the mortgage payments. Subsequently, the house will be repossessed by the bank and you will lose out”. The woman was ready to leave, where to, only God knows. I strongly registered my opposition to that most stupid proposition by her husband. Where was she going to get money to rent a place unless America is a Welfare State where the government offers the disabled, poor and the needy moderately-priced rented or free accommodations?

I was ready to convey her plight to the generous attention of the world. Why was she being treated worse than the dirt on one’s shoes? Why should she be stuck in bed to go hungry for three to five days at a time, and not only once but becoming the usual occurrence? Each time I wanted to step in to act, I was prevented from doing so by the wife and other interested parties coming up with dissuasive flimsy excuses. I found my hands tied behind my back but here today I am with tears intermittently tricking down my cheeks when I regret not to have defied them to do what I felt was morally right.

When the man gave him a month ultimatum to leave the house because he wanted to sell it and move out of his current US State (name withheld) to reside in New Jersey or in another State in the US, I asked if there was nothing she could do to block that because she is now not well hence seeing the man’s order as untimely. As scared as she was of the husband, she said, “Nyame bekyere”, thus, God will provide. Little did I know that she had embarked on twenty-one days fasting to seek the face of God and His intervention? A woman sick, near-infirmed because of the surgical operations and very often famished because of her inability to get out of bed to cook or get anyone to collect money from her to do shopping for her.

Where she lived was removed from shops and one needed to drive to the shops. However, she could no longer drive because of her illness. Now that the woman is dead, I fear for her son. I wonder how a father can hate his own wife and children with passion. I understand he is married to another woman, built her a mansion in Kumasi and has children by her. Could this explain his enmity and evil motive towards his deceased wife and her children? The children are the man’s biological children. I have to emphasise this point to clear any confusion in the minds of the readers.

Why should she have decided to embark on twenty-one days fasting? Could my resisted attempt of intervention not have been a possible solution to her then numerous prayers to God to resolving her problems? Who advised her to do the fasting knowing that she was not well? Just before the end, or at the completion, of the fasting, she fell seriously ill. She was rushed to the hospital only to lapse into a coma, put on a life support machine and died two days later.

Whatever the result of the conducted post-mortem examinations is, what are the remote causes of her illness and death? She really suffered infliction of psychological, mental and marital neglect on her being and soul. She was really scared of her very husband. It was only God and her children who knew what was going on in their home. As promised, when the body is buried, I shall either publish a detail account of what I became aware of, or I will keep it in my memoire for future publishing.

Now that people are sympathising with him, a slow but indirect poisonous murderer, what is he going to do to his chronically-ill son that he had given two weeks to quit his house? Is he not going to drive the boy out of the house only to learn a few months later that he too has been called home to rest by God?

Does the bible not say in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."? Unless his friends are of the same evil character in which case it is show me your friend and I shall tell you your character, I shall advise them to dump him. He is a wolf in a lambskin. The wives and husbands of his friends must advise themselves when I disclose his identity in any future publication of mine.

Any Ghanaian going through a traumatic situation of the nature that killed this beautiful woman of about 63 years should please advise themselves accordingly. When help is coming your way, please accept it rather than to keep saying God will provide by keeping to praying and fasting persistently. God answers prayers through various means. He could elect someone to give you a sound advice. He could appoint someone to physically intervene on your behalf. He could let the bad person see reason to change from their bad ways for the better.

I have now come to understand that some deaths are a blessing to the victim. At the mention of this statement, my eyes are welled up with tears. This is because of how much I knew the suffering she was going through. She has been liberated from the physical, mental, psychological and more especially, the hunger pains that I knew her to be going through. Although tears are now streaming down my cheeks, let me manage to bring this message to a better conclusion.

I am too sympathetic. I share the suffering of others. Was it how God created me? I always want to jump to the aid of people suffering needlessly. Many a time had I been strongly advised to stay away only for me and those who prevented me from helping to bite our fingers in regret.

The gifts of God are many and each person has their own. If mine is to help innocent people come to suffer because of being poor, illiterates or are deemed commoners, please, don’t prevent me from exercising my God-endowed gift.

On Wednesday, 31st January 2018, before I went to sleep, I read a portion of the bible where the prophet was advising that we have the right to ask God why He has allowed this or that to happen. We also have the right to remind Him of certain promises He has made but why the contrary are seen to be unfolding. Yes, in my prayer, I questioned God about an ongoing situation which I see as not right at all. Barely had I fallen asleep when a solution was revealed to me. I have taken the first step to resolving the problem. How it was revealed to me to resolve it, I became scared and questioned that inner voice talking to me it will cause problems and the reply was, so what? Are you not ready to help fight corruption, do as you are being directed for the ongoing problem you are seeking answers to is equally corruption.

The woman’s death is untimely. If the husband had helped her, fed her, taken her to hospital, although there were times that the accumulation of the usual American hospital bills were becoming too frightful, she would today be among the living but not the dead.

In the meantime, I rest my case.

Rockson Adofo