My heart pounded fast as I listened to more of mother’s sob. Tears flowed down my check as I wondered whether her resolve not to give in to the rites of having to sleep with her late husband’s brother in order to allow father’s spirit to rest. Would she stand the pressure been mounted on her by his family? It was believed that failure to carry out this rite as was the custom meant that family will be under a curse, which meant more deaths in the family.
Mother had been through a lot. Only the arrival of my brother Obinna gave her relief from the pressures of father’s family. I remembered uncle Ebuka taunted her with the fact that she had no inheritance if she couldn’t bear a son. It was only through father’s support and his refusal to take another wife that gave her hope for the 9years she had to wait after giving birth to me. I finally slept off only to be woken by grandma’s early morning chanting to chi, the family god. I heard her pray that her son’s spirit would find rest in the land beyond. She prayed that chi would drive away evil from her clan. Mother got up at about this time too. Her face was swollen and I knew she hadn’t slept through the night. I greeted her and she answered with a sigh. We both knew it would be another day of sitting down on the mourning mat, receiving sympathizers from all over the village.
Meaning of Word
Cleansing Rites – Purification ritual – In the context of this story, a widowhood ritual expected to be performed by a widow in some cultures to wade of certain evil occurrence.
-An excerpt from one of my short stories collection.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – email@example.com