Beatrice met Anselm during her hunt for employment at a prominent hospital in a high brow area of the state. Anselm worked as a pharmacist in the hospital and Beatrice had attended an interview for the position of Laboratory Scientist in the hospital’s Laboratory and although she did not secure the position, she met the the man of her dreams – Anselm. She secured what she considered as the best thing to ever happen to her. They started dating and within six months, wedding bells were ringing. They were inseparable. They got married in a quiet , private wedding at St. Barnabas church with Anselm’s sister – Ine, and Beatrice’s aged mother as witnesses.
It was a marriage made in heaven and any seeming disagreements were handled in an atmosphere of tranquility and concord. The couple were soon blessed with two children – Dapo (male) and Chioma (female). Anselm was every bit the “Perfect” husband, attentive, caring, responsible and very calm. He now had a pharmacy owned and run by him while Beatrice worked in a food and beverage manufacturing company. The children were doing well in school and life was good, that is until…disaster struck.
One evening, Anselm came back from the Pharmacy complaining of numbness in his limbs and unsteadiness on his feet. In addition, he felt nauseous and fatigue with a recurrent headache. Beatrice immediately rushed him to their family hospital and after a series of tests were run, Anselm was diagnosed with malignant brain tumour. In spite of the best medical care, Beatrice underwent the harrowing experience of watching her husband slip away to the cold hands of death. The bottom fell out of their hopes of recovery.
Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. Two days later, while still grieving her beloved husband, a woman breezed into the house with a set of twin girls, about four years older than Dapo. She introduced herself as Uju, flaunting a marriage certificate and birth certificates before Beatrice. She claimed to be Anselm’s bona fide wife and that the twins were his children. Uju in a haughty tone stated calmly “As the lawful wife of Anselm Chideobi, I am here to bury my husband and take my rightful place in the scheme of things. If you need copies of these certificates to enable you verify my claim, I will leave them with you.” A petrified Beatrice collected the copies and amid tears soliloquizes aloud “ Could Anselm have been so cruel? Could he have made our marriage vows knowing he was not qualified to take them? Could the Anselm I know, have kept this dark secret away from me?”She immediately summoned courage and called Ine her sister-in-law hoping to hear that the words she had just heard were a figment of her imagination. After three short rings, Ine picked the call and confirmed her worst fears, indeed Uju’s marriage preceded hers and the marriage was never annulled, but she thought Anselm had opened up to her about it. He had recently briefed a lawyer to commence divorce proceedings, before he fell terminally ill.
At the funeral, both Uju and Beatrice featured as Anselm’s wives and thereafter, Pastor Blessing paid Beatrice a visit. She asked about the welfare of Beatrice and her two children and inquired about the position with the Pharmacy and a few other assets that Anselm had. Beatrice broke down in tears stating that she did not have a clue as to how to proceed or what the next steps should be and Pastor Blessing admonished that she join a Widows group such as the Naomi sisters where she would have access to the following areas of counsel and succour:
- Legal and Probate Services
- Religious activities
- Social interactions and Interface
- Empowerment programs etc.
N.B. Naomi Sisters is a Widows Ministry operating from Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. Kindly send a mail to Havilahspeaks@gmail .com for enquiries.