How Omugwo, the art of Caretaking by mothers, is inflicting unfair and painful experiences on old Dads

I came across and felt I should share a touching piece written by Stan Ekezie about the pains that fathers pass through when they are abandoned by their wives who travel for Omugwo, a traditional period practiced by Igbo people of Nigeria when a mother is expected to go and help her daughter who has just given birth with the new baby.

See the write up below:

I spoke with a gentleman who sent a message to complain that he has been abandoned by his wife and children because he refused to move abroad with his wife, he insisted that he wanted his wife home by his side, in disobedience the woman moved abroad and the children in anger abandoned their father to die without love, care or respect for a man who gave them everything, a man without whom they will be nothing today.

According to him it all started when his eldest daughter got married and started having children, his wife had to travel each time to do the traditional omugwo, a traditional period when a mother is expected to go and help her daughter who has just given birth with the new baby.
Having borne 3 daughters for him, these visits became frequent and long since the daughters got married in quick succession and were having children simultaneously.

Sometimes she will be gone for months and years, on one occasion she stayed abroad for two and half years without seeing him.
He said she is gone again for an undisclosed length of time and he is afraid he may be dead by the time she gets back.

This poor man is seventy three, diabetic and alone with a young house boy who helps clean the house.
He is forced to cook sometimes because the small boy can’t do everything at the same time. I felt sorry for him, his wife has failed him.
To the children, do not try to separate your parents, they made a vow before God to be there for each other no matter what until the end.
Wifely duties are until death parts you, there is no holiday or leave. He should not have been left alone. It is not good for man to be alone Genesis 2:18.
A wife’s place is beside her husband, in sickness and in health for better for worse, for richer for poorer until death parts you.

One of the greatest fears a man habors through life is being old, sick and alone, abandoned by a family he gave his youth for, people he sacrificed everything for. This fear is real especially as it has been seen to play out very often. This is more rampant amongst the igbos.
A man brings up his kids, sends them abroad to further their education, toils day and night to keep up the expensive foreign education and upkeep.
They graduate and decide to settle abroad.
They start having kids and suddenly mummy has to go and help watch her grandkids. These trips become very frequent and the woman is sometimes gone for months and years without any thought for her husband’s upkeep, care and emotional well being. Many men who did the right thing by giving their children everything have been so betrayed by the same children aided and abated by their wives .

Most of these men have died alone, abandoned by the family they sacrificed everything for. This miserable death is followed by an expensive and elaborate funeral to celebrate a great dad, a celebration coming too late and in futility.

In the story above, the man’s wife is insensitive to have agreed to be separated from her husband for that long, especially in his present state of health.
Marriage is about companionship not only now, especially in old age.
Growing old together is one of the wonderful perks of marriage, it is is the reason why all of us husbands and wives, tolerate and forgive each other no matter what. It is the reason why some of us endure pain and anguish in marriage, the fear of facing old age alone is one of the reasons we remain steadfast in marriage.
A great injustice has been served to this man by his wife, his daughters and regrettably his three sons whom I expect to understand that one day not too far in the future, they will be where their father is today, alone.
I feel sorry for the children who let this happen, they have not only disobeyed God and forsaken a parent, they risk their fathers curse.

Fathers are everything, I personally feel very uncomfortable whenever my dad is left alone for long, I make extra effort to make sure I call him more often and try my best to provide everything he needs during my mums absence. I ensure my mums absence from home is brief whenever she is forced to tend to the needs of my sisters.
My mum will not even agree to stay knowing my Dad is alone, she is usually in a hurry to leave when she visits, we are sometimes not happy she can’t stay but we understand she has to do her duties as a wife to our father.
I love my mum to death, she loves us unconditionally and has loved us that way from birth, but what is a mother’s love without the security of a father’s providence and protection?
Both parents are equally valuable and extremely important, children should and must be aware of this. None of them should make you abandon the other no matter their history, divorced, separated, estranged, it doesn’t matter.
My duty as a child is to care for both parents together or individually, if they have issues the children must remain impartial.
The men should be particularly careful about usurping the authority of their fathers because they feel they are now of age, made their own money and are now independent, this is callous and insensitive. You will be him someday and will have a taste of your own medicine. Personally, the same respect and fear I had for my dad when I was under his roof still exists now that I am under my own roof, nothing has changed, as the first child, when an important family decision is required, I lean completely towards what he says even when I don’t agree with him because I cannot be wiser and more experienced than him, if I feel strongly about the disagreement, I approach him with my reasons and respectfully too, final decision still rests on him.
Do not emasculate your father because you have become his provider, money is not everything, show of love and respect will prolong his life and yours too.
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you”. This is a clear instruction from God on how to treat our parents, we are not only expected to give them money or buy them things, we are instructed to honour them, that means, care, love unconditionally, respect obey and celebrate them, God made the fulfillment of this instruction a condition for our own longevity.
Take heed and obey, God’s words are never empty and his promises are yea and Amen .
Sir Stanley Ekezie

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